Microphones can affect your recording, and large-diaphragm mics like Avantone CV 12 Vs TLM 102 are often preferred for their noise performance. These microphones are versatile but very popular for recording vocals. If you want to improve the recording by investing in a more reliable microphone, let’s see what they offer here.
In this comparison, we are going to talk about:
- What are Large and Small Diaphragm Microphones
- What are Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
- How are the Build Qualities of Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
- How is the Setup of Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
- How are the Sound Characters of Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
- What are the Features in Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
- Avantone CV 12 Vs TLM 102
Large and Small Diaphragm Microphones
To record a sound, we will need a microphone, and this small piece of equipment is everywhere today, from your smartphone, smart speaker, laptop, smartwatch, etc. The microphone captures sound, converts it, and sends it somewhere else. It is the first part that will affect your audio quality, and when it comes to the microphone, there are terms like small and large which often refers to the diaphragm or membrane size. This term is often used for condenser microphones but sometimes also for dynamic microphones.
You can notice microphones with large-diaphragm from the build size itself because to fit a larger membrane, they will need bigger construction, and typically side addressed. Why does the diaphragm matter, and how does it affect the microphone? The main advantage of a larger diaphragm is still for its noise performance. You can check their self-noise, and usually, they will be several dB lower than the models with a smaller diaphragm. The larger diaphragm also sounds big and warmer in terms of sound character.
This type of microphone is often preferred for recording vocals, voice-overs, and some instruments to add richness to the sound, especially on the lower frequencies. But, if your main goal is to capture “natural” sound as it is, the small diaphragm is more effective. They are best for uncolored or neutral sound and have a consistent pick-up pattern with a wide frequency range. Because of these qualities, these microphones are great for acoustic guitars, choirs, pianos, and strings ensembles. They are also famous for recording stereo sound.
|Avantone CV 12||TLM 102|
|Product Dimensions||17 x 13 x 6 inches||9.8 x 4.6 x 2.6 inches|
|Shipping Weight||2.73 pounds||1.5 pounds|
|Shop now at Amazon||click here||click here|
About Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102
Like with almost any product, not everyone will need the same equipment depending on the purpose of the unit and your personal preference. For something like vocals, we also may need to match the microphone with our voice and see which compliments it instead of forwarding what you don’t like. A large-diaphragm microphone is an excellent choice if you prefer a warmer sound, but it tends to be pretty expensive compared to dynamic or other condensers with a smaller diaphragm.
But worry not because there are also options on the more affordable side, such as Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 from Neumann. You may wonder why Neumann is because this brand usually costs above a thousand, but this variant is exceptionally cheaper. Both are currently available for less than a thousand, with TLM 102 at $700 and CV 12 at $500. They are not cheap but considerably affordable for a large-diaphragm microphone, so more people can try the advantage.
The main difference between Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 from Neumann is the sound because they are not identical. They are warm and pleasant to listen to but probably not for everyone’s voice. In our opinion, the Avantone is warmer, with its low frequency coming forward prominently, while the TLM 102 is smoother. It is subjective, but we think most people will love the sound of TLM 102 because it is friendlier to a wide range of voices.
But, we understand that it costs quite a lot more than Avantone, and this CV 12 is an excellent choice, especially for vocal recording. Compared to TLM 102, the mic can sound a bit harsh if you speak closer to the mic, but this variant comes with more features, and from the packaging alone, it gives you more value for the budget we spend. Overall, both Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 are good microphones for vocals, speech, and recording instruments. Read also: Razer Seiren Vs Blue Snowball iCE here.
Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 Build Quality
Before getting to the main part, let’s see what’s come in the box. Starting with Avantone CV 12, this microphone comes in a hard briefcase in which you can find the microphone inside, packed in a smaller wooden box. The purchase will give you a power supply, 7-pin connector cable, and shock mount with two elastic bands. The build quality of the microphone is excellent, it is made of all metal, and the grill is not flexing with pressure. The only complaint is that the unit is pretty long.
On the other hand, this TLM 102 is about half of CV 12’s height, making it more suitable for a narrow setup or small desktop space. This microphone is shipped in a cardboard box with a foam insert to protect the unit. You will get the microphone stand adapter, microphone mount, and nothing else. Build-quality is excellent; just like other Neumann microphones, it is sturdy and has no flex. The microphone is also simple without any features on the unit.
Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 Setup
Both Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 are condenser microphones, and depending on what you already have around, we may still have to purchase additional equipment. If you choose the TLM 102, power is required to make it work, so a phantom power with gain like an audio interface is necessary. The CV 12 comes with a power supply, but you can also use the interface to connect it to your computer or other devices directly. The power supply does come with some extra features.
Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 Sound Characters
Now let’s check out the sound character of Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 because this is the most important for all microphones. First, when it comes to vocals, they are what you call warm sound, so our lower frequency is more forward, and in general, this is what many people like to hear. Not only for singing, but we also think they are perfect for voice-overs and recording your speech in general, like making content or streaming. Depending on your voice, they sound good for male and female singers.
The CV 12’s air frequency sounds open without being harsh and is impressive for the more affordable Avantone. The low-end is rich, and both have adequate brightness for adding presence to your voice. What’s a bit concerning is the mid-range of CV 12 that is more forward than TLM 102, and for some people, this can good or bad, based on how they prefer their voice to sound.
Second, besides vocals and voice, the Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 are also suitable for miking your instruments. Most people seem to love their guitar sound, and we also think they are fantastic for the acoustic instrument. They are ideal for electric guitar, but we may have to tweak the placement more for the CV 12, while TLM 102 should have no issue. They sound open and warm, which brings a presence to your recording.
Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 Features
Next, we also want to talk about the features that you can find on these Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102. We want to mention that TLM 102 doesn’t have any feature, so we will skip this mic and talk about CV 12. We mentioned this mic has a better value, and it is not only because it gives you the power supply but also because of the included feature. The power supply also functions as a polar pattern selector, so you can choose between cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional.
We found a few switches located just below the grill on the microphone itself. One is for an 8 Hz high-pass filter, and the other is a -10dB pad. The built-in high-pass filter works well to remove the low end and clean or smooth the rumble.
Avantone CV 12 Vs TLM 102
The main difference between Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 is their sound and features. Sound can be subjective, and we may have a different voice that sounds different through these microphones. Our opinion is that TLM 102 sounds smoother across all frequencies and not overwhelming on any of them. It is warm with open and details on the highs. The CV 12 can be too forward on the mid-range, which may affect your voice or introduce a nasally sound.
The Avantone CV 12 offers more at a lower price, which is hard to beat. This mic gives you a hard carrying case, shock mount, and power supply to provide the 48V phantom power. It offers the option to record in three polar patterns and a built-in filter to adjust how you want the microphone to sound. Our only complaint about CV 12 is the huge build, which is not as convenient in a simple setup.
Both Avantone CV 12 and TLM 102 are good microphones, but we recommend Aventone CV 12 because it gives more for what we spent. You can find better-sounding microphones, but it is hard to beat the versatility and features of this microphone, making it suitable for a wide range of recording applications.