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HTDZ, EM320E, and other cheap microphones
  • After seeing a link to this mic here on the forum, I decided to order it to give it a try. I was very pleased with the performance considering how inexpensive it was.

    Can't remember who posted the link, but regardless... Thanks!


  • 43 Replies sorted by
  • Also known as Audio-Technica ATR-6550, Nady SGM-12 and other names.

  • @Vitaliy

    I found it here:

    So yes, it looks to be the same. Glad I found them!


    So, does that mean they are just rebranded? How much of a price difference is there?

  • @zigizigi

    Just did a search for the AT that you mentioned and sure enough, it looks to be identical. So basically I got two mics for 2/3 the price of just one of the AT's. I can live with that!

  • Bought one.. curious how it will work. In worst case it will make a nice mic for skype. ;=)

  • I also ordered one a month ago and it arrived last week. I also got a 3.5->2.5 adapter, so I'll try plugging it directly into the camera and get back with the results as soon as I have some time.

    @Vitaliy Yes they are exactly the same, I ordred from that link and got the exact same mic/case/cable/adapter as @tcarretti.

  • I wanted to buy those HTDZ HT-81 cheap Chinese microphones on eBay (for £25), but then I came across this listing for HT-81A (notice the new "A"), which is supposed to be a "Professional upgraded version of the HT-81", and it seems to have slightly different Frequency Response: 80Hz - 20KHz (as opposed to 100Hz-16KHz), and comes with different cables then the HT-81. Price is double... £50.

    So my question is: is it worth getting this "upgraded" version for extra £25? Is it worth the extra cash? All I want to do is to plug it into my Zoom H1 and get a clean dialogue sound. So which one should I get? HT-81 or HT-81A ? Also any tips about good and cheap cables for the boom pole, would be greatly appreciated.

  • @kronstadt

    I suggest you to make search for general terms like "shotgun" and compare them with your mikes to choose same for cheaper price.

    have big doubts that £49.95 is reasonable, as it is better to choose MXL mike in this case.

  • After posting here, I went ahead and bought the above EM320E mic for £11.89 (free shipping) on eBay (can't go wrong with that kind of price tag). I also compared the hiss level in the above video with Copolla's "Godfather" Bonna Serra opening scene, Cohen Brother's "Blood simple" (1984) and Christopher Nolan's "Following" (1998) .... The hiss level seems to be comparable (in "Following" it seems a whole lot worse than EM320E video, it seems)... but I guess, hiss can easily be removed/minimized digitally if one would want to.

    @Vitaly_Kiselev thanks for showing this thread and thanks for the advice! What is "MXL mike"?

    Now I need a set of decent cables to connect this EM320E to my Zoom H1 so that I don't loose stereo, and keep the sound as clean as possible. Also need good/cheap monitoring headphones. Any suggestions? Any links?

  • @tcarretti A few months ago I commented on this page about that microphone: and put a video on the page, with a few examples. I have been using that microphone on a long term documentary since nearly one year in Central America. I think it sounds really good, I have absolutely no hissing, compared it to a Sennheiser MKE400 and preferred it. I have it as a "Vivitar TVM-1", but it exists in all kind of different brands and I think its all the same one. Not recommandable in the "zoom"-position because then it sounds like a telephone. The best is the "normal"-position. It has a very good directional characteristic. It has a battery and goes directly into the GH2, with a great output signal. I have it bridged to both channels with a mini jack 3.5>2.5 cable (mine is not XLR but 3.5). I put it on top of the GH2 or use it with my Digital Recorder Olympus LS10. Back in Europe in August I will change to these "electret" microphones balazer describes here: I think that will be only a slightly more expensive solution - but a great improve.

  • gameb,

    Glad to hear that you are liking the mic as well. My video and it stirred up a most heated debate. There are a couple of audio "purists" who SLAMMED the mic terribly. When I tried to explain that it was simply a VERY inexpensive solution they basically said that it was worthless. So, I posted the above footage to show that even against the mighty H4n, the cheap shotgun seemed to hold it's own very well.

    You can't please everyone....

  • @tcarretti Hi Tony. In spite of the negative comments [I guess some are comparing it to Senneheiser and Schoeps ;>)] where do you normally mount the Rode Video Mic? Although you said you felt the EM320E was better than the Rode if the Rode is mounted on camera and you are comparing it with the EM320E set 20" above your head then almost anything will be better than the Rode. If this is the case why don't you swap the mic positions? ie. Put the Rode just above your head out of frame and the EM320E on the camera. I know this is not the normal setup but barring cable issues I guarantee the Rode will then sound better and not just because it is more expensive. 99% of the time it's the position of the mic that makes the biggest difference. Even when using top quality mics shotguns are best within 2 to 3ft from the talent and hyper-cardioids around 18". Any greater distance than this and the sound is generally compromised especially if the scene requires close, tight audio. Hence the use of wireless lavs and ADR when there is the budget. No mic at 4 to 6 feet is going to sound like one at 18". As for the Zoom H4n the mics in the Zoom are a best pretty average cardioids and will take in more room sound so a fairer comparison is the EM320E compared to the Rode VideoMic with both at the same distance from the source. At the end of the day the trick is to get most suitable mic as close as possible to the source whatever it costs!

  • EM-320E cable ends with a MONO jack (at least that's how it looks in the picture). Can you please post an ebay link to a good (and hopefully, cheap) MONO to 3.5mm STEREO adapter, that we can use with this microphone. So that we can plug this microphone into recorders like Zoom H1 and get a decent Stereo sound.


    UPDATE: will this work?

  • @kronstadt Simply fitting a mono to stereo adapter to the end of a mono plug/microphone won't give you 'stereo' sound. When plugged into the recorder it will give you 2 channel mono with identical signals in both channels. I assume that is what you meant?

  • @pundit well, is there anything else that could be done with these EM-320e microphones in order to get a proper Stereo sound? If yes, I'm all ears. (pardon me, I'm totally clueless about these things)

  • Tony, just order a mic based on your videos. I have zero experience with audio. I have a Camera L-Bracket. Other than whats included with the mic, what other accessories should I be looking for on the cheap?

    Windsock? Shock mount? Handle? Boom pole? Table top mount? Any other cabling?


    Plus - your video sounded great. Any naysayers, I just ordered one for under $19! It seems to do the job.

  • @tcarretti ignore audio snobbery mate - I recorded some foley with a pair of headphones once (well one side ;p) once and no-one noticed. Also employed the DFA fader many times that's been gleefully pushed up and down by someone with "golden ears" - always good for a chuckle :)

  • okey, let me rephrase my question: How does one get a STEREO sound out of this microphone?

  • Stereo has two microphones. one recording to the left, the other to the right channel. This is a single microphone. If you buy two, plug one in the left and one in the right channel, position them properly to your subject, you will be recording stereo.

  • @kronstadt "okey, let me rephrase my question: How does one get a STEREO sound out of this microphone?"

    You can't get stereo of a single (mono) microphone. Stereo requires two microphones or a stereo (dual capsule) microphone.

    You are confusing 2 channels/2 speakers as being stereo even when reproducing a mono source.

    Although your Zoom recorder has 2 channels and is capable of recording and playing back a stereo recording, feeding a single (mono) mic into both channels of your Zoom will not result in stereo.

    This is because both channels contain identical signals from the one mic. The sound will be appear dead center with no left or right stereo information. With headphones, although you would hear the sound in both ears it would appear to be directly in the middle of your head.

    However if two mics were used, one feeding the left channel and the other feeding the right (each panned left and right) then you would have stereo because each mic is picking up a different part of the sound-stage (spatial recording environment) with resulting phase and frequency differences. It's these differences between how each mic 'hears' the sound that results in what is referred to as 'stereo'.

    Listening on headphones would now result in a widening of the sound with some sound almost appearing to be outside of the headphones.

    This is why we have two ears. Our ears in conjunction with our brains not only tell us how loud a sound is but also which direction it is coming from. The ear closest to the sound source will receive the sound a fraction of a second before the other ear. It's these small timing differences (known as phase) that gives us clues as to the direction the sound came from. This is the basis for stereo sound reproduction. (Google 'binaural' if you want to understand true stereo)

    Stereo miking is not generally considered desirable or practical when recording dialog for film/video. Hence a single mic is mostly used, ie shotgun, hyper-cardiod, lavalier etc.

    However individual mono dialog recordings can be manipulated during mixing in post production by placing them (panning) more to the left or right in a 2 channel stereo mix which is often designed to match the dialog of an actor with their on screen position in a scene.

    Stereo/surround sound is commonly part of the post sound production process for movies. Music, voices, sound effects, foley and other individually recorded elements are placed left to right, front to back during the mixing process. However in most cases the individual sounds were originally recorded in mono with a single mic.

    In your case recording a single mic to just one channel of your Zoom won't cause any issues as that audio track will be used to simply replace the camera audio in post. However if you had a second mic, say a lavalier (lapel) mic that you wanted to use for redundancy (backup), you could record the shotgun mic to one channel of the Zoom and the lavalier onto the other channel and decide during post which mic sounds the best and use that. However make sure each mic goes to its own track and they are not panned centrally (mixed together).

    Technically this is still not 'stereo' in the true sense of the word and I would not try and use both recordings together as you will up with phase problems (Google it). It is a two track recording of two different mics designed to give you a backup/choice.

  • @disneytoy

    Do not worry, I am sure that it is available from other seller for same old price.

  • Anyone have tied those cheep Shock Mounts For Shotgun Mic on eBay?

  • Anyone have tied those cheep Shock Mounts For Shotgun Mic on eBay?

    Normally they are good.
    Different ones exist.

    I recomment this guy:

    He is good, and cheap :-)