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Neumann TLM 49 Test & Reviews

Are you looking for a microphone that offers versatility in recording? A microphone that is able to do vocal, voice-over, podcast, gaming and streaming? Why not opt for the Neumann TLM 49? This is a directional condenser microphone with a cardioid mode. This model is equipped with a large diaphragm. It is the perfect microphone for all forms of voice recording. Read our full review of this microphone in this article.

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Test Summary 👇

Buying a microphone is a delicate step in selecting equipment for a professional recording studio or home studio. There is no point in buying state-of-the-art equipment without first acquiring a good quality microphone.

The risk of getting a poorly designed microphone is nevertheless quite low with Neumann products. This German brand has proven its expertise in the manufacture of audio equipment of all kinds for many years. The Neumann TLM 49 demonstrates this unique know-how through a meticulous approach to design and internal components.

Design history of the Neumann TLM 49 microphone

Neumann defined the sound of the 1950s through its expertise. This brand produced the two most popular microphones of the time, namely the Neumann U47 FET and the M49.The common element in both models is the K47 capsule, which has revolutionized microphone design for years to come.

The K47 capsule has not become obsolete despite all the established innovations in the field of sound engineering. Neumann proves this by combining this classic capsule with the technology of its TLM series. The word “TLM” is an abbreviation for “Transformer-Less Microphone“. It is a circuit design in which an output transformer is not required.

The TLM 49 is a good example of the application of this concept to Neumann microphones. It was released in 2006, but is still one of the best condenser microphones with cardioid directionality on the market.

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The design of the TLM 49 was a long and tedious process. Neumann was most meticulous in the final phase of development. Practical tests were carried out several times in the studio with professional singers to get as close as possible to the desired result. The goal was to create the perfect microphone for voice recording.

In particular, the designers wanted the Neumann TLM 49 to generate a warm, smooth and transparent sound when picked up. The microphone also had to meet current technological standards for dynamic transmission characteristics. This challenge appears to have been met, as can be seen from the overall quality of the Neumann TLM 49.

Overview of the TLM 49 condenser microphone

Presentation is a feature that many people look for when purchasing a microphone. Manufacturers often supply their models in a sturdy carrying case or in natural wood to appeal to buyers. This applies not only to the most expensive microphones, but also to many entry-level models.

The team behind the creation of the Neumann TLM 49, however, did not adopt the same reasoning for its packaging. This model does not come in a noble wooden box or an elegant vinyl case. It simply comes in an ordinary cardboard box that does not give any indication that it is a high-end microphone. It is actually quite incongruous that this box could be reused as long-term storage for the Neumann TLM 49.

This faux pas is, however, ignored quite quickly when you take the Neumann TLM 49 out of the box. From the outset, the microphone is presented in a refined, bronze finish which is typical of microphones made by Neumann.


The brand also chose to install a large, wide-mesh grille to protect the capsule of the TLM 49. This is based on the design of the M49, which Neumann was famous for in its early days in the audio industry. The overall finish is in keeping with the idea of a high-end German microphone. The Neumann TLM 49 has been worked on down to the last detail, with no anomalies that would affect the handling quality.

Neumann did not lie either, using the slogan “retro at its best” to introduce the TLM 49. The design of this microphone suggests that it comes from a time when color television had not yet been invented. The use of an XLR connection instead of a Tuchel port certainly contradicts a vintage style, but the rest of the design aligns with this philosophy. They also give you the impression of a quality product when you hold this microphone in your hand.

The microphone weighs 825 g and has a diameter of 78 mm and a height of 165 mm. It is therefore larger than the other condenser microphones of the Neumann transformerless series. It looks more like an enlarged version of a Neumann TLM-103. These imposing dimensions are also premonitory of his performances to record the voice.

A sturdy microphone stand is recommended for the Neumann TLM 49. The TLM 49 weighs more than 825 grams and cannot be handled by just any microphone stand. However, it would be a pity if the TLM 49 were to fall over with its stand on the floor during a studio recording.

The capsule of the Neumann TLM 49 is 34 mm in diameter, which is much larger than the standard large-diaphragm models. The capsule is mounted on an oscillating rubber insert to provide optimum protection against the transmission of structure-borne sound.

The Neumann TLM 49 also comes with an elastic mount for a metal EA-3 spider holder. The manufacturers have taken care to design the holder to counterbalance the spider and ensure a perfect connection. You must purchase the spider mount separately to use the elastic mount. However, this is less of an inconvenience considering its value for money.

Neumann TLM49 packaging
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Neumann TLM 49 audio processing technology

It is legitimate to think that a wireless microphone with the concept of a dynamic instrument is a simpler choice for those who are new to home studio. Nevertheless, condenser microphones tend to outperform dynamic microphones in sound quality. The richness of the sound generated by the Neumann TLM 49 cannot be imitated by other microphones in its own class.

The only advantage a dynamic microphone has over the Neumann TLM 49 is the ability to operate without an external power supply. The TLM 49 requires a 48V phantom power supply for its operation. This is usually provided by a corresponding input on the preamplifier to which the microphone is connected.

However, the Neumann TLM 49 may be used with an external sound card instead of a microphone preamp. If necessary, phantom power can be activated on the audio interface to which the microphone is connected. An LED will then light up to indicate that phantom power is active. However, this depends on the type of external sound card you are using.

The external sound card is a must for using the TLM 49 with a computer. It doesn’t work via USB connection like on the Blue Yeti ou par connectivité micro USB comme sur le Rode NT USB. Le branchement s’effectue plutôt à l’aide d’un câble XLR.

The TLM 49 is also a directional microphone with a cardioid or unidirectional pattern. The polar pattern reveals, however, that this directional microphone is more oriented towards a supercardioid pattern. This type of directionality is usually found in microphones with perforated condenser tubes, such as the shotgun microphone.

The purpose of this directionality for a condenser microphone is to restrict the capture to a narrow field to eliminate any unwanted noise. This includes background noise or handling noise from the microphone itself. This is why microphones with supercardioid pickup patterns are mainly used for capturing dialogue during filming.


It is therefore reasonable to assume that Neumann didn’t stop at the idea of a vocal microphone when designing the TLM 49. His intention was to create the perfect microphone for any form of voice recording. This includes singing, voice-over, podcasting, gaming and streaming.

The addition of an omnidirectional pattern to the polar pattern would have made the Neumann TLM 49 more versatile in recording. This is especially true considering that the Neumann M149 had a switchable polar pattern and a high pass filter. The TLM 49, however, is limited to a cardioid pickup pattern and lacks a switchable filter or level reduction.

It should also be noted that an omnidirectional microphone is not the most suitable choice for voice recording. However, this was the focus of Neumann’s design for the TLM 49. It is therefore quite logical that the omnidirectional pattern has been omitted from the design.

Design of the Neumann TLM 49 microphone capsule

The design of the capsule plays an important role in the sound quality of the Neumann TLM 49. The capsule is clearly visible through the microphone grille and is 34 millimeters in diameter. This is an unusual size for a large-diaphragm model.

The most common diameter is around 24.5 millimeters. Neumann is no stranger to using a capsule of this size, as the K49 and K47 models demonstrate.

The capsule reacts more slowly to transients in the magnetic field as it is designed in a larger size. The sound captured by the microphone is then more pleasant. This observation should not be generalized, but is justified in the case of the Neumann TLM 49.

The transformerless circuit complements the large-diameter capsule to give the microphone sound character. Neumann has succeeded in reproducing the typical sound of older tube circuits with the transistor circuitry used. This results in a smooth distortion with a gradual increase in intensity.

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Sound quality of the Neumann TLM 49 microphone

The Neumann TLM 49 delivers a very clean sound that reduces the need for correction during mixing. The signals are not as neutral as on other condenser microphones such as the SC 400 microphone from T.Bone for example. Nevertheless, it is hard to ignore the great improvement that the Neumann TLM 49 can bring to the voice.

The TLM 49’s transformerless circuitry allows it to operate at high gains while reducing self-noise. The air of the voice is perfectly picked up by the capsule to give warmth to the voice of both men and women. The 3 dB boot also preserves the clarity of voice recordings above 2 kHz.

A glance at the frequency response curve reinforces the idea that the Neumann TLM 49 is intended for voice recording. It reveals a peak of presence in the 5 kHz segment before gradually dropping to 20 Hz. Any part below 1 kHz is recorded below 0 dB.

Using the Neumann TLM 49 immediately reveals a round and precise sound with the breath kept in the low frequencies. The internal components have been designed to accentuate the regular harmonics. The Neumann TLM 49 presents itself as an excellent studio microphone de studio for the recording of singing in men and women.

The sound of the Neumann TLM 49 reveals very bright highs, but still seems to return to a velvety result. This makes the microphone an inappropriate choice for those who wish to amplify the dynamics of the sound with crystal clear highs. The TLM 49 is nevertheless a wise choice for the recording engineer who wishes to give a warm, vintage feel to the vocal recording.

The proximity effect of the TLM 49 is also very smooth and subtle in the low midrange and bass. Such an effect often starts abruptly on many condenser mics. However, the TLM 49 feels like a filter stage on a preamp to slowly gain width. The signals get more pressure at the output level when the distance to the microphone is shorter. It is advisable to use the microphone at a distance of 2 to 20 cm.


The idea that the TLM 49 favors the proximity effect so much is not a disadvantage. Such an effect is actually very useful for the formation of the picture from the sound. The resulting low frequencies are only clearly perceptible at the shortest listening distance from the capsule. They are already present at medium distances, but at a very discreet level.

The speaker of the monitoring speaker of our recording studio revealed a consequent thickness in the bass when listening to a voice recording. However, the problem was easily corrected by creating a cutoff point from about 100 Hz on an equalizer.

The very linear shape of the frequency response curve also brings great finesse to the reproduction of the midrange. The smallest nuances of the sound waves can be followed effortlessly in the final mix. The midrange is certainly not neutral, but it helps to power the dynamics of the sound by bringing a comfortable warmth to it.

The cardioid directivity and the condenser capsule of the Neumann TLM 49 also make it very suitable for recording acoustic instruments. The picking up quality is certainly not going to match an instrument microphone like the DPA 4099. Nevertheless, Neumann seems to have strengthened the design of the TLM 49 so that it can reproduce the sound of an acoustic guitar with clarity.

It is impressive to see how well the Neumann TLM 49 can reproduce the subtleties of an acoustic guitar. It brings the highs to the fore while reproducing the mids with a rich, warm sound. Its performance is as good as you would expect from a tunes microphone. The quality of the recording also gives the impression that you no longer need to use an equalizer for processing.

The performance of the Neumann TLM 49 with the acoustic guitar seems to apply to the double bass as well. The microphone gives impact to the plucking of the strings while ensuring accurate low-end contouring. Neumann mics have always been excellent with stringed instruments, but the TLM 49 takes this to a new level.

Neumann TLM 49
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The Neumann TLM 49 microphone manages to stand out overall with a wide variety of sound sources. The characteristic sound of the microphone is always audible in the recordings. However, its presence is not intrusive, but rather seems to complement the harmony of the arrangements to better deliver the music to the ears.

The liveliness and brightness of the transients are somewhat softened by the internal design of the Neumann TLM 49. However, this should not be a problem for most signals. The same can be said for the dynamic and colorful reproduction of the midrange and bass.

It is a mistake to assume that vintage sound means covering or even darkening the sound picture. The sound image should remain detailed and dynamic, regardless of the warmth and spaciousness that the microphone may bring to the sound of the recording.

The Neumann engineers are not magicians, however. The sound picture of the TLM 49 always seems to be slightly off in comparison with that of a more expensive microphone. The sound delivered by the Neumann TLM 49 is nevertheless very satisfactory for its price range.

Technical specifications of the Neumann TLM 49

The Neumann TLM 49 condenser microphone has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The bandwidth seems to be more focused on high frequencies than on low frequencies. It would have been helpful if the Neumann TLM 49 had been equipped with a pre-attenuation pad or a switchable high-pass filter. Neumann, however, ignored all these features in favor of a purist design for the TLM 49.

The Neumann TLM 49 has a sensitivity of 12 mV/Pa for the injection of a 1 kHz sound wave. This is quite impressive since the average sensitivity of a conventional condenser microphone is about 4 mV/Pa.

The interest of such a sensitivity is to establish a good compromise between the ground noise and the maximum acoustic input. These two parameters are defined at values of at least 29 dB and about 120 dB SPL respectively.


It should be noted that the data sheet for the Neumann TLM 49 shows two values for maximum sound pressure. This is due to the transformerless circuit design of the microphone, which affects its response to analog distortion.

The first SPL value shown is 109 dB at 0.5% distortion. This value corresponds to the signal generated under conditions where distortion is practically not present. The other value given for maximum sound pressure is 129 dB at 5% distortion. It should be possible to hear compression, distortion and saturation in the signal at this value.

However, the distortion occurs smoothly with a gradual increase between the two values indicated for the SPL. This makes the sound more pleasant for the ears.

By way of comparison, the Neumann TLM 103 has a maximum sound pressure level of 138 dB at 0.5% distortion. The distortion starts abruptly if the signal of the TLM 103 is saturated. The resulting sound is then very discordant and makes the recording unusable. The TLM 103 was not designed as a neutral microphone as the TLM 49 is. It cannot match the TLM 49 in terms of faithful and distortion-free sound reproduction.

The equivalent self-noise level is also 12 dB (A) at the maximum sound pressure level of 129 dB SPL. The volume tolerance of the Neumann TLM 49 microphone is therefore not high enough to handle the distortion created by a bass drum. The high-frequency sensitivity of the microphone is, however, suitable for recording snare drums and cymbals.

The Neumann TLM 49 also has an impedance value of 50 ohms. This places it in the category of low-impedance microphones, which is an advantage in itself. The microphone can be used directly with mixer inputs from 150 to 4000 ohms. Most mixing consoles and consoles on the market are designed with this in mind.

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Our Global Review

Global Sound Quality

4,9 /5

Quality / Price ratio

4,7 /5

Overall Score

4,8 /5

Our opinion on the Neumann TLM 49 microphone

Neumann took on a bold challenge when it decided to design the TLM 49. The ambition was to create a modern, high-performance microphone for voice recording, based on its earlier models. This challenge seems to have been met, given the design quality of the TLM 49.

The Neumann TLM 49 microphone is an outstanding model, which is distinguished both by its fine design and its sound quality. It gives character to the voice during recordings without giving the impression of overwhelming the sound picture. The TLM 49 also performs well in picking up stringed instruments, although it is advertised as a vocal microphone. This microphone is a good deal for its price, especially if you can take advantage of special offers from Neumann.

Demo of the Neumann TLM 49 microphone

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