Neumann TLM103 Mods

Neumann TLM 103The TLM 103 is a very popular microphone among home recordists, because it has a reputation for being a "serious" microphone that is more or less affordable. But we find it to be voiced in a harsh and unforgiving way, like the Rode NT1; both microphones make most vocals sound sibilant, and they make guitars sound thin and crispy, without body.


We offer one relatively simple and cost-effective repair/upgrade option for the TLM 103: replace its K103 capsule with our RK-87.

Both these capsules are based on Neumann's original "K67" design, but they are tuned and voiced differently. Where the K103 seems to have an exaggerated high-frequency response, the RK-87 has a slightly more neutral response, with better-articulated mids. The result is that the TLM103 with RK-87 sounds subtly richer, with less hype.

One TLM103 owner described the change this way:

We then tried an RK-87 capsule on a broken TLM103, it is amazing, the mid range has a much much better focus than the original capsule, so the low frequencies sound more precise than before... Now our TLM103 is really near to a U87.

Here's another review from a TLM 103 owner:

After nearly a year of considering using an RK-87 to replace the damaged capsule in my Neumann TLM 103, I finally made the decision to do so. I'm blown away. The task of switching capsules was simple, and when I finally got to use it, I was ultra impressed. I had nicer, cheaper mics in my locker, but that was until I completed this one. Warm, articulate, sensitive. That's how I would describe this frankenmic. I suggest doing this mod with this capsule to even a brand new TLM 103. It's miles beyond the original.

Here's one more, which was posted as a review of the RK-87 capsule:

Superb quality, easy easy easy drop in replacement in the TLM-103. Clear upgrade, very smooth. The new capsule "felt" nicer than the entire microphone (very subjective, but I'm serious.). I was considering selling the 103, but now I plan to keep it for life.


The RK-87 capsule is a dual-diaphragm K67/K87 type, with 34mm backplates machined from solid brass. The diaphragm material is imported Japanese film, metallized with gold. Capsule wires are oxygen-free copper with Teflon insulation.

Learn more about the RK-87 capsule.

The lower-cost RK-87C capsule listed elsewhere on this website is not recommended for the TLM103; its voicing is not appropriate for the TLM103.