Lawson L47c Single Pattern Cardioid Tube Microphone (6072)

I’ve always been interested in Gene Lawson’s L47, L251, etc microphones – you know, the big gold ones. They are excellent mics and are consistently great on so many sources, especially vocals, acoustic instruments, and drum overhead/room micing. The L47c is quite rare these days – it was the version of the L47 that was cardioid only. Occasionally, they come up on ebay, but not very often.

lawson microphoneThere isn’t a whole lot of historical information on the L47c that exists online. Examples I have seen use a 6072 tube exclusively – this was way before the mkII (the L47c mics I have seen were built around 1991). Gene went through a revision of the L47 where he used an EF-86 tube as well. The circuit is quite a bit simpler than the current mkII mics and the build feels more “custom” than the current generation mics. There is no serial number on the bodies that I have seen (though it may exist); the only obvious serial of sorts lives on the bottom of the headbasket. This “serial” is Gene’s signature and the date of manufacture. This was presumably prior to the time when he started writing the serials of the head assemblies in addition to his signature. The headbasket is also of a different design than the current bodies today and the whole microphone comes apart in a different manner than the mkII versions.

The power supply lacks the pattern and pad switches and the cable and connectors are 5 pin rather than 7 pin as used today. I’m not quite sure of the cable manufacturer –  today Gotham is used, but the case is still a Pelican, albeit a different design.

The sound of a L47c mic is outstanding – it is a very nice complement to the current Lawson mkII mics and easily holds its own with them, sometimes giving something more on some voices, and sometimes something else. The mic retains the L47’s high end reach and detail, but has a nice throaty low end. It is consistent with what I’d call the “signature” of Lawson’s microphones – clear, deep, exceptionally detailed, and super-real. Within this signature, there are several variations that I have come to know. The L47c mics that have come through my studio have had that lower-mid beefiness that I don’t remember the L47 mkII having quite so much of, but Gene can personally tweak his capsules to give users what they want – it’s something that he has always done because he makes everything by hand at his shop in Nashville. The different circuit, different tube, and capsule variations all contribute to what I’ve heard here.

Which brings us to another story: The “Experimental” Lawson Mics
With all of the aftermarket capsules being made today (Tim Campbell, Dale Uhen, etc.), there is a renewed interest in the quality of the smaller manufacturers’ capsules. One interesting story that I’d like to cover here in the future is the Lawson experimental capsules because there is almost no information on the web about these. If you have any info on these, please leave a comment. There is the aborted-from-production L67 capsule from years ago, and Gene has made many other capsule variations over the years, constantly experimenting with the designs. Some of these have made it out into the world, but most haven’t and their mere existence is relegated to dusty message board posts from years ago.

Interest in the Lawson microphone line has been strong for more than 20 years, but it is only going to increase in the coming years and as it does, some of the oddities and lesser known mics, like the L47c, will begin to come out of the woodwork. I’ll be reviewing more of them in the coming months.

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Comments
5 Responses to “Lawson L47c Single Pattern Cardioid Tube Microphone (6072)”
  1. Tony Sayer says:

    Thanks for this post. I have always been interested in Lawson microphones since I read some reviews in the 90’s when I was first interested in recording. I now have a good microphone collection and have done a lot of recordings but have never tried a Lawson. A Lawson L47C came up on Ebay last week and your post was the best information I could find on it. I have purchased the microphone and am looking forward to it arriving. Thanks again, Tony

    • monkbam says:

      Tony, thanks! Let us know what you think about the mic once you’ve had some time with it.

    • monkbam says:

      Tony,

      Hopefully you got the mic by now (5 months later). What are your thoughts on it?

      • Tony Sayer says:

        Sorry for the near two year delay in replying. I have the microphone and have used it quite a lot. It sounds great and suits a lot of singers. I’ve been using it mostly on female vocals.

      • monkbam says:

        Great to hear. It definitely has a different thing going on than Gene’s 251 capsule. Both have their own characters and both are very useful in a lot of situations. There’s no question that the Lawson electronics are tailored for Gene’s capsule, but Tim’s CT-12 does give that mic another personality. Both iterations are really, really good.

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