Le­witt LCT 440 Pure

The clas­sic choc-ice con­denser mic shape gets a new vari­ant. Rob­bie Stamp puts it to work be­fore it melts.

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

The Le­witt LCT 440 Pure is a neat C414-es­que de­sign which bal­ances weight with an im­pres­sive ro­bust­ness. It comes with a qual­ity ac­ces­sory set: be­spoke shock­mount and pop fil­ter, foam wind­shield and leatherette bag. Right out of the box the 440 feels like qual­ity, to the ex­tent that it re­quires con­scious ef­fort to pre­vent trans­fer­ence of this feel­ing into the anal­y­sis of its son­ics.

The LCT 440 is a sim­ple con­denser mic: fixed car­dioid pat­tern and no pad or low-cut con­trols. This is un­usual in the LCT range, with only the LCT 240 Pro be­ing sim­i­larly switch-free. It can be ben­e­fi­cial to re­duce the num­ber of mov­ing parts in a mic: less to go wrong, thus ex­tend­ing ser­vice life. The down­sides are that not all preamps do have these con­trols, and that ex­ces­sive in­put level or low fre­quency con­tent pre­sented to the preamp can cause dis­tor­tion. Swings…round abouts.

To counter the in­evitable con­fir­ma­tion bias high­lighted above, the 440 was tested against mics I know in­side out. The quick ver­sion is this: it sounds great and re­sponds very well to a wide range of sources with­out cloud­ing or over em­pha­sis­ing ar­eas of the fre­quency spec­trum.

The longer ver­sion is as fol­lows. On vo­cals, the mic presents a nat­u­ral and rich sound with­out harsh­ness in the sibi­lant up­per-mids. The prox­im­ity ef­fect seems con­trolled, al­low­ing up-close work with­out bloat­ing the low-mids. The pop fil­ter is a ne­ces­sity in this case, as the ex­cel­lent low-end sen­si­tiv­ity makes plo­sives a prob­lem. Good off-axis re­sponse (within the usual car­dioid ‘win­dow') means singing or talk­ing across the mic also helps mit­i­gate this with­out loss of pres­ence.

The per­ceived rich­ness, and cor­re­spond­ing min­imis­ing of sibi­lance, makes the 440 a lit­tle darker than many when pre­sented with acous­tic in­stru­ments. Whether this is de­sir­able or not will de­pend on the in­stru­ment. I have a dull acous­tic that sounds best with some lift in the up­per-mids/early-highs, and this needed an EQ boost with the 440. The well-bal­anced low end, mean­while, meant the body of the gui­tar was cap­tured nat­u­rally, free from box­i­ness. Bowed strings may well ben­e­fit from this char­ac­ter­is­tic, as can drum over­heads bom­barded with cym­bals.

I gen­er­ally avoid us­ing con­densers on gui­tar amps, so in­evitably I try any re­view model out on one. The Le­witt 440 Pure is one that chal­lenges my prej­u­dice. Though the ‘sibi­lance dip’ iden­ti­fied above is no­tice­able in this role it is, again, not al­ways a bad thing and isn’t im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous. For clean sounds, there’s plenty of punch as well as clar­ity, and its happy get­ting right up to the grille. Dis­torted tones re­ally show up up­per-fre­quency phase-shift notches in­her­ent in con­denser cap­sule re­sponse, and here the 440 be­haves un­usu­ally well – I didn’t get up­set and want to swap it for a dy­namic/rib­bon combo). Re­spect.

All in all, the LCT 440 Pure is a great bal­ance of sim­plic­ity, ro­bust de­sign and sonic per­for­mance. The out­put level is high, which is cou­pled with low self-noise, mak­ing it great for quiet sources. De­spite be­ing a sin­gle-pat­tern mic with no low-cut or pad con­trols, this is an im­pres­sively ver­sa­tile mic, and it’s very well priced in­deed. Def­i­nitely a player to watch in a very crowded field.

The LCT 440 Pure is a great bal­ance of sim­plic­ity, ro­bust de­sign and sonic per­for­mance

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