Solid-state large diaphragm condenser offers three polar patterns and different voicing settings 30/05/12
Lauten Audio has begun shipping its new microphone, the FC-387 "Atlantis" model, which we previewed in a video from the NAMM show. The new mic is a solid-state large-diaphragm condenser with three distinct personalities. Atlantis features multiple switches for three different polar patterns, gain, and unique timbre settings. Lauten Audio say that the FC-387 offers a blend of full and rich low- and mid-range, as well as smooth and unique high-mid and high-frequencies and they believe that recordists seeking an incredibly diverse and useful modern FET studio microphone will like it. Here's how Lauten tells the story behind the new mic...
The engineer who had a huge 'voice' in the tuning and settings of Atlantis, Fab DuPont, a New York engineer and producer says, "Nobody is making a microphone for the modern recording process - everybody is making microphones as if we were still going through consoles and transformers to tape several times in the process of recording. The reality is we don't. The reality is that we all record into a very clean preamp, into a very clean converter, into a very clean DAW, coming out a very clean D-to-A. And everything in incredibly open and bright and pristine; it's really hard to make a modern, good sounding record because everything is too bright and everything is very wide open."
Fab had been speaking with Brian Loudenslager from Lauten Audio at parties and tradeshows and telling him about this predicament. Fab recalled telling Brian, who agreed to work with him on a new model of Lauten Audio microphone, "I need a microphone that can be custom tailored, for recording female vocalists, so that when they start belting on the chorus - my eyes don't hurt!"
Brian Loudenslager, Founder of Lauten Audio reveals, "It's really been a pleasure and an eye opening experience working with Fab on the Atlantis. Getting what I feel was a true non-biased opinion during the development and tuning of the Atlantis has taught me a lot about how others perceive the timbre of a microphone. This microphone is just so useful, with the many different preamps, voices and sources available today; the Atlantis can work with them all. Just flip a switch, or two."
Fab adds, "The idea was to put it all in one microphone. A microphone that would be neutral enough for modern recording, so that when you plug it into a regular preamp it's all good and it doesn't sound too bright and annoying. Then it would have several personalities. One personality would be the neutral one, one personality would be a mellower one for bright vocalists. And a bright setting too, even brighter than neutral-if you are recording dull instruments you can use that."
After shipping many experimental microphone builds back and forth between California, where Lauten Audio is located, and New York, where Fab's studio is housed, they finally agreed on the specs and the sound of the mic. "We came up with what is now the Atlantis. Which to me is my very first 'desert island mic' - I can do anything with it," says Fab. "It's probably the most versatile mic I've ever had because of those three different personalities."
Multiple switches located on each side and back of the FC-387 Atlantis microphone allow the engineer to uniquely configure it. First is a polar pattern switch giving recordists the option of choosing between Cardioid, Omnidirectional or Figure-8 polar patterns. Borrowing the gain options from its sibling, the Lauten Audio 'Clarion' FC-357 microphone, the Atlantis features a -10db and +10dB switch. The +10dB gain switch increases versatility by allowing a choice of whether to have more character from the preamplifier gain or directly from the microphone, while the -10dB switch reduces its output and increases the maximum SPL level allowing it to record very loud sources.
What makes the Atlantis microphone truly unique is its voicing switch. This feature gives recordists three very different timbres to choose from that satisfy an extremely wide range of recorded sources. The options are: Gentle, Neutral and Forward. The 'Gentle' position provides maximum control of bright or peaky sources like S's in vocal recordings. The 'Neutral' position offers a nice even response with good control over vocal "S" sounds and other audio peaks, while the 'Forward' position can help bring life to dull sources without having to use EQ, but still maintaining control over any peaks.
As are all Lauten Audio microphones, the FC-387 Atlantis is built with extreme attention to detail. From the individually hand-tuned capsule to the premium high-resolution electronics, the microphone is a high-quality precision instrument that will meet or exceed the demands of any studio recording environment.
Fab's experiences with the Atlantis mic in his own studio, recording on real projects, has revealed how well the mic turned out. "I have tracked a pretty impressive amount of vocals through it - that's the mic's main target: vocals - and it has not failed yet. It's great on female vocalists on the 'Gentle' setting," says Fab. "It's great on quiet folk singers on the 'Neutral' setting. It's really great on far away drums and stuff on the bright setting because you get no phase problems, and you get the bite that you need. It's really quite a wonderful mic." "The first thing I did with the Atlantis was the demo for the launch of the Universal Audio Apollo demo, that's a pair of Atlantis mics on the drums. That's also the Atlantis mic on the vocal for the Apollo demo," explains Fab. "I'm doing the next Cyrille Aimée record; she is the next biggest thing in Jazz. She's totally in love with the Atlantis mic for her vocals. Everybody loves it, big engineers, small engineers. It's not for people who go for the look of the mic or the name of the brand; it's for people who actually listen to what's coming out of the speakers. It's for people who really know what the current modern recording problems are and want a solution: Atlantis is the solution." Technical Specifications for Atlantis FC-387:
Type: 31.25mm dual large diaphragm pressure gradient transducer microphone
Polar Patterns: Omnidirectional, Cardioid and Figure-8 selectable
Circuit: Low-noise solid-state FET
Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20Khz
Dynamic Range: 120dB minimum
Impedance: < 200 ohms
Max. SPL: 0.5%THD@1000Hz: 130dB
Self-noise Level: < 12dB(A)
Sensitivity: 16mV/Pa OR -36±2dB 0dB=1V/Pa 1000Hz
3-way -10 dB attenuation, 0dB and +10dB gain switch
3-way Gentle, Neutral, Forward voicing switch
3-way Polar pattern switch
Connector: 3-Pin standard XLR
Power Requirement: +48V phantom power
Pricing and Availability:
The Atlantis FC-387 microphone retails for $1599. US and will be available worldwide from dealers June 1, 2012.