As the numbers start to get serious, so too do the potential contenders in our £450 – £850 range…
Price £779 Contact JHS 0113 286 5381
Lewitt’s founder formulated his ideas about microphone design and manufacture while working for AKG. Lewitts are designed in Austria and manufactured in China. This multi-pattern large-capsule condenser has solid-state components and electronically balanced output. It ships in an aluminum carry case complete with a suspension mount and windshield.
Front-mounted push-buttons control the five pickup patterns, four-stage HPF and three-stage pad. Settings can be locked and automatic attenuation prevents overload. The 640 exceeded our expectations, sounding balanced, uncoloured and full. A real Swiss Army Knife-type of microphone.
Audio-Technica AT4047 MP
Price £670 Contact Audio-Technica – 0113 277 1441
This is Audio-Technica’s take on a certain classic FET microphone – the model number holds the clue. Three pickup patterns and a transformer-coupled output combine with an 80Hz filter and a 10dB pad to allow SPL handling up to an impressive 155dB. A suspension mount is provided in the box. High frequencies are bright but sweet and full of detail. The midrange is uncoloured and the bass is tight, well focused and solid. It captures the woodiness of an acoustic instrument’s sound and a sense of ‘air’. Vocals are clean and crisp with no trace of sibilance, and it sounds amazing on bass and inside kick drums.
Price £469 Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5000
Røde’s valve condensers have a good reputation, and the K2 stands out from the crowd thanks to its continually variable pattern selection. It ships in a moulded plastic carry case with a suspension mount, interconnect cable and dedicated power supply. Other features include a 1-inch capsule, a 6922 valve, transformerless output and a very impressive 162dB max SPL.
The K2 is known for its bright and present upper mids and a tasteful degree of valvey midrange colouration. Although it can be sibilant on some voices, the sound quality is generally considered to very smooth and self-noise levels are far lower than most valve mics.
ADK TT Mk10
Price £572 Contact Golden Age Music Group – +46 322 66 50 50
High-quality components, thick copper PCB traces and an inverted 6072a valve with a 1-inch dual-diaphragm capsule providing nine patterns. Apparently this was Ray Charles’ favourite vocal mic, and he used one on his last three CDs. Recommended for male and female vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, sax, strings, double bass, drum overheads and broadcast applications. In cardioid it has a full and clear midrange with intimate and larger-than-life presence. The lows are deep and sonorous, but tight and focused with a useful treble emphasis. Omni and cardioid settings sound quite similar, although omni has smoother low-mids and figure-8 has a slightly hollow midrange.