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Old October 28th, 2008, 10:10 PM   #1
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Need Lavalier with standard XL3 connector

Let me preface with I just purchased and returned some Audio Technica AT829cw Lav mic's. Noob issue, I did not realize that the XLR connectors are a proprietary 4 pin for use with their wireless transmitters and basically I bought the wrong thing. I'd like to buy the right thing, so let me explain what I'm doing, the advice I've been given and what I believe I need to get and my delima.

1) I'm doing legal videography (or that is the plan), and in so doing the advice I've read is the best mic's for depositions and such are Lav mic's, which makes sense. You would want XLR type to keep interference down to a minimum and get the best quality audio. Again, makes sense. While wireless mikes can work in this scenario, I've read that hard wire mic's are probably better from a reliability standpoint (no interference, not necessarily breaking) so you want to have the ability to have at least 15' to 20' of XLR cable (extension cord ok) in case you are working in a large physical environment.

2) I've got a Mackie 1402-VLZ3 mixer that will accept up to 6 XLR microphones and supply them with the proper phantom power.

My dilemma, hence my question, is that when I search most if not all of the available sites looking at their mikes (B&H, Amazon, Audio Technica, Shure, Azden, etc.) they show pic's of the mikes but not the connector at the other end. I've been looking at the Audio Technica in particular and they have various models that ship with or without the power adapter. Since I have a mixer that can supply phantom power, I don't believe I need to buy a mike with the power adapter (correct?) but I'm not sure that the mic I want to get has the correct end. (for example Amazon has a AT831C for around $90. The Amazon web page says this has a 25' cable with a TA3F connector at the power module and that the power module is included. Now, if I go to the Audio Technica web site, they say the AT831C is the AT831B WITHOUT the power module and has a 10' cord)

My mixer has standard, large, female XLR inputs. I'd like to get a good Lav mic that will hook to my mixer. I have 20' XLR extension cords so a mic with a short cord with an XLR connector will work fine. If it has a long cord, no problem. If I have to buy the connector and put it on myself, again, no problem, I'd just like to get the right thing and do this only once.

Inputs appreciated.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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Hi Phil................

Don't know where you've been looking on B&H, but these are the first two on the "Wired Microphone - Lavalier" list.

AKG | C417 Omnidirectional Lavalier Condenser | 2577 Z 00120

Audio-Technica | AT803B - Mini Clip-On Mic | AT803 | B&H Photo

They both state quite clearly they have 3 pin XLR connectors.

I'm sure you'll find many more.


CS
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Old October 28th, 2008, 11:35 PM   #3
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You can call B&H, tell them what you are needing, and they will tell you the options in the price range you want.

I have had reasonably good information from B&H on basic issues like this.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Don't know where you've been looking on B&H, but these are the first two on the "Wired Microphone - Lavalier" list.

AKG | C417 Omnidirectional Lavalier Condenser | 2577 Z 00120

Audio-Technica | AT803B - Mini Clip-On Mic | AT803 | B&H Photo

They both state quite clearly they have 3 pin XLR connectors.

I'm sure you'll find many more.


CS
Well, yes and no.

The AKG says it is :

3-Pin XLRM Type

is XLRM stand for XLR Male or XLR Mini?

For the 803B it states in the spec sheet that the connector is

XLR-3M Type (from AT8531 Power Module)

So that says to me it is not a standard (large type) XLR but a smaller one that feeds into a power module which I was hoping to not buy, assuming I understand this correctly. I guess maybe I should restate my question, which would be do all Lav mic's necessarily have a power module with them and am I therefore dreaming to think that a Lav mic comes without one and will hook straight to my mixer?
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Old October 29th, 2008, 12:46 AM   #5
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Hi...........

Well, it's entirely possible there is a "mini" XLR I've never heard about (hey, anythings possible) but I would suggest they are describing a XLR Male connector.

A pretty quick but serious scrute of B&H doesn't turn up any reference to "Mini XLR".

The "power module" you're talking about, in the case of the one I looked at, cleary states "XLRM OUT of power module".

I do suggest you take Jacks advice and simply contact B&H direct and get them to answer your query, assuming someone here doesn't beat you to it.


CS
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Old October 29th, 2008, 04:51 AM   #6
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There are such things as "XLR-mini", also known as a TA3, but the abbreviation "XLRM" stands for "XLR - Male."

Quote:
Since I have a mixer that can supply phantom power, I don't believe I need to buy a mike with the power adapter (correct?) but I'm not sure that the mic I want to get has the correct end. (for example Amazon has a AT831C for around $90. The Amazon web page says this has a 25' cable with a TA3F connector at the power module and that the power module is included. Now, if I go to the Audio Technica web site, they say the AT831C is the AT831B WITHOUT the power module and has a 10' cord)
Actually you DO need the power adapter. Lav mics use about 5 volts, not 48v phantom. When used with a wireless they get that power from the transmitter but when used direct to a mixer or recorder you need to supply it somehow. Straight phantom won't work. So you need to insure that you have a power supply for the mic with either an internal battery or that converts phantom power into the lower voltage mic power it needs. When ordering, tell them that you need the mic with the XLR/phantom power supply and you'll be okay. B&H probably will know what you're talking about, while professional sound vendors like Trew Audio or Coffey Sound absolutely will know and steer you in the right direction. But it's up for grabs whether the droids working the call centre at Amazon would have a clue - I love Amazon for their pricing, just recognize that they're only order takers and probably don't even understand the questions you're asking so don't rely on them to know anything about what you need.

If you have a wireless setup you can get "double duty" out of the lavs that you're using with it by getting an adapter such as Ambient's "Eumel" that has a connector on one side for various lav mic heads, an XLRM on the other, and the necessary circuitry inside to convert 48v phantom into 5v mic power.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 05:53 AM   #7
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Ah...now that makes sense.

Steve,

Thanks for the complete answer. That is what I was looking for. Not having worked extensively with mic's, I was not 100% sure just what I was working with. I'm an ex-engineer so I understand reflections, terminations, etc. but I was getting quite unsure with all of the partial information out there where only parts of the puzzle were being relayed and not all of the pieces.

I'd planned on calling Audio Technica today as I figured the manufactures of the actual product should know more than the resellers.

Thanks again to all that posted. Makes sense now.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 08:19 AM   #8
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If you already HAVE a 3.5mm terminated lav, an adapter such as the Sennheiser MZA 900 P may be all you need.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
There are such things as "XLR-mini", also known as a TA3, but the abbreviation "XLRM" stands for "XLR - Male."
Not sure if the XLR Mini is the same as a TA-3. Have you seen the audio inputs on the RED camera? Those are "XLR-mini". They take a male plug though whereas all of the TA-3 gear that I have takes a female. Have you ever seen a TA-3 male connector? I wonder if that is the same as what plugs into the RED? I have only used the RED once and we were shooting MOS so I am not sure.

Dan
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Old October 29th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Not sure if the XLR Mini is the same as a TA-3. Have you seen the audio inputs on the RED camera? Those are "XLR-mini". They take a male plug though whereas all of the TA-3 gear that I have takes a female. Have you ever seen a TA-3 male connector? I wonder if that is the same as what plugs into the RED? I have only used the RED once and we were shooting MOS so I am not sure.

Dan
Not sure what the connector really was. It was not a 3 pin for starters, it was a 4 pin. Had an external screw barrel which was for securing it to the wireless unit. It's moot at the moment anyway as I've returned these and will be getting the correct ones.

Which does bring up another question..... Omni or Cardioid? In my particular use, 90% of the time the speaker will be seated and fixed so I'm guessing an Omni would work fine. My assumption is that the Cardioid are nicer when the subject is moving as the non uniform reception pattern helps to reduce clothing/movement noise, is this correct?
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Old October 29th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #11
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There are several (good and expencieve) lav mics with standard XLR male plugs which take standard 48V phantom. I have both Sanken COS11 and DPA 4060 stereo set. DPA miniature/lavalier mics come with a microdot connector and you just buy them with whatever connector(s) you need. I have both XLR and Sennheiser G2 transmitter connectors for them. These mics can run on anything form a few volts to full 48V, just that the S/N specs get better with higher voltage. They are not cheap, but best...

Omnis work generally better, position of the head does not matter as much, no proximity effect, less handling/clothes noise.

If you already have the mics, just cut the cable and resoldier them to XLR plugs. Costs a few bucks. Or maybe you can find an adapter cable, or make one.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Phil Hoppes View Post
Not sure what the connector really was. It was not a 3 pin for starters, it was a 4 pin. Had an external screw barrel which was for securing it to the wireless unit. It's moot at the moment anyway as I've returned these and will be getting the correct ones.

Which does bring up another question..... Omni or Cardioid? In my particular use, 90% of the time the speaker will be seated and fixed so I'm guessing an Omni would work fine. My assumption is that the Cardioid are nicer when the subject is moving as the non uniform reception pattern helps to reduce clothing/movement noise, is this correct?
Hi Phil:

Have you taken a look at my lavalier article? It may answer many questions about which lavalier will be right for you. Take a read and a listen Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use?"

Chances are unless you are doing a newscast or a hosted segment, you don't want a cardioid lav. Read about it in the article.

Dan

Last edited by Dan Brockett; October 29th, 2008 at 01:05 PM.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Hi Phil:

Have taken a look at my lavalier article? It may answer many questions about which lavalier will be right for you. Take a read and a listen Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use?"

Chances are unless you are doing a newscast or a hosted segment, you don't want a cardioid lav. Read about it in the article.

Dan
Dan,

Excellent article. Many thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Gotta love forums. In spite of all of the things that suck about the internet it is hard to imagine how I ever got anything done before it existed.

Thanks again,

Phil
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Old October 29th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Phil Hoppes View Post
Dan,

Excellent article. Many thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Gotta love forums. In spite of all of the things that suck about the internet it is hard to imagine how I ever got anything done before it existed.

Thanks again,

Phil
Good luck and let us know which one you order.

Dan
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Old October 29th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
There are several (good and expencieve) lav mics with standard XLR male plugs which take standard 48V phantom. I have both Sanken COS11 and DPA 4060 stereo set. DPA miniature/lavalier mics come with a microdot connector and you just buy them with whatever connector(s) you need. I have both XLR and Sennheiser G2 transmitter connectors for them. These mics can run on anything form a few volts to full 48V, just that the S/N specs get better with higher voltage. They are not cheap, but best...

Omnis work generally better, position of the head does not matter as much, no proximity effect, less handling/clothes noise.

If you already have the mics, just cut the cable and resoldier them to XLR plugs. Costs a few bucks. Or maybe you can find an adapter cable, or make one.
Fine except for the last paragraph - you can't just feed a mic designed to run on 5v from a wireless transmitter with full 48v phantom safely. It really needs the power supply module. Those mics like this one Trew Audio - Microphones - Lavalieres : Countryman - Countryman B6 -- Hardwired to XLR that are hardwired to XLR connectors from the factory have their voltage reducing circuitry in the XLR connector.
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