Lewitt Audio LCT640

Multi-pattern Capacitor Microphone

Published in SOS August 2012
Bookmark and Share

Reviews : Microphone

This innovative large-diaphragm mic offers more pad, pattern and filter options than you can shake a stick at — but how does it sound?

Paul White

Lewitt Audio LCT640

Austrian company Lewitt Audio was founded by Roman Perschon, who spent several years working as a project manager for a big European manufacturer before reaching the conclusion that large companies sometimes miss out by not pursuing interesting new ideas. We're told that Roman quit his job and went backpacking around the world, seeking out people able to develop and build his vision of what a high-end mic should be. That's how he met up with Ken Yang, owner of a large Asian mic-manufacturing company, who offered to work with Roman to share his knowledge and manufacturing expertise.

In 2009, their first prototypes were tested and refined, and by the end of that year, Lewitt Audio had products ready to sell. Their current range is impressive, given the short time the company has been in existence, and here we're looking at the LCT640, a large-diaphragm capacitor microphone. Designed in Austria, this mic is intended for recording various instruments, including vocals, drums, piano, wind instruments and classical ensembles.

The Joy Of Specs

At first glance, the reassuringly solid LCT640 looks a little like a ribbon mic — that is, until you peer through the grille and see the dual-diaphragm, one-inch capacitor capsule. The mic offers five polar patterns: omni, figure-of-eight and three widths of cardioid. It has a dynamic range of 145dB, with a creditably low self-noise specification of 10 to 13 dB EIN, depending on the pattern. Sensitivity is quoted as 13mV/Pa in cardioid mode, falling to 9mV/Pa in the figure-of-eight setting.

There are small frequency-response variations across the different polar patterns, specifically subtle changes in the shape of the presence bumps, which are reassuringly wide and gentle, and affect mainly frequencies above 5kHz. Other than that, the response is nominally flat from 20Hz to 20kHz, within around 3dB.

Transformerless circuitry is used, to avoid transformer coloration and to reduce the risk of electromagnetic interference. The output is on a three-pin XLR with gold-plated pins, and standard 48V phantom power is required for operation.

Whereas most mics with pad or filter options have just one of each, the LCT640 has three low-cut filter frequencies and a four-position pad switch. The latter introduces either 0dB, 6dB, 12dB or 18dB of pre-attenuation, while the low-cut filter can impose a 12dB/octave roll-off at 40Hz, or gentler 6dB/octave cuts at 150Hz or 300Hz.

What's On The Menu?

The various pad, filter and polar-pattern settings are accessed via this backlit menu system on the front of the mic.The various pad, filter and polar-pattern settings are accessed via this backlit menu system on the front of the mic.

If you're wondering how you can select all these different settings even though the mic is not bristling with switches, you use the backlit user interface on the front of the mic. This comprises three momentary-action buttons that are used to step through the available pad, polar-pattern and low-cut filter options. The currently selected value for each parameter is visible on the panel above the corresponding switches, and all the current settings can be locked by pressing and holding the pattern button for over two seconds.

In addition to these features, the mic also offers automatic pad switching, and a clip 'history'. In the unlikely event that you overload the mic to the point where its internal electronics clip the signal, the attenuator automatically switches to the next highest value, and the previous (manually selected) attenuator setting will flash. Holding the high-pass button for two seconds or more clears the clip history, though it is remembered even if the mic is unplugged before being cleared.

The outer basket, which has hexagonal perforations, is made from steel, with a black ruthenium-galvanised finish. A secondary fine mesh is visible inside the basket. The mic comes with a bespoke LCT40 SHX shockmount cradle, an LCT40 WX foam windshield and a DTP 40LB leatherette storage bag, all packed in a rather elegant black aluminium flight case. A screw collar grips the mic in the shockmount, making it both easy and quick to fit and release.

In Use

On powering up the mic, the previously set pattern, pad and filter settings are visible on the control panel. As far as I can tell, the panel simply has the appropriate legend reverse-printed on it, so that activating an LED behind the legend causes it to show up on the otherwise black screen — simple, but very elegant. Pressing the buttons below the settings display steps through the options.

My first test was to record a male vocalist who came by to make a demo of one of his songs, and I was immediately impressed by the sound, which, to me, struck the right balance between smoothness and assertiveness; it sounded very polished right out of the box. Minimal EQ was needed to find the required tonality, and the sound remained pristine even after applying a fairly generous helping of compression.

Moving on to acoustic guitar, I was again impressed by the tonal balance, which was solid and warm but with the requisite amount of 'zing' and complexity at the high end. Hand percussion proved to be no problem whatsoever, and the mic even stood up extremely well when miking an electric guitar cab from around 750mm, slightly off axis, where it delivered plenty of bite and depth, but without fizz or grit. The tonal balance remains reasonably consistent across the various patterns, providing you don't get close enough to let the varying proximity effect cloud your judgement. I tried to activate the automatic attenuation but was unable to produce a sound loud enough, as the LCT640 can handle up to 145dB before you even start switching in the attenuators. You'd probably have to shoot it to activate this function!

My main comparison when reviewing this mic was an Audio Technica AT4050. Overall, the sensitivity of the two mics was comparable, with the LCT640 having a slightly brighter sound. Bright mics often sound gritty or harsh, but there was no impression of that here — the LCT640 has a great tonal balance and seems to deliver no matter what you point it at. Although it's not a budget mic, I was very impressed with both the sound and build quality of the LCT640, and it costs rather less than I thought it might.  .

Alternatives

The Audio Technica AT4050 and AKG C414 are two obvious alternatives, but there are so many multi-pattern mics in this price range that it would be impossible to list them all.

Lewitt Audio LCT640 £779$1049
pros
Seems to deliver a good sound on almost any source.
Novel control panel gives more pad and filter options than usual.
Nicely engineered.
Realistically priced.
cons
No obvious cons at the price.
summary
A very capable and versatile microphone with features not found on other models. It gives good results on vocals and pretty much any instrument likely to be found in a project studio.
information
£779 including VAT.
Sonic 8 +44 (0)3302 020160.

SOS Readers Ads
GRAB A BARGAIN

£481,895

of Second-User Gear for sale now — don't miss out!

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4047 MP

Audio-Technica have added multiple polar patterns to one of their already successful designs, bringing increased versatility in the studio.

Audio-Technica AT4047 MP | Media

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Audio files to accompany the article.

Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

Stereo Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Audio-Technica AT4050 ST

There's more to this variation on Audio-Technica's flagship microphone than the simple addition of a second capsule...

Peavey Studio Pro M2

Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Peavey Studio Pro M2

Paul White explores the capabilities of the understated-yet-powerful Studio Pro M2.

Schoeps VSR5

Microphone Preamp

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5

Schoeps make some of the most revered mics on the planet, so when they release a commercial version of the mic preamp they use for testing, you have to take it seriously...

Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

Test Measurements

Thumbnail for article: Schoeps VSR5 Mic Preamp

The following charts, made using an Audio Precision Analyser, accompany our review of the Schoeps VSR5 microphone preamplifier.

Blue Encore 300

Handheld Condenser Microphone

Designed as a hand-held live vocal mic, this mic has a cardioid pickup pattern, and seems very robustly engineered.

Cartec EQP1A

Mono Valve Equaliser

Thumbnail for article: Cartec EQP1ABritish 'boutique' outboard manufacturers seem to be rather thin on the ground these days, but if this Pultec clone is anything to go by, newcomers Cartec look set to make a big impression.

Prodipe TT1

Dynamic Microphone

Prodipe say they wanted to offer a high-quality, live-sound, cardioid-pattern dynamic mic at a very affordable price.

Sontronics Saturn

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Sontronics SaturnSontronics mics usually sound as distinctive as they look - and this one looks more distinctive than most!

MXL Revelation

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL Revelation

Hot on the heels of the impressive Genesis cardioid valve mic, MXL have unveiled their flagship multi-pattern model, the Revelation. Does it live up to its name?

MXL Revelation | Audio Examples

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

These audio files accompany the SOS September 2010 review of the MXL Revelation microphone.

Samson Go Mic

USB Microphone

Thumbnail for article: Samson Go Mic

USB mics are nothing new, but the Samson Go Mic is probably the smallest and cutest I've seen to date. This metal-bodied mic,...

AKG Perception 820

Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: AKG Perception 820Does AKG’s Chinese-made Perception 820 maintain the Austrian company’s impressive reputation?

AKG Perception 820 | Audio

Audio Examples

Hear for yourself how this mic performed during the SOS tests.

Audio-Technica AT4080 & AT4081

Ribbon Microphones

A-T’s brand-new transducer technology has produced a robust design intended to deliver high signal levels as well as that prized ribbon character...

Earthworks DP25C & DP30C

Snare & Tom Condenser Microphones

Despite the ubiquity of the SM57 for use on snare, there are other options — and Earthworks aim to help you capture a more natural sound.

MXL Genesis

Cardioid Valve Microphone

Thumbnail for article: MXL GenesisWe put MXL’s Genesis through its paces alongside a much pricier model, to find out just how good a tube mic can be at this price.

MXL Genesis Mic | Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

To accompany our July 2010 Genesis review, we recorded a series of standard tests with the review mic alongside a more established mic (in this case, the AKG C12 VR).

WIN Great Prizes in SOS Competitions!

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Digital Editions | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media