Sony ECM W3 Introduced – A Wireless Dual-mic for Content Creators

October 2nd, 2023 Jump to Comment Section
Sony ECM W3 Introduced - A Wireless Dual-mic for Content Creators

Sony is releasing a new dual-mic wireless set honed for the specific needs of content creators. The new ECM W3 will enable dual-mic recording with absolutely no wires and minimum fuss to let you immerse yourself in content and creativity.

Sony ECM W3 wireless dual-mic – efficient and simple

Following the footsteps of the ECM line, the new Sony ECM W3 wireless dual-mic offers an interesting mix of useful features arranged in an easy-to-use interface. Each transmitter includes three switches: On/Off, Attenuator (0dB / 10dB / 20dB), and Low-Cut filter / Noise Cancellation. The transmitter unit also includes a built-in omnidirectional mic and a 3.5mm input for Lavaliers or other mics. A fluffy windscreen is also included and the unit is weather resistant to some (undisclosed) degree.

Sony ECM W3
Sony ECM W3 – Image credit: Sony

The receiver follows the same barebone design with two outputs on one side and two switches on the other: A USB-C and a 3.5mm output will connect the ECM W3 wireless dual-mic to almost any mobile, desktop, or other mainstream device. On the switching side of things, there is a multi-section switch to choose between analog or digital audio (and an Off position). The second switch lets you set a mix recording for quick turnaround projects, or separate the channels for more precise post work. On the front side, indicator LED lights will indicate connection status and battery level. On the back (Operator side), there is a safety channel toggle button.

Sony ECM W3
Image credit: Sony

BlueTooth 5.3 transmission, battery, and range

All ECM-W3 units connect via Bluetooth 5.3 low-energy LC3plus codec. This low-energy format enables 6 hours of runtime on each module (rather impressive for a device this small). The receiver will also draw power from the Multi Interface Shoe connection, and the charging case will provide additional power (unspecified at the moment).

The operational range tops at 150m, which will probably fit the target audience, but is lower than most competing products circling around 200-250m. That said – those numbers are merely claims, and in reality, some of them have proven to be rather optimistic.

Sony ECM-S1
Sony ECM-S1. Image credit: Sony

ECM-S1 Wireless podcast mic? Why not!

Alongside the neck-mic sets, Sony has released a unique wireless variable pattern condenser mic aimed at studio-based video creators and podcasters. The ECM-S1 is a very nice-looking piece of gear. Robust and well-designed, it offers two large dials, one for gain and the other for mix control. A line of LED lights will indicate audio levels and a mute button also uses a red backlight LED to indicate its status.

The rear panel includes a USB-C port to plug the mic directly into your audio software of choice or straight to your smartphone. A 3.5mm TRS port is also included.

Variable polar patterns and more

The ECM-S1 lets you choose one of three polar patterns – Super Cardioid (mostly for single broadcasters), Omnidirectional, or Bidirectional (mostly for interviews using a single unit, stereo music recording, etc.). The unit also provides low-cut or noise-reduction filters. Since it’s a chunky unit, battery life is not a problem. Sony claims the ECM-S1 internal battery will last for approximately 13 hours, and the receiver is powered by the camera (will last for 3 hours without the Multi Interface Shoe).

Who is the Sony ECM W3 wireless dual-mic for?

Well, the target audience is a no-brainer. The ECM-W3/S is aimed squarely at fast-paced, quick-turnaround single operators who are willing to pay a premium for this level of seamlessness. Most solutions offered to this crowd are either cheap (in terms of both price and quality) or complicated. Sony’s unique take provides a high-end minimalistic product for those who are willing to pay the price.

The ECM-S1 is the one I personally find a bit perplexing. With a price tag of $419, it is double the price of the excellent RODE PodMic USB and quadruples the price of the tried and true RODE PodMic. Not a direct comparison I’ll admit. The ECM-S1 offers some innovative features, but one has to wonder about the importance of wireless connectivity on a stationary studio mic.

Alternatives to the ECM W3 wireless dual-mic

Sony’s ECM-W3 occupies a somewhat unique niche in the crowded wireless dual-mic segment. Fairly simple to operate, yet high-end and pricy, its main audience are those who just want a plug-and-play solution to attach to the top of their alpha camera so they can start recording, editing, and sharing ASAP. In that regard, most of its competition will struggle, but at this price point, we’ll find some very capable options for those who want more control and features.

The new RØDE Wireless PRO is a powerhouse of professional features, including timecode generation, 32-bit internal recording, and more. It’s also a bit cheaper and includes two Lavaliers. Even the old “veteran” RØDE Wireless GO II poses a threat. Though it lacks a charging case, it’s significantly cheaper at $299 and includes internal backup recording. DJI Mic system will also record 24-bit backup at the transmitter level and will do so at a longer range. The Hollyland LARK MAX is priced at a more affordable $299 and offers 24-bit recording, longer range, and magnetic attachments. Plus, the brand new Godox VIRSO S has a significantly longer battery life while maintaining the truly wireless Multi Interface Shoe connection. And if you don’t need a dual-mic kit, Sony also offers the ECM-W3S, a single transmitter set, for $349.

Price and availability

The ECM W3 will be priced at $469 / €498.38 and the single-mic ECM-W3S at $349. Both are available now for preorder.

So what do you think about the Sony ECM-W3? Is it a mic you would be interested in, or do you have one of the other mics mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!

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