Sony F-PV8T Microphone
Sony have gained a considerable reputation for their microphones, largely due to their very high quality, studio capacitor series and the fine performance of their range of electret, miniature tie-clip mics, that are particularly favoured in the broadcasting field. They are rather less renowned, however, for the production of budget dynamic mics such as the F-PV8T, and the design and performance of this model were therefore examined with some interest.
The Sony F-PV8T is a moving-coil, cardioid mic, apparently intended mainly for hand-held vocal use, but suggested as also suitable for a number of other applications. The mic has a fairly short, tapered body, with an attractive light metallic finish, and a rather elongated ball-end, surrounded by a substantial framework. The ball-end mesh uses an unusually thick gauge of wire, but employs a very open weave, with a layer of soft material underneath to act as a blast screen.
A standard, three pin male XLR connector is fitted, with the output appearing across Pins 2 and 3, with Pin 1 being connected to the chassis; for unbalanced operation it is therefore necessary to connect Pin 3 to Pin 1, and the supplied lead in fact does this in the wiring of its XLR connector, with Pin 2 correctly used as the 'hot' wire, to provide compatible phasing.
The F-PV8T is a dual impedance model, with a miniature slide switch able to be accessed through a tiny hole in the body, to select either 600 Ohms, or 10kOhms output impedance, thus ensuring easy interfacing with a wide range of audio equipment. The microphone also features a prominent on-off switch, which in the review model, unfortunately both 'clicks' and 'thumps' in use, as well as seeming rather susceptible to accidental operation, for it has no locking device, despite occupying the normal holding position.
The nominal frequency response figures of 80Hz to 15kHz should not be taken too seriously, for both ends of that response are well down, and any reasonable bass response is absent at all but the closest working distances. With close-up speech or vocals, however, the bass boost provided by the proximity effect, combined with a rising response through the midrange, manages to produce a sound that is reasonably balanced, in spite of the limitations at both extremes.
As is often the case with cheap moving-coil mics, the nominal cardioid response is somewhat wayward, and the raggedness of the off-axis pick up response contributes to feedback problems, in particular, an early onset of high frequency ringing. It is possible to achieve an acceptable vocal sound with this mic, using a PA system at restricted volume levels, but the sound is characterised by a rather 'hollow' quality that EQ seems unable to substantially alter.
Recording with the F-PV8T is somewhat restricted by the lack of bass response, making very close mic placement a necessity. With any wide range source, the curtailment of the response and the extent of sound colouration are revealed, but this is a little less evident with less demanding material, so careful choice of application is needed to avoid the worst problems.
The output level (0.18mV) at the low impedance setting indicates sufficient sensitivity for a mic that should be used almost exclusively for close-up work, whilst the high impedance setting, as expected, offers a higher output level (0.71 mV), at the expense of the usual restrictions on cable length due to increased capacitance.
Impact and handling noises were fairly evident, although I have yet to encounter a mic in this price range that does not suffer problems in this area, and indeed this model is by no means the worst.
The F-PV8T is supplied complete with a stand adaptor, two plastic thread adaptors, and a lead, consisting of five metres of rather thin single conductor and screen cable, with a female XLR connector at the mic end, and unusually, a 3.5mm 'mini' jack plug at the equipment end, although a screw-on adaptor is also provided to convert this to the more commonly required ¼" jack.
This mic is sturdily constructed, nicely finished, and looks as if it should give reliable service in normal use. However, in view of the performance limitations, it cannot really be recommended for recording work, although its low price, and the reputation of its manufacturer, should certainly enable it to compete seriously with many of the other 'budget' microphones currently on the market, and for some potential purchasers, the versatility of the dual impedance and the easy connector conversion, may prove attractive.
Suggested selling price for the Sony F-PV8T microphone is £39.95 inc VAT, but shop around for discounts.
Further details from Rosetti, (Contact Details).
Review by Dave Lockwood
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