Lauten Se­ries Black LA-220

Lauten Au­dio drop three new mid-price mics as ‘Se­ries Black’. Rob­bie Stamp tries out the FET con­denser model

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

At the low-end there is plenty of heft with­out im­ping­ing on the up­per bass re­gion

The LA-220 is flanked in the Se­ries Black range by a small di­aphragm con­denser stereo pair and a valve con­denser, all of which are em­i­nently af­ford­able. This does put them in a fierce and over­crowded mar­ket, but Lauten, with their Sig­na­ture Se­ries mics, have built a rep­u­ta­tion that should give this range a head start. The LA-220 is fairly light and slim for a large di­aphragm con­denser, which is a good thing for mic stand and place­ment op­tions (it comes with a stan­dard shock­mount cra­dle).

Ver­sa­tile mic

The 1-inch dual di­aphragm cap­sule is am­pli­fied by a JFET (Junc­tion Field Ef­fect Tran­sis­tor)-based dis­crete cir­cuit which ter­mi­nates in a balancing trans­former; a nice com­bi­na­tion at this price. FETs were the first solid state com­po­nents used to re­place valves and have con­tin­ued in this role to mimic some of their char­ac­ter­is­tics (es­pe­cially with re­gard to har­monic dis­tor­tion). An out­put trans­former can also be a source of coloura­tion and char­ac­ter, as op­posed to the clean trans­parency promised by trans­former­less topolo­gies (it doesn’t al­ways pan out like that though).

The LA-220 presents a nat­u­ral and well-bal­anced mid range, and this in turn de­liv­ers vo­cal and in­stru­ment sources in a mix-ready form that many mics at this end of the mar­ket fail to. The high-end pos­sesses the bright de­tail you ex­pect from a con­denser with a rel­a­tively smooth rise into this re­gion, avoid­ing the harsh nar­row re­sponse peaks cheap de­signs of­ten throw up. At the low-end there is plenty of heft with­out im­ping­ing on the up­per bass re­gion, so this will rock a bass but not cover it in wool.

All this can be reined in with the low-cut switch (120Hz cut­off), which is ac­com­pa­nied by the more rare high-cut con­trol (12kHz cut­off). The high-cut fil­ter may see less ac­tion than its lower fre­quency sib­ling, but it is a wel­come ad­di­tion for keep­ing harsh cym­bals, scratchy acous­tic gui­tars and high-sibi­lant vo­cals in check. Mar­ried to the qual­ity mid-range re­sponse this all adds up to a ver­sa­tile mi­cro­phone.

Great sound

The bal­anced clar­ity of the LA-220 comes with a healthy out­put level and ap­pre­cia­bly low/well-shaped noise. Though this is a ‘clean’, not overtly colour­ful mic, it does not come off as clin­i­cal or in any way harsh, but rather a nat­u­ral win­dow on the source. It sounds great on ev­ery­thing I tried, and though dif­fer­ent from the mics I set it up with, many times I couldn’t nec­es­sar­ily say it was bet­ter/worse – just dif­fer­ent. The clos­est ex­am­ple in terms of price and de­sign fared worse than the LA-220 on most sources (only drew level on a gui­tar amp); whereas the LA-220 gave the £2k valve con­denser a damn good run across the board.

The LA-220 is an ex­cel­lent value mic and will pro­vide qual­ity re­sults for record­ing novices and pros alike. It can be re­li­ably leaned on for a single mic set-up as well as fit­ting eas­ily into a larger multi-mic stu­dio set­ting. The dual low-cut and high-cut fil­ters make it es­pe­cially use­ful in the lat­ter con­text, as set­ting tone at source re­duces phase prob­lems down the line – es­sen­tial to qual­ity record­ings.

CON­TACT WHO: Syn­thax TEL: +44 (0)1727 821 870 WEB: www.laut­e­nau­ KEY FEA­TURES Po­lar Pat­tern : car­dioid Cap­sule: 25.4mm (1") dual di­aphragm Cir­cuit: JFET tran­sis­tor with trans­former bal­anced out­put Sen­si­tiv­ity: 16mV/Pa (-40dBV) Out­put Impedance:...

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