Crown Audio by Harman

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Choosing the right PZM for recording music

I’m confused by a profusion of riches. Need a PZM for recording music lessons and conversation price counts. Recommendations?
Carl Beason

Reply: Our highest-fidelity PZM models are the PZM-30D and PZM-6D. They sound the same. The PZM-30D can be used with a rugged detachable mic cable. The PZM-6D is smaller and lighter, and has a permanently attached cable with an XLR (3-pin pro audio) connector. Both mics plug into a phantom power supply (such as the ART Phantom III, $45), and from there into your recorder. If your recorder has a phone-jack mic input, you will need an adapter cable (female XLR to phone plug). Street price is about $329 each.

A lower-cost alternative to the PZM-30D and PZM-6D is the GLM-100. It's a miniature mic about the size of an aspirin. You tape it onto a tabletop or wall, and it becomes a PZM. It has an XLR (3-pin pro audio) connector. Street price is about $199.

If you're on a budget, the PZM-185 might work. It sounds a little more trebley than the PZM-30D and PZM-6D, and has lower sensitivity. It works on phantom power or an internal AAA battery. It has an XLR (3-pin pro audio) connector. Street price is about $182.

The lowest cost PZM model is the Sound Grabber II. It sounds a little thin in the bass and bright in the treble, but might be good enough. It plugs directly into a 1/4" or 1/8" phone jack in your recorder, and runs on an internal AAA battery. Street price is about $80-$110.

One more choice is the MB-4. It's a directional mic (cardioid) and lies on a tabletop. It sounds almost as hi-fi as the PZM-30D but has a little less bass. It is very sensitive and it reduces pickup of room acoustics compared to PZMs. It has an XLR (3-pin pro audio) connector. Since it is so sensitive, your recorder should have a "low-gain" or "pad" setting. Street price is about $170.

PZM-30D or PZM-6D: Best sound, phantom powered, XLR, $329.
GLM-100: Best sound, phantom powered, XLR, $199.
MB-4: Very good sound, phantom powered, XLR, $170.
PZM-185: Good sound, phantom or battery powered, XLR, $182.
Sound Grabber II: Good sound, battery powered, 1/4" or 1/8" phone, $80-$110.

Here's a link to the Crown microphone web pages: