Friday, September 7, 2012

Mailbag: 414 vs TLM103 and What to Do About Mouth Noise

I get this one a lot.
Hi Juan! I'm so glad I found your site! I was doing a little background on the AKG 414 XLS and comparing it to the Neumann TLM 103. I know your time is valuable and don't want to take too much of it. I was REALLY hoping I could get your professional opinion before I shell out some $$$. I currently use a Rode NT1-A in a professional vocal booth for VO only. The mic is connected to my UA LA-610 MKII and that is routed to an M-Box.
After having some bad luck with a recent MikTek C7 purchase I decided to stick with the Rode. I've always wanted to get a higher quality mic and was wondering 2 things:
#1 What is your opinion on the AKG vs the TLM 103?
#2 This may be a stupid question but...Do you think I'll see much of a difference in the way of sound improvement when compared to the Rode? (I was expecting a huge difference from MikTek and was less than thrilled).
Thank you so much for your time and valuable input! If you have any other educational classes coming up for VO I would love to get some information! All the Best, Mike

First I would ask if there's something your NT1a isn't able to do that one of these other mics might. The LA-610 is a hell of a pre, and should bring some interesting character to the NT1a.
The audio wont necessarily be of a higher "quality" by moving to a more expensive mic. A TLM103 wont sound five times "better" than an NT1a, it will have a unique character which Neumann has assigned a specific price to.
If you need that character then $1000 is the price of entry. If you don't need that character, then I don't think it'll be worth the investment.

To answer your first question. I'm not a huge fan of the TLM103. In the wrong room or with the wrong pre, I think it can sound a little brittle or even a touch metallic. For the same price, the polar patterns, multiple pads, and roll offs of the 414 certainly make it a more flexible option, and I happen to prefer the slightly cooler sound of the reference mic.

And speaking of the TLM103...
In hopes you might have some input on microphones. I currently use a TLM103. I'm having terrible issue with mouth noises - not doubt I'm producing these "clicks" and "ticks" but I think the sensitivity of the mic and the lack of forgiveness in my booth have combined to make them very distracting. I'm needing a mic with not as much sensitivity that still has a nice tone. I can direct you to my FTP and upload some sample "issues" should you have time to take a listen to what I'm currently dealing with.
Thanks! Joe

No samples needed Joe, thank you. I suffer from a pretty extreme case of misophonia...
Mouth noises can be pretty frustrating. Have you tried green apple or tart juices to try and break up the "clacky"? I'm sure we'll get some comments from folks with other methods to help tame mouth noise.

As for a mic, this is where a dynamic mic can help. You'll lose out on some of the clarity and articulation of a condenser, but it'll be a bit more forgiving of environment and biological noises. Mics like the MD421, RE20, PR40, or SM7b are all pretty great. Make sure you back them up with a hot preamp though, as they are much lower output then their LDC brethren.

As always, if any of my advice has helped you out, please consider using those donation or Amazon affiliate links to the left, and keep those questions coming!

1 comment:

  1. Room Temperature or lukewarm water, rinsed in the mouth and expelled will almost always do it.