Adventures In Audio

Why the Tascam TM-82 dynamic microphone does not have an on/off switch

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It's a long time ago since Tascam invented the Portastudio. And although Tascam hasn't impacted the industry in such a tremendous way since then, they have produced a steady stream of solidly reliable pro audio products, largely but not exclusively centered around recording.

But Tascam has experience in other areas of pro audio, microphones being one. And here is an interesting product, the Tascam TM-82 dynamic microphone.

What's unusual about the TM-82 is its low price of around $50. Yes, you can buy microphones as cheaply as that and cheaper, but it's an unusually low price point for a genuinely pro audio company.

So why doesn't it have a switch? That's the headline that brought you here.

No switch?

It would be easy for anyone who is comparatively new to pro audio to imagine that the absence of an on/off switch is a cost-cutting measure. After all, many similar microphones that are primarily designed for on-stage use, including hand-held, do have on/off switches. So why the omission?

The answer stems from what I said earlier. Tascam is a pro audio company. Professional microphones do not have an on/off switch. You read that right - professional mics do not have an on/off switch.

Actually, I'm not using the word 'professional' in quite the right way. I mean pro audio. 'Professional' would include any type of business that's done in the pursuit of money. Professional boxing comes to mind, and yes, of course, they use microphones.

But in a boxing match at perhaps not quite the highest level of the sport, the microphone might be part of a fixed installation that is used by the venue's staff and the ring announcer. At not quite the highest level of the sport, there may not be a sound operator. Or perhaps the person who is in technical charge of the venue looks after the sound as well as the lighting, heating and air conditioning, and perhaps maintenance of the vacuum cleaner, i.e. not a sound specialist.

But in pro audio, genuinely pro audio, there is always a sound operator - a sound operator who specializes in sound and quite likely doesn't have a clue about anything else. And why should they? - sound is enough to fully occupy anyone's mind, if done to the highest standards.

So it is the sound operator who will control the microphone, through the fader or mute button on his or her sound console. The microphone will not have an on/off switch because - what could go wrong? - whoever is using it on stage could switch it off, perhaps accidentally. And then the sound operator, being remote from the stage, can't do anything about it. Silence.

So the Tascam TM-82 is a genuine pro audio mic without an on/off switch. You can read a review in the May 2022 issue of Sound On Sound mag.

 

 

 

Wednesday May 4, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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