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Countryman Lav's


Simon Hayes
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My experience jibes with several previous posters,

The B6 is great to hide in plain sight but then wind and especially plosives become a real issue,

I always mount "upside down", typically behind a button,

For a similar form-factor and what I believe to be a similar-to-better sounding mic, the fairly new Voice Technologies VT402 & VT403 are worth a look

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The early B6s were kind of fragile--they've been through some upgrades since then, not the least of which was a change in the skin of the cable.  Since then I haven't noticed them failing any more often than my other lavs, even though I use them more.  Lucky, possibly.  The main talent deal with them is to try to get the talent not to tear them off themselves by grabbing the head and pulling--the weak point is the cable join just below the mic head.

 

philp

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What's frustrating is that the newer B2's have kevlar cable and appear to be so strong, you could practically use them as a tie line to climb out a window. I wish they could make B6's with the same cable! When I've had B6's break, twice they broke at the head, and only once did the cable itself break (or at least get work to the point where the internal wires were fraying). I think all mine were bought in the last 5 years, but they're still pretty fragile (IMHO). 

 

As The Senator reminds me, "lavs are expendables." 

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Have had B6's up against DPA's and Cos-11's lately, and the results were that the B6 was the most 'open' of the three, which means that when I'm on a REALLY busy NYC street, I'd choose Cos-11 and if on a disastrously busy NYC street, the DPA for maximum urban ambient gunk reduction.

 

B6's--for their relative openness--do not easily hard-cross-fade with either of the two other mics, but keeping the B6 up and bringing the other lav down worked well, if allowing more of the 'street' in. Sometimes that's what I want. These days tend to deploy one brand of lav per scene rather than mix 'em up.

 

Having discovered the B6's sensitivity to plosive-related 'wind' noise, I've taken to mounting them with undercovers both indoors and out, and that seems to have solved the issue.

 

S4 and soon-to-air S5 of "Nurse Jackie" were delivered using mostly B6's until later episodes of S5 when DPA's came more into play for EXT's after inadvertently A/B'ing B6 v. DPA during an EXT dialog/live singing scene. Thanks for the impetus to handle it that way Simon.

 

Wonderful to have met you Simon, and congrats on the CAS win.

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Have had B6's up against DPA's and Cos-11's lately, and the results were that the B6 was the most 'open' of the three, which means that when I'm on a REALLY busy NYC street, I'd choose Cos-11 and if on a disastrously busy NYC street, the DPA for maximum urban ambient gunk reduction.

 

B6's--for their relative openness--do not easily hard-cross-fade with either of the two other mics, but keeping the B6 up and bringing the other lav down worked well, if allowing more of the 'street' in. Sometimes that's what I want. These days tend to deploy one brand of lav per scene rather than mix 'em up.

 

Having discovered the B6's sensitivity to plosive-related 'wind' noise, I've taken to mounting them with undercovers both indoors and out, and that seems to have solved the issue.

 

S4 and soon-to-air S5 of "Nurse Jackie" were delivered using mostly B6's until later episodes of S5 when DPA's came more into play for EXT's after inadvertently A/B'ing B6 v. DPA during an EXT dialog/live singing scene. Thanks for the impetus to handle it that way Simon.

 

Wonderful to have met you Simon, and congrats on the CAS win.

 

Great explanation Jan, thanks

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  • 3 weeks later...

First real working test today. Keep getting something like wind sound (sort of the mic is outside-exterior) indoor when the ACs and all fans off/doors/windows closed even though the B3 is hidden inside the clothing. Talent 1 is on COS11, didn't hear it. So now I know why my next purchase will be Sankens. B6 is good though, didn't have the same issue.

Sent from my MK16i using Tapatalk 2

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  • 1 year later...

I have the opportunity to buy some used EMW, but now they're wired for Lectro use while I will need them qith a Lemo3 for Zaxcom transmitters.

Is there any issues to rewire them? Could I buy them or is there something different with the ones they sell wired directly for Zaxcom?

 

Reading on their website I can't see any difference in the mic itself, just the connector.

 

Obviously I wrote them some days ago, but still didn't receive answer.

 

Thanks, v.

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I have the opportunity to buy some used EMW, but now they're wired for Lectro use while I will need them qith a Lemo3 for Zaxcom transmitters.

Is there any issues to rewire them? Could I buy them or is there something different with the ones they sell wired directly for Zaxcom?

 

Reading on their website I can't see any difference in the mic itself, just the connector.

 

Obviously I wrote them some days ago, but still didn't receive answer.

 

Thanks, v.

Chop the connector off, rewire it to 3 pin Micro Lemo (or get someone to do it for you). The mic is the same, it just needs to be terminated differently. 

You're welcome: http://www.countryman.com/microphone-wiring

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Zaxcom (Lemo), actually...

Thank you anyway, I was forgetting my soldering skills :)

 

 

vale: " Is there any issues to rewire them? "

you need the appropriate soldering skills, the parts, and the correct wiring for the Lectro.

--or you could, of course, pay someone with these skills, etc. to do it for you...

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I have four B6s that I got for a landscaping show about six years ago.  We did 32 episodes from May to October and I only had one break and that was from the homeowner yanking too hard when she took it off.  (Without my permission)  Production paid for it fortunately.  Generally I used the bright cap and did a lot of t-shirt neck mounts.  For wind I pulled the foam tips off of eye make up applicators to make really small, disposable windscreens.  I put Transpore over the top of the mic head and "windscreen" and for most days that was sufficient.  I think I'd go to a fleece patch or over cover if the day was really windy.  They sounded pretty good to me then.  I've since gotten Sankens, and Oscar Soundtechs.  I still use the B6s for the hidden in plain side technique when I really need it.  Nice to have choices.

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Since this thread got resurrected and I didn't see it the first time around, I'll chime in. I use Sankens and B6s and have come to really like the B6 a lot. I use them with MM400(ABC) transmitters and, IMO, red band is REQUIRED. Even wired TA5 for SM, I would still strongly recommend red band. I even sent the gray band ones I had back to Countryman years ago and they desensitized them somehow to turn them into red band for me.  My experience is different than Jan's in that I find the Sanken picks up the room much more than the B6. Countryman calls them "Isomax" and think the moniker fits. Great choice when there are a lot of lavs out, especially in an unscripted situation where multiple lavs must be open at once. While the sound is admittedly not as lush and full as a Sanken or DPA, I find the sound of B6 highly intelligible, which makes them a great documentary lav. Mount with a crisp cap and an overcover and wind or plosives will not be an issue. I'll prefer a Sanken or DPA in a quiet environment on a scripted show, but in the doc world the B6 is a great choice, even when it's small size is not required. When I tried a B3 I thought it sounded MUCH worse than a B6. I was very surprised by this, but I returned it straight away. It sounded very dead. So that is my experience. Last comment is that you must master mounting them to minimize cable rub near the head.

 

Paul

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I used B3s exclusively for a couple of years, when I didn't have the money for Sankens or DPAs, and I think that the B3 gives some of the most honest reproduction out there. They are more difficult to hide, and I had to have the connectors re-terminated more often than I would have liked (but thanks to Mark at Location Sound Corp. for his expertise or I would have been sunk!). The difficulties, though, never outweighed the quality. In my opinion, the B3 (standard sensitivity, Flat Response Cap), was far better for narrative dialog than several other mikes that I've tried in it's price range (TRAM TR-50/Sonotrim STR, PSC Millimic, Sony ECM-44B). And the B3 is very versatile, I've even used B3s for instrument miking with relative success.

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My setup for the longest time was using just b3 and b6 lavs. To my ear they sound identical but you can get better placement on a b6. Now I use DPAs for everything, unless I need the B6 for difficult wardrobe or in plain sight mount. B3 still comes out for reality work and situations I know the mic will be abused/come into contact with water. 

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  • 3 years later...
39 minutes ago, Derek H said:

Old thread but what the hell. Anyone care to chime in on the EMWs? Sound quality vs b6 or vs a Tram for example. 

 

Countryman's description seems to indicate this is their most durable lav. 

 

Thanks!

I have a couple that I've barely used (wired for G2's) They sound good to me, I just find the cable a bit stiff. When trying to hide the head, the stiff cable has a tendency to twist and made a bulge in all the wrong places (sometimes!)

 

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  • 3 years later...

Demo'd my buddy's B6's this weekend, and like many on here, I was contented and pleasantly surprised with the clarity. Using A10 transmitters is going to do that, I think, and I'd love to hear an array of mics through an end-to-end digital network...
That said, the handling noise is well-beyond what I'm accustomed to. And I'm also so very thankful for the treatment advice on these boards. 

As a thank you, I got my buddy the bumblebee cable savers. With a name like that you can imagine they're great for 

a) load/tension release. A slack loop. What's the term I'm looking for? These will save you that moment where you prep a loop if you're in a hurry. 

b) they decouple the handling noise downstream of the cable saver, which in the case of the B6 is crucial. Unless you plant them all day. 
https://www.bubblebeeindustries.com/collections/lav-mic-wind-protection/products/the-cable-saver

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