Sometimes it’s not easy to try out a lot of microphones before making the decision on what mic is the perfect fit for a specific application. For us, as a microphone manufacturer, it’s obviously important to change that – everybody should be able to try out our microphones and compare them with other options. We’re of course pretty sure that, somewhere in our range, you’d find the mic that fits best – if only there were an easy and fun way to compare some of the leading products for the most common applications.
That’s why we’ve organized nothing less than the biggest microphone shootout ever. The relaunch of the LEWITT Sound Booth!
The whole event took place at Echo Bar Recording Studios in Los Angeles. Erik Reichers and Bob Horn were in charge of realizing this mother of all mic shootouts with 11 renowned musicians on over 40 different microphones – resulting in nearly 400 sound samples, 8,000 pictures, 20 interviews, and a full 1.74 TB of data.
Erik and Bob have engineered for many of the recording industry’s most notable artists including Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg and James Brown, to name just a few. In other words, they bring along just the right know-how and technical background to run a microphone shootout on this gigantic a scale.
Since we wanted our mic shootout to be as slick as possible, we decided to invite not just any musicians, but industry legends:
We auditioned them on the entire range of LEWITT microphones and on most of the commonly used mics of certain other brands. Which means that it’s up to you to judge how LEWITT microphones measure up against some of the industry’s most famous contenders.
For the majority of the musicians, it was the broadest comparison they’d ever experienced! Robin Finck – iconic guitarist for legends like Nine Inch Nails and Guns N’ Roses – very much appreciated the mega-mic shootout concept: “It’s a fantastic idea, all of those A/B comparisons; they speak louder than any kind of description. You get the opportunity to experience the sound for yourself.”
We wanted to learn more about the individual musicians’ preferences when it comes to microphones and sound quality, so we interviewed them after every session. And since they’re experts on sound and timbre, their individual feedback will be of great value to everyone else, as well.
Legendary bass player Nathan East has been churning out hit songs with artists like Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Daft Punk, and many others. Asked about the qualities he enjoys in a microphone, he told us: “The LCT 840 has this warm, full, very rich sound – and from the moment I heard it, it just sounded very true and real, as if I were listening inside the bass. It has a lot of the qualities that I enjoy in the sound of a microphone.”
On the trumpet, we had none other than Dontae Winslow, who’s played with Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, D’Angelo, Jay-Z, and a host of others. Dontae also found his stand-out mic: “My favorite mic today was the LCT 640, because it has depth and clarity and sounds wonderful. This particular microphone is very special.”
To record the male vocals, we brought in Andy Vargas, one of the lead singers of Santana. He was thrilled to be part of the huge mic shootout and fancied the LCT 550: “I love how my voice sounds through the LEWITT LCT 550. This mic is extremely quiet and has great sensitivity as well as transparency. With most recording mics, you have to be right in front. But because the LCT 550 has so little self-noise, you can actually sing at a distance to pick up everything from your head to your chest voice. When listening back, you’ll hear a humongous difference – the sound you’re getting is just amazing!”
For the female vocals, we invited shooting star Pia Mia. Her hit single Do It Again was produced by Nic Nac and features R&B superstar Chris Brown and rapper Tyga. On YouTube, the song currently has over 200 million views and counting. Asked about the mic shootout, Pia Mia said to us, “I think it’s cool that LEWITT included all those different mics to compare with their own mics in a studio session. You really just realize that LEWITT has such a great sound – it’s undeniable. My favorites are the MTP 940 CM for live and the LCT 940 for studio sessions, but I also like the MTP 740 CM and the LCT 450 on my voice!”
Grammy Award winner Kevin “Brandino” Brandon played on his over one hundred-year-old upright bass at the shootout. As one of the most renowned pro bass players of our time, he’s worked with legends such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Barry White, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and many others. Asked about his experiences and preferences when it comes to sound and microphones, Brandino told us this: “I heard many other microphones alongside the ones by LEWITT, but my mic of choice is the LEWITT LCT 450. What I really like about the mic is how my bass sounds very natural across all of the strings. You can hear all the instrument’s highs and lows, and even when I switch from arco to pizzicato, the quality remains the same.”
We also involved the “Michael Jordan of the Violin” Lee England Jr., who has performed with artists like Stevie Wonder and we found out that his microphone of choice was the LCT 940: “My favorite mic is the LCT 940 because I like the overtones. I like the scratching sounds that instruments make – I want them to sound authentic. And the LCT 940 is so versatile that it’s able to capture the authenticity of the voice in addition to that of the instruments.”
So in a nutshell: you now have the ability to hear the authentic, clear and unaltered sound of LEWITT microphones for yourself and to compare them with some microphones you may know already. Have fun!