Lewitt LCT 540 SUBZERO by Dezibelzebub
I was looking for a low self-noise, high sensitivity microphone and came across LEWITT’s LCT 540 S. I had the pleasure to use one of their older LDC’s (I think it was the 640) in a studio a few years ago and I really liked its sound. After hearing some sound examples on Bonedo.de I gave this one a shot and ordered one.
The microphone comes in a very sturdy protective case and has some kind of special-ops feel to it. Inside, the Microphone and the utilities reside in a foam bedding and I would definitely trust this case enough to tour with it. Included is a shock mount and a pop filter that connects to the shock mount via tiny magnets. I was sceptic at first, but it does in fact reduce plosives significantly. What it does not, is help keeping the performer at the same distance, the only downside I could find.
Eager to hear it in action, I quickly hooked it up and let my wife have a go. (she mostly does audiobooks and voiceovers).
After she read a few lines I had a smile on my face. I know describing sound is very subjective, but what immediately came to my mind was: crystal clear without sounding sterile. The sound just had a natural beauty to it, I was deeply impressed.
Eager to hear it on other sources, I invited a friend who plays the violin and placed him in my recording space.
Since I wanted to capture the whole sound of the instrument, I placed the mic a bit further away than usual.
From the tiniest nuances in string noise, to the overall tone, the image the Lewitt captured was just magnificent. My friend, who has loads of experience had the same reaction as me when I played it back to him. He had a big smile on his face.
I told him about the impressive specs and low self-noise, but he was just like: “I don’t care! It sounds great, that’s all I need to know.” But he also had a funny Idea: “Let’s record my wristwatch, and see how quiet your mic is.”
We decided to put the mic in my guitar isolation cab, together with his watch and just cranked the preamp on my trusted Grace m101, which I consider to be very quiet.
And as you may have guessed, I got some pretty cool samples out of it. Not only the ticking, but the tiny mechanical movements in between came to life. I will definitely record some quiet stuff in the future, just for the fun of hearing it loud afterwards.
Besides a Low-cut at 80 and 160 Hz, and a 6 or 12 dB PAD the LCT 540 S offers a Key lock function to keep your settings from being changed unintentionally, a clipping history which tells you if there was clipping during the recording and even a clever Auto Attenuation mode which engages the appropriate PAD when the incoming signals gets too hot. It communicates by changing the colour of the logo.
So, some minor but very thought out details, that make recording live easier.
It seems the guys at Lewitt cooked up a very musical high precision instrument that will make a great addition to my arsenal. I definitely want a second one soon. To double the fun, and also to record in stereo. After all, I have two ears, and both of them are very happy with the 540 S.
So, 5 out of 5 from me!