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continuously variable pattern selectionLawson Inc L251

Multi-Pattern Tube Condenser Microphone

The Lawson L251 is a side address, multipattern tube condenser, based to some degree on the Telefunken Ela M 251.

The 1'' dual-diaphragm capsule is described as a “faithful reproduction” of the original 251, which presumably means it is a copy of the AKG CK12 edge-terminated design. (Confirmation is forthcoming.)

The L251 power supply allows a switchable fixed cardioid mode and infinitely variable pattern selection from Omni to Figure 8. The Cardioid-only mode removes the rear diaphragm from the circuit, increasing output by 3dB and lowering noise floor by 3dB.

The L251 has a broad, 3–4dB boost at 10kHz and tapers 7–9dB down at 20kHz. A smooth 5dB bump from 3–7kHz and bass response below 200Hz increases as the pattern is made more directional.

A switch at the powersupply selects between the “-bass/251” or “+bass/L47” contours.

The -bass/251 contour enables a -6dB/octave 100Hz roll off to match the bass response of the Ela M 251 which had a fixed rolloff to combat its massive proximity effect.
The +bass/L47 contour extends the low frequencies and is recommended when using the L251 body with L47 head.
The -10dB pad reduces the capsule’s polarizing voltage, lowering the input to the tube.

Mix 2004

Recording another male vocalist with the L251 set to cardioid-only and -BASS/L251 modes, I was struck by the mic’s warm, velvety character and sweetly articulated highs. In order to achieve the pop sound I was after, I needed to apply a highpass filter at 105 Hz and a fair amount of high-shelving EQ boost to the track, but that’s typical treatment for a pop mix with almost any mic. The end result sounded gorgeous, brimming with sweet tube character. On female vocals, the L251 reproduced a similarly full bottom, soft highs and velvety texture.

Pro Audio Review 2002

The L251’s variable-pattern mode was a unique, and ultimately, indispensable tool. While miking many different instruments and vocalists, I found myself typically sweeping the pattern out from cardioid towards omni or figure 8 — increasing the room to source ratio — to find the perfect sound. The sweepable range of pattern settings let me achieve ambient balances that would have otherwise been impossible.

As with all Lawson mics, the L251 employs the company’s “Quick Change” capsule head design, in which the CK12 capsule head of the L251 can be swapped for a K47 head, resulting in Lawson’s L47MP Mk II microphone.

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The mic was released in 2002.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Omnidirectional (11.6 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
Cardioid (18 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
  • Pad: -10dB (Via Switch)
  • Filter: -bass/251 (-6dB/o @100Hz) (Via Switch)
  • Filter: +bass/L47 low boost (Via Switch)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 25.4mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
150 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 144 dB
Self-noise: 16.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
907g (31.99oz) 247mm (9.72'') 60mm (2.36'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Includes tube power supply

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