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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #1
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Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

I was thinking of replacing my venerable Sony with the AT899 - more due to size and ease of concealing it.

I work as a video-journalist/filmmaker and am often recording interviews in the field with little set up time.

I'm happy with the sound and build quality of the Sony (and the long cable) but it (and it's clip) does sometimes stand out when I review my clips. Sometimes I can hide the mic, but sometimes interviews are wearing T-shirts, etc.

Any words of wisdom? Is the audio from both mics similar (in terms of sensitivity, freq response, etc)? Is the Audio-Technica much easier to hide?

Or if someone has advice on how to make the Sony less conspicuous I'd be happy not to make another purchase.

Many thanks!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:31 AM   #2
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

After using several of those older-generation (and larger) lav microphones, I am quite pleased with my new Rode lav mic. The mic head is only around 4mm diameter, the cable is field-replaceable, and it comes with an amazing range of output connection options. Hard to beat, IMHO.
http://www.rodemic.com/mics/lavalier
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

The ECM44 has a response curve with a mid-range bump for voice intelligibility, like many older broadcast designs. This sort of thing is very helpful for people who don't have the opportunity and/or ability to eq their mics in post. Live production comes to mind. It sounds good.

The AT899, and many other designs, are as flat as possible. As omni condensors, that can be pretty darn flat! There will be more low frequency content than you're used to.

I'd think about that response, if you're used to going without EQ you might need to add this to your workflow to get the sound you're used to.

Me, I use both styles, but I EQ every source in post, not every editor does that, or has good monitoring.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:56 AM   #4
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

The AT899 certainly comes with a greater variety of clips, which include a normal clip that can pivot to any angle, a magnetic clip, and a vampire clip. It is a lot smaller than the ECM-44, even with the element cover installed.
It does have a bass rolloff switch, so determine whether to engage or leave flat for your particular situation.
It's also handy that the cable detaches from the power supply when routing through clothing, or when packing into minimal space for travel. On a trip I just took to shoot interviews, I could coil two of the mics with clips still attached into a small cylindrical plastic container with a strong screw-on lid. The two cylindrical power supplies were in a very small pelican-style case the size of a book with other audio adapters and batteries.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

I have a AT899, though it comes with many mounts, I'm not fond of the mount design. The cable is rather stiff and noisy as well.. at least on the one I bought years ago when they were released. Otherwise it sounds good.
The USA made (NJ) Oscar SoundTech mics are also highly regarded by many.. The 801 & 802 are nearly identical to the Tram but priced for much less. The OST TL-40 is an end-fire lav and slightly smaller than a Countryman B3.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #6
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

I have found the newer AT899 cables are softer than the early ones.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 04:37 PM   #7
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

Sounds like the AT899 might not in fact be the ideal wired lav mic for me, as I don't have the set up (nor always the time) to properly EQ flat vocal audio.

However, I'll look into the Rode Lavs.

Out of curiosity, has anyone found a good way of placing a mic the size of the ECM-44 on say a T-shirt without it being so distracting?

Thanks to all for your replies!
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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

"Out of curiosity, has anyone found a good way of placing a mic the size of the ECM-44 on say a T-shirt without it being so distracting?"
- Not unless the shirt is the same color as the mic*.. hiding a mic of that size under the shirt looks like some kind of 'growth' and more dirtating than seeing the mic IMO.

* I worked on a PBS cooking show some years ago and got some white Trams. They blended in nicely with the white chef jackets and were only really visible if you 'looked' for them.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #9
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

Cheers Rick. If only I could ask all my interviewees to wear white. Or better yet, black!
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Old December 14th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

You rang :) I used to know a soundie who will tote a couple of shirts in his kit, to ask the T-shirts to change.

If possible brief the director that you want to use lavs.

Cheers.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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Re: Replacing Sony ECM-44 with AT899? Advice please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mercer View Post
...Out of curiosity, has anyone found a good way of placing a mic the size of the ECM-44 on say a T-shirt without it being so distracting?
For totally concealed mic it's very hard with most t-shirts. It starts to get pretty up-close and even invasive, but, under some circumstances a lav can be placed in a small block of foam and taped to a bra or on the chest, um, centrally. Depending on their physique, this method can be used with some men, too. Use surgical tape and be prepared for loud complaints.

Otherwise, the mic is going to show. Usually this would be wired up the back, over the shoulder, and clipped at the neckline. More surgical tape...

Taped under the bill of a cap... cemented in the hair as on stage... boomed!
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