[SOLVED!] The Pride Of Neumann: TLM103 Vs. U87


As one of the leading manufacturers of professional recording microphones, Neumann is known far and wide in the audio world. Needless to say, Neumann mics usually receive extensive coverage and take the spotlight in many discussions, comparisons, … In the case of TLM103 and U87, like their competitors, both models boast unique pros and cons that let them excel in distinct settings. Naturally, when the topic of TLM103 vs. U87 comes up, different people tend to offer different opinions about the winner.

If the topic above also piques your curiosity, continue reading to learn more about the two mics.

What The Mics Have In Store 



Neumann TLM103

Neumann U87

Size 10.1 x 4.8 x 3.9 inches

11.1 x 11.1 x 6.0 inches


2.7 pounds

5.4 pounds

Polar pattern


Cardioid, figure-8 and omnidirectional.

Sound Pressure Level (SPL)

138 decibels

117 decibels




Frequency range

20Hz – 20kHz

20Hz – 20kHz


50 ohms

200 ohms


All-metal exterior, two colors

All-metal exterior, two colors




How The Mics Fare Against Each Other 


TLM103 is smaller (10.1 x 4.8 x 3.9 inches vs. 11.1 x 11.1 x 6.0 inches) and lighter (2.7 pounds vs. 5.4 pounds) than U87. However, despite the differences in size and weight, both models feature excellent handling characteristics by all accounts. For most of the time, people should be able to manipulate the two mics with relative ease. If you lack the patience to manage unwieldy recording microphones, you can rest assured knowing that TLM103 and U87 won’t give you a hard time.

Noteworthily, while TLM103 only possesses one polar pattern (cardioid), U87 lets users choose between three patterns ( cardioid, figure-8 and omnidirectional). Consequently, those who put adaptability above everything else tend to think of U87 as the superior model in TLM103 vs. U87.


Once it comes to SPL, there is a gap between TLM103 and U87 (138 decibels vs. 117 decibels). As a result, between the two mics, TLM103 is more suitable for recording at high volumes. About U87, even though its SPL rating is not as high as that of TLM103, it’s still adequate for a wide range of works. Besides that, unlike TLM103, U87 contains a dedicated roll-off switch which is fantastic for low frequency recording. If bass is your main concern during recording sessions, you won’t regret investing in U87.

In terms of frequency range, TLM103 and U87 resemble each other (20Hz – 20kHz) and they consistently capture sounds of variable frequencies. The same can’t be said about impedance though as the impedance rating of U87 (200 ohms) is four times that of TLM103 (50 ohms). If you want to capture all the details of the sound and power is not an issue to your setup, U87 will be your best bet. Otherwise, you should go for TLM103 as its impedance rating suits standard setups in most of the cases.


TLM103 and U87 have all-metal exteriors so they won’t get damaged easily in the course of operation. That being said, the two mics remain far from indescribable so you should refrain from treating them too roughly if you can help it. For color, TLM103 is available in matte black and satin nickel while U87 is available in black and nickel. Thanks to their stylish color options, both models can readily become parts of recording setups instead of standing out like a sore thumb.


The saying “Quality comes at a price” is applicable to a wide range of products including recording microphones. As high-end models, TLM103 and U87 cost a lot but between the two mics, U87 is the more expensive one. If you have a fat wallet and have no issue dropping big bucks on your mic, feel free to grab U87. Still, if your budget is kind of tight, it’s suggested that you pick up TLM103.

Final Words

In layman’s terms, the diversity of tastes means it’s up to each person to decide the winner in TLM103 vs. U87. If all you need is a solid recording mic that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, TLM103 is for you. On the other hand, if you desire a versatile and flexible mic for professional recordings, place an order for U87. Of course, it’s a good idea to take your shopping budget into account as the two mics don’t come cheap, especially U87.

Using Mics For Recording: Tips And Tricks 

  • Give the environment some thought: All sorts of factors affect the quality of recordings and environment is one of them. If possible, you should buy sound-absorbing materials and set them up around the spot where you record.
  • Invest in mic accessories: Nowadays, you can get your hands on quite a few mic accessories from filters to mounts. By taking advantage of accessories, you will be able to optimize the quality of recordings.
  • Keep posture in mind: Having a good recording setup means little if you neglect your posture as you record. To capture clear sounds, you must remember a couple of rules: Keep your mouth close to the mic, stay still while recording, etc.