At AES New York 2017, Austrian manufacturer Lewitt introduced a new flagship-model microphone, the LCT 540 SUBZERO. This is a single-pattern, large-diaphragm condenser mic engineered to a high standard. Apparently, the company straight up asked its endorsees what they need in terms of features and sound, then tried to deliver just that – with a reasonable price tag in mind.
Above all, the LCT 540 SUBZERO is a quiet mic – at 2 kHz where the threshold of human hearing is about 0 dB SPL, the self-noise is below -7 dB SPL. The acoustical self-noise is 4 dB(A), and the electrical self-noise is -1 dB(A). Lewitt says it had to modify its self-noise measuring equipment to be able to correctly assess the microphone’s performance. In terms of audio character, the LCT 540 SUBZERO is described as a clean and modern-sounding mic, so it probably outputs a reasonably un-colored signal that could be warmed up a bit with additional processing from pre-amps and plug-ins.
Rather than marketing and features, Lewitt is focusing on technical specifications as it feels it has accomplished some stellar engineering with the LCT 540 SUBZERO mic. Thanks to “very clever circuit design”, its electrical self-noise is measured at -1dB, at a sensitivity of 41 mV/Pa, -28 dBV/Pa and 132dB dynamic range. Lewitt considers these measurements as studio-grade large-diaphragm condenser microphone benchmarks.
There are 4db of acoustic self-noise, caused by random molecules bouncing off the diaphragm but – Lewitt explains – this measurement is cumulative and the LCT 540 SUBZERO’s self-noise across the full frequency spectrum is below the threshold of human hearing – “better than your ears”, supposedly. Clearly, the company cares a lot about the quality of its engineering and capturing clean, detailed sound. Of course, these benefits come at an appropriate price.
Price and availability
A small batch of LCT 540 SUBZERO mics will be available in the coming weeks, with a full roll-out scheduled for January 2018. The price isn’t set yet, but it will be “well below” $1000. This sounds reasonable for a professional studio microphone designed to a high standard of precision. If Lewitt does keep the price a good amount below a thousand, it might have a very interesting proposition for artists and producers interested in stretching their wallets for a quality mic, without the over-spending.