These same questions bugged Josh Mahler and he tackled the mystery head on.
I had a 103 years ago and HATED it! But, I really do think that had to do with my studio at the time, and my inexperience with recording. When I first bought it, the living room of my one bedroom apartment was my studio with NO acoustic treatment, not even Auralex. Then I had a couple 2 bedroom apartments, with the spare bedroom as the studio, semi treated, but sounded like hell. But now, I'm in a room that has tons of DIY 2'x4'x4" bass traps along with super chunks in the front corners. So it's dead as hell. I can pretty much yell at the top of my lungs without an ounce of slap-back echo, and the frequency response of the room is 'relatively' flat.Good Room Acoustics….Match with the Right Preamp—There are too many pro studios using this mic successfully to dismiss it as unusable.
So, my thought about the TLM now is that you REALLY have to have a properly treated recording space for this mic to sound its best. Granted, that goes for mic, but especially so for this mic IMO.
I'm telling you, the minute I played back the first line I recorded, I knew it was the mic for me.
Anyway, as far as the bad rap the TLM103 gets? I don't get it AT ALL. But it really is like TLM103 is a bad word. Almost as if it's right up there with the most derogatory racial slurs you can think of! Everyone says it's sizzly on voice, thin, harsh, too brittle, etc., etc. My impression was the opposite. Seemed to sound very full, with a fat low end, smooth high end, without a hint of harshness, but still clear at the same time. And that's on a voice that I consider to be very sibilant. I know why
so many guys use the TLM103, whether they admit it or not! ha ha
I've also heard the 103 is very particular about preamps. I've yet to try it with the Mbox2, Apogee or Mackie Onyx pres. I'll have to do that soon to see how much of a noticeable difference there is.
Listen to Josh’s test HERE.