Sony’s latest Alpha-series cameras have a unique feature integrated into the hot-shoe mount: a proprietary multi-interface that allows for digital signal passthrough of audio devices. The company today expanded product support for this interface with a new wireless microphone and lavalier microphone.
The most notable product in the audio line for Alpha products to this point is the ECM-B1M shotgun microphone. Its support for Sony’s Multi-Interface Shoe allowed it to send a fully digital audio signal to the camera in lieu of the normal analog signal. Sony says that this digital signal processing combined with the design of the microphone makes for clear, effective audio with a low-cut filter that maximized audio quality at the recording stage and reduces the post-production requirements.
Sony has now expanded its audio lineup that takes advantage of the multi-interface shoe to the new ECM-W2BT wireless microphone and ECM-LV1 compact stereo lavalier that it says boasts many of the same benefits in a different form factor that can attach directly to your subject.
The ECM-W2BT wireless microphone captures low-noise digital sound when connected to the receiver attached to a camera equipped with a digital audio interface compatible Multi-Interface Shoe. That connection not only allows for digital signal recording as mentioned but also removes the need for additional cables.
Sony says that the ECM-W2BT has been completely redesigned for high sound quality using an advanced omnidirectional mic capsule to capture clear sound recording from any direction.
“The ECM-W2BT also allows audio recording flexibility by increasing the stability of the wireless connection between microphone and receiver, even with obstacles or in crowded environments with additional wireless activity,” Sony says. “In locations with good visibility, communication is possible at up to 200 meters (~656 feet), significantly increasing the flexibility of audio recording.”
Sony uses the Qualcomm aptX Low Latency codec to provide high-quality audio as well as low latency even at range.
The microphone has three modes: MIC mode, MIX mode, and a new RCVR mode. MIC mode will only pick up audio from the microphone transmitter so only the subject audio is captured. MIX mode picks up both transmitter and receiver audio which is useful when audio from both you and your subject is desired. RCVR mode only picks up sound from the internal microphone at the receiver, so you can record audio of yourself.
“The ECM-W2BT mic supports stereo audio input and an external 3.5mm stereo mini-jack to allow for stereo sound pickup, so it can be used in combination with the stereo-capable lavalier microphone such as the ECM-LV1 compact stereo lavalier microphone,” Sony continues. “Since the receiver is equipped with 3.5mm audio output, the ECM-W2BT can be used without Multi-Interface shoe model cameras.”
As the company says, while analog recording is still supported, the products are only at their best when the digital signal is supported via an attachment to a fully-compatible camera that features the Multi-Interface Shoe.