Austrian mic specialist Lewitt has achieved a great deal in a short space of time - just four years, in fact. In a hugely crowded market it has established a significant presence both sides of the Atlantic. Mick Wilson tests two very affordable stage-ready dynamics from this growing range.
Based in Austria, Lewitt is a relative newcomer to the microphone market, having produced its first models around four years ago. Since then, the company has gradually expanded its live and studio range and gained the attention of many musicians and producers around the world - so much so that it has become a bit of a phenomenon. This is a very crowded market, dominated by a handful of big names. For this small company to have grabbed market share in such a short space of time, it must be doing something right. Let's find out.
MTP440 DM (see above image)
Straight out of the box, this mic looks like it is predominantly intended for instrument and drum use (if you think along the lines of the ubiquitous Shure SM57, you’ll not be far off the mark) and a quick look at the frequency response confirms that its main strengths would be getting the best out of snare drums, guitars and brass instruments. This is a dynamic mic with a fixed cardioid pickup pattern and a good off-axis rejection. I used this in the studio on an acoustic guitar whilst singing and the lack of spill was excellent. Lewitt says that it can handle very high sound pressure levels, so it would cope admirably with guitar cabinets and the loudest of snares/toms. Although it does a decent job on vocals (as you can hear on the accompanying video), the presence peak at around 5kHz can tend to sound a little nasally and I felt the need to get in really close to enhance the bass frequencies to add some warmth. That said, this is the area that would help a snare stand out on a large stage with a bass roll off at around 100Hz to help reduce spill from surrounding drums, especially the kick drum.
The mesh grille protecting the capsule looks very solid and the sides of the removable cover are a continuation of the solid metal used for the body - this would definitely withstand a hit from a wayward drumstick and live to tell the tale!
All in all, a versatile mic that would cope with extended studio and touring use.
Up until recently, vocal condenser microphones have usually been confined to the safety of a controlled studio environment. However, the advancement of capsule technology has now seen a new breed of handheld live condenser vocal mics on the market.
Removing Lewitt's very rugged mesh cover reveals the small-diameter electret capsule and looking at the build quality here you can’t help thinking that this mic is very good value for money indeed. (One thing to note here is that being a condenser, the mic needs phantom power to operate, so make sure your mixer or desk has this facility before you buy!)
Again, I used this mic on an acoustic guitar in the studio and with some careful positioning, it immediately brought out a nice top end to the sound, especially during some quiet finger-picking passages. I did however struggle a little with the lower frequencies as the bass roll off is set at around 200Hz, but moving the mic nearer the sound hole helped even-up the sound.
On vocals though, the 340CM really comes into its own. With the slight presence boost to get some air on the voice and even a little dip at 10kHz to help eliminate sibilance, it handles male and female vocals excellently. As with all condensers, handling noise is a little accentuated due to the sensitivity, but would not be a problem on a live stage.
These models, along with the rest of the Lewitt range, are manufactured in one of the largest Asian microphone production facilities. Knowing this in advance made it even more pleasing to open the boxes and see some very well made pieces of kit. Both are extremely well constructed and feel very solid indeed. The attention to quality extends to a gold-plated XLR connector, a robust mic clip and padded leather pouch.
If these mics are anything to go by, the rest of the Lewitt range looks very promising indeed.