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Lampifier 711 Dynamic Mic with Sound Processing Review

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Testing The Lampifier 711

In a vast sea of dynamic stage mics, it's not often that a manufacturer stands out for being as practical and refreshingly innovative as Lampifier Microphones. Most microphone companies release new m odels which feature tweaked EQ responses or pickup patterns, but seldom offer something truly ground breaking. Gary Osborne, the man behind Lampifier microphones, has a very unique and refreshing vision which inspired his new microphone designs. {C}


The Lampifier 711 is a uniquely cutting-edge professional dynamic mic which features an internal sound processing unit. The Lampifier uses light pulses emitted from a tiny lamp to regulate the microphone's built-in compressor. This enables the Lampifier to nicely accommodate the dynamics of a wide range of singers and instruments, as well as reduce plosives and excessive sibilance. Because the Lampifier technology does such a great job of regulating audio input (the compressors attack/release time and ratio change with the incoming signal) there is far less of a need to adjust the microphones  levels and EQ on an external soundboard. That's right, the sound is optimized entirely within the microphone itself. In addition to controlling compression, the internal sound processor also boosts the warmth and clarity of instruments and vocals while intelligently blocking low-level feedback and unwanted background noise, allowing desired sounds to cut through the mix. The internal sound processor comes pre-programmed for general use, but is also fully customizable and can be reprogrammed to suit a wide range of instrumental and vocal applications. Reprogramming the microphone is as easy as changing the order of shunts (jumper pins) inside the microphone body.



At first glance, the Lampifier appears quite durable, its all metal body makes it resistant to road wear and abuse by performers and roadies. Personally, I think the 711's silver mesh grill could stand to look more unique as it appears a bit too similar to the Shure SM58. Regardless, looks are not nearly as important as functionality, and the Lampifier 711 has definitely been engineered for performance over appearance. The Lampifier 711 requires 48v Phantom Power to operate, so users will be needing to supply an external Phantom Power unit if the PA or mixer does not have it onboard.


I gave the 711 an initial test run by plugging it into the PA at my rehearsal space. I first noticed how much more output it has compared to my Shure SM58, I didn't take any measurements with a decibel meter, but the 711 seemed almost twice as loud as the 58 at the same gain settings on my mixer. I was curious to hear how the built-in compressor sounded and responded to a wide variety of singing, and I was pleased to observe that it did was not at all heavy-handed or squash sounding, even as I sang as loud as I could. The compression was something that I felt more than heard, and for live singing or public speech, a compressor that is relatively invisibleâ� is something that is very important, as too much compression results in an unnatural sound that draws too much attention to itself. As far as the sound of the mic, to my ears it sounded like a cross between a dynamic and a condenser mic, in that it had more clarity and high end than the average stage mic, while still maintaining its warmth and smoothness. My first impression was very positive, and I thought I would be fun to put the mic through a much more rigorous and comprehensive test by using it as the vocal mic at karaoke night at one of the local pubs.



This particular pub, charming as it is, has a notoriously mediocre sound due partly to the low-end PA system and speakers as well as the lack of any acoustic treatment. (Though I suppose the throng of beer filled patrons and aspiring karaoke stars could count towards some form of sound absorption.) I met with the karaoke hostess while setting up and she graciously agreed to let me use the Lampifier 711 instead of the standard SM58. I sat in the corner of the pub with pint glass in hand and listened to the results. I could hear right away the Lampifier made a marked improvement of the vocal sound as the singers voices cut more clearly through the muddy sounding room than ever before – the slight presence boost and open high end I observed really gave a heightened intelligibility and clarity that helped the vocals and lyrics be more clearly heard. Another thing I noticed is that the level changes that are caused by different singers performing at different volumes wasn’t nearly as drastic as it can be on the SM58. I wasn't able to detect any negative compression artifacts from the built-in compressor, and the mic seemed to be much more forgiving when it came to placement and proximity to its source. After karaoke was over and the bleary-eyed patrons started shuffling out the door, I spoke with the karaoke hostess who affirmed the positive effects I was hearing and jokingly asked if the bar could hold onto the mic.


Even though I did not test this mic in every vocal situation, I'm confident that it would be ideal for use at public speaking events, due to its exceptional quality of sound and management of different voices and volume levels. Essentially, the Lampifier is not a fussy mic, which equates to spending less time setting up your external compressors and outboard EQ. The one thing that could be slightly cumbersome is that, if you do want to adjust the internal compression and noise gate settings, you will have to disassemble the microphone body and refer to the website online to see how the components need to be adjusted to change the processors' characteristics. If you'd rather not disassemble your microphone, the manufacturer also offers pre-set mics that they will adjust at the factory before shipping your order. I must congratulate Lampifier for raising the bar by introducing finely-tuned processors and expert sound management into a live performance environment. If you'd like to learn more about Lampifier models and technology, check out their website at www.lampifier.com

Review by Travis North

*This product review is a courtesy of The Modern Vocalist World and is endorsed by The Vocalist Studio International.


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