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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102

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The Neumann TLM 102 and the AKG C414 XLII are both high-end microphones. Both are designed for use in professional recording studios. AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which of these two microphones should we favor to optimize vocal and instrumental recording in a home studio?

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the article 👇

Let's examine in detail through this guide all the points that characterize these two types of microphones. And the same regarding their respective strengths and limitations so that you can easily find which of these two microphones best meets your needs.

Without further ado, discover our full review to find out about the AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102; which microphone will emerge victorious from this duel!

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102 comparison
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General overview of the two microphones

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which is the best professional microphone to choose?

Both the AKG C414 XLII and Neumann TLM 102 are diaphragm microphones . Note, however, that unlike the AKG C414 XLII, the Neumann TLM 102 only has a single cardioid polar pattern and it does not have any pop filter.

In the case of the AKG C414 XLII microphone , on the other hand, not only does it integrate 9 polar diagrams , each adjustable, but it is also equipped with an anti-pop filter and displays a super-cardioid directivity.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which microphone has the best characteristics?

Just after this line, let's see in detail the characteristics that differentiate these two high-end and professional . Let’s start with the Neumann TLM 102 microphone!

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102 review guide
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Neumann TLM 102: The best between recording quality and compactness

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the Neumann dethrones the AKG in audio quality

Launched in 2009, the Neumann TLM 102 pro studio microphone was designed with the aim of providing professional quality sound recording while combining compactness, versatility and value for money .

Note in fact that the Neumann TLM 102 allows for correct and qualitative sound capture of the voice , but also of various acoustic instruments such as guitars and drums for example. This professional microphone offers everything to compete with any other type of dynamic microphone whether with or without a magnet moving coil.

Neumann TLM 102

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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the AKG is ahead of the Neumann in terms of packaging

From a technical point of view, it should be noted that the Neumann TLM 102 is a condenser microphone with a large diaphragm . Its polar pattern displays a cardioid directivity . Regarding this microphone, the only point that seems reproachable to us concerns its packaging reduced to the strict minimum.

Indeed, the manufacturer could have equipped its stereo microphone with an anti-pop filter or an anti-blow windscreen. However, the Neumann TLM 102 is not supplied with any accessories apart from foam protection in its box as well as an SG 2 foot support (a point which still remains appreciable).

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the Neumann supplants the AKG in compactness and performance

Certainly, the Neumann TLM 102 is light and compact. However, be sure the moment you use it, that this microphone will reveal its true potential to you. Note also that the Neumann TLM 102 displays good resistance despite its light weight.

Neumann TLM 102 comparative guide
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Like a dynamic microphone, the body of this microphone is equipped with a sufficiently robust metal grille. However, given that we are dealing here with a microphone equipped with an XLR connector , it cannot operate without 48 Volt .

This is also the point that differentiates it from most dynamic microphones with USB cable. These have Plug and Play functions and can therefore be connected directly to a computer to make them work instantly.

Like the new Neumann TLM 193 version , the omnidirectional microphone does not include a sound card either. Likewise, this stereo studio mic does not have an on/off switch, attenuation pads, or a high and low pass filter.

Neumann TLM 102

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Focus on the sound quality of the Neumann TLM 102 microphone

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: more clarity, roundness and sonic dynamism for the Neumann

In terms of audio quality, we can say that the Neumann TLM 102 adds more clarity, roundness, power and dynamism to the bass and midrange. All with a frequency response of between 20 and 100 Hz . This has the effect of offering a sound reproduction that is both relaxed, expressive and fluid at the low frequency level in front of microphones of this type.

This stereo microphone, however, provides a quality sound reproduction (which we find) to be quite poor in the midrange. This limit is especially noticeable in voice recording when you have to record a speech or a conversation through this microphone.

Despite this, the Neumann TLM 102 still allows you to have a frequency peak that is both clear and gentle which can go up to 10 kHz without causing the slightest saturation. The sound reproduction appears more and more clear and fluid when going down to 20 kHz .

Neumann TLM 102 microphone test
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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: more clarity, precision and fluidity of sound for Neumann

Remember that the Neumann TLM 102 provides a sound that is precise , fluid and percussive at the treble level without generating parasitic noise. The sensitivity of the microphone, the recording quality it offers and the sound clarity thus captured is simply exceptional.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: optimal proximity effect for the Neumann

In the same way as with a dynamic mic or directional microphone, you can take advantage of the proximity effect , using the Neumann TLM 102. This microphone is better able to cover and capture sound waves and vibrations on a wider bandwidth compared to voice capture obtained with a micro-USB such as Blue yeti pro studio or Snowball. And this, despite their pretty spherical shape.

Although the Neumann TLM 102 requires the use of a converter to avoid any risk of electrical current overload via the phantom power supply, this professional microphone remains much more efficient and sophisticated than lavalier microphones. Likewise, no coil microphone equipped with a USB port can match the performance and sound quality of a professional Neumann TLM 102 type microphone.

Neumann TLM 102

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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: impeccable audio quality in professional studio for the Neumann

In its dynamic description, the Neumann TLM 102 provides incredible sonic clarity when used to capture the recording sound of an acoustic guitar. And likewise, on an electric guitar amp, this electrostatic microphone is able to withstand a sound pressure of 144 dB .

Which seems largely satisfactory to us to captivate or to bring out all the sounds we want with an electric guitar, even at high frequencies. Whether the electric guitar is equipped with, or does not have, a distortion or effects pedal, sound capture eliminates all handling noise when using a professional Neumann TLM 102 type microphone.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: Neumann perceives powerful and percussive tones more clearly

When recording percussion instruments, we appreciated the lovely cymbal crackle that this stereo microphone allowed us to hear. The punchy tone of the snare and bass drum also appealed to us.

The Neumann TLM 102 also provides more or less correct recording quality for capturing the sound of an acoustic piano despite the fact that it tends to saturate (very) slightly under the effect of certain acoustic pressures.

Neumann TLM 102
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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: Neumann provides more versatility in the home studio

Given its versatility and audio quality , this type of microphone will find use with singers and backing vocalists as well as guitarists and percussionists. Moreover, the clarity , power , precision and sonic dynamism of this dynamic recording instrument for sound engineers no longer need to be proven.

It will only be necessary to remember that the Neumann TLM 102 is more expensive than most of the high-performance condenser microphones available on the market, to name only the Rode NT1-A microphone and the Rode nt USB among many others.

The technical characteristics of the Neumann TLM 102 microphone

  • Type: condenser microphone with large diaphragm
  • Directivity: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Output impedance: 50 Ohms
  • Maximum sound pressure: 144dB SPL
  • Sensitivity: 11mV/Pa
  • Clean tone: 12 Db-A
Neumann TLM 102

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Furthermore, you can also consult our selection of the best microphones for Rap or Hip-Hop . This guide offers you how to find the best microphone for Rap, the technical characteristics to take into account, as well as the different types of microphones for Hip-Hop.

AKG C414: A high-end microphone that is both versatile and complete

The AKG C414 is a microphone model launched in 1971. Since then, the AKG brand has continued to make improvements to its own C414 microphone model. We can thus discover various variations of condenser microphone models bearing this reference C414, to name only the AKG C414 XLII and the AKG C414 XLS.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the AKG offers a wider sound frequency range

The AKG C414 type microphones have approximately the same characteristics with slight dissimilarities in the response curve relative to the sound source. Versatility is one of the best strengths of the AKG C414 model and all its variations since its launch in 1971 until today .

AKG C414 XLII our comparative guide
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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the AKG provides complete packaging

Unlike the TLM 102 model from the Neumann brand, the AKG C414 XLII benefits from complete packaging . Indeed, this high-end microphone comes with a PF80 pop filter, a C414 protective reinforcement and an H85 universal shock mount; added a metal carrying case and a storage pouch.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: AKG responds to a very wide frequency range

Similar to AKG's predecessor C214 , the AKG C414 XLII is a multi-polar designed to respond to a wider range of sound sources . This includes: voice, acoustic guitar, piano and most wind instruments whether made of wood or copper.

AKG C414 XLII

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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: AKG offers nine polar pattern

The AKG C414 is a pro studio condenser microphone that offers 9 recording modes that can be modified and amplified according to your wishes. This is particularly the case with the directivity depending on whether we would like it to be: cardioid , super-cardioid , wide cardioid , omnidirectional , etc. This microphone even provides 4 intermediate adjustment modes .

Which really gives you the opportunity to exploit its true potential and fuel the sound dynamics at best with the possibility of exploring the entire acoustic sphere . This also allows you to complete your recording equipment and therefore produce audio recordings worthy of professional studio recording.

Just like the Neumann TLM 102, we are also dealing here with a stereo microphone equipped with an XLR connection and which therefore operates via a phantom power supply. Unlike the Neumann TLM 102, however, the AKG C414 XLII is equipped with a switch with LED indicator to indicate when it is off or on. The lighting it incorporates also serves to signal possible electrical overload problems.

AKG C414 XLII Microphone
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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: the AKG more configurable than the Neumann

On its back, the professional mic features an attenuation pad so you can easily adjust the switching between -6, -12 and -18 dB . Note also that unlike the Neumann TLM 102, the AKG C414 XLII has a low-pass filter.

Which leaves you a free choice of frequencies for all the ranges to be reduced or eliminated below 40 Hz , 80 Hz or 160 Hz . Moreover, it is much better than a simple volume adjustment of the ordinary Rode NT USB type or a headset equipped with a microphone, even if it does not require any connection other than the classic USB.

AKG C414 XLII

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AKG C414 XLII: What about the audio quality?

The AKG C414 has two main variations, namely the AKG C414 XLII and C414 XLS . Both feature 9 polar pattern choices available, but with slight differences. The two models of AKG C414 microphones provide a fairly correct response curve, transparent and at very low pressure levels both at the bass and midrange levels.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: clearly perceptible and better nuanced acoustic gain for the AKG

The AKG C414 offers its microphone input better by accentuating the frequency range to offer a nice gain in sound presence up to around 6 kHz . This professional mic captures the sound of an acoustic guitar with much greater clarity and nuance . All with a and more harmonious soundscape . Note also that the AKG C414 XLII sounds better on an acoustic piano than the Neumann TLM 102.

AKG C414 XLII packaging

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: better planned pre-recording with the AKG

The sound reproduction obtained with the AKG C414 XLII via its microphone also gives more possibilities in terms of adjustment on a mixing desk compared to that which could be had using the Neumann TLM 102. This second microphone is more suitable for a sound engineer than someone who just wants to optimize the quality of their sound recording in a home studio.

The AKG C414 XLII is also more suitable for use in studio recording of voice-overs or podcasts than for recording vocals for singing. In addition, the AKG C414 XLII provides a more contrasted, better colored and clearly pronounced sound reproduction than that which could be obtained with any gooseneck microphone .

AKG C414 XLII

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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: better sound dynamics with the AKG

Unlike the Neumann TLM 102, the AKG C414 XLII also allows you to amplify the sound dynamics . This is what makes this microphone a preferred studio equipment for anyone who wants to record voice-overs , dialogue and podcasts.

It is precisely for this reason that this microphone remains more suitable for rappers than for backing vocalists and singers. Presenters of radio or online television channels will also be able to better benefit with a professional microphone such as the AKG C414 XLII.

Technical characteristics of the AKG C414 XLII microphone

  • Type: stereo condenser microphone with large diaphragm
  • Polar pattern: cardioid , super-cardioid , wide cardioid , eight , omnidirectional
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Output impedance: 200 Ohms
  • Maximum sound pressure: 140dB SPL
  • Sensitivity: 23mV/Pa
  • Clean sound: 6 Db-A
AKG C414 XLII Condenser Microphone
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What to choose: AKG C414 XLII or Neumann TLM 102?

Remember that the AKG C414 XLII and the Neumann TLM 102 are both the best, sophisticated and high-end studio microphones dedicated to use in professional studios. Regarding the duel AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102; The question now becomes which of these mics performs better.

To answer this, let us first note that the AKG C414 XLII displays a more sober and woody while the Neumann TLM 102 allows for a clearer and accentuated . Acoustic guitarists, most of them, would opt for the Neumann TLM 102, because its sound clarity is more pronounced and better nuanced.

Neumann TLM 102

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AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which of the two microphones is designed for professional studio recording?

The Neumann TLM 102 generates incredible sound reproduction on an electric guitar amp whether the latter is connected to an effects pedal or a simple distortion pedal. For sound recording of instruments such as the acoustic piano and woodwinds such as the flute, however, the AKG C414 XLII provides much better sound reproduction.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: Which of these mics is more suitable for recording audio for vocal recording?

Singers should turn more to the Neumann TLM 102 due to the reliability of this stereo microphone for enhancing the acoustic rendering of the singing voice. For those who want to record voice-overs, dialogues, podcasts and rap lyrics, however, it will be better to choose a high-end professional microphone such as the AKG C414 XLII or XLS.

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102 microphone comparison guide
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AKG C414 XLII and Neumann TLM 102 in a few words

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which of the two microphones emerges victorious in the duel? In fact, the AKG C414 XLII and the Neumann TLM 102 provide unparalleled sound recording quality .

This means that the AKG C414 XLII is as efficient as the Neumann TLM 102. You just need to define and make your choice on the type of microphone best suited to your needs and your budget.

AKG C414 XLII

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Our verdict on the two microphones!

AKG C414 XLII vs Neumann TLM 102: which of these two high-end microphones should we favor to optimize vocal recording in a professional recording studio?

Although the AKG C414 XLII is more versatile by allowing you to choose from 9 possible polar pattern settings , the Neumann TLM 102 offers more clarity and precision for sound recording in the studio.

This can be explained by the fact that this microphone only focuses on a specific point which is the “ cardioid directivity ” to guarantee precise sound recording and completely free of parasitic noise.

Neumann TLM 102 vs AKG C414 XLII microphone comparison guide
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maximum clarity and precision in whether for an audition or a recording. This is what makes this microphone a true ally of the sound engineer.

The specific design offered by the Neumann TLM 102 in terms of its cardioid polar pattern therefore tips the balance slightly in its favor. Note also that the microphone price of the Neumann TLM 102 is more or less affordable to equip yourself with sophisticated professional recording equipment. This is why we have chosen to declare the Neumann TLM 102 the winner of this duel.

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