Monday, November 29, 2010

RODE Lavalier microphone review

A lot of interest has been generated in the past few months about lavalier microphones. Most folks have found after their research that a Sennheiser Evolution G3 wireless with ME2 Omni lav has pretty much become the industry standard. It's earned this reputation with good reason. It simply works. However, upon implementation and that first wireless static phhhhh "hit" during a crucial piece of material producers begin to understand that inexpensive - moderately priced wireless systems are still not entirely perfect. Hence why we're excited about the new RODE Lavalier - you can use it two ways cabled/hardwired or via wireless.

Sennheiser 3.5mm to XLR adapter
Micon 2 - locking
You see, the RODE Lavalier uses Micon connectors. These allow you to connect the lav to a variety of devices. Previously most folks would buy a lav wired for one use -either wired for a certain wireless, TA5F, or go XLR. This is how many professionals still roll. With multiple lavs or with something like a $116 Ambient Eumel to convert TA5F to XLRM or by using an expensive ($225 MSRP) 3.5mm to XLR Sennheiser MZA 900 P adapter. Can you imagine paying for that Sennheiser adapter (pictured above) after learning about the new generation of $20-30 Micon connectors?
Micon 5 - XLR
Micon 1 - 3.5mm
Micon 4 - Audio Technica

Until recently I personally carried a Sennheiser MKE-2 lav in both locking 3.5mm for my Sennheiser wireless and also a hardwired XLR version - that was over $700 in lavs in my kit. Now with the RODE lav - I can still buy two lavs, only now instead of spending $350 each, I can pick 'em up at $249 each - and then buy separate Micon connectors at around $20-30 (link below on how to get a free Micon). This way, if we need to shoot a sit down interview with two subjects, I can easily run a wired mic to each - and if one of the subjects needs to get up and demonstrate with total freedom of cables, we can go untethered and switch to the Sennheiser wireless. And with the two lavs being the same, the audio sounds seamless.

You see- it's about being prepared for a variety of situations. I believe that the new RODE lavalier helps us solve common problems seen every day in production. As you see in the video above, we can even run it direct into a $99 Zoom H1 recorder. Imagine that, solid clean sound for $249 + $99. Heck, that's even cheaper than buying a 2nd wireless - and better peace of mind.

Side note for 5DM2 owners, in case you're wondering how we shot the video above with the Canon 5D Mark II. We used the RODE Lavalier into the Zoom H1 with Micon 1. From the Zoom H1's Line Output we used a Hosa YMM-261 "Y" cable to split the output so we could also use headphones. Next, we used a RODE VC1 10' Extension cable, then into a DVcreator Line to Mic cable to pad the signal down and into the Canon 5D Mark II's Mic input.

So, how does the RODE lavalier compare to some of the tried and true lavs on the market? You would really need "golden ears" to hear the nuances. We've had professionals in blind tests pick the RODE lav against mics costing much more. You also get these benefits:

  1. Micon connectors easily allow the user to switch to a variety of devices
  2. Includes free wind protection, case and 5 year warranty.
  3. Sounds great against comparable models on the market - including against models costing much more.
Note, the DVeStore is linked to for purchase of the RODE Lavalier - and you'll get a free Micon. Just to make sure that you know, Guy Cochran is employed by DVeStore, Inc. We also worked with Chad Johnson, an independent producer to test the RODE Lavalier along with a few other popular mics including, the Sennheiser ME2, TRAM, and Sanken COS11D.


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    KevinSharma said...

    Great article.
    This is one of my Favorite Microphone, really loved the design.


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