Microphones for the TRV900

John Beale  1999...2002    link fixes by Matt M. 2010

General microphone advice

If you want to move beyond the built-in microphone on your camera, you have a wide range of options. There is probably more variety in form, capability, and price among microphones than any other camera accessory. There are small clip-on or "lav" mics for an interview subject, stereo mics for ambience, directional "shotgun" mics for dialog when the mic must not be seen, large "studio" mics for voice-over and musical instruments, and so on. The higher-priced models tend to have lower intrinsic noise, to enable you to capture fainter sounds without objectionable hiss. Most "consumer" mics use a 1/8" stereo or mono miniplug which plugs directly into the TRV900 mic jack next to the lens. Professional mics use an XLR plug, meaning you need an XLR adaptor box or adaptor cable to connect them to the TRV900.

If you use more than one or two microphones, or you want to boost levels to reduce the effect of the TRV900's mic preamp noise, you need a mixer. Most mixers have a line-level output, but you need to generate mic-level output for the TRV900. This can be done either with an outboard 30 or 40 dB attenuator, or simply the headphone output of the mixer turned almost all the way down (this latter approach may be of lower quality, depending on your mixer).

There is a lot of good advice online about choosing mics, and using them. There are some really excellent articles on mic techniques at shure.com, including some specific to video production and studio recording. I found these mic opinions from Technologies for Worship Magazine (micing church music, choirs etc.) interesting. Alan Barker has some good articles on audio for documentary style production.

For places to buy mics, I've noticed that Equipment Emporium, Full Compass, Guitar Center, Location Sound, Markertek, Martel, Oade Brothers, TAI Audio, and Zounds have mic selections. You can spend more than twice the price of a TRV900 for some types of microphones.

Camera-Mount Mics

You might want a camera-mounted microphone to mount above the lens, such as the built-in mic on the Sony VX2100 and Canon GL2, or the camera-mounted mic on the Canon XL1S, Sony PD170, and many pro ENG (electronic news gathering) cameras. This keeps it out of the way of your hand if you adjust the focus manually. I use the $150 Rode Videomic on my FX1 and I think it is an excellent value for a small directional microphone.

I bought $20 SIMA SCM-1 stereo CamMike on a whim, since it was so cheap. Don't bother; poor sound and bad handling noise. Considerably inferior to the built-in mic. The $80 Audio Technica ATR-55 supercardioid works, and is directional, but is noisy compared with the internal mic.

The $120 Sony ECM-MS908C is a small stereo hotshoe-mount mic with a 30 cm minijack cord. 100Hz-15kHz, Z=1 kohm, -51 dBm output (0 dBm=1mW/Pa, 1 kHz). Note, the ECM-MS907 is the same mic but with a longer cord, for handheld or mic stand use. It is good; the MS908C sounds better than the TRV900 internal mic, probably due to a distinctly better bass response. Mounted on the hotshoe direct or with the included small extender you still get a bit of low-pitched motor hum; an isolation mount (shock mount) would be handy. Location Sound carries shockmounts but you'd have to fit it to the camera yourself. I have heard that the $340 Audio Technica AT822 stereo mic sounds better than the MS908.

Sony sells some other hotshoe-mount mics: the ECM-HS1 can be switched cardioid/omni: see the review below. The ECM-HM1 (hard to find) is a unique small omni; you can pull the mic off the hotshoe (e.g. for interviews) on a spring-loaded cord, like a tapemeasure. I haven't tried these models.

I use a Sennheiser ME-66(mic)/K6(power supply) Shotgun mic on my TRV-900. It works great!(Under $500 new.) You need an XLR to Stereo Mini plug adaptor. Maybe $25. (Charlie Diaz, rec.video.desktop) Mics tested on PD100 and TRV900 at Global-DVC center. All work perfectly: Mono Sennheiser MKE 300 on the PD100 PAL: works fine, no problem. Mono mini jack sound on both channels! (Same jack on VX1000 only one channel!)
Mke300 technical data: impedance nominal 200 Ohm (weight 60 grams)(LR44 battery life 200 hours)(range 150-17000 Hz) Price in Holland $225 [note: some people report hum pickup with TRV900 and MKE300. -jpb 9/11/00]
Work most times 16 bits with far better Sony stereo ECM S959 C: imp. 550 ohms (weight 3-4x more)(AA batt.life 2500 hours)(50-18000Hz) Also tried several Sennheisers etc. all working! Price in Holland $300 (And 2 angles: 90 and 120)
TRV900/PD100 (FOR BOTH CAMERA'S and SYSTEMS THE SAME!) impedance is 6.8 kilo Ohms. (Output dc 2.5 volt 0.388mV)
(posted by Jan van der Meer    Global-DVC   Zandvoort Holland    PD100/TRV900 FORUM at http://www.global-dvc.org)

Subject: Extra shielding for MKE 300
Date: Oct. 26 2001
From: Graham Doubtfire (graham_d at msn com)

I recently purchased a Sennheiser MKE 300 mic to go with my 900. When attached to the hotshoe I heard loud hum, whine and some hiss on the recording. The inbuilt mics were fine.

I phoned Sennheiser and they said this is a 'known problem' with some of these cheaper add-on mics (this mic retails in the œ120 range in the UK). They were designed before wide use of digital camcorders and do not have sufficient shielding. They offered the 'D' (for digital?) mod to fix it. The cost quoted was about œ40 incl VAT & shipping. I returned the mic to the store I bought it from and they did it free.

Subject:   Sony ECM-HS1 on the TRV900
From: "Thomas Hardwick" (TomH at rdwick freeserve co uk)
Sent: 27 May 1999
I've just done about 4 hours of concentrated recording, replaying and listening, and think my experimental results could be of interest to all TRV890/900 owners intent on recording better sound. I've been using the Sony ECM-HS1 gun/zoom electret condenser microphone [cost: 80 UK pounds]. It attaches securely to the multi-pin hot shoe, has a 3 position switch (gun, off, zoom) and swivels through 180 degrees to store atop the camera. Looks the part and is beautifully made.

The results immediately show one thing clearly: the inbuilt mics (IBM) on the 900 are very good indeed, and should not be dismissed lightly.

This HS1 is simply a mono "gun" mic of pretty dismal performance. It is surprisingly bass light and has a constricted, thin sound that contrasts noticeably with the IBM. In the "zoom" mode it's still the same mic; at telephoto settings it sounds exactly as in the "gun" mode, but as you zoom back to wideangle it improves most noticeably, even becoming stereo.

What? A mono mic that records in stereo? Well yes, but not without a little help. The more wideangle your lens setting, the more the IBM is brought into play, such that at max wide the IBM is supplying 90% of the signal, the gun perhaps 10%. No wonder it sounds better.

There's more. In a very quiet room the HS1 records much more camera noise than the IBM, so much so that zooming becomes a no-no at anything above creepspeed, so loud is the zoom motor on the soundtrack. Not so with the IBM; magically zoom motor noise is infitissimal and head drum whine almost non existant. It must be done with filtering, I see no other way such intimate placing of the mics can give such a fine result.

Of course a wind shield is much easier to fit onto the HS1; almost impossible to fit onto the IBM. But so what? Unless you film everything at max tele, the camera is mixing in the IBM's signal, and there's no wind shield on that.

Thing is you're not told how this "intelligent" mic works. Unless you monitor everything on good phones you'll never realise where all these handling noises are coming from, and the phenominal sensitivity of the IBM means that even turning the focus ring puts little grinding noises on the soundtrack.


Mic Testing by Stefan G. Berg
March 15, 2002

Testing was done with my Sony TRV30 camcorder, but I think it is just as relevant for TRV900 users:

Sony ECM-Z37C (hot-shoe mounted, super uni-directional)

I purchased a Sony ECM-Z37C microphone ($150 MSRP/$110 mail order) and tested its ¨super uni-directional pick-up¨ ability. I´m just an amateur, so my testing was rather simple, consisting of this scenario: First, a person reading in front of the microphone at a distance of two feet. Second, some classical music playing from speakers positioned at the side of and about eight feet away from camcorder. Comparing the Z37C to the TRV30 internal microphone, I tried to listen to difference in sound volume from the two sources, but to my disappointment could not tell any difference at all. I was expecting the Z37C to block at least some of the background music. In addition, the Z37C was lacking bass and picked up considerable noise from the TRV30 camcorder, even when using the supplied extender to move it a bit away from camcorder body. Interestingly the internal TRV30 microphone picked up camcorder noise, too, but this noise magically faded out within a second or two when recording began. In summary, I saw no advantage of the ECM-Z37C over the TRV30 internal microphone under my testing conditions.

Sony WCS-999 and Sony ECM-T145 (wireless system and lavalier mics)

The WCS-999 is a 900 MHz wireless microphone kit ($150 MSRP/$120 mail order) consisting of a receiver and transmitter. It comes with a single lavalier microphone that can be clipped to clothing with an attached metal clamp. The receiver and transmitter feature microphone inputs that are mixed together to allow for audio pickup from both camera and remote locations simultaneously. To use this feature, I also bought the Sony ECM-T145 ($60 MSRP/$50 mail order), an individual lavalier microphone that comes with a separate power supply module. The T145 has an attachable plastic clamp to fix it to clothing easily. Its power supply module is not required when used with the WCS-999 because the WCS-999 receiver and transmitter modules both have microphone inputs with plug-in power. I found that the lavalier included with the WCS-999 has much more handling noise due to its metal clip compared to the ECM-T145 lavalier. The WCS-999 lavalier also has no wind screen and was therefore much more sensitive to wind than the ECM-T145, which comes with an attachable wind screen.

I tested the WCS-999 with a single microphone attached to the transmitter under otherwise identical conditions as I tested the ECM-Z37C microphone mentioned earlier. The person who was reading wore the lavalier on the neck of her shirt. Compared to the Z37C and TRV30 internal microphones (which were still two feet away from the person reading), the lavalier approach gave greater clarity of the person reading over the background music. Sound quality between the internal TRV30 microphone, ECM-145 lavalier, and WCS-999 lavalier were otherwise similar (as already mentioned, the Z37C sounded poor in comparison). I did not find any reduction in quality when using the lavaliers in a wireless compared to wired configuration. As for transmitter range, the unit claims to work up to 150 feet and in the confines of my one-bedroom apartment, I did not find any limit. Twisting the unit just right, sometimes I could get a little noise even at short range, but I could not reliably reproduce this.

Standalone Mics

Since the best camera location for the picture is almost never the best spot for sound, TV shows (apart from some ENG) always use external mics: small lavaliers attached to the subject, directional types held overhead on "fishpoles", etc. There are several useful articles about microphones and sound production in general at Equipment Emporium. I found the $20 Sima "SLM" lapel mic (hard to beat the price) works well with the TRV900 for interviews, etc. It clips on to your tie, collar etc. and comes with a 25 foot cord. One rec.video poster suggested the Sony ECM-MS957 (list $300), a handheld adjustable-pattern stereo mic with XLR connector on the mic, and connecting cable ending in a stereo minijack (no need for an XLR adaptor box). Places like AAAPRICE and Global Mart (defunct as of 2010) have it for just over $200. The AKG C1000S mic (selectable cardioid/hypercardioid) can be found for about $200.

If you are looking for a directional (supercardioid, hypercardioid, shotgun-type) mic, people say good things about the Sennheiser ME66/K6 ($420 for both), the Audio Technica AT4073a ($600; discontinued as of 2010) (shotgun) and the lesser-known Oktava MK012 which comes with hypercardioid, cardioid and omni elements. The Sennheiser uses the K6 battery-power module, the AT mic needs external 11-52V phantom power, the MK012 uses 48V phantom. ("typical street prices" from online vendors; mic prices seem to vary widely and you may be able to do better.)

...you might like to know that the K6/ME66 Sennheiser combo is the BBC's favoured choice for use with their VX1000 and VX2000 kits.

It is important to note that the ME66 capsule cannot work on its own - it requires to be screwed onto a "powering module" unit which incorporates the XLR plug for connection to the outside world. The K6 "powering module" contains an AA cell to power the mic, but will also operate using 48 volts phantom power.They also offer a version (K6P) which is smaller, cheaper and only operates on phantom power (hardly a "powering module" really). If you plan to use phantom all the time this would do for you. There are also alternative capsules available to fit the power supply because it is a "microphone system". There is an ME64 capsule which has a more cardioid pattern and is favoured by some users because it is less directional (and shorter). There is also an omnidirectional capsule in the range (the ME62) and a Lavalier type mic so it is quite versatile. Bear in mind also that you will need wind protection if you are planning to use the mic out of doors and a Rycote 'Softie' is probably the minimum you should consider if your work is important.

One feature of the K6 system to bear in mind is that it has a fairly high output level which can be good if you are operating into a system which has a high hiss level but may need an attentuator (suggest 10dB in-line XLR-XLR) with a system with limited headroom.

Julian Baldwin

If you want a large-condenser studio mic, the Neumann TLM 103 has a good reputation, at a street price of $999. For a bargain studio mic, the Rode NT1-A or CAD M177 can be found for as little as $200. Here are several NT1-A reviews.

Some others write:

SHAN-MC1 from Panasonic. A professional mic with a mini-plug [sold as an accessory for the AG-EZ1U]. It works great. You can also get a shock mount from sennheiser that eliminates all motor noise. You have to buy the shock mount in two parts: one regular shoe mount, the other a mic mount with rubber gaps. Works great. About $350 total. (rec.video poster) I tried a professional Sony ECM55B mic with the TRV900 and it didn't work well. My cheap Audio Technica lavalier worked better connected directly to the camera. However, the ECM55 sounded much better than the ATR35s when connected through my Radio Shack mixer. So far I have best mic results with my Sony ECM-K57 shotgun mike ($50-60 new). { Richard Boitnott, Virginia}

Recording a Band: I bought the Core Sound binaural mics and attenuator cable. I paid about $350 for the mics, battery box, an extension cable, the 20db attenuator cable and the heavy duty wind screens. Just today I took tapes of my band, one with the AT-822 and the other with the Core sound mics to a friend's pro studio and A/B'd them.

While the AT-822 sounded good, the Core mics did sound noticeably better. I'd say better bass response (that was with the low pass filter switched on the battery box of the Core mics) and not quite as 'trebly' high end. Actually I'm glad the Core mics worked better because they'll also double as lavelier mics for interviews etc. I purchased the 20 db attenuator cable. The Core mics can be separated as much as 12 feet if you remove the wrap that holds the cables together. I've only experimented with them as laveliers at home. But it seems they will be great for my purposes. One of the guys in the band is sort of an audiophile, and won't let anything less than great go out to the public. I think he'll be satisfied. The guys at the studio were impressed. (Charlie Diaz)

Wireless Microphones

Wireless microphones occupy a "middle segment" of video production. The amateur will typically use the built-in camera mic, or perhaps an inexpensive wired mic. The larger video and film productions usually use high-quality wired microphones for the best possible signal and freedom from interference. In the middle ground are event videography, weddings, stage productions, and training video where microphones with no trailing wires can be the best, or possibly only, alternative. (Note, you may wish to consider using a separate recorder like a MiniDisc which is compact, inexpensive, and not subject to radio interference.)

Remember is that radio is the "ultimate party line": a simple receiver will pick up anything that generates radio-frequency (RF) noise, and in this high-tech age that can be almost anything. You can test a cheap mic at home and find it works perfectly, but on site it fails miserably, because of some unsuspected interfering RF source. Even at the same site, performance may change dramatically from hour to hour, as the RF-generating equipment is used, or turned off.

There are two types of wireless mics: VHF and UHF. There is generally more noise in the VHF radio spectrum (30-300 MHz) than the UHF spectrum (300-3000 MHz), and also VHF frequency slots offer less bandwidth for robust modulation techniques. UHF mic systems tend to have better-designed receivers overall, have fewer interference problems, and of course cost more. The letter below suggests that the TRV900 may generate noise that interferes with VHF units. If you have experience with the TRV900 and these or other wireless units, I'd be interested to hear from you.

Subject: UHF mic for TRV900
From: "Joe Sano"
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 18:12:54 -0400
The current mic I'm using is the Samson UM-1 UHF system with the standard lapel mic. Once its output signal (volume) and its input signals were balanced it has been perfect without dropouts.

The Shure VHF VP3-CE receiver and the T1 transmitter (@ 182.200 MHz) works fine on my Panasonic AG 456, and just recently (with its SM -58 handheld wireless mic) I used the Shure for PA work at a wedding without one dropout! But it did not work with the TRV900. I never knew when the Shure would dropout with VERY loud white noise and static. I could have been 2 feet or 20 feet from the transmitter, I never knew when it would fail.

The Samson ships with an XLR to mini XLR adapter. I'm using the mini XLR to stereo mini ( that came with my Shure system) and plugging it directly in to the 900. As far as I know Samson does not make a mini XLR to stereo mini adapter.

Joe Sano
Creative Video Consultants

Subject: Professional Wireless for TRV900
From: "John Beech" (jbeech at sinfo net)
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 21:12:48 -0500
Lots of places to save money making video. Audio isn't one of them. I use a Sony UHF as VHF is unreliable (I can usually spit further if I have a bit of wind). To duplicate it, you need:

WRR810A68 receiver about $950 (I mount it with two squares of Velcro) WRT820 body-pack transmitter another $950 (though the new WRT805A replaces it for only $450 bucks, but it's a bit less power, I think).

You also need to budget for the microphone, I prefer the ECM-77 Lavaliere about $275 because it has excellent response and rejects ambient background pretty well. In all cases, remember nearest loudest sound is what gets recorded (you with a 77)

Occasionally I bust out the WRT-800A handheld wireless microphone (transmitter) to use with the above RX; about $550

Finally, you need one of those Beachtek XLR to RCA metal boxes, about $200.

There, that's what I use in the wireless arena. Somebody will inevitably add it up and notice I spend quite a bit more for the wireless audio than I did for the camera. What's a job worth? What's a reputation worth?

Somebody else will mention Samson, Nady, Azden, Low -end Audio Technica, or Radio Shack for that matter . . . same thing . . . even their cheapie UHF systems. Once again, there are better places to save money, audio is NOT one of them. If you don't have the bucks to play, save your pennies until you do. I was unfortunate enough to learn this on a job 1100 miles from the studio which cost airfare, hotel, etc. (for two) and the $500 wireless system I was assured (by joe-blow semi-pro) would be good enough . . . was wrong. Figure out what that deal cost me :>(

For an on-board mic, a Sennheiser ME-66 short shotgun ($450 including the K6 module) along with another $200 for a Rycoat Softie (the gray fuzzy coat) is neat too.

Ever notice what the networks use? There's a reason. Imagine the beautiful video job accompanied with audio cut outs, background hum, and other miscellaneous noise.

There, that's it. Hope this helps.

John Beech - GM (and janitor)
Panache Productions

Subject: Re: [TRV900] VHF or UHF Wireless Audio?  
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 21:11:42 -0400
From: "Doug Graham"
Either VHF or UHF systems can work well. There is essentially no audio quality difference associated with the radio frequency used. So, for example, a VHF Lectrosonics will outperform a UHF Azden or Samson.

The radio difference affects the range and probability of interference, but it's not a straight "UHF is better" sort of call. UHF spectrum is less crowded than VHF, but there is also the problem that digital video signals will use the UHF spectrum, and will provide a growing interference source in the coming years.

Ranked in very rough order from best to worst, here are some popular manufacturers.

Samson, Audio Technica, Azden, Shure.

If you're looking for specific recommendations, I recently bought an Azden UDR 400, and like it fine.

Doug Graham
Panda Productions

Subject: Re: which wireless mic?
From: "Ace Underhill" (aceu at brilliantscreen com)
Newsgroups: rec.video.production
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 16:22:18 -0700
For wireless situations, we bought an Azden system for the TRV-900. It has a dual independent channel (WR-22 Pro) receiver which mounts directly to the TRV-900 (or any cam with a shoe mount). Each channel of the receiver goes to it's respective channel on the camera (for Stereo) or you can direct one channel to both channels of the camera (for mono). It can use any of the Azden "Pro" wireless mics; including lapels, handhelds, and instruments. Everything works off of 9-volt batteries. We got the receiver and two Pro lapel mics from Adorama for under $350 I think.

They work great for use with a Glidecam or Steadycam because you have no hardwired mic cables that get in the way. Just remember to use the manual audio gain settings if you have them. MAKE SURE YOU TEST THESE LEVELS and playback to your edit system BEFORE THE BIG DAY!!! It would be terrible to have a great looking wedding video with very low audio levels because you didn't test the levels with something OTHER THAN HEADPHONES!

-Ace Underhill-
Brilliant Screen Entertainment

From: Pete Lindstrom (petelind@mindspring.com)
Date: Tuesday, June 01, 1999 at 10:12:47 (PDT)
I recently bought the Azden WMS-PRO wireless mics [for the TRV900]- no problems yet with static, hissing, etc. that others have complained of.

Subject: ME66/K6, Samson UM-1 wireless for TRV900

Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 14:33:55 +0800
From: Simon Plint (splint at mail newcastle edu au)
I have managed to contract a few weddings for the end of this year and so I "bit the bullet" and bought myself a shot-gun mic and a wireless mic.

Here in Australia I found a great source for this stuff, The John Barry Group, in Sydney. I talked with Geoff Grist at length about, as he puts it, "The hardest job in the world", trying to be both a camera and a sound operator. He recommended, and I bought, the Sennheiser ME66/K6 combo and the Samson UM-1 diversity wireless system. Geoff sent me out an extensive catalogue and some very helpful fact sheets.

Geoff invited me down to try things out on my camera and Peter Mega looked after me when I got there. He clipped on the lapel mic and wondered around the shop and out of camera shot and the audio, to my ears, was great. Then we tried out the shot-gun mic and as I panned around the shop/office, where everyone was talking, each persons voice slowly got louder then softer as the mic passed them. I was "blown away" as the experiment just seemed to make the on-board mics seem very average.

Later that day I went to a big mining exhibition and tried the mics out. I clipped the wireless mic onto a friend and listened to him clearly as he walked around all the stands and eventually out of shot. If there was going to be interference it should of happened here with all manner of mobile phones, two-way radios, machinery and fluorescent lights. At one stage I clipped the mic to a plant just inside one of the booths and I could hear the conversation of the people nearby.

I was originally only going to get the shot-gun, figuring if I could only get one then it should be that, but I was so impressed that I bought both. This meant buying an XLR adapter and we tried the Beachtek DXA-4 XLR adapter. I had read on this list that others had had problems with this unit but it worked fine. We put the camera into manual mic mode to stop the auto gain.

When I say it worked fine I have had a problem on 2 occasions since. Once there was a terrible buzz that got worse when I pulled the LCD screen out but this turned out to be because I had not pushed the mini-stereo plug in all the way. The other time there was a constant clicking in the head-phones and this was because I had plugged them into the A/V socket on the camera instead of the head-phone socket :-)

Since I bought the good mics I felt that I should do them justice with a good set of head-phones and Peter recommended the SONY MDR-7504 which are great.

Finally I bought a Light Wave Systems Universal MINI-MOUNT so that I could attach the shot-gun to the hot shoe but still set it back far enough so that the mic was not in shot. With everything attached to the TRV900 it is quite a sight and I have some work to do to shorten some leads and find a way to attach the Samson receiver. For the time being I slipped it in the TRV900 hand strap. Anyone got any suggestions?

I walked away with a great kit for AU$3300. Peter discounted the Samson because it was the shop demo one but it still carries the same warranty and he threw in a WINDTEC wind sock and Rycote windjammer for free. I will try to get some pictures for the web. --Simon.

Subject: Azden UHF wireless mic
From: "KH"
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999
We are getting beautiful sound from the Azden UHF diversity mics. Totally clear, no dropouts or hiss.

Five of our friends who are in the business purchased the Azden UHF based on our recommendations. We had considered the Samson because of its small size, but one of our friends had it and had problems. We also like the ability to change channels, but have not found it important to do so yet.

Our application is high end weddings and small corporate.

We use the StudioOne box with the Azden. It has worked for us with both our VX-1000's and TRV-900's.

We had been using VHF microphones and since we went to the Azden UHF we have not had one dropout or one hiss. Now sometimes the VHF worked well, but often there would be periodic problems.

So we are extremely happy with the Azden UHF True Diversity Mic system. It is a little big, but it is also built like a tank with heavy metal construction.

[01/18/01] Mike Noble, posting at the VideoUniversity.com VX1000 board reports good results on his TRV900 and VX2000 using the Audio-Technica U100 wireless system.

Connecting to the TRV900 mic input

If you have a mono or stereo "miniplug" on the end of your mic, it should plug into the TRV900 mic jack (right next to the focus ring) directly, except as described below. If you have an XLR plug instead (standard on professional mics) you will need a separate XLR adaptor, either a box, or just a cable: see my XLR accessories page.

Technical note: the TRV900 mic input takes a standard 1/8" stereo or mono miniplug. It is designed for high-impedance electret mics without internal batteries, and provides a DC bias of a few volts on both left and right channels relative to ground. This makes it incompatible with some mics. If your mic is low impedance (dynamic or internally-powered electret) you must have a DC-blocking capacitor in the mic or the connector, or a high impedance (>1 k) series resistor in the output. Mics designed for cameras probably will work, but if yours doesn't this is probably why. Output from a mixer through a 40 dB pad having 1000 ohms output impedance or higher, works, but a dynamic mic with a DC impedance (resistance) of 244 ohms did not work. (Even with a DC blocking cap, a dynamic mic will have a low (hence noisy) signal if used direct into the TRV900.)

From: biow@ezmort.com (Christopher Biow) 
Newsgroups: rec.video.desktop
Subject: Re: Wiring XLR mic to Sony TRV-900 Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 02:06:08 GMT

[...] audio matching xformers (8:1000) don't help. According to AT831b.html, the mic power unit's output is 200 ohms vs. the camera's 6.8K input. What is working extremely well is the following direct connection:

Camera mini jack                             Mic XLR jack (Audio Technica 831B)
Red------------------------------------------- Red
Black------------------/        -------------- White
Shield---------------------------------------- Shield
(If you can't display a fixed-pitch font, that's camera red and black joined together with mic red, and camera shield joined together with XLR white and shield.)

I'm now getting input that is correctly adjusted right at the midpoint of the manual audio gain with absolutely no discernable noise over the air-flow background in my office. That's much less noise than the camera built-in mic. Voice input sounds perfect. Switching the roles of the XLR Red and White results in similar input level, but significant high-pitch hum. I have no clue why that should be, as I expect the mic Red and White to be equivalent.

It may violate the laws of physics and be peculiar to the Audio Technica 831B, but it works! This mic actually is designed to optionally use external power, but I couldn't get that to work with the TRV-900, so I invested in a AA battery, which must be renewed every 1000 hours of use. Oh, these consumable costs! :-) The 831B would seem to [work without a DC block] although it's possible that the DC bias was causing some of the problems in other configurations. I did have try some plausible wire hookups which only produced silence, except for clicks during large input peaks (taps to the mic).

From: bk277 at lafn org (Charlie Diaz)
I just tried my SM-58 directly into the 900 through the XLR to stereo mini adaptor and can report that it works fine. In fact the weak link is the input to the camera- if you jiggle the cable accidentally you end up with noise. But otherwise, even with a 25' XLR cable between the mic and the adaptor cable the results were fine.

BTW- the pin configuration on my XLR to stereo-mini cable is

2 1
\ /
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Wind Screens

If you record outdoors there is always the problem of wind noise to contend with. A close-fitting foam windscreen, often included with a mic, is of limited use unless winds are very light. Professionals use large "blimp" type wind screens and mufflers such as those made by Rycote. They are usually designed to fit entirely over specific production-type condenser mics, of the sort used on overhead booms or fishpoles. MikeMuff.com has a fuzzy windscreen for Sony VX2k, Pana DVX100 and similar cameras. Lightwave Systems sells several types of windscreens including one designed for the GL1/GL2 built-in mic. Markertek has a variety of windscreens, including open-cell acoustic foam in sheet form for a do-it-yourself screen project. Location Sound also has several brands and types of windscreens. In general, the larger the windscreen size, the more effective it can be, and the "fuzzy" or furry type windscreens can reduce wind noise more than foam or smooth fabric surface types. In a pinch, try a large athletic sock turned fuzzy side out, over the mic. I tried measuring the effectiveness of a few cheap screens on my VX2000 mic. If you have an extra person, try holding a large umbrella upwind of the mic to shield it from direct wind impact.

Subject: Make your own windscreen
From: Doug Graham (pandavideo1 at erols com)
Date: Nov. 3 2001

Use a plastic water or soft drink bottle, with a neck a bit larger than your mic diameter. Cut off the bottom of the bottle, and using a hot coat hanger wire, melt as many holes as you can in the sides of the bottle, while still leaving some material for structural integrity.

Drill out the bottle cap to fit the mike. Slide it into place, and wrap electricians tape around the mike barrel for a snug fit.

Take some speaker grille cloth. Make a bag that fits around the bottle. Take some fake fur from the fabric store. Make a bag out of this, too, and slide it around the bottle. Screw the entire assembly onto its cap.

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