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Oscar Sound Tech OST802 lavalier microphones. Anyone used them?
  • I want to start a discussion about the "cheap-but-good" lavalier mics that are out there. I heard that you can buy some relatively good lavs on eBay for dirt cheap. Anyone used them? Can you post an eBay link? What's your opinion?

    I'm not gonna get into Lavalier mics for now - simply can't afford them (unless I find some worthy cheap deals to experiment with). But when I do, (if I'll really need to get Lavs for some wide-shot dialogues) I'm thinking to have a cheap setup like this with Tram TR-50 plugged directly into Zoom H1 (yes, you can't monitor, but hey it's a cheap solution). From one of the comments on that post, someone mentioned Oscar Sound Tech OST 802 lavs, which seems to be 1/3 of the price of TR50 (circa $120).

    Here's a comparison/test with Sennheiser ME2

    and here's another test

    Have you ever heard of these OST802 lavs??? Someone even did a comparison between Tram TR50 and OST802 here (Tram TR-50 in the right ear, and OST802 in the left ear). OST802 indeed sounds very very similar to TR50 (although OST802 sounded a tiny bit "flatter", but nevertheless a whole lot more pleasant than Sanken COS11D or Sennheiser ME2).

    What's your opinion?

  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • I have used them and they are the best deal out there. I have 3 x 801's. The 801's are a closer fit to the Tram TR50. The 802's are more like the Sonotrim lavs. As far as the 801's are concerned they are virtually identical to the Trams, Voice Technologie's VT500 and Countryman EMW. Same response curves. One third the price. You can have them wired for any system you like and purchase an adapter to go direct XLR. You can also get most of the tie clip accessories for very cheap from them, including magnetic clips, vampire clips, double tie, windscreens etc. Lastly they have excellent handling noise ratings, so as far as I am concerned they are ideal. I know that a lot of Hollywood productions use them, when not working with the Sanken COS-11's because they are the least expensive way to mic a very large cast...

  • @kronstadt I'm in the market for a couple of lavs too. Haven't heard of Oscar Sound here in Oz but they do look like a bit of a Tram knockoff. They seem to be fairly well regarded from the discussions on the net.

    The ME2 that comes with the G3 wireless system is pretty ordinary. (thin and nasal)

    I have a Rode Pin Mic which has a very full sound and cuts well with both the Rode NTG-3 and Oktava hypers.

    As for the COS11's they have a fairly bright response which makes them suitable for hiding under clothes as they can cope with some high frequency attenuation but of course they are pretty expensive at around $400 if you are on a budget.

    Rode Lavaliers seem to be sonically the same as the Rode Pin Mic and are closer to $200 and have a good bass response which gives a nice solid voice reproduction... something many lavs seem to lack.

    Audio Technica make a few different lavs that maybe more affordable and someone else may have some other suggestions. An advantage of the Rode's is they can be adapted to a variety of recording devices using Rode's Micon Connectors.

    Checkout this lavalier mic comparison...

  • @yoclay yeah, I've just had a reply e-mail from OST. He too recommended OST801 for my taste, but refused to comment on their competitors' products. He also sent me the price-list PDF (see attachment below), but I can't make heads or tails of what's what and which accessories I would need for my direct OST801-to-ZoomH1 setup. Can you advise me?

    Not even a telephone number that I could call to ask questions.

    @pundit I had watched and Listened to that shootout video several times, which was one of the determining comparisson videos that set my heart on Tram TR-50. Rode Lav comes 2nd in my preferences out of these 4, but I might consider it if it was half the price of TR-50. Sanken COS11D may be the "industry standard" now, but I wouldn't touch it with a 6ft pole - it just doesn't sound right to me. And Sennheiser ME2, well that's just not for film and it definitely doesn't sound like cinema sound.

    The strange thing is that there's nowhere on internet where you can hear OST801 audio. It's all about OST802

    OST Price List.pdf
  • I would search the prosound forums for info on the Oscar lavs. The COS11's tend to sound a bit hyped in the top end which can make them appear a bit thinner sounding than say the Tram or the Rode. As mentioned they are commonly hidden under clothing so I guess their high frequency response had been tailored to allow for some high end loss in that application. If you did an under clothes comparison with the same lavs you may come to a different conclusion.

  • If you plan to record with the Zoom H1, the microphone's sensitivity should be an important factor when choosing a mic. The H1 does not have very high gain or low noise, which means you'll get a poor signal to noise ratio (audible noise and hiss) if you're not recording loud sounds or using a sensitive mic. For a lavalier and the H1, I'd suggest using nothing less sensitive than -35 dB re 1 Volt/Pascal, which mean you'll need something like the Sennheiser ME 2, ME 4, the Rode Lavalier, or the Rode Pinmic. Personally, I won't buy any microphone that doesn't have a sensitivity spec published by the manufacturer.

    Going cheap on the recorder and pre-amp means you are quite constrained in which mics will work well. You need a high quality pre-amp if you want more choices of microphones.

  • I really like the sound of the Rode Lavalier and PinMic. Both cost $250.

  • My Oscar Sound Tech TL-40 just arrived today. I love it. Besides offering sound quality that outperforms everything else at its price point and gives far more expensive units a run for their money (I'm looking at you, Sanken and Countryman!), this manufacturer really goes the extra mile by including an ultra-rugged waterproof carrying case, essentially a mini Pelican. The microphone itself isn't quite as small as the Countryman B6, but it's definitely smaller than anything else I've seen.

  • @Sangye How does the Oscar Sound Tech compare with the Rodes?

  • I'd say the sound is warmer and richer on the Rode, but the OST has more dynamic range and can be made to sound as warm and rich with some work in post-production. The OST sounds very neutral. I really like the interchangeable connectors on the Rode, which could for some justify paying twice as much as for an OST.

  • I am using an Oscar Sound Tech TL-40 going directly into the Zoom h1, and although I can't tell you specifically what the sensitivity is, I will say the the signal output is quite high, allowing me to keep the volume at a very reasonable setting on the Zoom H1. The results are excellent. We plan on using this system of 3 lavs & 3 Zoom H1's (plus a boom with an Oktava MC 012 going into a Marantz PMD660 whenever possible) for our upcoming feature. Although the syncing will be a little bit more work in post, we will be able to mix all of the channels separately, giving us much more latitude than mixing live. The only downside is that we will not be able to monitor, but for the price (less than $200 for TL-40 + Zoom H1) it really is hard to beat, considering the results.

  • @Sangye I'm getting more tempted to try out one of the Oscar Sound Techs especially as the price seems so reasonable. Has anyone done a direct comparison with the Sanken COS 11? I know my Rode is warmer than the Sanken but I'm thinking the Oscar Sound Tech TL-40 should obviously sound closer to the COS 11 than the Rode.

    @Django How are you finding the Oktava MC 012? I assume it has the hyper capsule? I had issues with the handling noise and sensitivity to air movement and finally ended up with Rycote Invision shockmount and a Rycote Baby Ball Gag. Pretty much essential to keep the Oktava's handling noise under control IMO - See photo


  • @pundit

    The Oktava sounds great, but you do have to be really careful about handling and wind noise. You are right, a good shockmount and some sort of blimp and/or deadcat are essential.

  • Ok so this is an old post but audio doesn't really change right!

    @balazer nailed it when he said that the secret was to get a mic with a high sensitivity due to the crappy noise floor of most sub $1000 recorder - H4N and Tascam DR100 mk2 seem to need a higher input level due to their not so great pre-amps.

    @Django and others seem to like the Oscar Sound Tech TL-40 but is appears to have a pretty low sensitivity of about -56dB vs something like a Audio-Technica AT899 that has about -43dB (on phantom power) - that's huge about 2mv to 7 or so. Wondering how you are getting decent sound from the mic then? Also does Oscar Sound tech have any proper XLR mics that require phantom power? I believe phantom powered mics will always put out a hotter signal.

    I am just looking to get a decent sounding lav for run and gun documentary work to feed into a noisy Tascam dr100 Mk2. Figured if I can get a nice high level into the recorder I can circumvent the noisy pre-amps at higher gains that everyone complains about.