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Tascam TM-280 · Source:
Tascam has expanded their TM-series of budget microphones. The new models include the TM-180 and TM-280 large-diaphragm condenser mics. Their TM-60 model is an entry-level small diaphragm condenser – which is unusually powered from a battery, rather than phantom power. Finally the TM-Drums set includes a mix of dynamics and condensers; all are priced firmly in the lower bracket and clearly aimed at musicians rather than studios. But does it always pay to take the cheaper option?
Many manufacturers offer a package price to buy drum mics, so is this new offering from Tascam any different? The four mics are tailored to capture the different parts of a drum kit. TM-50DB is a dynamic mic designed for kick drums. The TM-50DS is a dedicated snare mic; both of these have integrated stand mounts. The TM-50C’s are a pair of small-diaphragm condensers included for use on cymbals; these are each provided with a mic clip and foam windscreen. All fairly standard so far.
The TM-180 and TM-280 both feature a 34mm diaphragm and come with a switchable 80Hz highpass filter. 10dB pads enable use with high SPL sources. The main difference between the two models seems to be “premium components” and a pop filter integrated into the TM-280, making it better suited for vocal use. Both models come with sturdy cases and shock mounts.
Other products released include the TM-AG1 pop filter, which mounts to a mic stand and the TM-AR1 acoustic screen which absorbs reflections and reduces ambient noise reaching the microphone.
TASCAM has stated the new TM series microphones are “available immediately”, and have the following MAP prices: TM-180 $149.99; TM 280 $249.99; TM-Drums $199.99; TM-60 $59.99; TM-AR1 $149.99; and TM-AG1 $19.99.
Only time will tell whether Tascam’s new products are worth these (admittedly) low asking prices. Many musicians are in the market for cheap gear, but sometimes it pays to wait and buy something a little more durable or of higher quality. Then again, my personal collection definitely includes a few seriously cheap mics and the quality of budget gear is always getting better!