'Optimus' PZM/boundary any good ?
Sorry for this budget-question, but how useful is the boundary ('PZM') mic that Radio Shack has for US$39.99 ?
It's the Optimus #33-3022.
Since someone here will be visiting the US soon I was thinking about asking him to get me a pair.
Applications will mostly be for loud sources, like room for drums or guitars.
(Will add the 'usual' PZM-mods)
Any good ? At least usable ? Or just a cheap mic with a bad capsule ?
I have used a pair of Realistic PZM mics for drum overheads for about 12 years now - typically not to pick up the entire set, but to grab just the cymbals. I cut most of the lower frequencies.
The tracks by themselves sound terrible and thin, but once they're added to the full mic'ed drumset, they add GREAT clear high-end! Not harsh or distorted, they are the clarifying finishing touch that completes the character of the drum set.
Both my PZM's have had the simplest, quickest, easiest modification: 2 9-volt batteries wired in series for power (18 volts instead of the single AA 1.5 volts). Much more signal, much less noise!
Any time that I can get one for cheap, I pick it up. I expect to be using them for many more years. When I got word that they were being discontinued, I ran around to all of the Radio Shack's in my area, and picked up whatever was left - usually floor models - the clerks thought I was nuts: "You sure you want this? It's been out on the shelf, there's no box or paperwork...most people don't like these funny-looking microphones."
In fact, I even had a client who didn't want me to use the PZM. I asked him why not, and he told me "Because it doesn't LOOK like a microphone.". NO KIDDING.
Frankly, you can't go wrong with these cheapie mics - they have their own applications, they sound pretty darn good, and they're super cheap. Find an aquaintance who doesn't realize what he has, and buy it from him. YOU WIN!
I like them and like the idea that they're a nice DIY-subject. Indeed, can be a bit noisy and I noticed they're not that hard to overload. Haven't tried higher voltages yet though, both problems will likely become less then (unless the overload is caused by the capsule itself...).