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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #1
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Unpowered wired lav mic

Looking for a lav mic with the standard xlr connector attached, no power supply and shirt worn. Can only find unterminated pigtail types that could be converted.

Guess I can learn to solder in a hurry : - ) if necessary. Is there such a product? I would be thankful for any recommendation of something new or used I am working with a small budget of 150.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:42 PM   #2
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

You will probably get better answers but here's a start: Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : ATR3350 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone

This is an inexpensive lav which runs off of a button battery contained in the connecting cord. It would require a mini-plug to XLR adapter. This is a mono plug, Rode makes a stereo-mini to xlr adapter which might work. http://www.campbellcameras.com/shopp...01RODVXLR.aspx

partial discliamer: I have used this little mike on a consumer-level camcorder, it's no Countryman or Tram but it works. Be sure you get the battery right- way-round or it will work really badly. I have not tried mono plug in the stereo plug adapter listed above, I think it will work but I am not positive. At any rate, it's a very inexpensive solution until you find a better one....

PS if you learn to solder you could make an adapter with a mono mini female and an xlr male plug (Neutrik recommended) , common items.at Markertek, Mouser Electronics, etc.

PPS: If you use the xlr, be sure to turn off the phantom power to that input. As pointed out below, the 48v will fry the mike. Ummm, I just found the mini-to-xlr adapter mentioned above, tested it wth the AT lav in my field mixer forgetting about the phantom power, and pffffft.....Otherwise, with no 48v on the line, I THINK it will work....

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; December 6th, 2012 at 11:30 AM. Reason: update
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Old December 6th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #3
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Looking for a lav mic with the standard xlr connector attached, no power supply and shirt worn. Can only find unterminated pigtail types that could be converted.

Guess I can learn to solder in a hurry : - ) if necessary. Is there such a product? I would be thankful for any recommendation of something new or used I am working with a small budget of 150.
You HAVE to have a power supply; condenser mics need a bias voltage to work. Lavs need a bias voltage of about 5 volts. The XLR connector for a hard-wired lav is also a power supply because the normal 48 volt phantom power is too high and will fry the mic if it's not dropped down to the 5 volts the mic requires and the XLR connector/power supply has the component to do that built into it.. A standard XLR connector without the power supply components will not work.

FYI, the XLR power supply module by itself will consume the majority of your budget. You need to budget about $400 or so for most of the mainstream hard-wired lavs like the Tram TR50
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #4
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

There are dynamic lav mics which require no power, but they are quite rare these days, and may not be easily found within your budget. They are also larger, heavier, and lower-output than more modern electret condenser designs. OTOH, XLR inputs without phantom power are also rather rare and it is curious why you would be seeking such a combination.

Technically, the low voltage required by electret condenser microphones is not "bias" voltage. The electret charge itself is the "bias" or polarizing charge for the capsule. The voltage is required as the operating power for the impedance converter circuit (typically just a single FET transistor). To be sure, it uses very little current, so batteries often last practically the shelf-life of the battery.

Non-electret microphones also require a bias/polarizing charge across the capsule. In modern designs typically provided by the 48V phantom voltage itself. That is why you will find that all low-voltage microphones are of the electret type.

Ref: Microphone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old December 6th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

Richard, thanks for the Wiki link.

The uninformed goal of an unpowered lav was simply to reduce weight (no battery). I was thinking that the mixer would provide the needed power, but that obviously won't work for many mics as you said.

There is a budget audio-technica on B&H that seems to have very good reviews. Guess the power module can use phantom power instead of its battery.

Audio-Technica AT803B - Mini Clip-On Mic AT803 B&H Photo Video
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Old December 6th, 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

That AT803 has a power pack practically the size of a deck of cards. If I were looking for something really light and small, I would consider something like...
Naiant
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

There are a few dynamic lavs available like the Shure SM11..
Shure SM11
however it has a low output level ( –64 dBV/Pa (0.60 mV), (1 Pa = 94 dB SPL) and would only be good for higher SPL sources.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
That AT803 has a power pack practically the size of a deck of cards. If I were looking for something really light and small, I would consider something like...
Naiant
Wow. The Niant X-X looks like a heck of a solution. The size, price, and sensitivity are all excellent. (And, Richard is right: the AT803b power supply is huge!)

Any experience with how it sounds?
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Old December 6th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #9
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

I followed Steve's point that some sort of power module was inevitable. Oh well, too late now :-) Still feel good about this choice.

Thinking about this, it is probably easier to get the PM and mic situated on me, leave them there for the duration and then plug the xlr into it as needed. Am hiking all over creation and repeatedly setting up. This approach is a bit bulkier but its a small trade off for not having to reattach the mic every 15 minutes.

Considering investing in a llama or one if its smaller cousins. Any recommendations?
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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:21 PM   #10
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Wow. The Niant X-X looks like a heck of a solution. The size, price, and sensitivity are all excellent. (And, Richard is right: the AT803b power supply is huge!)

Any experience with how it sounds?
I just got two of them. But I haven't had a chance to try them out yet.
You want to borrow them and test them against what you have now?
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #11
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Looking for a lav mic with the standard xlr connector attached, no power supply and shirt worn. Can only find unterminated pigtail types that could be converted.

Guess I can learn to solder in a hurry : - ) if necessary. Is there such a product? I would be thankful for any recommendation of something new or used I am working with a small budget of 150.
A while back on a job in the States I got stuck on a weekend urgently needing an extra two lav mics to go into the mixer and grabbed two from Radio Shack. They did a surprisingly good job considering their price. Purchased two XLR plugs and soldered them on in the hotel. Needed to cross wire pins 1 & 3 as they were unbalanced mics. Put pin 2 to the hot lead and all was good. Being electret mics they do need power and are powered by an LR44 type button battery.

Cheap but have hung on to them as back up mics. It been a number of years since I bought them but it looks like the Shack still carries them.

Hands-Free Tie-Clip Omnidirectional Electret : Microphones | RadioShack.com

Chris Young
CYV Productions
Sydney
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Old December 7th, 2012, 03:24 PM   #12
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

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Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
I just got two of them. But I haven't had a chance to try them out yet.
You want to borrow them and test them against what you have now?
That would be great. I don't have time for a big test, but I could compare them to a Sanken COS-11D. My wife used to have an AT803b for events, but she donated it to the organization. My e-mail is myfirstname@mylastname.com
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Old December 9th, 2012, 03:20 PM   #13
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

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Originally Posted by Christopher Young View Post
... grabbed two [mics] from Radio Shack.
<snip>
Purchased two XLR plugs and soldered them on in the hotel. Needed to cross wire pins 1 & 3 as they were unbalanced mics. Put pin 2 to the hot lead and all was good.
Of course in that scenario, you need to be absolutely certain that the mixer is NOT putting out any phantom voltage on XLR pins 2 and 3! The phantom voltage (sometimes as high as +48vdc) would almost surely fry the unbalanced mic, and the short to ground on pin 3 might do some harm to the phantom supply in the mixer.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #14
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

Just wondering how the Naiant mics went?
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Old February 1st, 2013, 05:18 PM   #15
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Re: Unpowered wired lav mic

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That's a really cleaver way to prevent spam...

Anyway, It's a little out of your budget, but the Countryman B3 mic is amazing and it's pretty damn tiny.
Countryman B3 Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone B3P4FF05B B&H
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