Skip to main content

I'm looking for a wireless lavalier mic for documentary recording (and an additional wired lav mic too). I'm on a very tight budget, yet I'm still after the best quality.

Any recommendations?

Or am I looking for unobtainium?



dvdhawk Sun, 01/29/2012 - 11:58

Obviously 'tight budget' is a relative term, so don't bite my head off if this is way outside your comfort-zone. It's not cheap, but the [URL="link removed ENG kit[/URL] wireless lav is the best bang-for-the-buck for field video work. Both the transmitter and the receiver are battery operated wireless packs. It also comes with everything you would need including a plug-in module you can attach to any mic with an XLR jack when handheld is preferable (E-V RE635 is my favorite). *Note, with just the ENG kit you can either use the lav OR the handheld - to do both simultaneously would require the purchase of an additional receiver. Price range for the kit, $800. More importantly the build-quality and sound quality are extremely good.

If this will all be indoor documentary work, (where you can use a standard receiver plugged into the wall for power) your choices are numerous and for about half the price you can get into a reasonably good system. AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, Audix, Audio-Technica - all probably make fairly good mid-level systems at $450 and under. I'd personally avoid anything really cheap (below $350) by any vendor, typically they're pretty awful below that price range. The AKG WMS-450 Presenter would be the best value I know of out of those candidates at about $450. Shure PGX series is also in that neighborhood.

All of those manufacturers make a wired version, or in some cases an XLR power module that allows you to use the mic from the wireless system hardwired. So I'd pick the wireless first and then choose a wired version from the same manufacturer (or power module).

I hope that helps.

lecycliste Thu, 02/02/2012 - 13:28

Thanks very much for the tips.

I'm looking at Shure PG14/PG185 for a wireless lavalier combo now - figure if I need remote battery power for the receiver I can build it from a small switching boost converter (or buy and assemble a module) to go from battery 6V to 12V @ 200mA or so. That will also remove any hum/noise problems with 117 VAC.

That is, unless anyone makes a pre-assembled converter I can adapt.

** Is the Shure PG series (no X) still in the pretty awful category?

Also, I have a pair of RE-15 variable-D cardioids I used to mike a Leslie with - I might be able to use one of them handheld and adapted to Shure's mini XLR jack on the transmitter when that's preferable.


dvdhawk Thu, 02/02/2012 - 15:13

The PG receiver claims to operate on any DV voltage between 12v and 18v. The polarity of the coaxial power connector is shown on back of unit. A 160mA or better 12v battery and you should be in business.

An alternative would be a car battery and an inverter.

I was never very impressed with the PG series, but see if you can try one before you buy it. It might be more than adequate for your purposes.

I'm doubtful the RE15 will work very well as described. Although the RE15 is a perfectly good mic, it's so unlike the PG185 lavalier I doubt it would be a simple adaptor job. Beside the different connector, the PG185 is a condenser mic - the RE15 is a dynamic mic, which brings up vast differences in impedance, sensitivity, output level - etc. So even if you found a pinout that was functional, it would almost certainly take some additional pre-amp circuitry to make it sound good.

lecycliste Thu, 02/02/2012 - 19:22

You're right - impedances won't match up well depending on the input Z of the belt pack. Condenser capsules are very hi-Z, versus the much lower inductive reactance / impedance of a dynamic mic. Mic output levels would definitely be different.

(That's what I get for writing without brain engaged.)

Looks like I use my C451EB / CK1 then. The capsule was dented slightly by the drummer in my old band (used it as a snare mic), but it still sounds great. I'm just a little worried about handling noise.