I was honored to receive a sample of Saramonic’s new SoundBird T3 shotgun microphone. Here is my review of this US$299 which (like another shotgun I recently reviewed) has a built-in rechargeable battery, although the SoundBird T3 can alternatively work with phantom power. The Saramonic SoundBird T3 includes a quite useful hard-shell case, a shockmount, clip, foam windscreen (not a blimp), 2-foot XLR cable, Micro USB to USB type-A charging cable , microphone storage pouch, cable strap and 1-year warranty. Ahead are more details, a test recording in several modes and my ratings.
Purpose of the USB connection
Unlike some other microphones —where the USB port serves to get a digital output of the microphone— in the case of the Saramonic SoundBird T3 shotgun microphone, the USB port is only to charge the internal battery. However, that is not the only way to power the SoundBird T3: You can also power it via 48-volt phantom power from your camera, interface or recorder if it is available. However, you may prefer to charge and use the internal battery so that the batteries in your camera, interface or recorder will last longer. That internal battery is rated at 150 hours.
The bare SoundBird T3 measures 28.2 centimeters long, making it slightly longer than the short shotgun Sennheiser MK416, just as a reference point since it is so well known in the industry. Short shotguns are less directional, while long shotguns are more directional.
The bare SoundBird T3 weighs 240.5 grams, making it about 27% heavier than the bare MKH-416 which weighs 175 grams. The extra weight is to be expected since the SoundBird T3 is longer.
Frequency Range: 75Hz to 20kHz
Sensitivity: -38 ± 3dB (0dB-1V/Pa, at 1kHz 1.5V 2.2K)
Output Impedance: 150ohm
Dynamic Range: 125dB (per IEC651)
Maximum SPL: f=1kHz, THD<1% 105dB
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 80dB SPL (per IEC651)
High-Pass Filter: 150Hz
High Frequency Boost: +6dB
All of the below recordings were made at our 48 kHz standard (see 48kHzAlliance.com), trimmed and normalized and uploaded at 48 kHz mono WAV.
Above, the sound of the SoundBird T3 unadulterated other than normalization. You will hear the microphone in flat (without the air conditioning), flat with the air conditioning, with low cut filter (aka high pass filter) and finally with the high frequency boost.
Above, the same recording after medium level noise reduction from Hindenburg Journalist Pro (covered in several articles) tu further reduce the background sound of the air conditioner, which was in the opposite end of the room with the microphone pointed away from it.
The Saromonic SoundBird T3 has street price of US$299 and includes:
- Saramonic SoundBird T3 shotgun microphone (rechargeable battery, Phantom)
- SR-SMC2 adjustable shockmount
- Mic slip stand mount
- Foam windscreen
- XLR mic cable (2 feet or about 61 centimeters)
- MicroUSB to USB Type-A charging cable
- Microphone storage pouch
- Reusable Cable Strap
- Hard-shell travel case
- Limited 1-year warranty
Looks and build quality
(within its price range)
Value for the price
(I recommend one of the artificial “dead cats” from a third-party for outdoor use, since Saramonic doesn’t currently offer one.)
For more information, visit Saramonic’s website.
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