Visually indistinguishable they might be, but the LCT 140 and LCT 340 are quite different beasts. Despite the price difference, the mics are finished to an identical standard and both packages include a leather pouch, a windshield and a dedicated stand clip.
The 140 is described as ‘an extremely versatile, easy-to-use, compact small-capsule condenser microphone, perfectly suited for quality-conscious casual users’. To clear up any confusion, that doesn’t mean it’s actually designed for discerning football hooligans.
Lewitt’s guide suggests that the 140 is suitable for live work and studio recording with drums/percussion, acoustic instruments and vocals. The 2/3-inch back-electret capsule is fixed cardioid and the transformerless 140 promises a dynamic range of 124dB with very low self-noise.
The LED display seems to be a real Lewitt feature. This one shows the status of the onboard attenuation pad and bass roll-off, selectable by recessed three-way switches – we’d point out that these features are impressive for a mic in this price range. The display can be switched off if you prefer.
The LCT 340 is a 0.8-inch externally polarised condenser – ie, it’s not an electret mic. Once again the application guide includes acoustic and percussion instruments, drums and vocals, and it’s suited for live and studio applications.
The 340 ships with a cardioid capsule that can be interchanged with an (optional) omnidirectional one (we didn’t get the chance to try the omni capsule for this review). This time the recessed switches provide four settings for attenuation and bass roll-off. The settings are 0, -6, -12, -18dB and lin, 40, 150, 300Hz respectively. The dynamic range is quoted at 124dB with a low self-noise level of 15dB.
The LCT 140 has a bright, detailed and up-front sound. In our experience, most budget electret mics with small capsules tend to have a slightly ringy midrange and a metallic quality in the treble. Although those traits are present with the LCT 140, they’re far less pronounced than usual. The overall tone is fairly natural, with a nicely filled-out midrange. Proximity effect improved the weight of the low end and in general we found that close-mic’ing suited the LCT 140 better than using it at a distance.
As you might expect, the 340 takes the quality up a notch. In cardioid mode the presence and detail are still there, but the treble sounds sweeter and more integrated. There’s less colouration in the midrange, and overall the tone is smoother and more full-bodied.
The LCT 340 is also notably more versatile than the LCT 140. There is a mild degree of proximity effect that allows the LCT 340’s response to be ‘tuned’ by varying the mic’ing distance. Rather than making the bass boomy, as you might expect from a large-capsule condenser, it’s actually the midrange that fills out.
The multi-stage bass roll-off of both mics is an excellent feature. Many of us record in home studios lacking acoustic treatment; consequently, we are all subject to low-frequency rumble to varying degrees and the 40Hz setting may serve as an effective default for all but the bassiest recording. We also tried the other roll-off settings and found that they operated with no discernible unwanted side effects.
Once again Lewitt has delivered well-crafted, handsome mics. You couldn’t ask for much more in terms of features and the LED light show is both useful and stylish. Sonically, their glossy high-frequency character will appeal to those whose taste in small-capsule condensers tends towards Austrian rather than German classics, with an emphasis on detail and clarity rather than airbrushed enhancement.
+ High build quality
+ HPF switching
+ Switchable pads
+ Detailed sound quality
– Treble lift may be too much
High-quality small-capsule condensers with useful real-world features and clean, crisp sound.
Prices: LCT 140 £229. LCT 340 £369 (Price for 340 shown)