Mic of the Month - February 2017 - Lewitt LCT 640 TS
Inaugural Mic of the Month: LEWITT LCT 640 TS
I took the headphones off and the din of NAMM resumed its assault on my eardrums. I had goose bumps. I couldn't remember the last time I had experienced that sensation, especially over a piece of gear; in fact I can honestly say that no piece of gear had ever elicited such a response from me before. I view gear as a tool, not a hobby or a lifestyle like so many others. All I could utter at first was "whoa." After I collected myself I could finally offer up "that's incredible, seriously incredible. I've never heard anything like that before." The easy-going, soft-edged guy with long hair and an Austrian accent who had just blown my mind smiled at my stammering. Clearly my mind was not the first to be blown by this demo. He somewhat sheepishly toyed with the computer track pad with his left hand, while he turned to address me and explain what I had just heard. The execution was simple, yet the implications were staggering.
I stopped off at the Lewitt booth as an afterthought. I had been admiring their work from afar for a few years and was eager to hear one in person. I got far more than I bargained for. I saw an array of microphones I wanted to try, but the sales rep I was with eagerly directed me toward the Austrian guy, whom I would come to know as Moritz, and the demo he had prepared: laid out before me was a Pro Tools session full of pre-recorded tracks featuring all of Lewitt Audio's various offerings. They all sounded great, but the one that had set me all atwitter was a stereo track titled "LCT 640 TS Vocal". The track featured a male voice speaking in what sounded like a bathroom the size of a penthouse apartment. Moritz then pulled up Lewitt's POLARIZER plug-in-made specifically for the LCT 640 TS. The black/green-themed user interface was simple: Input meter on the left, output meter on the right. The middle was home to a polar pattern diagram, and at the bottom was a scrollable track path. This was the part that almost made me squeal with delight. Starting on the left was an omnidirectional pattern. As Moritz dragged a glowing green box to the left, the pattern began to change. Cardioid, super-cardioid, figure-8, reverse super-cardioid, reverse cardioid, and back to omnidirectional. I could hardly hold my expletives (I may have let one or two slip).
So why was this a big deal? Basically, Lewitt Audio figured out how to capture a source and change the pickup pattern of the microphone AFTER the capture and it's not a gimmick. It actually works. As Moritz changed the polar pattern in the plug in, I could hear the polar pattern shrink and change. I listened with giddy delight as the room sound gave way to a clearer, more present vocal recording. My inquisitive mind had to know how it worked. I was bracing myself to hear a spiel about wizardry and a whole host of design based on concepts that my mind had only a tenuous grasp on. The answer was elegantly simple: "We used 1 capsule with 2 diaphragms with cardioid polar patterns. One in front, one in back" Moritz explained to me. My jaw actually dropped. "That's brilliant. I would love to meet the genius that conjured this up." Moritz grew sheepish again. "You're talking to him," my tour guide explained to me. Geniuses aren't supposed to be that socially accessible. That's not fair to regular guys like me. Yet there he, and the rest of the Lewitt design team were: brilliantly accessible.
"So how much do you think a microphone like this costs?" I paused to think. The arena was so loud, and my mind was still struggling to put itself back together. Suddenly I realized I didn't know how much time had passed and everyone was still looking at me. I thought to myself 'OK, he's baiting me. Clearly this costs less than I think it should.' I tossed out a non-committal $1,500. They grinned. "Eight ninety-nine" was the reply. I shook Moritz's hand again. I didn't know what else to do at this point with the exception of melting like a fangirl and I wasn't about to let that happen. I started running comparisons to other 'Austrian manufacturers' over in my mind. This kills.
So there I was. My mild, passing curiosity turned into the highlight of my trip. I couldn't wait to get home and tell my friends and coworkers about this microphone. We were so excited to get the word out that we decided to give it the honor of being our first Microphone of the Month. We hope you'll be as excited about this microphone as we are.
Check back with us in March for the next Mic of the Month!