Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by sjoko, Feb 7, 2003.
Has anyone a/b'd these?
The reviews I have read give Lawson a bigger bang-for-the-buck. Lawson mics are about half the price, and have twice as many features as the Soundelux models. But I'm predjudice . . . I own two Lawsons.
Thanks Brian, I have one Lawson, which is better than my old 47, and I'm about to get another one.
Just wondered if there was anyone out there who thought the Soundelux was any better, as I've never used one.
Which Lawson's have you got? I'm considering the 251
Hey sjoko, fancy seein' here.
This is off topic, but I was just at your NGS website poking around and in the "Links" section saw a "Monsters of Rock" webring listed..........out of curiousity, did you ever have anything to do with those concerts at Donnington?
ChrisO (aka Ausrock at HR.com)
Did sound there a few times
I have a mate who sang with English band "More" opened there in either '81 or '82. I know AC/DC, Whitesnake, Def Leppard were also on the same gig. He also sang with Sweet......was with them for their last "real" album, "Live at the Marquee" in '86.
I've heard it said on various web pages that the Lawson L47MP sounds like an average Neumann U47 while the Soundelux E47 sounds like a great U47.
The price difference, however, is considerable: $2,000 vs. $3,700. With an extra $1,700, I could get another preamp or a Distressor or a .... :c:
A friend of mine and I are putting them up against each other on a couple days. I'll let you know our perceptions anyways.
A friend of mine and I just got a good chance to compare the E47 and the L47 last night. Going through a Grace, Great River NV, and Chandler preamp into a Radar system. The results that we heard were that they are two great mics. Neither of us had a opinion that one was better than the other. They are close sounding but to us in cardoid mode, the SD had slight more low end width and the Lawson had slight more presence and sheen. When I say slight I am talking slight. Both I'd classify as warm and tube sounding, and I don't think if you had one you would sell it to get the other. There were times when we prefered the Lawson but it was very minimally preferable. They don't sound identical but both are very pleasing sounding.
I'd like to tell you what I've learned in the four years since receiving my L47MP.
First off, Gene Lawson's specific goal from the outset was to manufacture modern replicas of classic microphones that would come at least very close to the sound of the most desirable vintage originals. Secondly, in a major departure from any previous high-end mic, durability and reliability would be paramount, meaning, whatever he sold would have to be made with the hightest quality components and construction techiques available today. This second goal drew my interest immediately because when I was a military techician, I worked on some practically bullet-proof equipment. Since that time, I've owned a number of new and used microphones that sounded good on Sunday, and were in the trash by Monday. I spent more on repairs for some of these mics than I paid to aquire them.
Beside ruggedness, some of the additional features of the Lawson mics really got my attention. The variable pattern selector makes the mic infinitely more versatile than having just two, three, or even nine detented positions. I use the pattern control more for fine tuning the frequency response of the mic, which means I can bypass the outboard EQ for all but the most extreme problems. Also, switching the rear diaphram out of the circuit, without powering down and taking the shell apart, is, again for some reason, not available on mics costing two or three (or five) times as much.
Here's another thing: a mic with a cylindrical head grill makes it a little harder to locate the exact front of the unit at a glance, so Lawson puts a light in it. Find that on another mic at any price! A gimmick? Well, it's also there to indicate when the mic is in multi-pattern mode, but never mind that. The blues guys that come here like to get stoned and record in the dark, so now they can find the sweet spot easily.
Since Lawson presented the market with his new take on an old mic, others have followed with similar designs but generally much higher prices. I can understand a company trying to recover their research dollars by inflating retail costs, but the research was done already by Stephen Paul (without any compensation), and build quality is all over the map. The only mic I've seen that might be significantly better built is the original Blue Bottle. And of all the mics I've listened to along side the Lawson, including the new 49, only a Stephen Paul modified U47 was more appealing to my ears. And, for the price of a Neumann or Soundelux, you can get two Lawsons. So, I did. A matched pair would seem to be a no-brainer, but even more useful would be something with an opposing character. And as much as I want that 'up-front' sound of a centerpost capsule, I've always liked the airy, open sound of a non centerpost design, without the limitations of a 414; something along the lines of a C12 without spending 8 or 10 thousand dollars. Forget about a 251 for a home studio ($$$$$). So, Lawson comes out with a 251. Now, that's a no-brainer! It may not sound quite as magical as a vintage ELam, but some major studio owners think it's a little closer than the Soundelux version. Again, for twice as much and fewer features? Ok, if you need it to look like a Telefunken, or you could buy a new Telefunken for 10 grand, still, only half the price of a good working original.
The 47 and 251 are different animials, for sure, but actually do work well together. They certainly compliment each other, depending on the sound you're try to achieve, and lately, I've been recording vocals with both mics together, then adusting in the mix, balancing for the quality of voice. My general rule-of-thumb has been a 47 to bring out the attributes of male voices and 251 for female voices, however, with both together, you can decide in the mix, or get a whole new, incredible blended sound.
I have also used them together to record in M-S stereo with amazing results. Again, depending on the impression you want to create, choosing one for middle and other for side or vice-versa gives you totally different effects. Using the pattern control, it is possible to approach the sound of one mic with the other. For instance; turning toward very wide cardioid flattens the mid-range on the L47 and brings out the top end like the 251. Turning toward figure-8 on the L251 boosts the upper mids and accentuates the proximity effect for a more 47 type sound.
Technically, the mics are two different designs, but being from the same manufacturer means there are many similarities. The mics are pretty close in overall sensitivity, which simplifies things in the preamp area, and they're the same size and use the same stand clip - just leave the clip set up and switch the mics, if you need to. The L251 gets very warm, which Gene Lawson says is proper, and why he choose a very dark color for the shell to help radiate the heat. I'm sure it helps to keep out condensation, too, though I wouldn't leave it turned on with the dust cover on it. Also, changing the tube in the L251 is slightly more difficult because of the much bigger transformer. That large transformer makes for a wonderfully rich and deep bass response, like I've heard in no other mic, and Lawson provides a switch to allow the mic to output freqencies down in the single digits. With the switch in the normal position, the mic rolls off the bottom end like all the other 251s.
Sound, ofcourse, is in the ear of the beholder, so the only way to truly know what sounds better is to hear it yourself. The Lawson mics may not be the world's greatest, but I found them the choice for value when all things are considered. In my desk at home, I have a drawer full of mics that I can't afford to keep in good working order. Good working is the selling point for me. My studio is small and cramped, and I know if I bump my head on a Lawson, I will need first-aid, not the mic. :roll:
I have to say that I love my Lawson. (I have Manley Gold Refs, M149, C12 etc....as well)
The Soundeluxe capsule (as I understand it) is manufactured in China. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Gene and his folks were great in getting the mic to me and it works great. I may get another.
Maybe Stephen can clear this up, but I belive David Brock builds his own capsules. I seriously doubt that Soundelux uses Chinese capsules, then his mics would sell for five hundred dollars, not five thou.
last I heard, Soundelux is using German built capsules. IMO, they make outstanding microphones.
No they aren't made in China.
Ditto Phil's opinion on the Soundelux mics. They are pretty incredible.
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