Neumann TLM 103 Vs Shure SM7B

Many people love the sound quality of Neumann TLM 103 Vs Shure SM7B. They can capture the best part of your voice and are suitable for most applications. The microphones are not cheap, and they don’t sound identical. For those who wonder which they should invest in, let’s see what the two can offer below.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • Does Expensive Microphone Worth It
  • What are Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • How is the Build Quality of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • How is the Setup of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • How are the Specs of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • How are the Sound Characters of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • How is the Performance of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B
  • What else Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B can offer
  • Neumann TLM 103 Vs Shure SM7B

Expensive Microphones

Microphones are crucial for recording because we use this equipment to capture sound. Everyone needs a good microphone, whether you are making video content, broadcasting audio, making demo songs, or recording in an established studio. The common question about this equipment is whether it is worth spending on the high-end, expensive models knowing that quality varies among options. It is difficult to say for certain because not everyone has the same willingness to spend and situation.

For some people spending $1,000 for a microphone is the standard to get a reliable unit, but for most of us, it is too much. Unless you have a similarly expensive setup, it is better to consider the alternatives. It doesn’t mean that expensive microphones are bad options, but it is not for most people who need them. The difference between cheap models and mid-range is usually more significant than those between high-end options. But, some people do believe in the improvement while some don’t.

We think what’s most important is to note that not all good microphones have to be expensive. Even professional musicians like Taylor Swift, Robert Plant, and Grimes choose a budget microphone Avantone CV-12 to record their demos and songs; you can read our comparison in Avantone CV-12 Vs Aston Spirit. Most importantly, the microphone sounds good to you or ideal for the application. For example, some people dislike the highs of their voice, so they avoid using bright microphones.

 Neumann TLM 103Shure SM7B
Product Dimensions9.5 x 4.2 x 11.5 inches
13.3 x 7.2 x 4.8 inches
Shipping Weight7.7 pounds 2.03 pounds
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About Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B

Because we have different natural voices, preferences, and applications, it is normal to have other options. It is wise to match the microphone with your voice and application so we can get the most from the equipment and budget. Some people choose expensive microphones because they simply sound the best for their voice. If you like how your voice or the sound from a particular model falls in your budget range, we don’t see a reason to avoid it.

Some microphones can also sound similar, making them an excellent alternative to each other. If you prefer a microphone that sounds amazing for a voice like broadcasting and voiceover, the Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B are some of the most popular options to consider. These two are extremely popular, so we are sure most are familiar with the name, especially SM7B, which is almost a staple choice for broadcasting purposes. The TLM 103 is well-known among professionals in general.

The main drawback is the cost because not everyone is willing to spend more than $1,000 on single recording equipment. The SM7B is also a favorite among broadcasters, and you can find it in so many setups because the microphone sounds very pleasant. There is an apparent reason why people compare Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B as they are the go-to options and to see whether spending more will benefit your recording. We think there is a noticeable difference between the two, but it may not affect your buying decision.

The Neumann TLM 103 is an expensive microphone, and it does improve the recording. We noticed a very smooth-sounding microphone that makes your voice very comfortable to listen to. It boosts the higher frequency but is still a very smooth-sounding microphone. Performance-wise, it is impressive, but SM7B is also a very exciting microphone after passing that low-sensitivity issue.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Design

When buying something, one of the most critical points is the overall product quality. A microphone is an equipment that benefits from the design and material, especially the internal components. The Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B are equally built with metal housing, including the grille. The SM7B comes with a thinner foam filter, but the inside is a metal grill that looks like a strainer because it is a single metal with a perforated surface. The unit is already attached to the mount with a microphone stand adapter.

The capsule design is straightforward and bigger than TLM 103. There are switches at the bottom of the mic, and Shure offers a cover to protect this side. Besides the microphone, mount SM7B also comes with an additional thicker foam filter. On the other hand, TLM 103 packaging is more luxurious. This microphone comes in a wooden case with foam inside to protect the equipment. It also has a microphone stand adapter, and the design is simple, with nothing but the connector at the bottom.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Setup

Most of us are working with computers nowadays, making it necessary to have an interface or similar equipment to connect the input to the computer. You will need something with phantom power to use TLM 103 because it is a condenser microphone. Using Scarlett 2i2, the gain is around 10 or 10.30 should be sufficient. The SM7B is very low in sensitivity, and we need an interface to elevate the gain. We usually drive it around 90% or 5 o’clock using the same interface.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Specs

Next, let’s see the basic specs for Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B to see what they can offer. The first difference is the type because TLM 103 is a condenser, and SM7B is a dynamic microphone. The second difference is that SM7B’s frequency range starts from 50Hz while the former starts from 20Hz. The respective sensitivity is -32dbV and -59dbV. The impedance of TLM 103 is 50 ohms or 150 and 300 ohms for SM7B. The maximum SPL of SM7B is 180db and 138db for TLM 103.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Sound Characters

Now is for the main part of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B or the sound character. In terms of quality, both are impressive and clean. There is no issue with clarity, and you can deliver the message properly. The overall sound character of these microphones is flat and smooth. You can notice that they slightly boost the higher frequency to make the voice sound bright and clean, but surprisingly this doesn’t make them harsh or sharp like many other microphones.

We love the lower frequency of these microphones because they sound full and rounded but not boomy at all. The low region makes our voice sound pleasant and slightly warm, which people often look for when buying a broadcasting or voiceovers microphone. The most noticeable difference is probably the sound quality, which is cleaner and more forward in TLM 103. The foam filter of SM7B does reduce the highs of your voice, and the thicker one is more effective in this case.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Performance 

We think Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B are great microphones for the overall performance. Surprisingly, they are doing a great job at rejecting plosives even when you speak closer to the capsule. The SM7B has a foam filter to perform this function, but TLM 103 doesn’t need any of it. Speaking right in front of the mic still sounds very good, and this distance is excellent if you want to capture more of your lower frequency to make the voice sound warmer.

For SM7B, we may or may not need a cloudlifter or fat head, depending on your preamp. The newer Scarlett Solo or 2i2 3rd gen has improved technology to handle gain-hungry microphones like SM7B, so you may not need one, but you can add cloud lifter to drop the gain significantly or almost half of it for a cleaner sound. SM7B is great for an untreated room as a dynamic mic since TLM 103 can pick up more ambient noise.

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B Features

Lastly, we want to talk about the features of Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B or SM7B because TLM 103 is a bare microphone. We mentioned switches on the bottom of this mic; one low cut filter and one mid-boost. You can deactivate them for flat mode, activate just one, or activate both simultaneously. We heard very little difference between each mode, and we are not a fan of the sound when both modes are activated because it makes the voice thin and distant.

Neumann TLM 103 Vs Shure SM7B

Neumann TLM 103 and Shure SM7B are excellent microphones. They are perfect for broadcasting or recording speech and useful for singing and instrument recording. The main difference is that TLM 103 is more sensitive. It can capture more from your room, and it is a very smooth-sounding microphone, even with a high-frequency boost. The dynamic range is incredible, and we think it will suit most people’s voices. The only drawback is the price and lack of features for TLM 103 and the low sensitivity for SM7B.

- Large diaphragm cardioid microphone
- Extremely low noise: 7 dB-A. Supply voltage (P48, IEC 61938): 48 V ± 4 V
- Straightforward handling for homerecording and professional studios
- Set includes microphone, shockmount and briefcase.Dynamic range:131 dB
- ONE MICROPHONE FOR EVERYTHING - Studio Recording, Home Recording, Podcasting and Streaming. The SM7B Is Trusted By The Worlds Leading Vocalists, Podcasters and Streamers.
- STUDIO VOCAL RECORDING - The SM7B’s Dynamic Cartridge With Smooth, Flat, Wide-range Frequency Response Produces Exceptionally Clean and Natural Reproduction Of Both Music and Speech.
- PODCAST and BROADCAST - Found In The Top Podcasting Studios Around The World, The SM7B Air Suspension Shock Isolation and Pop Filter Eliminate Both Mechanical Noise And Breathiness. So Words Get Through And The Rest Stays Out Of The Mix.
- STREAMING CONTENT - Professional Live Streaming Starts With A Microphone Capable Of Capturing Exceptionally Clean And Natural Reproduction Of Both Music And Speech. The SM7B Has Been A Pioneer In Such Abilities For Decades.

Conclusion 

The decision is yours because we may have different preferences. The TLM 103 is worth the price if you wish for the high sound quality and experience. Overall, it is an excellent microphone, but if the budget is a restriction, the SM7B is just as good if you have the proper equipment.