Mr. “Mic”- Corrected

by | Studio Equipment

This week has been interesting. Not at all as busy with voice work, but with other things. Some things related to the “business”, some not. 

It was the first week working inside the new sound booth. Plenty of auditions and smaller bread & butter jobs. Plenty of time spent marketing and mailing, social networking, community work, developing a new logo and outreach campaign, and awaiting patiently a new Neumann TLM 193 microphone, which finally arrived last night. The mic’s arrival was of immense importance, and cause for giddy celebration.

This mic was recommended to me by some studio engineers at the very successful Studio West  in San Diego which has been around a long time. The discussion began a few weeks ago after a recording session in which I used a Neumann U87i, long considered the best microphone for voice over work. Of course, this mic comes with a high price tag, of anywhere from $1500 for a used one to close to $3800 new, retail.

When I asked what might sound good with a female voice in the Neumann family of mics, the engineer geeks told me that the TLM 103, while it is a fraction of the price, they highly regarded the TLM 193 as the next best thing to the U87.  All feature the large diaphram capsule that brings forth that incredible, close, warm sound, with a sensitive wide ranging dynamic frequency response.

The U87’s sound fantastic with most male voices,  I was told.  I didn’t particularly think my voice sounded that exceptional with that mic. But  I learned the king of condenser microphones can leave some female voices somewhat flatttened,  and without mid-range unless it is processed, they told me.  They regarded the 103 “the poor man’s U87”, and it is a good mic ($500-900), – yea  sure—-“poor” – by who’s standards!

They considered the 193 a bit closer to the U87 in  polar response,  circuitry construction and durability, but with a wider dynamic to capture the essential tones of the female voice, with little signal processing.  I think retail for the 193 is around $1899- So I won an ebay auction and actually received  fabulous 2 mics for well under $1000.  The other was a Rode NT1A, a fine mic in its own right. So now I have a total of 4. (MSRP on the Rode is 229.95) I know a successful voice guy who says he has 100 mics! It’s a collector’s passion, for sure.

So next week will entail some experimentation and getting accustomed and acquainted with my new “Mr. Mic”, and the Rode, too. Think I ALSO better start selling some more stuff on ebay to afford this “gear jones” I’ve developed!


  1. Bobbin:

    There is something uniquely thrilling for a VO when they receive their new mic…and boy, do I wish I could spend the cash on amassing a mic collection.

    But I am very happy with the mics I have (including said TLM 103…also won on ebay) and I wish you every success with your new “babies”!

    Best always,

    – Peter

  2. Hi Peter,

    I always love receiving your colorful comments. I’ve only had 1 week with my “new babies” as I’ve been away on a family emergency. I look forward to reuniting and working with them next week!
    All the Best,

  3. Hi Bobbin –

    I am a VO talent in Phoenix, and I am trying to make sure that I can send auditions from home. I haven’t built my studio yet, which is why I have a question now.

    If my initial purpose is mostly sending auditions, do I need something like a Shure KSM27 ($299) and a preamp, or can I simply use a Blue Snowball USB mic (99$) and be done with it? I haven’t heard other USB mics, but I did listen to the Snowball at Although it was a little bright-sounding, I thought it was pretty adequate for a male voice.

    Another question – where in the world can I go to hear these mics?

  4. The usb mics have really improved. I own a Snowball but I am selling mine. It sounds good, but for quick mobile auditions, I now use a Samson C01U, but there are others. Rode has a good one, I understand. If you haven’t outfitted your studio yet,  the usb could tide you over, but I don’t think I’d use it as my studio mic.

    I just picked up a nifty little gadget, the Microport Pro, which allows me to use this usb interface with my studio mic.

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