The Best Neumann Microphone for Vocals

The Best Neumann Microphone for Vocals

If you gather together all of the professional audio engineers and producers and ask them who is the best microphone manufacturer in the world, chances are the name Neumann will come up far more than once.

All of the Neumann microphones have an impressive heritage and a build quality to envy, which makes it extremely hard to choose even a few that are better than the others.

Nevertheless, in this article, we will figure out what is the best Neumann microphone for vocals for you to buy, based on your specific needs.

Top 7 Best Neumann Microphone for Vocals

  1. Neumann TLM 102
  2. Neumann TLM 49
  3. Neumann TLM 103
  4. Neumann U 87
  5. Neumann M 149
  6. Neumann U 47
  7. Neumann TLM 107

Neumann Microphone for Vocals Buying Guide

Before we start the list of the best Neumann mic for vocals, let’s explain better what makes Neumann microphones so special.

A bit of history

Neumann is an audio equipment manufacturing company that was found in 1928 in Berlin, Germany. The company made the first commercially available condenser microphone in the world. Although it wasn’t very practical due to its size, the benefits of a condenser mic were unquestionable, and you can easily spot it on a significant amount of historical photographs, especially on those that are depicting events during World War 2.

First condenser microphone

After the war, Neumann produced the famous U 47 model. This was one of the first condenser mics that was implemented in the recording industry. Although American recording engineers still preferred ribbon mics, the European recording industry saw the benefits of the condenser mics, and thus the most iconic records were made using Neumann mics which at that time were released under the brand name Telefunken, including all of the Beatles albums. Moreover, Neumann mics very quickly gained world spread regard, so much so that the sound of Neumann mics is directly associated with the music of the rock-n-roll era.

Important features

Considering that Neumann basically invented the idea of a modern microphone, it would be almost impossible to distinguish one or even a few to be somehow better than the others. Nevertheless, there’re a few features that we should consider in order to make the choice a little bit easier.

Recording speech and vocals

Although Neumann makes truly wonderful dynamic microphones, many professional audio engineers prefer to use condenser mics when it comes to recording vocals and speech. There’s something almost hypnotizing about the vocals that are recorded on the condenser microphone with its slight upper mid-range boost and crisp details.

Budget-friendly options

Since the prices on Neumann mics don’t really have an upper limit these days, especially when it comes to vintage ones, we decided to include more budget-friendly models, so to speak. To be honest, the best Neumann microphone for vocals is any Neumann mic, but actually, to be able to afford one is an achievement by itself. Mics on this list give you an opportunity to experience the rich heritage of Neumann mics without breaking the bank, literally.

Best Neumann Microphone for Vocals Reviews

Neumann TLM 102

Neumann TLM 102

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Low self-noise
Cons
  • Doesn’t have many accessories
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann TLM 102 is a large-diaphragm condenser mic with a compact design that offers you a very transparent and crisp sound and low noise circuitry. This mic is a part of the newer generation of Neumann microphones that are meant to be used in a broader range of applications which does not in any way mean that it will be lacking when it comes to vocals.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Neumann TLM 102 because of its versatility and excellent sound quality. Also, this mic has a great, futuristic, and user-friendly design. Users say that this mic is suited best for delivering broadcast-style depth and richness in the lows and a real punch in the low-mids. Also, you don’t need to add EQ in the post-production stage. Users note that despite this mic has a built-in pop shield, plosives might still happen here and there.

What we think

What is impressive about Neumann TLM 102 is that it has a slight boost in high frequencies starting from 6 kHz, which is perfect for recording vocals because of the instant clarity and crispness that would be hard to achieve otherwise. At the same time, even considering the boost, overall, the high end sounds very smooth and balanced.

Bottomline

Neumann TLM 102 is a perfect choice for someone who wants to have a top-shelf Neumann sound in their arsenal, but at the same time, stay within a range of something that one could consider to be affordable. The one downside that we can think of is that it comes only with a shock mount. This is not at all a big deal, but usually, Neumann mics come with a very pretty wooden box, but not this one.

Neumann TLM 49

Neumann TLM 49

Pros
  • Legendary vintage sound
  • Durable shock mount
Cons
  • Accessories are sold separately
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann TLM 49 is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone with transformerless technology. You can consider this mic to be a bigger brother of the previous entry on the list, but if TLM 102 is advertised as a more versatile microphone, this one was specially tailored to complement a vocal performance. It was made to sound very similar to the famous U 47, which means that on top of excellent sound quality, you’re getting the iconic vintage flavors.

User impressions

Users like Neumann TLM 49 because of the sound quality of the microphone, as it provides a lot of details to recorded voice. This mic has a really good futuristic design and is easy to use. This microphone records vocals clearly so that you don’t need to add anything in the top end. Users note that if you want to achieve a super shiny pop voice, this microphone shouldn’t be your choice.

What we think

Neumann TLM 49 has a very linear frequency response curve with a slight 3 dB boost above 2 kHz. This emphasis on the upper mid-range makes it perfect for recording very crisp and present vocals. It also has very low self-noise and great sensibility, which makes it shockingly easy to capture very detailed and nuanced performances.

Bottomline

Neumann TLM 49 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for an iconic vintage sound of Neumann U 47 at a reasonable price. The only thing that you can find slightly disappointing is that it comes only with a shock mount. Other accessories, including the briefcase, should be brought separately in the bundle. That being said, the shock mount is awesome.

Neumann TLM 103

Neumann TLM 103

Pros
  • Extremely low noise
  • Full frequency range
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann TLM 103 is a large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic that shares the same capsule design with the iconic U 87. As the name suggests, this mic is a part of a newer generation of Neumann microphones which means that you can have a so-desirable vintage sound combined with modern durability and build quality. Evidently enough, this is the mic of choice of Jack White from White Stripes for miking guitar amplifiers for live performances.

User impressions

Users say that Neumann TLM 103 has a very nice, sparkly top-end and bright tone for a crisp pop vocal sound. This mic gives a clean and detailed sound, and it makes vocals larger and more pronounced when added to the mix. Also, it takes EQ well and adds character to the sound.

What we think

As with all of the mics from this lineup, Neumann TLM 103 has a linear full-range frequency response, but this time the boost of 4 dB is made above 5 kHz. This gives the sound of this mic a very present and silky quality. What is surprising is that there’s no harshness to the sound, and at times, it almost sounds like a tube mic.

Bottomline

Neumann TLM 103 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a more affordable version of a vintage U 87 in a very durable and robust body. It’s perfect for recording silky and smooth vocals, and, on the contrary to the previous entries to this list, this one actually comes with a wooden box. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, but for some odd reason, it does.

Neumann U 87

Neumann U 87

Pros
  • Selectable polar patterns
  • Switchable high-pass filter
  • Iconic vintage sound
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann U 87 is a modern recreation of a well-regarded and iconic classic studio microphone. The original U 87 was introduced in 1967, and by the end of the 70’s, every respectable professional recording studio had a least a pair of those. U 87’s of that particular era cost a fortune these days, so this microphone gives you an opportunity to have an iconic sound for something that, in this very case, could be considered a reasonable price.

User impressions

Users like Neumann U 87 for the versatility of the microphone that has 3 polar patterns, the pad, and a switchable low-cut filter. This mic has a unique, realistic, clear sound as it has a flat on-axis frequency response. Some users add that this mic has its own personality.

What we think

One thing to remember about Neumann mics is that they all are exclusively made by hand. So each stage of the production is made and supervised by an extremely competent engineer. So much so that any given two instances of 87th could be used as a stereo pair.

Bottomline

Neumann U 87 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for adding a classic studio microphone sound to their arsenal. It is needless to say that U 87 has an astonishing build quality and impressive durability, which means that it will last you for ages.

Neumann M 149

Neumann M 149

Pros
  • Low-self noise
  • Iconic tube mic sound
Cons
  • Not very portable
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann M 149 is a tube condenser microphone with a dual-diaphragm which means that you can choose from 5 different polar patterns. At the benefit of modern technology, it has a very precise and clear sound, and, considering that it shares its DNA with classic U 47, it has a very distinguishable vintage flavor.

User impressions

Users agree that Neumann M 149 does its job in the best way possible, and you absolutely don’t need to apply any EQ after. This microphone is loved by users for its incredible versatility and phenomenally detailed, crisp, huge, and warm sound. Users note that this mic captures all voices’ timbres, and genres from soft ballad to rock.

What we think

The only thing that could be better than a Neumann mic is a tube Neumann mic. What is impressive about Neumann M 149 is that it sounds extremely clear and transparent, which is very unusual even for a modern tube microphone. It, of course, has a lot of coloration, but it doesn’t sound over excessive even when pushed hard.

Bottomline

Neumann M 149 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a very transparent and contained tube mic with the exceptional build quality and a top-shelf sound. The only downside is that it’s rather problematic to carry it around. But it’s hard to imagine that it would leave your studio any time soon.

Neumann U 47

Neumann U 47

Pros
  • Thorough recreation of a legendary microphone
Cons
  • Could be considered pricey
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann U 47 is a very thorough and meticulous recreation of an iconic large-diaphragm condenser mic. The original version is one of the most used microphones in the world. And naturally, has a hefty price tag. This newer version was built from the original schematics. And, despite it’s very hard to believe, cost a fracture of the price of the original.

User impressions

Users say that Neumann U 47 is made for the vocal recordings because it is direct and gives warmth to the sound. It has very nice and clear highs, and it makes the sound thick. It has a very classic and retro design which is likable by a lot of users. Users note that this mic adds body, makes sibilance sound soft, and makes the sound present.

What we think

What’s truly great about Neumann mics is that even vintage microphones couldn’t be considered a quirky gimmick for rich collectors. Regardless of it being vintage or a modern model, Neumann always made robust and capable workhorses that you can rely on in any situation.

Bottomline

Neumann U 47 is a perfect choice for someone who values a perfect combination of vintage heritage and modern usability. At this point, buying Neumann microphones is very similar to investing in art. No matter how much you spend, you know that it will never lose its value.

Neumann TLM 107

Neumann TLM 107

Pros
  • Flat frequency response
  • 5 polar patterns
  • High pass filter
Cons
  • Shock mount not included
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Neumann TLM 107 is a very modern large-diaphragm condenser microphone that offers you a choice of 5 different polar patterns, a high pass filter in 3 different frequencies, and an attenuation pad. This mic is a part of a newer generation of Neumann microphones that offer you far more flexibility on top of legendary sound quality. It’s truly a workhorse and it seems that it shines effortlessly in every possible audio recording situation.

User impressions

Users like Neumann TLM 107 as it has the most open, honest, and musically pleasing sound. It’s very versatile, has a fantastic build quality, and is extremely easy to set up and use. Users note that this mic is known for its smooth response, a slight boost in the highs that results in brilliant quality, and sonically pleasing recordings. Also, this mic makes the recorded sound feel mix-ready without any need for processing or EQing.

What we think

A modern world first and foremost requires flexibility and Neumann clearly understands it. Neumann TLM 107 is a glimpse at the future of Neumann microphones. It has the ability to capture the sound extremely precisely and accurately with a very slight boost above 8 kHz, for additional presence and clarity. This is one of the most precise microphones that you can find on the market.

Bottomline

Neumann TLM 107 is a perfect choice for someone who values precision and accuracy in their recordings above else. Although the microphone itself does not have any vintage quality to it and on the contrary sounds very modern, somehow it is still recognizable as a true Neumann microphone. If this truly is the future of audio recording, then it’s extremely easy to be looking forward to it.

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