Unfortunately I had to return the shotgun microphone ECM-B1M right away. It might have great technical features with recording digitally over eight microphones, but it is not the microphone that it was advertised for. You cannot record a person who is only 3 feet away from the camera. The ambient sound will be too loud and the speaker way too quiet.
I tried all the settings, boosted the sound to the max, but a female speaker with a normal soft voice simply remains too quiet while the ambient sound always is too loud. No matter what setting you use. If you are looking for a microphone to record ambient sound of a city or a forrest, go for it. A nice, tiny and good-looking microphone. Just be aware that for voice recording, it has huge disadvantages.
I would wish, Sony used proper promotional material and stated right away what this new shotgun microphone was all about. By telling it has better capabilites of recording sound than usual shotgun gear I was expecting way more. And I blame it on myself: I fell for their marketing campaign.
Since 2017 I used the wireless ECM-W1M with my Sony. I need to record sound when filming interviews of Playmates for Playboy. They sit three to six feet away from me and speak in normal voice to a third person who is asking questions from the off.
The unit consists of a sender and a receiver which is put into the hot shoe of the camera and connects via bluetooth. The recorded sound is automatically added to the audio track of the video. And all this is done without the need of a battery in the receiver or additional cables needed.
Officially they claim the unit works to a distance up to 300 feet. I have learned these are abstract values. From my experience I can say, you can use it well up to 30 feet. And this should be enough, I believe.
It costs 130 € less than the ECM-B1M shotgun microphone, but keep in mind, you should get a lavalier microphone to attach to the sender as well. Otherwise the sound quality won't be great and you have a piece the size of a lighter in your pictures when filming. As a lavalier microphone I use the Rode smartLav for approx. 50 €. This piece is handy, because in case the ECM-W1M breaks, I can (undo the adapter and) simply attach it to my iPhone and record external sound over the mobile phone.
I don't use the microphone very often, still it broke a couple of months ago. The plastic switch to turn it on and off simply broke. A cheap plastic construction of low quality. This pissed me off, especially because Sony does not offer the ECM-W1M in Germany. Last time I had to order it from Japan with all the hassle of going through customs, having to pick up the parcel at the customs office in Frankfurt and declaring it.
Yet, I bought this gear a second time now, because the other options that I looked for didn't sound any better. And if you don't need to record interviews on a weekly basis, a small solution makes more sense.
I hope that with this article I can save your time and energy if you were looking for an easy solution for better sound recording with your Sony camera.
Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18