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Among audio professionals and enthusiasts, tubes and tape have been two of the most popular keywords of the past ten years or so. It might have been a combination of different factors (cheap Chinese labour, improved emulation algorithms, faster CPUs, etc.), but at some point the internet discovered that tubes and tape were not only cool (again), but a sort of Holy Grail of recording.
Lauten Audio is a well-known pro audio company, founded nearly a decade ago in California, during a time when a new brand or model of studio microphone (often cheap tube mics!) was hitting the street what seemed like every week.
Lauten Audio’s founder Brian Loudenslager saw a need for well thought-out microphones with truly unique character. The rest is history, as they say. Over the years, Lauten Audio microphones (in particular their tube-based ones, like the Eden and the Oceanus) have received fantastic reviews from many experienced recording engineers and artists around the world.
Today Lauten Audio announced a new line, dubbed “Series Black”, and its first product, the LA-320, s professional large diaphragm vacuum tube studio condenser vocal microphone. The LA-320 can be considered an affordable entry into the world of vacuum tube microphone sound for bedroom and project studio producers/artists.
The LA-320 features a 1-inch pressure gradient true-condenser capsule, cardioid polar pattern, dual-triode vacuum tube, transformer balanced output, independent high and low cut filters, custom dedicated power supply, tube microphone cable, spider shock mount and hard case.
“With the LA-320 we are making available a fantastic professional level vacuum tube microphone that’s easy for developing recordists to use to make great recordings,” says Brian Loudenslager, Founder of Lauten Audio.
He continues, “The high and low cut filters make solving common problems in home, basement or bedroom recording environments easy.” The microphone features two independent filters, available with easy to engage switches. “If the room or source is boomy, or there is low-end rumble from outside noise, turn on the low-cut filter and eliminate much of the problem. Or use the high-cut filter to roll-off frequencies above 12k and help tame a bright room with lots of reflections, or a bright source. What makes the LA-320 filter design even more useful is that the engineer can use both filters at the same time, resolving many problems before the recording even hits the hard drive,” adds Loudenslager.
Inside the LA-320 is a 1-inch pressure gradient true-condenser capsule and dual-triode vacuum tube inspired by what was used in classic German microphones. “Don’t be fooled by the affordability, the LA-320 features high quality components often found in much more expensive microphones. We have utilized our years of experience to create what we believe to be the best value of any large diaphragm vacuum tube microphone. I think any budding engineer will be more than pleased with the mic,” states Loudenslager. “With the classic inspired internal components, built-in filters, and included accessories, the LA-320 is sure to quickly become a popular choice for any recordist on any budget.”
Pricing and availability
The LA-320 has an estimated street price of around $499 (international prices were not available at the time of writing). The new mic will be available in U.S. retailers starting April 2016, and worldwide later this year. Check out Lauten Audio’s website for further details. We’re looking forward to checking this one out!