The Lauten Audio LS-208 is a companion microphone to the LS-308. Both are part of their Synergy Series, designed to reduce bleed in lively environments. The LS-208 is a front address, large diaphragm condenser voice and instrument microphone that is equally suited for use in broadcast, sound reinforcement, podcasting, and studio recording. It features excellent off-axis rejection, a wide frequency response with 135 dB of SPL handling, plus high- and low-cut filters on the mic body. The LS-208 ships with both a shock mount and a hard mount, a foam windscreen, and a sturdy road case.

I used the LS-208 in a variety of applications and found the results quite appealing. While I'm not one to typically use a condenser on a snare drum, I couldn't resist trying the LS-208 in this application. The tone was surprisingly warm and fat with the perfect amount of crispness. The high-pass filter was perfect for reducing kick drum bleed without sacrificing the warmth of the snare. This filter has two roll off settings, 50 Hz and 120 Hz; you have flexibility in shaping your tone. I also used the LS-208 on hi-hats during the same session, which yielded a tight, focused, and warm sound.

As a studio vocal mic, the LS-208 sounds nice on male and female vocals through either tube or solid state preamps. It's off-axis rejection works well for recording vocals and acoustic guitar together. The design of this mic would not be physically ideal as a live performance handheld vocal mic, as it is a little blocky. However, it does have benefits in live applications on drums, percussion, and amps. On electric guitar amps it captures a full and round tone. Combine this with its superb off-axis rejection and you've got a good mic for use in lively studio or stage situations.

In order to get a perspective of the LS-208's merits as a podcasting mic, I leant it out to Matt Boudreau, host of the Working Class Audio podcast. Here's what he had to say: "Podcasts are all the rage these days, and it's evident with the offerings from pro audio companies. In the world of podcasting, who doesn't want to achieve the holy grail of speech sound that is NPR? The problem is that voices come in all shapes and sizes, and a podcaster needs flexible tools to achieve audio nirvana. Many podcasters and home recordists know that high-pass filters are commonplace on microphones for filtering out rumble from air conditioners or idling delivery trucks. The LS-208 is, of course, equipped for that task with its high-pass filter choices. However, what the LS-208 brings to the table that I appreciate is not simply a great form factor and sound, but the addition of a low-pass filter, which comes in handy for voices and other sources that are too bright or sibilant. That ability to shape your sound at the source saves time on the back end. It also helps when a guest you are interviewing sounds good in the headphones – that way, everyone can focus on the interview and not the sound. With an MSRP $599, the LS-208 may not appeal to the beginning podcaster's budget but will make an incredible upgrade sonically once your podcast has grown beyond the beginner stage."

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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