I have to admit, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Sony to jump into the tiny microphone market. They’ve been making wireless mics for years, so why the wait? Well, whatever the reason, they’re here now.
Sony has announced three new microphones, well, technically two, but one of them is available in two flavours. There are the ECM-W3 (buy here) and ECM-W3S (buy here) dual and single wireless kits and the ECM-S1 (buy here) podcast mic.
Sony ECM-W3 / ECM-W3S
Sony’s describing this as two new microphones, but it’s essentially two varieties of one microphone system. The Sony ECM-W3 is a dual wireless microphone kit, and the Sony ECM-W3S is a single wireless microphone kit.
Other than that, they’re essentially the same product. So, we’ll lump them together here.
Sony says that the Sony ECM-W3 and ECM-W3S microphones are “designed with sound quality in mind”, and one would certainly hope so for a microphone. They’re also equipped with noise-cut DSP and low-cut filters to reduce harsh noise and low-frequency rumble.
Not limited to Sony cameras… but it helps
One particularly interesting thing about the receiver for these systems is that it will communicate directly with your Sony camera using the multi-function hotshoe. So, you’ll never need to have wires trailing from your wireless receiver to your mic input socket.
The receiver isn’t limited to just Sony cameras, though. You can also use the receiver as a digital USB audio device and plug it straight into the USB sockets on your computer, tablet or smartphone and use it just like any other microphone – very handy for smartphone vloggers.
Of course, it also has the standard 3.5mm TRS stereo output socket for those who need to feed into the microphone inputs of their cameras.
It’s nice to see Sony finally jumping into this market. It will be interesting to see how they compare against the likes of Rode, DJI, Hollyland, Comica and the scores of other companies that have flooded into it over the last few years.
This one, I feel, is a particularly interesting microphone for Sony to release. It’s not a microphone you’d typically associate with using directly into the camera. You’d expect to plug it into a mixer or a USB audio interface, record it on your computer and then sync it all up later.
But for podcasters and vloggers, this could be an excellent option. Like the wireless microphones above, the Sony ECM-S1 comes with a receiver that talks natively with the Sony multifunction shoe. Again, that means audio with no wires, with a podcast-style mic, burned right into the footage.
That should certainly help speed up the post workflow!
Three different pickup patterns
It’s equipped with three large-diameter (14mm) capsules. These capsules, Sony says, have a high sensitivity with wide frequency characteristics. Its claimed low noise levels and wide dynamic range allow for clear recordings of even the softest sounds. These three capsules also allow for three different pickup patterns.
First up, you’ve got uni-directional, for when you’re speaking solo straight into the microphone. Next, there’s omnidirectional, which can be handy for recording conversations with several people (although the quality probably won’t be that great). Finally, there’s stereo mode.
As with the microphones above, this one uses the same receiver. It also offers digital audio connectivity over USB and a 3.5mm TRS stereo output for sending into a mixer or mic input on your computer or camera.
Price and Availability
The Sony ECM-W3 dual and ECM-W3S single wireless microphone kits are available to pre-order now for $469 and $349, respectively. The Sony ECM-S1 wireless podcast microphone is also available to pre-order now for $419. All items are expected to begin shipping in October.