Providers across the audiovisual world gathered earlier this year at the centennial NAB Show 2023 in Las Vegas to position themselves in the market, connect with customers, and showcase their latest and greatest products.
In addition to networking with more than 65,000 attendees at the event, companies were also there to compete. Leading industry publication Videomaker presents its top picks of the show, and this year Saramonic won Best Microphone for its Blink 500 ProX Microphone System.
Loren Moss, executive editor of Cognitive Business News, was recently able to sit down with Joe Nassar of Saramonic to hear more about the award-winning product line and the company’s other audio offerings.
Cognitive Business News: Congratulations on your award. Can you tell me a little bit more about it?
Joe Nassar: We have actually won the Videomaker award for the Saramonic Blink500 ProX systems. Not just the B1 and the B2, but for the whole line, because it is a complete line, from camera-mountable and 3.5-millimeter output to Lightning or USB-C.
It’s very unique in many respects, and we were the innovators of the Lightning connector receiver and the USB-C connector receiver back in 2018 that everyone seems to be using now. But we still have features that the others don’t, and we are very proud of the systems.
Cognitive Business News: How are Saramonic and Boya related?
Joe Nassar: We are sister companies. It’s the same company that owns both Saramonic and Boya in China, but Boya is a consumer brand and Saramonic is the prestige brand. Boya makes fantastic products, and Saramonic makes fantastic products. But they appeal to different customer bases.
But any consumer — whether a high-end professional or a first-time consumer of this type of product — would find products on both the Boya line and the Saramonic line that are very appealing and very useful to them. There are certain things that Boya has that are really awesome professional products, such as their handheld interview mic and some others that are really cool that I wish we had.
Cognitive Business News: Are there any new products this year that you are highlighting right now?
Joe Nassar: The Blink Me is definitely our big announcement for the NAB Show. Of course, we have some price drops that are really big, with the Blink500 ProX system we dropped significantly in price. The single transmitter versions are even less!
We also are dropping the price on the Blink 100 systems, which are more geared towards beginning content creators on a really tight budget. We’re talking $79 for a one-channel system or $99 dollars for the dual-channel system. Find another dual-channel wireless system on the market for $99. I dare you!
It’s really great. They also have a cool feature on there that allows you to turn on a noise-canceling function, which gets rid of the background noise. It’s perfect for beginner content creators who don’t know how to use high-end audio editing programs. When you turn these things on, you just turn on the receiver for the camera-mountable system, they automatically pair, and you’re off to the races — shooting right away. It makes it a really nice system for beginners and people on a really tight budget.
Cognitive Business News: What other kind of microphone examples do you offer?
Joe Nassar: We have on-camera microphones for 3.5-millimeter input cameras in the $59 range — like mini shotgun microphones or full real socket — and then, of course, there are upgraded versions for $69 for the Vmic Mini 2.
We have higher-end on-camera microphones with a 3.5-millimeter output: the Vmic5 Pro and the Vmic5. The Vmic5 Pro is $199 and the Vmic5 is $149, giving you a real shotgun microphone. They have features that other microphones in this class just simply don’t have: headphone output, higher quality sound, and a furry windscreen, which is a big deal for customers.
Then we have other shotgun microphones with XLR outputs. The SoundBird V1 starts at $199 and is either powered by AA batteries or phantom-powered. It has -10dB pad as well as a low-cut filter of 75 hertz. Its bigger brother is the T3, which is lithium-ion power or phantom power. The 100-hour battery life is in there, the same -10dB pad, the same low-cut filter, but also has a high-end frequency boost, which is great for a little more intelligibility indoors. But outdoors we are using the furry windscreen, it compensates for this high-end frequencies loss.
Cognitive Business News: I know you have an even higher-end version too, right?
Joe Nassar: Yes. Even more professional is the SoundBird V6. This is our $500 shotgun microphone, and this microphone is of a higher class certainly, up in the same range as those $1000 microphones you find from other manufacturers. But it is giving you a much better value, and a sound quality that’s comparable, if not better, than some of those microphones in that price point.
If you notice, all these systems, all these shotgun microphones, come with more than their competitors. The V1 is better than any microphone under $300, and it comes with a shock mount, a cable, and a foam windscreen. The shock mount and the cable don’t come with every microphone — they’ll give you a clip for the most part — so it’s better than a $300 microphone and it actually has more accessories.
The C3 comes with a little hard case there, which is quite nice, and it comes with a pouch, a shock mount, a stand mount, a foam windscreen, a furry windscreen, and the cable. So that’s some really cool added features and functionality with those accessories.
The SoundBird V6 comes with a foam windscreen, furry windscreen, shock mount, stand mount, adapters, cable, as well as an impact-proof and waterproof hard case. Fits it all, totally custom. That’s a really good value. So, if you’re looking at a real high-end shotgun microphone in this range, $500 and above, no one is going beat us when it comes to the sound quality. In that $500 range there is no better mic than this one.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Top photo: Saramonic’s Videomaker Best Microphone of NAB 2023 Award (Credit: Loren Moss)