A new Schiff base ligand (H2L) and its metal complexes have been prepared and characterized by elemental analysis, magnetic moment and spectral studies. The comparative in-vitro antimicrobial activities against various pathogens with reference to known antibiotics activity under the standard control of different concentrations revealed that the metal complexes (6-8) showed enhanced antimicrobial activities in general as compared to free ligand. As an exception, the free ligand showed better activity against Trichoderma. The antifungal activity experiments were performed in triplicate. The order of biochemical activity for metal complexes were observed as in the following. CuL > CoL > NiL, which is exactly same as the order of stability constants of these complexes. Additionally, we performed DFT and TD-DFT calculation for free ligand and Cu(II) complex to support the experimental data. The geometries of the Cu(II) complex have been optimized using the B3LYP level of theory. The theoretical calculations confirm that the copper (II) center exhibits a distorted square pyramidal geometry which is favored by experimental results. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.