which is better for vocals? AKG 414/GOLD or the Neuman TLM 103?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by regotheamigo, Jul 25, 2006.


  1. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I'm looking to finally get a nice sounding mic to record vocals and some acoustic guitar stuff, and wanted your professional opinion on what you thought was a better mic for these applications? I would also really like to use a mic for distant micing guitar cabs for a nice ambiance to fatten up the tone a bit. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd go with the 414, but you won't really know until you try them for yourself.
     
  3. alphadynamic

    alphadynamic Member

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    the 414 is more versatile, however, with the 103 (which is my "go to mic") you get neumann quality, and it is a great mic for most applications, with the exception of guitar amps, which I find the results to be a little soft.
    I have had great results with both mics, however, I personally keep pulling out the TLM 103 over the 414. - Having said all that, if you only have the budget for one good mic, I'd seriously look at the 414, as the multiple patterns are great for a whole load of situations.
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    What kind of voice? If it were me, I'd probably rent both and try them out on the singer.

    Bryan
     
  5. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    My vocals are similiar to Billy Joel's or maybe a little John Lennon
     
  6. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    I've never heard a good outcome from 414's on vocals...on a guitar amp, drum overheads, and acoustics, they're hard to beat. I wouldn't say they're the best vocal mic.
     
  7. elambo

    elambo Member

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    The TLM does indeed say Neumann on it, but it doesn't have the sound that made Neumann famous. It's a mic that heavily trashed. I've only used it a couple times and ended up replacing it each time with another mic.

    If you have to choose without auditioning each I'd recommend the 414.
     
  8. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    If you're looking at the TLM, spend the extra $80 and get a U195.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I'm not a fan of the TLM 103.

    I've heard vocals sound "OK" with a 414 but I've heard other vocals tracked with it that sounded awful, to which I can only attribute the blame to the mic. I have not ever heard a vocal tracked with that mic that has knocked me out, not that I can remember.

    Overall I'd agree that the 414 would *probably* be a better bet, but there are other mics even less expensive also worth looking into, like Audio Technica or Rode. Probably others too, though I'm not as familiar with them.
     
  10. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    well it doesn't have to be either one of these. I have just heard that there go to mics for recording vocals etc. Especially the 414. If you know of any other mics for around 600 to a 1000 better. Let me know
     
  11. phishbone

    phishbone Member

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    I'd start with a Shure SM7 for vocals. I have all three and the SM7 beats them both for vocals.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>I've never heard a good outcome from 414's on vocals...on a guitar amp, drum overheads, and acoustics, they're hard to beat. I wouldn't say they're the best vocal mic.<<

    I've gotten great results with 414s on vocals over the years. In fact, I just tracked vocals for a national ad for a tire manufacturer with a 414, and they turned out great. However, like anything else, I tried several mics, and this one worked with that particular vocalist.

    The 414 does have a characteristic sound, and placement is crucial. If not properly placed, it can sound slightly boxy, however I'd pick it for a lot of applications over the 103.

    IMHO, the 103 is a useful mic. I had a paired set for a while, and finally got sick of having to cut the low mids every single time I had a vocalist in the studio. There was also a certain artificial sheen to acoustic guitar tracks that bugged me. So I sold mine and spent the money on another Blue mic.

    The ONLY reliable way to test a mic, however, is to have the actual vocalist sing into it, and see what you think works. Different voices have characteristics that match up with mics differently. There is NO "best" vocal mic, there are only choices, and all of them sound different.

    Ahead of both of those mics, however, and in pretty much the same price range are a couple of mics from Blue, which I like much better for vocals, because the vocal tracks need less EQ in my experience, and somewhat better for acoustic guitar.

    I'm also having surprisingly good luck with the Groove Tubes GT67 tube mic, which I bought at a bargain price thinking I'd rarely use it, "but what the heck," and found that I like the mic on lots of sources. It's the first Chinese-made mic I have actually liked. In fact, I recently used it on a rap project I cut for an advertiser, and it was really fantastic. I can't wait to try it on female vocals.

    You might also try some of the newer mics from Rode in that price range, they're quite nice. Charter Oak makes another mic that is getting excellent reviews for about a grand. If you want to try something really different, for a lot less money, there's a guy modding Oktava 319s and 219s, and the word on the street is that they sound really, really nice. I'm going to have him mod mine in a couple of weeks.

    Finally, Red, which is a division of Blue, makes a mic with removable capsules that has gotten excellent reviews. I think the mic with the standard capsule goes for about the same as a 103. The beauty of this arrangement is that as time goes on, you can use it with not only the capsule it comes with, but with all of the Blue Bottle mic capsules, and all of the vintage Neumann capsules.
     
  13. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Yeah a singer that I had in my band had a Blue and it sounded great. It was the long blue one. The Blue Berry I believe? It was around 800. Maybe I'll look in to those. And as for the SM57. I already have one of those, and have been using it for all my guitars and vocals. Sounds pretty freakin good. I'm just hoping that the newer vocal mic sounds a lot better. Take care
     
  14. mcknigs

    mcknigs Supporting Member

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    Last time I was in a studio recording vocals (which I do rarely) the engineer initially put up a 414 and ended up replacing it with a SM7 which worked much better for my voice. Which leads to my main comment which is that most engineers choose a vocal mic that goes well with a particular voice for a particular recording. A lot of people who have a favorite vocal mic arrived at it after trying other mics that didn't work well *for them.* So I'd have to agree that if you're only going to have one main vocal mic, try a bunch of them on the main voice you plan to record and choose the one that sounds the best on that voice in a wide range of applications. Conversely, if you don't have a single person that you're buying a vocal mic for, get a range and experiment with some different mics before you start recording them, rather than assuming your "best vocal mic" is going to sound best for this person. After years of recording myself with an SM-57 I bought some condenser "vocal" mics and used them for a while before deciding my voice sounded better through an SM-57 than through any other mic I had.

    -Scott
     
  15. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    I was in Sam Ash today and a couple of the guys that worked there were raving about it. I originally wanted to get posssibly a AKG414 or Neuman 103, but they told me that this mic sounds just as good if not better than those and its about 400 bucks cheaper. Any thoughts on this?
     
  16. elambo

    elambo Member

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    You didn't mention which mic you're referring to here...

    If you're able to do a little hunting, find a used Peluso 22-47. You WILL NOT find a better vocal mic for the money and I'd be willing to buy the mic from you if you happen to disagree. I owned one for awhile (before upgrading to a higher-end Peluso) and it was incredible. All of my coworkers were envious and a couple have since bought their own. It's patterned after (and closely resembles) the classic Neumann U47. I did various side-by-side comparisons and there were times when the Peluso was the better microphone (I'm referring specifically to vocals that would sound best with a 47-ish microphone. Please don't mention that "sometimes an SM57 is best." I know, but I've heard that 1000 times and it doesn't apply in this case).

    eBay MAY have one available. They're hard to come by, but like I said, if you're willing to do some hunting you'll be well rewarded.
     
  17. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    Shiit! sorry about that. I was referring to the Rode NT2000.
     
  18. johneeeveee

    johneeeveee Member

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    I've used the TLM 103 and 414 on vocals before and the 103 is crisper if you have a lower register voice. The 414 is not quite as edgy. If you're recording to tape i would go with the 103 for added the presence, although it might sound a little harsh on some voices when recording digitally.

    I would consider the Audio Technica 4050... cheaper than the 103 and a bit warmer and forgiving. it's a good time for mics, as there are a lot of excellent choices out there for under a grand.

    Good luck - jv
    PS - I'm not sure, but there seemed to be a bit of confusing and SM57 and an SM7 in earlier posts. I think we all know what a 57 is, but an SM7 is a large dynamic broadcast mic, which is an excellent vocal choice for some applications. Apparently Michael jackson used one on "Thriller".
     
  19. onemind

    onemind Member

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    I've always had great success with the 414/ULS for male vocals and acoustic guitar. The newer model (with the electronic mode switch) seems very versatile. But I'd be tempted to go finder an older one, I've bought my last couple in mint condition for about 500.
     
  20. phishbone

    phishbone Member

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    SM57's sound like doo on vocals. The "SM7" freakin rocks for vox. I have recorded several different singers with the SM7 and 9 times out of 10 beats my Groovetubes, Neuman, AKG, Audio techinica's. Especially when using the right mic pre (api 512)
     

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