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Neumann TLM 102 Test & Reviews

The Neumann TLM 102 microphone defines the new generation of Neumann studio microphones in terms of design and price. With its small dimensions, the microphone offers an exceptionally compact appearance while retaining the typical Neumann look. Read on to find out more about our test of the Neumann TLM 102, the perfect sounding microphone at a minimal price.

Neumann TLM 102 Test

🎤 from Kevin Jung

Test Summary 👇

Introduction to the microphone

The Neumann TLM 102 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone without transformer. It has a fixed cardioid polar pattern.

Its design is superficially similar to other Neumann microphones. On closer inspection, the TLM 102 is considerably smaller than the U87. It weighs around 260 g with a diameter of 52 mm and a length of 116 mm.

Neumann TLM 102


In its design, Neumann tried to keep costs down in order to offer a microphone affordable to everyone. Neumann has therefore removed the pad and filter switch to make a very simple design. It should be mentioned, however, that this does not affect the sound quality of the microphone.

le Neumann TLM 102 convient aux instruments puissants.
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The specificities of the Neumann TLM 102

Based on a newly developed large diaphragm capsule, as well as the Neumann U67, the Neumann TLM 102 microphone is suitable for powerful instruments.

The microphone can handle a maximum pressure of up to 144 dB SPL with a distortion of 0.5 %. Thanks to this feature, the TLM 102 is perfectly suited for instruments such as drums, brass instruments, and guitar amps.

Neumann TLM 102


But it can also be used to pick up the sound of a clarinet, cymbals, bass drum or snare drum. If you look closely at the response curve of the microphone, you will notice a small hump above 6 Hz. It can then be said that the TLM was designed for recording voice.

This slight increase adds air and intelligibility when using the microphone on a battery. It also contributes to perfect transient definition.

The capsule is also supported by an elastic suspension which helps to isolate the microphone from the housing vibrations. The grille incorporates a very dense anti-pop filter. Even though the integrated filter limits plosives, applied to the voice, the cups remain useful. To increase the sound quality, an external pop shield can also be used.

TLM 102 est disponible dans deux finitions noir et nickel.
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By the way, discover our guide of the best studio microphones.

The Neumann TLM 102’s classy design

Neumann has made the TLM 102 available in both black and nickel finishes. It comes in a simple foam-lined cardboard box with a swivel stand. The model is still very elegant and beautifully designed.

A silver band under the basket and lodge adds a nice visual relief to the black basket and satin body. A thread around the XLR enclosure is located in the holder adapter for added security. The Neumann logo indicates the front of the capsule.

Neumann TLM 102


The response curve of the Neumann TLM 102 examined

The frequency range of the TLM 102 extends from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (-3 dB). Before the bump at 6 kHz, the frequency curve is flat. It has a very respectable sensitivity of 11 mV/Pa at 1 kHz with a 1kOhms load.

The condenser microphone also has an input noise equivalent (A-weighted) of 12dBA. This is expressed as a signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted relative to 94 dB SPL).

Even if the number is specified as 82 dB, there are microphones that are much quieter than the Neumann 102. Therefore, it can be said that this is only a measurement that doesn’t handicap the performance of the microphone.

For its operation, as well as the Neumann U87 microphone, the Neumann TLM 102 requires the use of a standard 48V phantom power source.

Fortunately, this type of external power supply is currently found on a mixing console, sound card or audio interface. With a slightly low output level, the microphone requires the use of a good pre-amp to obtain an optimal result.

Les tests de mots parlés révèlent beaucoup sur le microphone.
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The sound quality of the microphone

The Neumann TLM 102 as a vocal microphone has an audio quality ratio associated with much more expensive studio microphones. A microphone stand and a windscreen can be used for optimal results.

But it is important to emphasize that the Neumann TLM series is a transformerless transducer series. This results in a clear and direct sound reproduction with a quality very close to the sound source.

It also offers powerful bass transmission down to the lowest frequencies. Thanks to its transformerless output stage, the microphone is resistant to electromagnetic fields and minimizes transmission losses.

Le Neumann TLM 102 a passé le test haut la main.
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By the way, you can also consult here our complete guide to professional studio microphones to suggest the best microphone to buy.

The results of the Neumann TLM 102 during a voice recording

Spoken word tests reveal a lot about the microphone. We know that hearing is the most important element in judging the sound quality of a microphone. This is because humans are able to determine immediately anything that is different from natural sound.

Neumann TLM 102


In this test, the Neumann TLM 102 passed with flying colors. Its sound reproduction is well balanced and doesn’t need an equalizer. The proximity effect remains quite subtle and opens the sound slightly while integrating perfectly the midrange and the bass. The whole offers a clear, clean sound and creates an unequaled effect of proximity.

Very directional, the microphone can be used in a broadcast application or for a podcast or voice-over. To limit handling noise, we recommend the use of a tripod or a microphone pole. The result will be even better.

Microphone polyvalent
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The results of the Neumann TLM 102 applied to an acoustic guitar

A recording on an acoustic guitar reinforced the versatility of the microphone. Although it does not transmit as much depth as some mics, the Neumann TLM 102 provides a bright, smooth and lively sound.

We didn’t find the tendency to make the strings sound grainy that some microphones have. The microphone does its job well, and in fact does it with great ease.

The Neumann TLM 102 can be used for solo recording. However, we advise you to try several positions to determine which one offers the best balance between high and low frequencies.

Parfait pour une prise de son en solo
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The results of the Neumann TLM 102 applied on percussions

For percussion recording, the Neumann TLM 102 produces more than acceptable results. There are no major differences between the sound it produces and those of models designed for this type of application.

Neumann TLM 102


However, you will be pleasantly surprised when you pick up a guitar amp. It will give you a very rich and faithful sound when placed slightly off axis. You will have the impression to be very close to the guitar, so much the sound restored remains very realistic.

Neumann TLM 102 packaging
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The results of the Neumann TLM 102 applied to a trumpet

The trumpet is one of the most difficult instruments to pick up because of its sound. However, the Neumann TLM 102 reproduces the sound with great clarity. It reproduces an open, detailed sound quality with powerful bass and refined treble.

For best results, we recommend placing the microphone at a distance of about 10 cm and pointing towards your ears.

Neumann TLM 102


Microphone features

  • Principle of acoustic operation: Pressure gradient transducer 
  • Cardioid directivity 
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz à 20 kHz 
  • Sensitivity to 1 kHz, load 1 kOhm 11 mV/Pa 
  • Nominal output impedance : 50 Ohms 
  • Recommended load impedance : 1000 Ohms 
  • Noise level at the input, according to CCIR1 : 21 dB 
  • Input noise level, weighted 1) 12 dB (A) 
  • Signal to noise ratio, according to CCIR 468-3 73 dB
  • Signal to noise ratio, according to DIN/IEC 651 82 dB 
  • Maximum SPL level, for THD = 0,5 % 2) 144 dB 
  • Maximum output level +13 dBu 
  • Phantom power voltage 48 V +/- 4 V 
  • Intensity consumed : 3,5 mA 
  • Output connector : XLR 3F
  • Weight : approx. 260 g 
  • Diameter: 52 mm 
  • Length : 116 mm
Un microphone à  caractéristiques particuliers
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My verdict on the Neumann TLM 102 Microphone

Neumann has succeeded in creating a versatile microphone with an unbeatable price-performance ratio. The sound produced is true to the reputation of its manufacturer.

This is true even though the microphone doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of Neumann’s high-end mics. It holds its own perfectly and would not be out of place next to its much more expensive siblings.

Are you a project studio owner? Are you looking for a single microphone that can handle a variety of sound sources? The Neumann TLM 102 comes in very handy. Indeed, it’s a nice microphone that seems to succeed in just about anything you ask of it. Very affordable for a Neumann, it will meet your expectations.

Neumann TLM 102


It’s probably the only cheapest microphone of its kind from Neumann, but the sound is simply excellent. It carries the signature sound of its manufacturer. Most of the time it is used as a vocal microphone. However, after testing it can be said that it is a versatile microphone which has nothing to envy to other microphones in its category.

You can use it for singing or for a podcast, it will pick up the sound perfectly. If you’re looking to improve the sound quality of your studio recordings while saving money, this is the ideal recording equipment.

Its size will also surprise you. It is very small, but solid as a rock. You will have a hard time breaking it. In terms of weight, it is also very well-balanced: not at all heavy on the bottom or top. It approaches the same design as all other Neumann microphones.

Sans filtre coupe-bas, ou de directivité commutable,
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Its frequency response remains very flat giving you a warm sound. However, it lacks the extremely detailed high end of the Neumann TLM 103. But this isn’t a handicap for the microphone unless it is a requirement on your part.

The only drawback of the microphone is its lack of functionality. It is not equipped with a low-cut filter, or switchable directivity, or pad. It is a cardioid polarized transducer. That said, the sound quality is well worth it.

Neumann TLM 102


It may seem expensive compared to other microphones in its category. However, you should not forget that it is a Neumann. Its price remains very modest, and anything with the Neumann logo is guaranteed to be excellent: this brand is synonymous with legendary sound.

In view of the quality of the Neumann TLM 102, we recommend it to all beginners. It’s also suitable for more experienced producers and singers.

It handles extreme volumes and dynamic jumps perfectly without distortion. This makes it the ideal recording equipment for picking up the sound of powerful drums and amps.

Our Global Review

Global Sound Quality

4,8 /5

Quality / Price ratio

4,6 /5

Overall Score

4,7 /5

Our opinion on Neumann TLM 102

The Neumann TLM 102 is a versatile microphone that excels on many types of sound sources. Equipped with a cardioid directivity and a large-diaphragm capsule, it perfectly reproduces the entire sound spectrum of its source.

In other words, the microphone is a professional microphone for picking up a wide range of instruments and recording vocals. The Neumann TLM 102 is the ideal microphone for your recording studio or home studio.

Neumann TLM 102 demo

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Neumann TLM 102