One of the toughest tasks I regularly face is to recommend a quality vocal mic with a reasonable price.
This microphone from the esteemed Neumann stable offers superb quality at an excellent price. It is beautifully engineered and presented, coming with a quality suspension mount. Visually it looks like an M49 or M149 - classic German engineering and a build quality that puts the current crop of Chinese pretenders to shame.
There is a compromise to produce a mic of this quality at that price, of course, and this is that it is cardioid only rather than multpattern. However, cardioid only mics often sound fuller and have more definition than multipatterns in cardioid mode, and in that this is designed specifically for vocals or close micing string and guitars, cardioid only will do very nicely, thank you.
If you don't know this mic, check it out. At our stonking price it must represent the best value vocal mic around. And what's more it's a real Neumann rather than a wannabe. ~ Eccentric
What the manufacturers say...
CLASSIC SOUND FOR TODAY’S ENGINEERS
The TLM 49 brings back the vintage tone of Neumann’s post-war classics. The TLM 49 uses the same K 47 capsule and the iconic large headgrille design of Neumann’s legendary M 49, but instead of electron tubes the TLM 49 relies on trouble free FET circuitry with a special sound design for smooth vocals and acoustic instruments with timeless elegance.
VINTAGE SOUND WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY
Many engineers, these days, long for the smooth sound of classic tube microphones of the 1950s. Unfortunately, vintage originals come at staggering prices and are often in need of maintenance. But for those who want a recording tool rather than a collector’s item, Neumann has developed an elegant solution: The TLM 49 combines the sonic excellence of Neumann’s legendary U 47 and M 49 microphones with the convenience and high reliability of a modern phantom powered microphone. Its looks are classic, too!
As the model number implies, the TLM 49 is inspired by its famous precursor, the legendary Neumann M 49, a microphone associated with countless jazz and pop recordings of the 1950s and 60s. The TLM 49 shares the same large, acoustically open headgrille and the same large diaphragm condenser capsule design. This classic K 47 capsule, renowned for its unsurpassed sonic elegance, was also used in the Neumann U 47, the vocal mic of choice for Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, and scores of famous artists up to the present day.
RE-ENGINEERING THE PAST
The main difference between the TLM 49 and its famous predecessors lies in its electronic circuit. Instead of electron tubes, the TLM 49’s head amplifier uses reliable transformerless solid state technology – yet with a special sound design that closely reproduces the sonics of tube circuits. For instance, the TLM 49 intentionally produces soft saturation at higher sound pressure levels, resulting in a seemingly low max SPL figure of 110 dB for 0.5% THD, rising slowly to 5% at 129 dB SPL. The TLM 49 thus captures the sound and dynamic behavior of its legendary precursors without the inconvenience of an external PSU or expensive tube replacements, yet with a substantially improved self-noise figure of only 12 dB-A.
The TLM 49 has a fixed cardioid pattern and is designed mainly as a microphone for vocalists, but its clear bass and superb midrange with a gentle presence boost above 2 kHz will produce excellent results with various instruments, too, such as acoustic guitar and upright bass.
The large-diaphragm capsule of the TLM 49 provides a cardioid directional characteristic with a tendency toward supercardioid, due to the special capsule construction. Following the example of the M 49, high frequencies are more directional. The capsule diameter is 34 mm.
The front of the microphone is indicated by the red Neumann logo on the microphone body. The capsule is oriented so that the microphone is addressed from the front.
The TLM 49 uses the famous K 47 capsule, which was also used in the M 49 and the U 47. The capsule has a linear frequency response up to the upper mid-range. Above 2 kHz there is a gentle presence boost up to 3 dB.
The capsule is enclosed by a large microphone headgrille, which is acoustically very open and is hence neutral with regard to the sound.
The letters TLM stand for “transformerless microphone”. With TLM technology the usual output transformer is replaced by an electronic circuit.
As with traditional transformers, it ensures good common mode rejection, and prevents RF interference that may influence the balanced audio signal.
Noise signals which affect the balanced modulation line are therefore effectively suppressed. The microphone can operate at sound pressure levels of up to 114 dB without distortion, and provides a dynamic range of 102 dB (A-weighted).
The entire interior structure is mounted elastically, to prevent the transmission of structure-borne noise. In addition, the capsule is mounted with a rubber shock mount.
Due to the wide frequency response, the TLM 49 can also transmit extremely low-frequency signals without coloration. Of course this means that the microphone is also sensitive to noise signals such as vibration noise and wind noise in this frequency range. The TLM 49 is therefore supplied with the elastic suspension EA 3, which effectively protects the microphone from structure-borne noise. If the microphone is addressed at extremely close range, pop screen PS 15 or PS 20 a can be used in front of the microphone to provide protection against plosive sounds.
Neumann TLM49 Features
- Same capsule as legendary Neumann U 47 and M 49 microphones
- Cardioid pattern
- Classic sound for silky vocals
- Large, acoustically open headgrille
- Transformerless solid state circuit with tube sound characteristics
- Very low self-noise
What's in the box
- Neumann TLM49 Microphone
- Wooden Box
- EA 3 Shock Mount