|Neumann TLM 103D|
The channel strip is accessed via high-functioning, Mac and PC-compatible RCS software. From it you can see each mic’s, pattern (if adjustable, which pattern), pre attenuation (-6, -12, -18dB), gain (0-63dB), variable low cut, de-esser, test signal with tones, comp/limiter, peak limiter, mute, polarity reversal, LED on-mic light intensity, sync, AES 42 info and other features. Settings are stored in the mic. The TLM 103D, then, is an “intelligent mic with a memory.” The DMI-2 interface can support two AES42 digital mics, each of which with it’s own preamp and channel strip.
|Neumann DMI-8 interface and RCS channel strip software|
I first used a standard 4-foot XLR cable between the TLM 103D and the DMI-2 and an AES to S/PDIF baluns from the output of the DMI-2 to the S/PDIF input on a DIGI 002R Pro Tools LE system. That worked without problems and when I switched to a Mogami AES/EBU cable between the mic and DMI-2, I heard no difference.
|Neumann DMI-2 back panel|
I switched to a DIGI 003R using a GML mic pre and RME ADI-8 DS A/D converter together, both with and without Word Clock. By themselves, the mics sounded more similar than on the DIGI 002R rig. When I summed them to mono I could hear the phase cancellation. Relative to the DIGI 003R A/D converters, the RME ADI-8DS hit the timeline 31 samples later and the TLM 103D hit 46 samples later. Neumann reported that they too had experienced similar timeline shifts. If you know your rig, This is a minor inconvenience; similar to the one faced when trying to resolve the timing differences due to a source’s differing distances from two or more mics.
The rest of the evaluation was uneventful and the TLM 103D performed very well. I have heard the TLM 103 sound spitty when mated with a few unflattering preamps. Not this time. Spoken word and sung vocals were crisp and clean. Using the RCS software’s high-pass filter I was able to get the TLM 103D within five inches of the sound hole of my D28S Martin to record some exceptionally nice tracks.
I also found I could alter the thickness of the sound with the Compressor/Limiter by choosing the three different de-esser frequencies and adjusting the ratio and threshold settings.
Having owned two analog TLM 103 for a number of years, I can’t help but like the TLM 103D. Maybe you don’t already have a rack full of external preamps. Maybe you’re just starting out and want something better than the preamps and A/D conversion in a stock DAW. If you’re only adding one or two tracks at a time, The TLM 103D can make even an mBox sound better than it would otherwise. A firm digital path has been set. Others will follow.
Technique, Inc. © Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved
Ty Ford has been writing for PAR since the first issue. He no longer does. He may be reached at www.tyford.com.
Applications: Commercial Studio, Project Studio
Features: 24/192 digital cardioid condenser mic with DSP channel strip.
Price: TLM 103D sold separately, $2,650. With a Neumann EA1 suspension mount and basic Connection Kit, $3,298.00, list. With DMI-2 interface box and RCS software $4,100.
1 Enterprise Drive
Old Lyme, CT 06371
Tel.: +1 (860) 434-9190
Fax.: +1 (860) 434-1759
+ 24-bit 192 digital mic, quiet, virtually clip-proof, channel strip.
- Latency issues, pricey unless you add up all the parts.
“The Score”: Inclined and designed to make analog preamps insecure and jealous.