View Full Version : 2 Moderately Priced Mics That Do Nicely With PRS Acoustics

06-23-2012, 02:07 PM
Kinda dead around this part of the Forum lately, so thought I'd start a new topic...

Being in the recording biz, mics are a big part of what floats my boat, and I'm always trying new ones, and rotating stuff in and out of my studio. I've also always been a fan of Neumann and AKG mics, so I wanted to try out a couple of their recent very moderately priced models with my Tonare Grand.

And mics are always horses for courses. I've recorded the Tonare with several other mics, a couple of which have worked well, but some simply were unable to really capture what the guitar is all about, which to my thinking is its very rich and complex upper midrange. These two mics did a nice job, better in my opinion than several highly regarded and far more expensive mics.

These would be the AKG 214 and the Neumann TLM102.

Honestly, I didn't expect all that much. I'm a fan of the AKG414 on acoustic guitar, it's more or less a classic for that purpose if you want to record with a large diaphragm mic, and the higher end Neumanns have been mics I've worked with a long time. I figured this new inexpensive stuff, even though made in Austria and Germany, would sound, well, less than stellar. Not so!

The 214 is a very airy, open sounding mic, with a beautiful sparkle on top. It doesn't capture the woodiness of the midrange quite as much as a 414, but at least compared to the older 414 I use and am familiar with, it's more open sounding, and would be a really good choice for solo work or capturing a nice strumming thing in a mix.

The TLM102 is less bright on top (some call it dark, and wrongly so in my opinion, it's very accurate), but gets the richness of the guitar's midrange very beautifully. I like the unhyped high end. You have to be a little careful with placement, because the proximity effect of the mic can be overwhelmed if it's too close to the sound hole. To me, it's a perfect 12th fret mic, and that's the usual placement for this kind of thing, anyway. I tested it at 3 distances: close in, about 4 inches away; a foot away; and across the room. It sounded natural and unforced, with a nice image, in every position. It's also the tiniest LDC I've ever seen or used. You could fit this thing in some very tight spots while recording, which is kinda nice.

I think they're worth checking out if you record, perhaps even if you play out live.

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06-24-2012, 01:59 AM
Les, I used some TLM103's for a while (Stereo Set Z). I fell in love with Neumann mics after borrowing some KM84's from a friend. Looking for this photo (below) makes me miss my studio - which was sold off an turned into lumber.

I was using Millenia preamps and Apogee converters back then so I could make a SM57 sound like an amazing vocal mic (still one of my favorites on vocals to be honest). That said, these mics always sounded better to me for acoustic guitar than they did on vocals. Neumann is hard to beat regardless of the audio source but seems like a lot of companies make exceptional mics (like BLUE) these days.

Hell, I had an early Rode NT2 that sounded about as good as my old U87 (before it was modified by Klaus Heyne). ;)


06-24-2012, 02:39 PM
Hans, the KM84 is one of my favorite mics of all time, and I love Blue mics, especially the Mouse, on vocals.

I agree with your 103 comments, and also had a pair of them. I think the 102 works better on my Tonare than the 103, by the way.

Speaking of the Rode NT mics, all of the vocals on 30 Seconds to Mars' "This is War" were recorded with an NT2A. I know because my son did the recording. The mic was obviously picked ahead of some very expensive mics - 30STM can record with whatever they like, obviously. Tells me a lot about what a good mic that is!

Never used a Millennia preamp, personally - none of the rooms I've worked in have had them. I am a sucker for a Rupert Neve design, they always seem to work for me, so I've pretty much stuck with Focusrite ISA and Red preamps (my partner had a couple of old Neves 1073s, too, but they were a bit cantankerous) with the odd UA610 and API thrown into the mix for grins. I like APIs with drums and guitar amps.

Rupert Neve has his own line of preamps, but I haven't replaced a pre in a while, so haven't tried one. He's also got a new summing mixer out that I would love to try.