Tag Archives: Microphone

Post-Pandemic Wireless System Care: The Show Must Go ‘On’

As live events start to come back, it’s crucial to get wireless audio gear back in working order long before you need it.
As live events start to come back, it’s crucial to get every wireless system back in working order long before you need it.

When COVID-19 cases spiked last March, most people figured that we were looking at a limited shutdown—perhaps a few months. This happened just as sound companies and rental houses were preparing for the summer concert season. The global lockdown was extremely trying for everyone, and the pro audio community felt its share of the impact in 2020.

Jim MacGregor
Jim MacGregor is senior manager, Global Pro Audio Marketing at Shure. Matt Mrozinski

The past year has been a pretty rough time for the music industry, especially in live events. No tours, no venues, no festivals—for a full year. Now, with vaccines being distributed, live events are being tentatively planned, venues are slowly being reopened, and equipment in storage is being readied for normal use.

For most equipment, standard downtime procedures apply: Pull out that gear, dust it off, set it up, and make sure it’s sounding good and ready for action. Check your cables, lubricate wheels and hinges, tighten screws and bolts.

But while most sound companies and rental houses have solid procedures for off-season storage and reboot, one year is a long time, especially for batteries. Most of today’s wireless systems—microphones, in-ears, and intercoms—are designed for constant usage via lithium ion rechargeable batteries. The problem? No company plans for its gear to spend a full year offline.

Here’s a key fact: Even when not plugged in or powered up, all battery cells remain electrically active. That means a small, steady loss of power over time that, potentially, can affect performance. While in theory, everything should be fine, you’ll want to confirm that everything is working properly before your wireless system is back in service. So, just as you will need fresh frequency scans for your wireless systems, it’s equally important to make sure their batteries are performing properly.

Companies to Watch 2021

Many a wireless system today features advanced lithium ion rechargeable batteries. These are marvels of engineering, highly resistant to memory effects and degradation. Assuming they were stored at room temperature range, it’s unlikely there will be any issue. Still, storing batteries for a full year was never part of the plan. Fortunately, the engineers at Shure have been studying the situation.

If your battery charger offers a Storage Mode, use it! This feature charges the batteries to a slightly depleted state, optimal for long-term storage. Several Shure chargers offer this feature. For example, the AXT900 charger can put the batteries in storage mode. This puts the voltage of the battery at a mid-range point (3.8 volts), which is best for the battery.

Also, keep the battery from getting too hot or too cold. Lithium ion batteries can lose health when stored in cold or hot areas. For best performance, store the batteries in normal room temperatures.

If you haven’t used your rechargeable batteries in a while, don’t wait; do the following now: Put your lithium ion batteries through several power cycles—at least two—before being returned to routine service. This serves to physically demonstrate the run time while simultaneously stabilizing the electrochemical properties of the batteries. Please review your owner’s manual and documentation and follow all other safety recommendations for handling lithium ion batteries. If your battery fails to charge after the power cycles, contact the manufacturer for further guidelines.

We’re all excited at the prospect of the live events industry working again. At the same time, we urge everyone to be patient, stay safe, and follow appropriate protocols.

Shure • www.shure.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Audio-Technica Launches ES945 and ES947 Boundary Mic Variations

Shown L-R, top row: Audio-Technica ES945O/TB3, ES945O/FM5 and ES945O/XLR Omnidirectional Condenser Boundary Microphones; bottom row: ES947WC/TB3, ES947C/FM3 and ES947WC/XLR Cardioid Condenser Boundary Microphones.

Stow, OH (March 8, 2021) — Audio-Technica has developed a number of new variations of its ES945 Omnidirectional Condenser Boundary Microphone and ES947 Cardioid Condenser Boundary Microphone.

The existing ES945 and ES947 models are being replaced by the new ES945O/XLR (omnidirectional) and ES947C/XLR (cardioid), with new functionality including IPX4 water resistance. The mics are designed for surface-mount applications such as conferencing, recording, monitoring and so on, and are available in black and white versions. They’re being joined by new miniature versions, the ES945O/TB3 and ES947C/TB3, which are smaller to enable extra-inconspicuous tabletop, ceiling and wall mounting.

Companies to Watch 2021

Meanwhile, the existing ES945/LED and ES947/LED models intended specifically for conferencing are being replaced by the new ES945O/FM3 and ES947C/FM3. These mics feature a two-state RGB LED ring (7 selectable colors + OFF) to indicate mute status and a touch-sensitive capacitive user switch that enables local muting. The “FM3” models feature a 3-pin XLR output connector.

Additionally, brand-new to the line are the new ES945O/FM5 and ES947C/FM5, which are similar to the “FM3” models but feature a 5-pin XLR output connector. With the “FM5” models, not only can the switch be configured to toggle between mute and live audio, but, with the microphone’s external contact closure, it can also be set up to trigger an external device, such as a camera or the room’s lighting.

All of the water-resistant “XLR” versions and miniature “TB3” versions run $249, while the FM3 and FM5 versions are $329 and $349, respectively

Audio-Technica • www.audio-technica.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

The Tula Mic – A Real-World Review

The Tula Microphone
The Tula Microphone sports a built-in stand that is removable and surprisingly robust noise cancellation.

As the debut product from Tula Mics, the appropriately named Tula Microphone is pretty unique, and not just because of its lustrous exterior. Instead of being another pocket-sized recorder that can double as a USB mic, the Tula is a pocket-sized USB mic that can double as a recorder. That may sound like splitting hairs, but it’s indicative of where the mic and the company behind it are coming from, rethinking the familiar from a different vantage point.

Roughly the size of a deck of cards, the Tula Mic is a stylish prosumer microphone designed for use in podcasting, content creation, the work-from-home world and so on, and it has a price tag to match at $199. Housed in the Tula’s solid metal/plastic case—available in black, red and cream—are cardioid and omnidirectional capsules, Burr Brown op amps, a Texas Instruments audio codec and a custom iteration of Swedish music software company Klevgrand’s Brusfri noise reduction algorithm. The mic connects to computers and devices via a USB-C port on back, and comes packaged with a USB-C to USB-A cable, a built-in (but removable) stand, and a universal threaded mic stand adaptor.

For those who use the Tula as a recorder, there’s 8 GB of internal memory (no SD or MicroSD cards here) which can hold up to 14 hours of recordings captured in .WAV format. When used on its own without a computer, the Tula is powered by a rechargable internal 3.7 V 700 mAh lithium ion battery that can hold enough power to record continuously for 10-12 hours with noise cancelation on, and 14 hours without. The Tula recharges via the USB-C cable, and when plugged into a computer, it appears on the desktop as a USB drive, allowing users to copy audio files to their machine.

The Tula Microphone
The Tula Microphone with its threaded mic stand adaptor (mic stand not included).

Sporting a retro-futuristic look that vaguely recalls the Star Trek communicators of yore, the Tula has a minimalist design that underscores the usually intuitive controls on the mic. Aside from the detachable built-in stand, there are no moving parts on the Tula. All the control buttons run up each side of the mic and are under pressable mesh; notably, there is no screen on the Tula to convey information like settings, gain and so on, so crucial info is instead provided through two LEDs on the front face. Thanks to that minimalism, the mic may have a timeless look but there’s also far fewer parts to potentially break—a crucial factor for a mic that is likely to get tossed in backpacks and the like.

When used strictly as a USB mic, the Tula is pretty straightforward; it gets power from the USB-C cable in the back, but still requires the user to hit the On/Off button to activate it. The Tula defaults to the cardioid capsule, but a short tap of the Mic Select button switches to the Omni, and a long tap activates the Tula’s 3.5 mm lav mic input, which doubles as a headphone jack for playback.

Perhaps the Tula’s strongest selling point is its noise cancellation, because the onboard Klevgrand Brusfri algorithm gets the job done. In testing, I unfairly placed the Tula just six inches from a loud space-heater blasting right at the mic, started talking and hit the NC button halfway through recording. Upon playback, I found the algorithm had ripped that noisy heater out of the recording, leaving my voice very clear and usable, if unsurprisingly missing some low end. Lest that scare you off using the NC button, don’t fret; the Tula automatically records two copies of your audio file—one with noise cancellation and one without—so that you have options come edit time. Still, the noise cancellation is a real problem-solver, if not a miracle worker. It’s not supposed to offer the scalpel-like precision of your favorite audio repair plug-in, but it does an impressive job on the fly of creating more than passable audio in less than ideal circumstances; in those instances, the Tula’s noise cancellation really shines.

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Used as a stand-alone recorder, the Tula is slightly less impressive—it records well, but is somewhat hindered by the device’s sleek minimalism. Most of the buttons’ functions are relatively clear, labeled with familiar universal icons for ‘record,’ ‘stop’ and the like. Confusingly, however, there are two Playback Volume buttons and two Gain Level buttons, and both sets are labeled with identical +/- symbols. That aggravation aside, the Gain Level buttons work well (once you remember which are which); adjusting in 5 dB increments, they affect an LED light on the front that alternately flashes green, yellow and red to help gauge the right level.

In all, the Tula offers a unique sense of style and design for its intended audience of content-creators—a market where, once video comes into play, a mic’s looks can be as important as its sound. The cleverly designed controls can be a little too clever at times, but the surprisingly robust on-board noise cancellation is impressive and will come in handy, especially for users who take the Tula out into the real world. The Tula Mic marks a solid debut for its namesake company.

Tula Mics • www.tulamics.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Monoprice Launches Stage Right Podcasting Bundle

Monoprice Stage Right Podcasting Bundle
Monoprice Stage Right Podcasting Bundle

Brea, CA (February 4, 2021) — Monoprice has launched an expanded podcasting/streaming bundle centered around its Stage Right microphone. Augmented with an accessories package, the bundle is intended for entry-level use.

The Stage Right Complete Podcasting and Streaming Bundle includes a USB condenser mic, a pair of headphones, a mic stand, and other accessories. The headphones can be plugged into the USB microphone’s headphone jack so users can monitor without the need for additional hardware.

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The headphone volume level can be adjusted independently of the microphone output level using the headphone volume knob on the mic.

The USB condenser microphone itself features a 16-bit/48 kHz sampling rate, and comes with a broadcast-style mic boom, pop filter, mic clip, mount bracket and windscreen.

Monoprice • https://www.monoprice.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Adorama Debuts H&A AC50 Studio Broadcast Microphone

H&A AC50 Studio Broadcast Microphone
H&A AC50 Studio Broadcast Microphone

New York, NY (February 4, 2021)—H&A has unveiled its new AC50 Studio Broadcast Microphone, primarily intended for use on podcasts, narration, or vocals.

The cardioid dynamic microphone features an internal pop filter, a low-cut filter switch, microphone clip, a standard mount adapter, and a molded ABS protective case lined with impact resistant foam for storage and transportation.

Using a cardioid pattern, the mic primarily sounds in front, eschewing off-axis noise, making it appropriate for podcasting or vocal performances. Inside the mic, along with the mesh shielding, the internal pop filter helps eliminate distortion and allows for instant control of plosives when talking close to the microphone.  The Low Cut Filter Switch allows users to reduce low frequencies by –10 dB in order to maintain an overall flat frequency response when needed. The microphone features a shielded all–aluminum construction and durable finish.

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Based around an XLR output connection, the mic doesn’t require phantom power and offers a 20 – 20,000 Hz wide frequency response.

Available exclusively at Adorama, the H&A AC50 Studio Broadcast Microphone is now available for $99.95.

Adorama • https://www.adorama.com/haac50.html

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Boss Launches WL-30XLR Wireless System

Boss WL-30XLR Wireless System
Boss WL-30XLR Wireless System

Los Angeles, CA (February 3, 2021)—While typically best known for its long-running range of guitar and bass effect pedals, Boss has introduced its new WL-30XLR Wireless System for XLR dynamic microphones.

The entry level system is intended to simplify the adoption of wireless mics for non-technical users such as singers, speakers, DJs, MCs, video producers and others.

The WL-30XLR system consists of a streamlined transmitter that connects to nearly any standard XLR dynamic mic, and a compact receiver that plugs into an XLR mic input on a mixer, stage amp, or other audio destination. The system’s processing reportedly provides ultra-low latency, plus strong line-of-sight transmission up to 230 feet/70 meters.

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The WL-30XLR’s receiver and transmitter each use a single AA alkaline battery, which provides up to 11 hours runtime to cover multiple gigs and rehearsals.

Wireless set up with the WL-30XLR is simple. First, the user presses a button on the receiver to automatically scan 14 channels and find the best one for their environment. Next, they confirm the setting on the transmitter, and they’re ready to go.

The Boss WL-30XLR Wireless System is available now for $299.99.

Boss • www.boss.info

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Paul “Willie Green” Womack Tours Telefunken

Independent hip-hop and R&B producer Paul "Willie Green" Womack at the controls.
Independent hip-hop and R&B producer Paul “Willie Green” Womack at the controls.

South Windsor, CT (January 29, 2021)—Independent hip-hop and R&B producer Paul “Willie Green” Womack recently returned from filming a video at Telefunken’s headquarters and has also been putting his new Telefunken TF11 microphone through its paces at his Brooklyn recording studio.

Green with his new Telefunken TF11 microphone.
Green with his new Telefunken TF11 microphone.

Green was at Telefunken’s headquarters in Connecticut to produce and film 30 minutes in the company’s recording studio and sound stage for the 2021 NAMM Believe in Music Week: “By visiting their manufacturing center, I could see firsthand how their mics are put together so meticulously.”

Green, whose production credits include Wiz Khalifa, Donnie McClurkin, The Roots, Billy Woods, Elucid and others, continues, “My first impression is that the new TF11 sounds very polished, and it sounds like a modern microphone. Telefunken has such a long history of so many great mics, but this one has a progressive, refined sound, which is what I was looking for, especially for the hip-hop and R&B I do.

“The top end is bright and not hyped, and it’s open and airy, the way you want, especially for modern R&B. You want that top end on there, but for things I would usually do for an R&B or a pop record, like boosting EQ to brighten it up — I don’t need to do that with the TF11. It just sounds that way right out of the box, which makes the whole process easier for tracking, and then of course, all the way through mixing. I’m having to work less to get the right sound.”

Telefunken Launches TF11 Microphone

Womack  investigated the lower frequency response of the TF11, he says. “When you work with some of these mics that have all of that bottom in there, I wind up trying to clear out some of that low end and low mid, especially if I’m doing a pop thing and I’m stacking a lot of vocals. If I want to warm it up, that’s what a tube pre-amp or a tube compressor would be for. This TF11 has a nice, full low end, but without so much that when I’m stacking vocals, it starts to bloom too much. It really is nice and balanced down there.”

Telefunken Elektroakustik • www.telefunken-elektroakustik.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

TASCAM Updates DR-10L Digital Recorder

The TASCAM DR-10L Micro Linear PCM Recorder
The TASCAM DR-10L Micro Linear PCM Recorder

Santa Fe Springs, CA (January 27, 2021)—TASCAM has added several new features for its DR-10L Micro Linear PCM Recorder. The DR-10L now ships with these capabilities incorporated and older units previously purchased can be updated to add them as well.

Designed around a compact form factor and included lavalier microphone, the DR-10L has added MP3 recording at both 128kbps and 192kbps in addition to its support for 48kHz/24-bit BWF (Broadcast Wave Format), WAV format recording. Also, level meters are now active during both recording and playback. New controls such as Auto Gain, a Limiter, and its Low-Cut filter have been added as well.

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The low-profile unit is small and lightweight, weighing 51grams, and includes a built-in belt clip. A dedicated, screw-locked lavalier microphone is included with the recorder, offering  a sensitivity of -42 dBV/Pa, and 115dB SPL maximum input sound pressure. The unit can be powered by a single AAA battery for 10 hours or a lithium battery for 15 hours.

Among the functions onboard is a dual-recording function that allows users to set the recording level as high as possible while simultaneously recording a backup track at a lower level. The unit has five different gain levels in addition to the aforementioned automatic gain and limiter controls.

The DR-10L is bundled with a free full version of iZotope RX Elements.

TASCAM • www.tascam.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

CAD Audio Debuts PodMaster Mic Bundles

CAD PodMaster Bundle

Cleveland, OH (January 21, 2021) –– CAD Audio has introduced a trio of 3 new PodMaster broadcast/podcast mic bundles for the podcast and content creation markets.

Both the PodMaster D USB and the PodMaster SuperD USB bundles are based around CAD’s plug-and-play USB microphones, while the SuperD package is centered around an XLR microphone.

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All three microphones, however, are outfitted with “broadcast-quality dynamic capsules,” with the SuperD varieties receiving an upgraded 35 mm Large Diaphragm broadcast capsule. This premium SuperD capsule supplies VOG performance while delivering a smooth and articulate profile.

The bundles are intended to be studio ready, and as such are supplied with boom mic stands, mounting clips/shock mounts, windscreen and USB cables.

Staying well within the affordability of casual content creators, the bundles have street prices of $69 for the D USB; $79 for the SuperD; and $99 for the SuperD USB.

CAD Audio • www.cadaudio.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

TASCAM Launches TM-70 Dynamic Broadcast Mic

TASCAM TM-70 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone
TASCAM TM-70 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone

Santa Fe Springs, CA (January 13, 2021)—TASCAM  has unveiled its new TM-70 Dynamic Microphone. Designed as a hybrid of super-cardioid and dynamic elements, the TM-70 is intended to be resistant to ambient noise and used for applications such as live broadcasting, podcasting, film dialog and audio streaming.

The TASCAM TM-70 Dynamic Microphone is largely intended for use in vocal audio production, featuring a super cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 30 Hz-20 kHz to help isolate specific sound sources such as directional dialog. The mic’s super cardioid directivity makes it resistant to ambient noise.

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Being specifically tuned and ready for professional podcasting, film dialog, broadcasting and live streaming applications, the TASCAM TM-70 is also intended to provide simplicity of use, allowing users to focus on performance as opposed to tweaking EQ settings or using isolation baffling.

The microphone package ships with a variety of accessories, including a shock mount to reduce low frequency rumble, a 6-foot mic cable and a table-top mic stand. The package is expected to be available Q1, 2021.

TASCAM • www.tascam.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com