Lawson Microphones

FAQs

Where can I buy Lawson microphones and other Lawson gear?

Lawson products are manufactured in Nashville TN USA and sold exclusively by Lawson Inc. Our direct sales approach means you receive astounding wholesale prices on superior high-end equipment for your studio. Our quality and value are second to none. Prices of Lawson microphones would be inflated by 150 percent if sold through dealers. To order, please call us at 615.269.5542 from 9 am to 5 pm central time. Customers located in the USA and Canada may order 24/7 here from our e-store. Get international ordering information.

Do Lawson products come with a warranty?

Absolutely! We offer one of the best warranties in the industry. Each Lawson microphone or mic pre comes with a standard one-year warranty from date of purchase. If you complete the online product registration, the warranty is automatically extended to five years from date of purchase.

What is Lawson’s return policy or can I audition Lawson mics without obligation?

We understand that the best way for you to audition a microphone is to have it in your own environment, test it with your other gear, A/B it with other microphones, speak/sing/play into it. We want you to love what you hear. So when you purchase a Lawson microphone, you have ten days to audition it and fall in love. We offer a no risk, no questions asked return policy. You may return your Lawson microphone for ANY reason within the ten day audition period and receive a full refund (less shipping cost). RMA number is required.

Where are Lawson capsules manufactured?

Unlike many microphone manufacturers who purchase their capsules from an outside or overseas source, we manufacture the L47 and L251 capsules in our own Nashville machine shop. Each capsule is hand-lapped and the diaphragms are hand-tensioned in our lab in Nashville TN USA.

What are the sonic differences between the L47MPII and the L251?

Both the L47MPII and the L251 are excellent microphones for recording vocals. Each has been lauded as a superb vocal microphone.

The L47MPII is great for male and female vocals and acoustic instruments. (The L47MPII is our most popular mic.) The L47 has a gentle boost in the 3 to 5 kHz range (about 2 dB rise), a small bump around 9 kHz, and afterward is flat to 20 kHz. On the majority of voices, the L47MPII is an excellent choice without any tendency toward sibilance and would be our recommendation for an all-around great vocal mic. It especially shines on vocal and acoustic instruments such as guitar and bass, woodwinds, and piano.

The L251 is the ideal choice if you’re looking for extra air on male and female voices. The L251 exhibits a gentle bump in the 4 kHz region (about 2 dB rise) and a relatively large bump centered at 11 to 12 kHz of almost 5 dB. Because of this high frequency bump, the L47MPII would be a better choice for vocalists who have a tendency toward sibilance. However, the L251 can be used effectively with these voices with a good de-esser program. It too is great on acoustic instruments and is a great microphone for picking up room ambience on such instruments as strings, drums, woodwinds, trumpets. Artists such as Vince Gill and Celine Dion regularly use a 251 for their vocals. If you like it bright and airy, the L251 would be your best choice.

What are the sonic differences between the vacuum tube electronics and FET electronics?

This is a great question and asked quite often. If the L47MPII (vacuum tube) and L47FET (solid state) were fitted with identical capsules, there would be discernable differences between the two based purely on electronics. Both microphones deliver a sound that can be characterized as forward and articulate right out of the box. A vocal recorded with either the L47MPII tube mic or L47FET ( or L251 tube or L251FET) can be beautifully surrounded by the band in the mix for a full, rich, round sound. Most people describe the tube sound as warm with sweet harmonics. It definitely adds color to the instrument. Some people say that the FET (in comparison to the tube model) sounds more clinical. Better words might be truer or cleaner. "Magical" is a word we hear quite often regarding both models.

Both the tube and FET models use the exact same capsule, so there are more sonic similarities between the two microphones than there are differences. In addition, the tube models are more variable, thus more flexible, because of the ability to "dial in" polar patterns. The polar pattern knob located on the power supply is sweepable from omni to cardioid to figure 8 thereby allowing large variations in character. You can really find the "sweet spot" on virtually any vocalist or instrument. Although all Lawson capsules are multi-pattern, when mated to the FET electronics, the polar pattern is fixed in cardioid. The FET cardioid frequency response and the tube cardioid response are identical. But as you know by now, the frequency response doesn't tell the whole story.

Explain the Lawson Tube/FET Combo.

The Lawson Tube/FET Combo is a customer favorite. The Tube/FET Combo includes the following components:

One (1) Lawson FET electronics
One (1) Lawson vacuum tube electronics with supply, cable, and power cord
One (1) L251 Quick Change Capsule
One (1) L47MPII Quick Change Capsule

These four components allow you to configure them in two different ways:

L47MPII Tube Mic and the L251FET
or
L251 Tube Mic and the L47FET

As you can see, the Tube/FET Combo lets you configure the individual components so you have four different microphones with the capability of using two mics at any one time.

What are the differences between the original L47 (MK1) and the L47MPII?

Here is a summary of the features that distinguish the L47MPII from the MK1 model:

1. The MKII uses the 6N1P vacuum tube whereas the original used the 6072. Although each is a nine-pin tube, they are not interchangeable. The 6N1P is in current production and less expensive when it comes time to replace it. As you may know, the Lawson L251 was introduced with the 6N1P tube. Only after the L251's success and extensive listening tests was the decision made to change the L47MP tube circuitry to the 6N1P. The 6N1P gives the MKII lower self noise and higher sound pressure capability.

2. The MKII uses a beefier power supply to accommodate the 6N1P circuitry.

3. The MKII has a low frequency contour switch on the power supply. Although the low frequency contour switch may be used with the L47MP MKII, it is mostly used with the L251 microphone. In the "-Bass/251" position, the L251 emulates the original frequency response of the Tele ELAM 251.

4. The MKII has a cardioid only switch on the base of the microphone. When engaged, this switch disables the multi-pattern control and gives the microphone an additional 3-db higher gain.

5. The MKII uses a Lundahl audio transformer in place of the original Jensen. The Lundahl handles higher sound pressure levels and has a sweeter, more musical character with less distortion in the low frequencies.

The original L47MP and the MKII use the same Lawson creation of the 47 capsule, although we now totally control that process in our shop.

Does Lawson sell demos or blems?

Since Lawson controls all manufacturing processes in-house, we rarely have blems (cosmetically challenged) microphones. Demo units are extremely rare. All microphones must meet or exceed superior sonic parameters. Thus, we DO NOT sell sonically inferior units. Any blems or demos are discounted according to the severity of the cosmetic flaw or, in the case of demos, the age and amount of usage. Although blems and demos are hard to find, it does happen once in a great while. If you’re interested in a discounted model, please call or shoot us an email stating your interest.

Can I plug my L47 capsule into my L251 microphone body (and vice versa)

Yes. All Lawson capsules are compatible with both the tube and FET electronics. NOTE: If you have an L47 MK1, the L251 Quick Change capsule will fit. However, a wire tap mod is required to achieve full multi-pattern functionality. Without the wire tap, the L251 capsule on MK1 models will function as cardioid only.

When should I change the vacuum tube?

We normally do not recommend replacing the tube unless you are experiencing noise or some other unusual sonic artifact such as excessive distortion. Vacuum tube noise usually manifests as spitting or swishing noise.

How do I replace the tube?

For serial numbers 1512 and beyond:

To remove the vacuum tube, first unplug the power supply cable from the mic. Disassemble and remove the mic holder by removing the two wing/thumb nuts exposing the base of the microphone. Remove the two Phillips screws on the bottom of the microphone. The C/MP plate and the body cylinder can then be removed exposing the internal vacuum tube and circuitry. Grasp the tube and pull straight down toward the base of the microphone, taking care not to use sideward motion which could bend the tube pins. Make sure the pins are straight on your new tube by using a tube pin straightener. Line up the tube pins with the socket and push straight in. Replace the body cylinder. Replace the C/MP plate making sure to line up the toggle switch handle with the hole. Replace the two Phillips screws. Do not over-tighten. Reassemble swivel mic holder.

For MK1 and serial numbers 1 through 1511:

To remove the vacuum tube, first unplug the power supply cable from the mic. Remove the three stainless steel screws that are located just below the microphone wire cloth screen. After removal of these screws, hold the mic base AND body with one hand and with the other hand, pull the head/capsule section up and off, separating the head from the mic body. (NOTE: On models with blue or green bodies, a grounding wire connecting the body to the mic chassis may need to be unplugged.) The body cylinder can then be removed from the microphone base exposing the internal vacuum tube and circuitry. Grasp the tube and pull straight down toward the base of the microphone, taking care not to use sideward motion which could bend the tube pins. Make sure the pins are straight on your new tube by using a tube pin straightener. Line up the tube pins with the socket and push straight in. Replace the body cylinder and ground wire. Replace the mic head by carefully mating the connectors. Replace the three screws into the head. Do not overtighten these screws.

Can you recommend a mic pre for use with my Lawson mic?

Lawson mics match well with virtually every mic pre. Of course, our first and foremost recommendation is the Lawson 110A Mic Pre/DI which has been designed specifically for use with Lawson mics. It has a relatively low gain structure which is ideal for close miking of vocals and instruments. It is extremely quiet and linear, has low distortion, and a ruler flat frequency response.

Do I need a shock mount?

Lawson capsules feature an internal proprietary shock mounting system inside the head of the microphone which provides superior shock absorption by even filtering out vibrations that may travel into the microphone via the mic cable. If you require exceptional isolation or just like the retro look of the external spider-type shocks, we also manufacture (coming soon) an external shock mount tailored specifically for Lawson mics.

Oh no! The 48 volt phantom switch was turned on while using my L47MPII (or L251)! What now?

No worries! The 48 volt phantom powering has absolutely no effect on the L47MPII or L251 tube mics. Of course, the 48 volt phantom is required for the L47FET and L251FET.

Can the Lawson tube mic power supply accommodate international AC mains/voltages?

Yes. The Lawson tube mic power supply can be factory set for the following: 100/120/200/220/240 VAC.

Is the 6072 tube used in the MK1 compatible with the 6N1P used in the MKII?

No. The 6072 vacuum tube (aka 12AY7) is not compatible with the 6N1P currently used in the L47MPII and L251. Although we no longer stock the 6072, we can usually refer you to several online vendors who test and sell 6072 tubes suitable for tube mic applications.