Ambient Emesser


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Ambient Recording Emesser

April 2001


THE SMALL, NOT INSIGNIFICANT, and perhaps logical step from microphone accessories to microphone manufacture, has been undertaken by Ambient Recording with the introduction of its Tiny range. Known within the location filming fraternity for the well-respected Clockit portable location time code generators and digital slates, these new additions to the range mark an interesting departure from an established portfolio.

Comprehensively comprised of a full suite of mini-mixer, mini-shotgun and mini-figure-of-eight microphones, Ambient has addressed the pervasive DV Cam market by scaling its products to better suit the dimensions of the small-format Sony VX-2000/PD150 professional camcorders, and to make better use of the available camera facilities. Most DV camcorders have a 3.5mm 'plug-in power' socket to connect an external electret microphone, but subsequent control over audio tracks is usually either via an ALC circuit or by a single control knob that affects both audio channels. Ambient's TinyMix is a small and light 2-channel solution that fits to the camera handle shoe, uses the on-board power, and enables dynamic or line-inputs to be used with the addition of individual level control of both channels. It also acts as a base for the TinyMike mini-shotgun microphone.

Both will be reviewed in the near future and I'll concentrate here on the third of the triumvirate--the Tiny Emesser, figure-of-eight microphone. My disposition to the concept of an un-matched figure-of-eight capsule clipped to the top of a standard shotgun microphone, to create an MS pair, was not as puritanical as perhaps others might be; after all, until I could spare my freelance cash I limped along in the early days of sporadic MS recording for TV with an AKG Blue Line figure-of-eight (rather cleverly I thought at the time) clipped to the top of my Sennheiser 416, such that a standard Rycote windgag could still be used rustle-free. Rather like a first car, it brings back fond memories although subsequent, more sophisticated, means of transporting transitory sound waves to tape underline the inadequacies of such naive, youthful zest, the actual performance often belied the theoretical limitations. And so it proved with the Ambient Emesser. Joined at the hip to an old and faithful 416, it provided a crisp and punchy response in general work-a-day sound gathering mode, with that same advantage of being protected and discretely tucked away within the manageable dimensions of a standard woolly windgag.

The microphone--little more than the element itself at 35mm long and 12 mm in diameter and 20g in weight--carries a thin lead back to a female 3-pin XLR connector connected to the main microphone, from where a further lead terminates in a 5-pin Cannon connector, wired to the standard 'stereo configuration', enabling quick and easy connection to standard extension cables for fish-pole operations. The mic is attached to the host microphone by means of a curved, plastic clip that is held in place by dual rubber bands, allowing--within reason--universal adaptability to professional microphones. The frequency response is given as being between 40Hz and 18kHz--I always roll 150Hz out of the bottom of the 'S' element in any case--with the sensitivity and output specifications being within a whisker of that stated for the Tiny shotgun.

So while the more established microphone manufacturers may not yet be running scared, the Ambient Emesser figure-of-eight microphone could still prove to be a worthwhile addition to a location sound recordist's flight case.



April 2001

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