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Old March 8th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #1
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Lav connector for XLR and wireless use

The connector situation for lavs isn't ideal, is it? I'm looking at a Sanken COS-11D. In general, I plan to run it with a wire. That said, we own a G2 system with a rack mounted receiver for our live event PA system. I might want to borrow that for certain shots.

So, what's the best option for connectors? I can get the XLR version in phantom or phantom+battery configurations. Can I also get an XLR to G2 adapter? Anybody know what connector Sanken uses for connecting to the battery box? Can I get an adapter from that to G2-land?

I'd hate to have to buy a different mic - or get out the soldering iron - for XLR and every wireless system I might want to connect it to.

Thanks!
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Old March 8th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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When you purchase a Lav you need to have it wired to your paticular wireless system.

I use Trams, they are wired for my Lectrosoincs System, and they also include a TR79 Power Supply that provides powering and balanced XLR output to the TR50 direct to my camera or mixer.

The Tram TR50 is available with a variety of connectors (Micro-Mini, Lemo (4, 6 or 8pin), Mini Switchcraft (3, 4 or 5pin), Sony, Sennheiser, etc.) For direct attachment to any wireless microphone transmitter. In addition to its use with wireless transmitters, the TR-50 can be used as a low impedance hard-wired microphone with the TR-79 power supply. 12/48v phantom powering (in addition to internal powering) is available on all TR-50*PS microphones and TR-79+ positive bias power supplies.

The Sanken COS-11D is set up for the Sennheiser G2 or a XLR but not as a dual use lav.

If the COS-11D is wired to XLR, Sennhieser might have a XLR to Wireless converter.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:11 PM   #3
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I wish all mic manufacturers would settle on a standard. Da-Cappo has the slickest implementation that I've seen with a little screw on connector. Check 'em, they're cool

Da-Cappo Micro Microphones Adapters

The Sanken COS-11D is available as

$449 48V Phantom. 3 pin XLR
$449 Battery or Phantom Powered. 3 pin XLR
$329 Pigtails 1.6m or 3m stripped cable with tinned end for wireless transmitter connector

Sanken dealers usually charge $50 to have the Sennheiser G2/G3 1/8" miniplug connector (or any wireless transmitter connector) added. It's not an easy DIY process, you gotta have some skillz. I haven't seen a dealer that makes a cable that can be easily swapped.
Some folks will add the Sennheiser USA - Phantom Power Adapter, MZA 900 P - Professional Audio

Jon, if you just need this mic for testing, along with a 7D, DN-101 or a Tascam DR-100, I have 'em available. Let me know. Judging from all the info you've shared here on the forums, I feel like I can trust you 100%.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:46 PM   #4
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Here's what I do.

I have all my lav mics wired for standard Lectrosonics TA-5f. That takes care of all my transmitter orders and is a common standard.

Then keep around a few of Ambient Audio's MCA5X TA-5M to XLR-M adapters and you can then connect your lav mics to any standard sound board that uses XLR inputs.

Works for me.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #5
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@Bill,

That's a great solution. Not only does it give me the option for a TA5 connection, but the combo saves me $60, compared to the Sanken XLR version. Nice. It won't plug into our G2, but it gives me the option to rent some Lectrosonics gear.

I see that the TA5 is a captive connector. In fact, it would be compatible with a Shure SLX system that we have. (Unfortunately, the SLX performance isn't adequate for video projects, IMHO.)

@Guy,

Thanks so much for offering your trust! I'm putting together a system for my employer, so we will buy shortly (including a DR-100.) I haven't used the COS-11 personally, but I've listened to a number of sample clips, and I really love the sound. It was an easy choice, given the budget.

I have the DN101 and plan to shoot a video of its use and performance tonight. I'll use the 5D2 initially, but I hope to scare up a 7D locally so I can test its results. If I can't come up with one here in the SW Washington/Portland area, I might take you up on the offer...

Thanks again! (And thanks to Chris Hurd. DVInfo rocks!)
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Old March 8th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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I've had my Countryman B6 lav mics modified by Trew Audio so they plug into my G2 receiver but they also provide a pigtail with a standard 3 pin XLR connector. Best of both worlds. I think they cost about $70. each. I've had trouble with a loose connector on one of them but in general they've held up pretty well. If your lav is already wired for the G2, I'd think you could just buy the pigtail adapter. Assuming they have this mod for the COS-11D...
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Old March 8th, 2010, 08:05 PM   #7
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Sennheiser MZA-900P allows some G2 lavs to work on XLR, provided you supply phantom power. This unit did not work with my countryman e6i, and they were wankers about it so I don't use countrymans anymore. But since my fav lav is the MKE-2 it worked out for me.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #8
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The Sennheiser MZA-900P is a lot more expensive than the Lectrosonics MCA5X. I think I'll go the TA5 route. I might also try to scare up some TA5 and captive 1/8" connectors and make a converter cable. That would set me up for three of the most popular options.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 04:31 AM   #9
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Another option is to get the lavs wired for your wireless and an Ambient Eumel adapter that converts the wireless connector and power for XLR with 48v phantom. The lav cable plugs directly into the Eumel and they're available for a wide variety of different wireless connectors.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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Well... I got the Sanken with a TA5 connector and the Lectronics MCA5X adapter. Unfortunately, the adapter has no components inside, meaning that it would deliver the full 48V to the microphone. This version of the mic is spec'd for 3 to 10V, not 48V.

I'll look into some 48V to 5V circuits and see if I can't stuff one in there. It should be a matter of a couple of voltage dividers, plus some caps to pass the signal past the resistors. Otherwise, I'll pick up a Voice Technologies or Ambient Eumel adapter.

The MCA5X description says it passes phantom through, but it's a bit misleading, since electrets generally need 5V, rather than 48V.

Lectrosonics | MCA5X Plug-On Transmitter Microphone | MCA5X

"The Lectrosonics MCA5X Plug-On Transmitter Adapter is a handy device with XLR male and TA5 male connections. The adapter converts Lectrosonics headset and lavalier microphones with TA5 connections, so that they may be used with Lectrosonics plug-on transmitters (H series). Phantom power is passed to the electret-condenser microphones, eliminating the need for an additional bodypack transmitter for any reason."
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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:35 PM   #11
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Taking another look at the MCA5X, it does have components inside - a surface mount resistor and a small zener diode. They're both soldered to pins, rather than on the wires as I had expected. The circuit provides 7.5V to the lav.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the circuit leaves one of the XLR signal pins floating, so I don't get a signal into the preamp that I had on hand. When I get a chance, I'll solder a 10uF cap and from that pin to ground. I should be able to get a signal then.

It's not ideal though, as this is single ended. There are better circuits that would provide a balanced output that is isolated from ground.

The good news is that the MCA5X won't fry your lav with 48V. But it could be much better...
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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:58 AM   #12
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I have the same situation as you. I have g2 but wanted the option of using or hard wiring some cos-11. I bought a pair of cos-11 w/ xlr from trewaudio with instructions to insert a "breakaway for g2" inline. I assumed i'd get the cos11 connected to a 1/8" screw jack, then a female of the same to the existing xlr power supply. Instead what i received was the cos-11 terminating in a ta5, then a short female ta5 to 1/8" screw male and a female ta5 on the xlr as well. This not only allows me to use the mics wired, or wireless with the g2 but also wireless with lectros. So, kudos to trew for thinking ahead for me.

cheers,
-a
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:17 PM   #13
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Andrew,

Do you have access to the paperwork from your Trew Audio order? I'd like to know the model or SKU numbers of the adapters that you have. I called Trew with a request for the same, but the particular sales person I spoke with didn't know which parts would work. I left him my number and asked him to find a similar solution for me.

But there's nothing like buying parts that are known to work.

FWIW, the Lectrosonics MCA5X (TA5 to XLR) did not work. It provides a single-ended, rather than balanced output from the XLR. The negative signal pin on the XLR is left floating(!)

Thanks!
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 03:04 PM   #14
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I e-mailed Sanken yesterday and the US rep contacted me by phone today. I learned some things...

* The Sanken power module with XLR is a pigtail unit.
* There are two versions: phantom or phantom/battery. The phantom-only unit has the best performance. Both are the same price.
* The COS-11D with TA5 is wired to be single ended for use with Lectrosonics gear. This wiring is not recommended for their XLR power modules.
* Sanken recommends a TA3 (mini XLR) connector wired for a balanced operation as the intermediate connection.
* I have the wiring diagram for use with the TA5 and the XLR power modules. I've asked for the TA4 diagram (Shure SLX) and 3.5mm diagram (Sennheiser Evolution) for completeness.

I imagine that this approach would work for most any lav. Assuming this works, I'll use the TA3 as my personal standard for wireless mics and keep a collection of adapters and power modules available as needed.
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Old March 24th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #15
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Thanks Jon, Very useful info.

Now i'm curious what Trew did. I might need to open my adapters up and see how they are wired. They could be wired with the ta5 as a neutral connector or as single ended. hmm.

The "wiring is not recommended" warning is a bit spooky. Bad for the audio quality? Bad for the components? Bad for power usage? Bad for nearby bats?

To date Trew has been on top of things acoustically... so it could also be one of those "its not recommended but its how pros do things" scenarios too.

Hmmm.
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