Sound Shark vs. Wireless Lapel Mic

Sound Shark with a hybrid camera

Why would you use a Sound Shark mic instead of a wireless lapel mic?

When faced with the task of recording an interview, most people will turn to a lapel (lavaliere) microphone for capturing the audio. Small microphones are seen every day on television, and they are often used without us seeing them.

They are the perfect solution, right? Well, not always. There are several drawbacks to lapel microphones that most people just learn to live with. The Sound Shark provides a new alternative to lapel microphones that may alleviate all of these issues.

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The first issue with lapel microphones is that they can be seen. Sometimes, this can be overlooked; at other times, they must be hidden. There are numerous tricks to hiding the mics on the speaker. Googling the subject will provide lots of articles on potential solutions. If a wireless lapel is being used, the transmitter must be hidden as well. You have probably seen the ugly bulges caused by these transmitters while watching your local news program. In nearly all cases, the mic cable will be run inside the speaker’s clothing so it is not visible. This simple step can lead to some very awkward situations.

The Sound Shark’s collector provides a mechanical amplification of approximately six times. This amplification allows the Sound Shark to be located six feet or more from the speaker outside the camera’s field of view. When required, the Sound Shark can be hung from above or placed behind an object such as a plant.

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Turning heads

When a speaker wearing a lapel microphone turns their head, the audio level typically drops off dramatically. Once again, adjusting the levels can require a lot of extra effort in post-production.A speaker’s voice transmits nearly as well to the side as it does straight ahead. Consider how well you can hear another speaker speaking to someone else and not facing you directly.

Placing the Sound Shark a short distance away from the speaker(s) greatly reduces the drop-off in the audio levels when the speaker turns their head. Once again, this can be a great benefit when recording an interview or casual conversation.

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Unwanted noises

The second issue is the noise created when the microphone rubs against the speaker’s clothing or the speaker inadvertently touches the mic. Again, there are lots of tricks to avoid the clothing rubbing the mic, but all take extra time and effort. Because the Sound Shark can be located away from the speaker(s), there is no cloth rubbing against the mic. The speaker(s) can also move freely without worry of accidentally touching the mic.

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Single speaker

Lapel microphones are usually only good for one speaker. If a couple, such as a wedding couple, is being recorded, the speaker wearing the mic will be significantly louder than the speaker who is not. Adjusting the levels can require a lot of extra effort in post-production.

Locating the Sound Shark a short distance away allows more than one speaker’s voice to be captured through a single microphone. This allows a conversation between a couple or a small group to be easily captured at similar levels. Interviews can also be conducted easily without wiring up the interviewee or worrying about sharing a microphone. At the same time, the tighter focus of the Sound Shark limits the amount of ambient noise that is captured.

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No matter how good battery technology gets, there will always be those times when the transmitter battery dies when needed most. The failure may be due to the age of the rechargeable battery or due to someone forgetting to charge or replace the batteries. Regardless, the loss of a wireless mic can be serious.

Since the Sound Shark can be located outside the field of view, a cabled microphone element may be used. Microphone batteries can be eliminated.

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Wireless microphones rely on a signal being transmitted from the speaker’s transmitter to a receiver. In many situations, interference can be picked up on that signal. That interference may introduce extraneous noise, such as static, or it may completely overpower the signal with unwanted audio. I once experienced the car radio from a highway patrolman completely overpowering the microphone signals inside a church located near an interstate highway. It generated lots of chuckles until the patrolman passed by.

Once again, the Sound Shark can be located outside the field of view, so a cabled microphone may be used. RF issues such as interference and frequency overlap can be eliminated.

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