The TLM stands for ‘Transformerless Microphone”. This means the usual output transformer is replaced by an electronic circuit. It still will ensure good common mode rejection and prevent RF interference. The TLM 103 was created by Neumann. Neumann was founded in 1928 and and based in Germany, it is a manufacturer of professional recording microphones. Most of their microphones are used for broadcasting live and for music productions. The TLM 170 was the first of their microphones with with balanced outputs but no output transformer. This series was expanded to include: the KM 100 modular series of small microphones, the cardioid TLM 193 using the capsule of the U 89 and TLM 170, the small-diaphragm KM 180 series, the large-diaphragm cardioid TLM 103, the variable-pattern TLM 127 and the TLM 49 cardioid vocal microphone.
The TLM 103 features low self-noise and the highest sound pressure level transmission. It has a large diaphragm capsule with a cardioid (heart shapped) polar pattern (see bottom of post). It has a flat frequency response up to about 5 kHz, and above that, a wide flat 4 dB presence boost. It is capable of handling sound pressure levels up to 138 dB without distortion. People tend to use this microphone often at live events because it is so good at blocking out background noise and has hardly any self-noise. It can also be used at professional broadcasts and for commercial recording studios. I used this to do my Streeter and I found that it sounded really good. I could hardly hear any background noise, it sounded natural and I couldn’t hear any self-noise from the microphone. Because of this I gave this microphone a 5 star rating. To hear how the voice sounds on a TLM 103 click here.