Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Microphone Review / Test

Today we are talking about a stereo 3.5mm lavalier microphone; the Sony ECM-CS3. For the majority of this video, I have connected the microphone to my computer using a new Sabrent USB Soundcard which provides approximately 3.5v to the mic. If you connect this directly to your computers motherboard, you will likely not get similar results.

If you are interested in this gaming headset, it will set you back $18-$20 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone (w/ 1m 3.5mm cable attached)
  2. Documentation
  3. Warranty Card

Specifications

  1. Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
  2. Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz
  3. Sensitivity: -38dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone does not feel that good. It is an all plastic construction and it has a standard rubber cable. The connection point of the cable and the microphone does not appear to be reinforced, so over time I would worry about stress being placed on this joint. However, this is a $20 microphone, so I can't really fault it for having a subpar build.

The frequency response of 50Hz - 15kHz seems absolutely sufficient for this use case, and my voice did not seem artificial or hollow like some other lavalier microphones.

The omnidirectional polar pattern is also fairly forgiving. I could hardly tell a difference between the audio when the microphone was clipped to my collar versus when the mic was clipped to my lapel. On other microphones, this change in placement is clearly apparent in audio. This is both a good and bad thing. On the good side, it affords you greater freedom for microphone placement on yourself or your talent. On the downside, this means it will likely pick up more room noise/ambient noise.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Decent sound quality for price
  • Forgiving polar pattern (mic placement)

Cons

  • Poor build quality
  • Unforgiving polar pattern (ambient noise)

Conclusion

Given the $20 price tag, I cannot fault this microphone for having a less than stellar build quality. On the other hand, I absolutely can praise the mic for sounding better than I was expecting.

I do not think I can recommend this for gamers because it does have an extremely large pickup pattern, meaning it will pick up all your keyboard, mouse, and computer noise. On the other hand, for vloggers who are trying to improve their audio, I think this is a great budget option. Keep in mind that it will still pick up plenty of ambient noise, so if you're in a room for the majority of videos, I do recommend picking up some audio treatment to dampen the reverb.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the ECM-CS3 on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2g0ctQm
UK: http://amzn.to/2h86H4e

Buy the TRRS Splitter on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2gW3v8R
UK: http://amzn.to/2h38a7D

Buy the Sabrent USB Soundcard on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2fX6yAn
UK: http://amzn.to/2g8KxNn

 

Rode smartLav+ Smartphone Mic Review/Test

Today I am talking about a lavalier microphone that plugs directly into your smartphones 3.5mm jack; the Rode SmartLav+ Smartphone Lav Mic

My main concern with purchasing a 3.5mm TRRS microphone, like the smartLav+ is the potential for 3.5mm jacks disappearing from more smart phones in the future. If you are planning on upgrading to an iPhone 7 or any phone that has removed the 3.5mm jack, then this is not the microphone for you.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $80 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Lav Mic
  2. Windscreen
  3. Microphone Clip
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 60Hz - 18kHz
  2. Polar Pattern: Omnidirecitonal 
  3. Mic Sensitivity: -35dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic feels pretty nice. The majority is plastic, but it has a nice reinforced joint where the cable meets the microphone, so I wouldn't be too worried about the cable shorting out. The windscreen is sufficient, and the microphone clip feels really nice, and provides a really nice option to route your mic cable to avoid unnecessary strain. 

The microphone only sounded decent when it was attached to my lapel. When I placed the microphone on the center of my shirt, it sounded much clearer, but still a little dull. This could be easily remedied with a quick EQ. When comparing it to a similar lavalier microphone that is only $40, I heard almost no difference, but this could be attributed to the fact that both mics were being run through the Rode Rec app. 

Pros

  • Reinforced cable joint
  • Provides wireless functionality w/ relatively low price tag
  • Nice mic clip

Cons

  • A bit expensive for sound quality achieved

Conclusion

This is only a decent microphone. It has a decent build quality but the audio quality leaves a bit to be desired. I also plan on upgrading to a new phone that has done away with the 3.5mm TRRS jack, so this mic will be obsolete if this trend continues.

I would only really recommend this if you are a Rode mic purist, or if you want a mic that plugs directly into your smartphone with no adapters needed. Other than that, I don't think it performs at a level that justifies the $80 price tag. You can pick up a microphone for half the price along with a TRRS adapter and have the same quality audio.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2dChCT5
UK: http://amzn.to/2dnFJ4M

Tonor USB Tie-clip Mic (SF-911B) Review / Test

Today I am reviewing Tonor USB Tie-Clip / Desktop Microphone (SF-911B). The idea behind this microphone is awesome! A plug and play lavalier/lapel microphone that connects to any Windows or Mac computer through it's USB port. Unfortunately, only the idea of this mic is good.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $10 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone w/ 1.5m USB Cable
  2. Desktop Stand
  3. Windscreen
  4. Carrying Pouch
  5. Directions

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is very inconsistent. The microphone capsule is encased in metal which gives it a nice sturdy feel and some nice weight. The USB cable is a standard usb cable so there's nothing special there. On the cable a few inches below the mic is a rectangular box that I am assuming contains the circuitry for the USB interface, which I think is placed in a HORRIBLE location. The mic stand feels cheap, but offers some nice options as far as microphone positioning, and it offers some cable management on the bottom side of the stand.

The frequency response of this mic is listed as 100Hz - 16kHz which is pretty nice for a cheap USB mic. It offers decent sound for the voice, but as you would expect, it lacks a bit of presence/high-end when clipped to your shirt.  

The polar pattern of this microphone is omni directional which is standard for lapel microphones. However, for a USB version of this microphone, they should consider offering a Unidirectional model to help eliminate background noise from the keyboard.

When connected to the computer, there was also a HUGE issue with digital noise. No matter what I set my gain at, I could not escape the digital noise that is reminiscent of morse code. Also, when you touch the metal microphone capsule, it seems to cause a short/grounding issue that increases the buzz even more. This could be avoided by adding the windscreen.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Nice feeling microphone capsule
  • Stand has cable management
  • Plug and play

Cons

  • HORRIBLE digital buzz/hiss no matter what the gain is set to
  • Contact with metal microphone capsule increases buzz issue
  • Poor location for circuitry
  • Signal is quiet

Conclusion

DO NOT BUY THIS MICROPHONE! I do not think that anyone should waste their money on this thing. The idea behind it is great, but the execution was horrible. There's a constant buzz that is only amplified if you make the mistake of touching the microphone capsule. The signal is also fairly quiet which means you will most likely have to crank your gain which will also amplify the digital noise. All around, the USB model of this mic is just not a good option for anyone.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the SF-911B:
US: http://amzn.to/29Gb4LD
UK: http://amzn.to/29HuJvA

Aspen Mics HQ-S (HQ-SPK) Lavalier Microphone Review

This time I am back with a review of a stereo Lavalier mic as well as a complementary piece of gear that allows this mic to function as an extension of your smart phone. I am testing out the Aspen Mics HQ-S & Aspen Mics HQ-SPK

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back between $45-$50 and it is available through the links at the bottom of the article.

WARNING: This microphone will has a standard operating voltage of 2.0 - 10.0 volts. This means it requires a minimum of 2.0 volts to work, and if you exceed 10.0 volts, you risk damaging your microphone. 

What's In the Box

  1. Stereo Lavalier Mic (w/ 54-inch cable)
  2. Lapel Clip
  3. Two Foam Windscreen's
  4. TRRS Adapter (if you purchase the SPK kit)
  5. Metal Carrying Case
  6. QA Check List
  7. 5-year Warranty

Performance / Features

The build quality of this lavalier microphone is fairly standard for a lav mic. It has a rubber cable 54-inch cable, a metal microphone capsule, and a metal lapel clip. The lapel clip is significantly smaller than most cheap lav mics which is helpful when attempting to conceal it on your clothing.

The metal carrying case is also a nice addition as I have not received a Lav mic that included a way to carry/store the microphone. 

The frequency response of this microphone is 20Hz - 20kHz. Even when clipped to your shirt, far away from the sound source, you get very nice presence unlike some cheaper mics I have tested.

As per usual for a Lav mic the polar pattern is Omni-Directional which means you will pick up a bit of ambient noise. So just keep that in mind when planning out your shoots or recording environments. 

As I mentioned, the standard operating voltage is 2.0 - 10.0 volts. So you need to stay with in this range in order to get good results out of the microphone.

Pros

  • Very nice sound
  • Smart Phone Compatible
  • Full frequency response
  • Small Lapel Clip
  • Metal Carrying Case
  • 5-Year Warranty

Cons

  • Standard Rubber Cable
  • Omni-directional polar pattern picks up ambient noise (but is required for a lavalier mic to work well, so it's not really a con)

Conclusion

This is a pretty rad little lavalier microphone. I think the sound reproduction was great, and the smartphone capabilities are a huge plus because it essentially provides you with a wireless microphone. I was also able to use this microphone across every single platform I tested with very nice results.

I should note that just like most other lavalier microphones, this is omni-directional, so it will pick up a bit of ambient noise. Therefore, it is important to take into account when planning where you will be using this microphone. 

I would basically recommend this to anyone who is looking for a lavalier microphone for interviews, or vlogs. It is a great price, and it works very well on the smartphone, camera and computer. 

If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Aspen Mics HQ-S: http://amzn.to/1TgdJAG
HQ-SPK: http://aspenmics.com/col...
TRRS Adapter: http://amzn.to/1TgdSUH

Neewer 3.5mm Mini Lapel Mic Review / Test

The Neewer 3.5mm Mini Lapel Mic is a super cheap option for people who want to try a lavalier mic for their videos.

What's In the Box 

  1. The Microphone(s)

Performance / Features

The build quality on these mics is terrible. I have had multiple mics fail in the middle of a day long shoot which ended up rendering the video for the entire day useless. This is a huge pain, but you have to realize that they are about $1.50 a piece.

The microphone sounds decent, especially when held in front of the sound source. It has a decent enough low response and a clear high end. However, once the microphone is clipped to a shirt, you lose a lot of the clarity. This is fairly common with most lapel microphones, so I can't hold it against this mic in particular. 

Pros

  • SUPER CHEAP
  • Decent sound

Cons

  • Horrible build quality
  • Picks up lots background noise
  • Loss of clarity when clipped to shirt

Conclusion

I think that this is a great entry level lapel microphone. If you're trying to make a vlog or something, this is a great option to see if you like the idea of using a Lapel mic. I don't think that this is a good long term option (but I still continue to use them after a few mishaps with the mic failing).

So I would recommend this to anyone interested in lapel mics, or to anyone who is on a budget. If you have any additional questions about this headset, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

5-Pack: http://amzn.to/1JRw9E4
3-Pack: http://amzn.to/1WiuTvw
USB Soundcard Used: http://amzn.to/1INAuru