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AKG C577 Miniature Microphone (part 2)

Taking a close look at the mic (you’ll have to), Dr Watson’s first reaction might have been to say, “Holmes, it’s a cardioid!”. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first miniature mic to have a directional pattern, but it would be unusual.

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Taking a close look at the mic (you’ll have to), Dr Watson’s first reaction might have been to say, “Holmes, it’s a cardioid!”. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first miniature mic to have a directional pattern, but it would be unusual. Watson was of course judging from the mic’s external appearance, and slots behind the diaphragm are always a tell-tale give-away that a mic is directional. Except in this case. Holmes would of course have deduced that the tiny holes in the end of the mic were just for show, and that the slots cover what appear to be twin side-facing diaphragms. In fact, I really do think the holes in the end are for show since I couldn’t discern any vast difference in the sound quality when I covered them with my finger. This of course has a bearing on how the microphone is positioned, even though it is an omni. Anyone with an interest in current events will have noticed how the BBC newsreaders always have their mics clipped on upside down. This is because in practice, it reduces the possibility of popping. But if the AKG’s diaphragms face outwards from the sides of the mic it doesn’t really make any difference which way up the mic goes. Unfortunately, the opportunity to make an individual statement in how one positions one’s mics on TV goes out the window, but that’s progress for you. The C577 is pretty hard to pop anyway.

You may be wondering how I know all of this without the benefit of a jeweller’s tool kit to cut a cross section through the casing. I just unscrewed the cover! It would seem that replacing the cable is going to be an absolute doddle with this mic, and a certain amount of cleaning could also be undertaken. Mics used in theatre have a very limited life span due to being ‘sweated out’ and are treated almost as consumables. I’m not sure whether one could actually clean the working parts of this mic, but you could certainly clean the grilles, which might put off disposal day a little longer. Anyway, don’t buy any secondhand miniature mics from theatre sound engineers, that’s my motto.

No miniature mic would be complete without a selection of miniature accessories. You know - the things that you use once and then lose. This was my only disappointment with this mic. The clips fix onto the mic’s cable rather than onto the body of the mic, which I suppose is inevitable with a mic this small. But you really have to press the cable hard, and the temptation to force it with a fingernail may prove irresistible. Although the cable could be replaced, I don’t think that it is right that it should be so easy to stress and possibly damage in normal use. Having said that, the cable seems to be moderately tough, and it has the right degree of stiffness to make it fairly resistant to tangles. The cable isn’t significantly microphonic either so you won’t be troubled too much by noise from this source.

All in all. I liked this mic and I don’t mind recommending it, although with mics that have to take a lot of punishment, the proof will come with real life use.

Specification

  • Type: Self-polarised capacitor
  • Polar pattern: Omni
  • Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity (1kHz): 15mV/Pa
  • Signal/noise ratio ref. 1Pa (A weighted): 68dB (A)
  • Max. SPL (1% THD @ 1kHz): 118 dB SPL
  • Supply voltage: 9V to 52V phantom power
  • Size (mic): 5.5mm diameter x 14mm
  • Finish: matte black
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By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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