This week Sony announced two new microphone products, the ECM-W2BT and the ECM-LV1. The ECM-W2BT is a small, wireless microphone system similar to the Rode Wireless Go and new Wireless Go II. The ECM-LV1 is a stereo lavalier microphone that can be used with the ECM-W2BT. Like the Rode microphones, Sony’s new mics are ideal for vloggers and content creators that need a portable, easy to use, and effective audio recording solution.
Sony has been devoting a lot of attention to the vlogger market recently. Recent camera releases like the a7C and the ZV-1 are specifically catered towards vloggers and content creators. The compact, user-friendly cameras both feature in our list of the best vlogging cameras of 2020.
Sony’s new wireless microphone promises to be another exciting release for vloggers and content creators. Let’s take a look at everything we know so far about the Sony ECM-W2BT.
The Sony ECM-W2BT is small and light. Consisting of a transmitter and a receiver, each part weighs just 0.95 oz (27g) and 0.98 oz (28g) respectively. It comes with a windscreen, carry pouch, and a connector piece that holds the receiver and transmitter together. Both parts are also dust and moisture resistant.
The long, narrow transmitter has a built-in omnidirectional condenser microphone and easily clips on to clothing. It also features a 3.5mm input port so it can be used with a separate lavalier microphone like the ECM-LV1. The transmitter uses Bluetooth 5.0 with the Qualcomm aptx Low Latency codec to transmit audio wirelessly to the receiver.
In addition to a power button and the 3.5mm port, the transmitter has a USB-C port for charging and an attenuator switch for easy audio level adjustment. The switch offers three options, 0dB, 10 dB, and 20dB, for recording sources of varying volume. Two display lights indicate the transmitter’s connection status and battery charge.
The receiver is shorter and wider, and easily attaches to any camera with a hot shoe mount. If you’re using a Sony camera with their proprietary Multi Interface Shoe, the receiver can use it to transmit sound to the camera wirelessly. The MI Shoe also extends battery life from 3 hours to 9 hours. For cameras without the MI shoe, the receiver has a 3.5mm port for a wired connection (cable is supplied). Most recent Sony cameras have the MI Shoe, including the a7C and ZV-1.
The receiver also has its own built-in microphone, allowing you to easily record a two-person conversation between your subject and camera operator. A switch on the side lets you select whether you’re recording from the transmitter, receiver, or both.
The simple, wireless design of the ECM-W2BT makes it incredibly easy to use. The transmitter connects quickly and can maintain the connection from up to 600 feet (200m) away, provided there’s a clear line of sight. The Bluetooth 5.0 connection and low latency codec will ensure reliable sound quality during transmission, even in locations with lots of wireless activity.
As mentioned, the receiver can also connect to the camera cable-free via the Sony MI Shoe. Four of Sony’s cameras also feature digital audio interface technology via their MI Shoe. This enables the receiver to transmit sound to the camera as a digital signal, which reportedly reduces noise and interference. The cameras that support this are the a9 II, a7C, a7S III, and the a7R IV.
Given the advantages of using the ECM-W2BT with the MI Shoe, it’s clear this microphone is specifically designed for use with Sony cameras. While you can use the system with a non-Sony camera, the receiver only has a 3 hour battery life without the MI shoe. That may deter some non-Sony shooters.
The microphone in the receiver is a nice touch. If you like recording voiceover while you’re behind the camera, you’ll appreciate only having to use the receiver to record and transmit sound. Otherwise, it’s not quite as versatile as the Rode Wireless Go II, which includes two separate transmitters.
Sony is known for not compromising on quality, so you can expect decent quality recording through the transmitter microphone. You can also enhance the quality by pairing it with a lavalier microphone like the new ECM-LV1. The small, stereo microphone comes with its own wind screen and was literally designed for pairing with the ECM-W2BT.
The ECM-W2BT wireless microphone system is available for pre-order now for $228. That’s slightly more expensive than the Rode Wireless Go, which was recently reduced to $199.99. The new mic is more affordable than the Wireless Go II, though, which is still on pre-order for $299.
The ECM-LV1 is sold separately, and can also be pre-ordered now for just $28. That compares favorably to the Rode Lavalier Go, currently available for $79. Both of Sony’s new microphones will start shipping at the end of April.
The Sony ECM-W2BT is a great new option for vloggers and content creators, especially those already using a Sony camera with the MI shoe. The wireless microphone promises to be a fierce rival to the Rode Wireless Go II.