If you've come to our web site and are now taking the time to read this page, you're most likely serious about finding a great mic. Perhaps you're ready to take the plunge. Or perhaps you're just doing your research. Whatever the reason, we're glad you're here. So let me tell you a little about myself.
Hi. I'm Gene Lawson, founder of Lawson Inc., microphone guru, recording engineer, drummer, problem solver, designaholic, wife lover, and microphone guru (did I say that twice?). I'm passionate about all these things. I'm also a man of Faith. I don't flaunt it; I just live it. I believe in treating people fairly and squarely. It's how I run my company and how I treat my customers. It lets me sleep good at night. Enough said. Let's talk mics.
I was born in Cincinnati. From the time I was ten, I knew exactly what I wanted to do--electronics and music. One day, while digging through the garbage, I found a radio. I took it home, ripped out its guts, and the rest is history. That's how my passion for electronics began.
When I was 16 and listening to the radio, I found myself fascinated by the sound of drums, specifically brushes. I bought a pair of drum sticks . . . and, well, the rest is history. I began playing drums for my high school band, and because I had figured out electronic stuff, I set up the PA system and everybody's amps.
In the 1960's, I was playing drums with local Cincy bands. While playing with Tony and the Delrays at a local club, Lonnie Mack asked me to sit in . . . and, well the rest is history. (For those of you young enough to not know Lonnie Mack, he was a leading-edge rock guitarist who paved the way for guitar greats like Stevie Ray Vaughn and contemporary artist John Mayer.) Those drums you hear on Lonnie's famous "Memphis" recording--that's me.
My guitar and bass playing band colleagues were constantly experiencing catastrophic failure of their speaker cabinets. The arrival of the Beatles ushered in a huge band boom, and it suddenly seemed there was a band on every block demanding loud, reliable speakers and amps. There was obviously a need for reliable high intensity loudspeaker systems that wouldn't self destruct. The problem solver and designaholic parts of me took action. I began building "blow-proof" loudspeakers based on multiple drivers for guitar, bass, and public address systems. The "Lawson Speaker Cabinet" was my first foray into the field of audio manufacturing.
In 1971, I moved to Nashville. While working as a session drummer and recording engineer, I realized that professional recordings required a high quality reverberation system. If you were rolling in the dough and had a recording space the size of a small parking lot, you could buy an EMT plate reverb. So I began experimenting with methods of producing a more economical reverb unit. "The Plate" manufactured by Lawson Incorporated was marketed under the Audicon brand name.
In 1981, I opened my own studio, The Reflections, while continuing to produce "The Plate." With the introduction of digital reverb units that could be put in one rack space, the demand for large plate reverb units decreased and I began to spend more and more time in the studio. Solid state mics had become all the rage while tube mics for the most part had fallen into disfavor as old technology. Using my favorites, the U47 and Elam 251, I decided to experiment with building vacuum tube condenser microphones to impart the warmth and special tube character that solid state mics lack. I used my mic creations in The Reflections as a test bed. The response was overwhelming and soon clients and other studio owners were ordering my mics for their own use. I continued to operate The Reflections and custom manufacture microphones for a select few until demand necessitated full-time production.
Well, the rest is history. I, my wife Gayle, and our talented artisans have been hand-crafting Lawson microphones full time since then.
You may ask yourself, "How is it possible that 60 year old mics like the U47 can demand exorbitant prices? How can they be used with the most modern recording equipment and more than hold their own?" First, the secret is based fundamentally on the capsule design, then secondly on variables like head geometry, body size, position of the capsule within the head, resonant cavities, etc. It can be demonstrated that if all the aforementioned variables are eliminated (move the capsule as far away as possible from boundaries), the capsule will basically have a flat response. Although a flat response may technically seem superior, it can be shown that the classic microphones like the U47 and Elam 251 are far from having a flat response. The non-flat frequency response characteristics contribute enormously to the desired character of these classic mics. It's the classic case of bumps and dips creating beauty, a sonic signature or character.
Our job as fine microphone makers is to replicate the important variables by attention to detail and get it right. Attention to detail requires hands-on craftsmanship. A lot of personal time and consideration go into carefully choosing each microphone component. Only the finest components are used in Lawson mics. The capsules, produced on our state-of-the-art CNC machines, are hand-lapped to precise tolerances then diaphragmed and fine tuned in the Lawson lab.
If you're looking for an inexpensive, mass produced mic, you should have probably stopped reading after "Hi." I'm proud to say Lawson microphones are not mass produced. Each Lawson mic is a unique work of art designed and built in the United States by me, Gayle, and a few other passionate and dedicated artisans. Our expertise and passion can be seen and heard in every Lawson mic.
Thanks for reading. Here's to great mics, great sound, and great success!
Gene and Gayle Lawson