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This article was originally published in issue #50
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Lewitt might be a fairly new name in the mic business but this young Austrian company has taken the market by storm with a range of super quality mics.
Good off axis response
Well engineered shock-mount and pop shield
None for this mic at this price
Lewitt might be a fairly new name in the mic business but this young Austrian company has taken the market by storm with a range of super quality mics. Andi Picker tries its latest introduction - a budget priced workhorse.
A few issues ago (GI45) I reviewed the Lewitt LCT640TS Large Diaphragm Condenser microphone and was very impressed by the whole package: I called it a 'clever' mic because of its multiple switching options and very effective ability to change polar patterns after recording, and to record in stereo with a single mic. Somewhere along the way I commented on the sound of that mic, finding it to have a weighty but bright modern voice that has presence but avoids getting spitty or scratchy.
I actually used the LCT640TS right up until the courier rang the bell to collect it for return, and was sorry to see it go, not so much because of the 'clever' features, but because it has a sound that seems to work well on most things, and a shock-mount and pop-shield that are dead easy to set up under pressure. The 640 is a great mic, but in fairness it’s probably a bit out of the price band for most folks who are running home or project studios on real-world budgets. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get that Lewitt sound and convenience in a simpler and cheaper package?
See what I did there? Say hello to the Lewitt LCT440 Pure Large Diaphragm Condenser microphone.
The LCT440 Pure is a 1” capsule, cardioid-only true condenser microphone. It needs phantom power, has no switches, has freaky-low self noise, and will put up with 140dBSPL for 0.5% THD. The published frequency response shows a gentle low-end roll off from around 60Hz, then a mostly flat response up to 1.2KHz, climbing to +3.4dB at 4kHz, back down to +2.5dB at 6.5 kHz and rising again to +4.9dB at 12,800 Hz (I’m not showing off, the diagram on the website shows numbers when you put your mouse cursor on it). This looks about right: it isn’t quite the same as the 640 trace, but it’s very close, other than having a more gentle low end fade (and no low cut) and it most certainly has the family sound to it. The top end is bright enough to sparkle, and the off-axis response is smooth enough that turning the mic a few degrees gives a more 'vintage' sound without having to resort to EQ. The great thing about mics like this is that when the pressure’s on and the clock is ticking (and the clichés are stacking-up), you can stick one on a stand and be ready to go without getting option-anxiety; it might not always be the best possible mic for the job, but it will give you a recording that you can use, and in front of a musician who just wants to get-on with making music that’s sometimes more important.
Lewitt has a series of microphones that seem to be incrementally less clever/less expensive versions of the LCT640TS, but the LCT440 Pure costs significantly less. The mic ships in a cardboard box rather than the super-smart flight-case of the top end mics, but you still get the excellent Lewitt shock-mount and magnetic pop-shield, the useful soft travel case, and a foam windshield (and let’s face it, cardboard boxes sit a lot easier on busy shelves). I do wish I still had the 640 around for comparison, because I’m convinced that the 440 sounds very similar: it seems to have the same quality of combined weight and openness that I liked about the 640, and similarly, it also seems to work well on most sources.
I’m honestly not sure what’s got into microphone manufacturers in the past few years. There seem to be a lot more well-made, attractive, great sounding, cost effective original designs than there were half a decade ago, and Lewitt has delivered another mic with all of those features and its own family sound as well. The LCT440 Pure is a workhorse mic with a look and feel and, most importantly, a sound that defies its price. Someone at Lewitt deserves a balloon for this one!