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Stage Capacitor Microphone
By Dave Lockwood & Paul White

California‑based Marshall Electronics produce some exceptionally good studio microphones under the MXL brand name, and most at affordable prices, but unlike most microphone manufacturers they also produce mics for the live sound market. The LSC1N (like the otherwise identical LSC1B black version) is a hand-held vocal mic with three interchangeable capacitor capsules. All three come with the mic as standard, and have omnidirectional, cardioid, and hypercardioid polar patterns, to suit different miking styles and environments. Once the basket has been unscrewed and removed, the capsules simply screw into place. Each is fitted with a six-micron, gold‑sputtered diaphragm, and the assembly is shock‑mounted to help reduce handling noise.

MXL LSC1NAll the capsules cover a wide frequency range, in this case from 20Hz to 20kHz, +/‑3dB, and the frequency-response curve is nominally flat, with a very shallow, broad presence bump, rising only two or three decibels and centred at around 8kHz. A recessed low‑cut switch activates an 18dB-per-octave high-pass filter at 150Hz to help counter the proximity effect.

The rest of the specification is typical of a studio mic, with an equivalent input noise of 16dB (A‑weighted) and a maximum SPL handling of 148dB, meaning that even the loudest screamer isn't going to upset it. Sensitivity is a little lower than that of a typical studio capacitor microphone, which helps to bring it into line with the dynamic stage mics it's likely to work alongside, but it's still significantly more sensitive than its dynamic siblings. Being a capacitor mic, the LSC1N requires 48 Volt phantom power.

The tonality of this mic is pretty much what you'd expect from a capacitor model, with extended highs, good clarity and plenty of sensitivity. The very subtle presence hump helps to enhance clarity in a nice way, but maintains a very natural overall character. The provision of a low‑cut switch helps enormously for live work, where the proximity effect can get to be a little too much when miking up‑close and personal.

Though not without some stiff competition, the LSC1N is well made and sensibly priced. The inclusion of three capsules is a great bonus, as is the fact that it comes with a high‑quality mic cable, a mic clip and a rigid plastic storage case. Paul White

£179 including VAT.MXL LSC1N $299

Published August 2011