Mic of the Month for August is the Neumann TLM49, a transformerless microphone optimised for vocals, and featuring the legendary K47 capsule that has featured in many classic Neumann microphones through the years including the M49 and U47.
The Neumann TLM49 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone inspired by the legendary M49 and M50 mics of the 1950s. Extremely well built, it features a retro design with a chunky open grille and is substantial in both weight (825g) and size (Diameter 78mm/Length 165mm).
The TLM 49 shares the same capsule that was featured in the M49 and U47 microphones, the K47. The K47 has a linear frequency response up to the upper mid-range with a gentle 3dB presence boost above 2kHz. The large head grille is acoustically very open and neutral with no colouration in regards to the sound.
The transformerless (TLM) design helps open up the mic and minimise harmonic overtones, whilst ensuring low self-noise and the ability to withstand up to 129dB of sound pressure levels (SPL) without distortion.
The cardioid polar response narrows to super-cardioid with higher frequencies, this is due to the special capsule construction and is similar to that of the M49.
The TLM49 is optimised for vocals with the slight presence boost adding air and clarity, whilst providing a round bottom and detailed midrange. Breathier vocalist will sound beautiful and spoken-word dialogue will be clear and strong.
This microphone is also well suited to recording instruments in studio situations and sounds great when used as a spot mic on acoustic instruments including strings, piano and guitar capturing the transients with great detail.
Unlike the M49, the TLM49 is not a tube mic and does not contain transformers. These differences mean a less coloured sound because no harmonics can be added in the tube or transformer stage. It gives the microphone a more clinical, modern sound that can withstand higher SPLs with a more open high-end.
The EA 3 Elastic Suspension is included. This is a premium shock mount which effectively protects the microphone from structure-borne noise. In addition to this, the capsule is mounted with a rubber shock mount to further isolate unwanted vibration noise.
In 2006 the Neumann TLM49 was awarded the Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio 2006 TEC Award for Microphone Technology/Recording.
Following the award ceremony Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Marketing/Sales of Neumann Berlin, explained, “We are pleased that with this product we have once again succeeded in satisfying the wishes and requirements of our customers. In the development phase, we spared no effort in analysing the specific sound concepts with extensive practical tests.”