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Lewitt RAY

Capacitor Microphone With Distance Sensing By Sam Inglis
Published May 2024

Lewitt RAY

Have Lewitt invented the cure for poor mic technique?

Phantom power was designed for solid‑state capacitor microphones, and its limitations reflect that. Although the mic’s capsule needs to be polarised, this doesn’t really draw any current, so the only thing that’s being powered as such is the impedance converter, which typically contains just a couple of active components. The 10mA maximum phantom power current draw is enough for these applications, but it’s a limit that you run up against pretty quickly if you want to power other active circuits. Nevertheless, enterprising designers have done creative things with the meagre resources available.

Scope Labs’ Periscope mic, for example, incorporates a phantom‑powered analogue compressor, while the UA Sphere mic has a built‑in oscillator to calibrate your mic preamp input level, and LED indication of switch and button settings is now almost commonplace. But Lewitt’s new RAY microphone takes the idea of built‑in, phantom‑powered processing to several new levels.

In Black & White

In many ways, the RAY can be thought of as an evolution of Lewitt’s existing LCT 440 Pure. Like that product, it’s a large‑diaphragm true capacitor microphone with a one‑inch, centre‑terminated capsule and a fixed cardioid polar pattern. The RAY has the same form factor as the 440 and ships with the same accessories, including an effective shockmount, a magnetically attached pop shield and a foam windshield. The two mics also have the same form factor, with an attractive rectangular shell and a very open headbasket.

So what’s special about the RAY? Well, once you’ve realised that the side with the large Lewitt logo on is actually the back of the mic (gets me every time), you’ll notice that the front side is adorned with something resembling the Abbey Road zebra crossing logo, plus two buttons labelled Aura and Mute. Closer examination will also reveal a pair of racetrack‑shaped proximity sensors located either side of the black‑and‑white steps. The RAY uses these to detect how far away the performer is — and modify its response appropriately.

The RAY is a mic that can follow a performer’s movements in real time, and adjust the level and tone of its output in response.


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