Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 | by Eric Carpenter
I recently had the pleasure of testing the Lewitt Professional Audio LCT 140. This is a fixed cardioid “pencil” microphone; it is the entry-level small-diaphragm condenser in the company’s Authentica series. The mic comes with a foam windscreen, a tool for adjusting the recessed switches, and a nice mic clip that is both adjustable and sturdy as well as quite impressive looking. The mic also felt quite heavy in comparison to some other SDC’s that I have handled recently.
One other feature of note on this already imposing microphone is the set of backlit indicators for the pad and high-pass filter. Am I a child because I was really impressed with these little lights? Well, maybe, but I also found them to be very useful in my studio that tends to favor candles and gear lights as the main source of illumination. The lit controls elevate the microphone’s perceived value, which maybe would cause a client would be more careful with it? Probably not, but still, it’s a nice touch.
I tested the microphone on several familiar instruments, and I was impressed with the mic’s clarity and sonic girth.
First up, I gave the Lewitt a quick one-on-one vs. the ever popular RØDE NT1. The Rode is in a similar price range and I would normally use these two spaced apart on two tracks for a nice stereo acoustic sound, but for now we’ll place them together about 10–12 inches away, just north of the soundhole heading up the neck. The guitar is a Blueridge BG-160 which has a really bassy tone as well as some nice highs that I try to tame with old strings. In this case, I found the Lewitt to actually have the tone that I would be seeking with a larger diaphragm condenser when aimed at the body. Aside from the fact that I should probably back it up about two more inches, you can hear the clarity of the mic in this soundclip. It actually makes the Rode sound quite cloudy and cluttered. The proximity effect of this mic is rather pronounced, so close mic’ing a bassy instrument is not the best use for this mic, but with proper placement and a little room for the sound to travel and you’ll get a natural and true tone without having to reach for EQ. I love when that happens!
Acoustic Guitar, Lewitt LCT-140
Acoustic Guitar, Rode NT-1
Speaking of bass, I played a little upright, moving the Lewitt (again paired with a Rode NT1 for comparison) about 16–18 inches away from the F-holes. I found that it was well up to the task. The clarity and full range of the instrument is well-represented. In a session, I would ever so slightly compress the track to get some dynamic control, but I would be happy to use this mic for the upright for certain. I wasn’t expecting that, and never liked SDC’s on this bass, but hey, I’ll take it!!
Coming out of my studio monitors, the wood, the low end and the string/neck clicks are all there. Ok, D 112, back into the kick drum for you! A more suitable microphone has been found.
Acoustic Bass, Lewitt LCT-140
Acoustic Bass, Rode NT-1
Next up, I did a quick test on my old Stella tenor banjo. I’ve been wanting to make some loops out of these old-timey banjo sounds, and the Lewitt was up to the task. If you are familiar with the Rode NT1, this is the type of sound that I like to use it on: old guitars, old drums, etc. It has that character. In a side-by-side comparison, I don’t hear that much difference between the microphones when the banjo is played with a pick, but as soon as I switched to fingers, the versatility and full range of the Lewitt was evident. These clips have the two mics side by side, same performance, same distance and running through and ART MPA. The Lewitt does it again.
Banjo, Lewitt LCT-140
Banjo, Rode NT-1
Of all of the SDC’s that I have gotten to try out lately, I found the Lewitt to be the most polished sounding, with the full sonic spectrum seemingly available immediately after plugging in and only really needing to show consideration for the proximity effect that can be prominent in bass-heavy instruments. Build quality, sound quality, ease of use are all top-notch, as well as some funky LEDs to boot. In just the short time that I got to use this one, it topped my other quick “go-to” mics almost all around. With an MSRP of $299, this is a definite consideration for not just an auxiliary piece, but one that can be solo’d out and stand on its own.