Today, we’ll be reviewing Lauten Audio’s LS-208 front-address large-diaphragm condenser microphone.
Lauten Audio is a small, family-owned company, which has been making unique boutique microphones since around 2006. Let’s see what they’ve managed to pull off with the LS-208.
Our verdict on the Lauten Audio LS-208
The LS-208 is an incredible microphone, boasting a performance that is equally neutral and versatile.
It seems that Lauten Audio has taken everything there is to love about the Electro-Voice RE-20, and expanded upon the basic principles of its performance.
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Polar pattern and frequency response
The LS-208 is a cardioid microphone with a reported frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz. While its appearance is that of a microphone fit more for broadcast or podcasting, we found it to be incredibly useful in the studio.
Its max SPL of 135 dB, making it a good candidate for louder sound sources such as large bass cabinets, drums, or brass.
Its frequency response is incredibly flat, leaving its performance somewhat reminiscent of the Electro-Voice RE-20, although the LS-208 is even flatter in comparison.
It begins to gradually drop off around 50 Hz, and has slight peaks around 6.5 kHz and 12.5 kHz, before finally dropping off again at 15 kHz.
The LS-208 is also incredibly good at off-axis rejection, and can function as a capable top-snare mic without picking up the hi-hats.
This microphone features 50 Hz and 120 Hz hi-pass filters, as well as 8 kHz and 10 kHz low-pass filters, which is fairly unusual. This allows for even more flexibility to what would already be considered a workhorse mic.
We should mention that the LS-208 has a high output impedance of 150 Ohms, meaning that you may want to give some thought to investing in a decent external preamplifier if you don’t already have one. This is a fairly gain-hungry microphone.
While this isn’t the brightest microphone out there, it can be a good option for a variety of different vocal types and styles.
Its flat response allows for a neutral sound, which can then be processed rather easily. Its several hi-pass and lo-pass filters also give it even more flexibility for studio vocals.
While it could feasibly work as a live microphone, it is incredibly gain-hungry and heavy. So, probably best to go with your classic SM58, rather than lugging the LS-208 around along with a preamp.
Its high SPL and stellar off-axis rejection make it a great candidate for recording drums.
Its wide frequency response also makes it fairly flexible, and can work well for kicks, toms, or top and bottom snare.
As a top-snare microphone, we were surprised how much hi-hat it was able to reject.
It is rather bulky though, so for this specific application it might be fair to expect the drum to give it a few accidental whacks.
One of the more perfect applications for this microphone, as it can handle loud sound sources while maintaining a neutral response.
Again, its high SPL and neutral response comes in handy when recording larger bass cabinets.
While it can still pick up many of the lower frequencies necessary for recording bass, it may be better to use it in addition to a more suitable microphone like the Shure Beta 52A or something similar.
The LS-208 is perfectly capable on its own, but even better as a secondary microphone for detail and tone.
This could potentially be good for recording acoustic guitars, although you might be better off with a condenser or a ribbon microphone if you want to capture more of your guitar’s character.
This thing is built like a tank, and weighs in at about one pound. The microphone is all business and no frills, coming in an all-back finish with a simple hard case.
Compared to other microphones
Here are a few microphones to compare against the Lauten Audio LS-208.
Lauten Audio LS-208 vs. Electro-Voice RE20
The performances of both mics is eerily similar, as both showcase a flat frequency response and a high SPL.
While the RE20 is an iconic microphone, the LS-208 seems to have taken its formula and heightened it with a wider response, and more frills. The only drawback being that the LS-208 is more expensive.
Either way, these are two excellent microphones.
Lauten Audio LS-208 vs. Shure SM7B
The SM7B is a wonderful microphone for broadcasting, and can be a good fit when used in several other applications.
It is far more affordable, sitting around the $400 mark, but it is far more geared to recording vocals than anything else.
Lauten Audio LS-208 vs. Audio-Technica BP40
Similar thoughts as to the SM7B, although the BP40 has an insane max SPL of 450 Ohms, so not having a good external preamp as your disposal isn’t an option.
Who is the Lauten Audio LS-208 best suited for?
This is a great microphone for anybody trying to up their drum recording game, or their recording game in general.
The LS-208 is an absolute workhorse, and can be used in a plethora of different applications without much variance in the quality of its performance.
- Flat frequency response.
- Built like a tank.
- Hi and lo-pass filters make it fairly flexible.
- Excellent off-axis rejection.
- Great at capturing louder sound sources.
- Moderately expensive.
- May require a decent external preamplifier.