Jump to content
Rasmus Wedin

Oscar Sound Tech-lavs Re-visited.

Recommended Posts

So, I just wanted to check up and see if people are still enjoying using their TL-40's and 801's/ 802's? How are they holding up? Well built? Sounding good, working fine?

I'm asking cause last spring there was lots of talk about people receiving faulty mics (myself included), and lots of problems, but some seemed very pleased. Have they got it sorted out by now? Is it worth taking another look at these mics?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fine here. As I recall, some of the early 1/8" locking plugs had issues, but OST changed to different connecter. In any case, if there was an issue, OST would make it right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is good to hear, as four of these are my next intended purchase. I'm thinking two TL-40's and two 801's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a pair of the 801's, which are peaked for hiding. They match well and sound fine hidden. I also bought them for a reality gig where my other mics were getting beat on and I could not have asked for more out of them.

Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Used them for the last few weeks of a reality gig that was trashing my Sankens, now they're in perma-rotation.

I had a similar situation, where some Countryman B6's were getting trashed. The Oscar Sound Tech 801's are fine in a reality/doco situation, and their mounting flexibility and sound quality are perfect for that application, and are 1/3 the price.

If cost were no object and sound quality was the main issue, I'd go with the Sanken's in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the projects I tend to get don't always give me that luxury. And, as I always like to say, The King's Speech was done with Tram lavs (essentially identical to Trams), and sounded great and was nominated for a BAFTA award for best sound. I don't think they sound as good as Sankens or Countryman mics, but I think they're still very, very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One theory has been that a lot of small contemporary lavalier microphone pickups are sourced from factories that manufacture hearing aid devices, since this market is huge for requiring very, very tiny microphones small enough to fit inside someone's ear. Doing side-by-side comparisons of the Tram lav, the Oscar Tech 801 lav, and the Sonotrim, it looks to me like they all came out of the exact same factory; my opinion is that the differences boil down to quality control. (The fact that the accessories all fit between the three back up this theory.) The Countryman EMW is very similar, but slightly different in size and design, plus it's waterproof, and does sound different.

My listening tests are that the Oscar Tech 801's sound 100% identical to a new Tram TR-50. Note that the microphones do change in sound quality over time, and my oldest lavs tend to sound more "rolled-off" over time.

I believe Glen Trew posted an interesting story some years back about Theodore Rapp, the original guy behind the Tram microphone, and how this lav became one of the de facto standards in the espionage industry of the 1980s. There's probably a good story to tell, but I'm not sure who knows all the pieces, plus some of it's open to conjecture.

And it goes without saying that these lavs will all sound different depending on where they're placed, as well as the specific vocal characteristics of the actor on which they're used. I've encountered actors on which they sound awful, and others where they sound incredibly good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use my TL40s a lot. Very robust, especially with the Switchcraft TA5 connectors they use. Downside is they kind of glue the connectors on so you can't open them. But I have never had one break, so no big deal so far.

TL40s work best when hidden, I wouldn't use them in free air, a tad too bright for that. Low end is stronger on Sankens et al. but in the mix it usually works out well. More important to have a clean high end on lavs in my opinion anyways.

The prices on OSTs have gone up a little by the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also heartily recommend them. Customer service, as mentioned repeatedly, was astounding.

I was one of the ones with the early 1/8" plug issues. I think the issue is also Sennheiser's as G3 units from different production runs seem to have a large variance in the connector tolerances.

Back to OST, they fixed them, no questions asked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well with all these good reviews, I may pick some up, since some of my sankens are getting a little abused from the jobs I do. I ordered some OSTs for my G3s, but switched to Lectros just as that was happening, so I didnt use them much. Guess I'll have another go at them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only issue worth mentioning, IMO, is the fact that the cable is a bit too stiff/thick and, especially in the case of the 801/802, when you want to make sure it won't twist around. I've learned to loop the cable just so and add a strip of tape (so it's a better choice for non-hirsute talent) to keep it from turning. Other than that, I've had no complaints.

BK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if this is a change, Blas. I have a half-dozen OST lavs where the cable is actually very supple -- but also a couple that are a little stiff and wiry. It's generally not a deal breaker, unless I'm dealing with a very tight, thin T-shirt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if this is a change, Blas. I have a half-dozen OST lavs where the cable is actually very supple -- but also a couple that are a little stiff and wiry. It's generally not a deal breaker, unless I'm dealing with a very tight, thin T-shirt.

Thanks, Marc. I'll call and ask them - I'd welcome a thinner cable.

BK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×