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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beta Testing: COS-11 mounts from LMC Sound

I was recently offered the task of testing out some prototypes of a new mount for the popular Sanken COS-11 lavalier, from LMC Sound.  These guys originally broke into the lav accessory market when they rolled out their vampire clips for the COS-11.  I was glad to hear they were rolling out another mounting option for this industry-standard lav.

Clean and simple design allows it to be virtually unbreakable.
Basically, it's a very thick, hard, plastic cylindric tube that is fitted perfectly for the COS-11.  There currently is no other mount on this prototype, like a vampire clip, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When I first got the plastic cylinder, it reminded me of a "Hush Lav".  The biggest problem I've had with hush lavs is the fact that you can't just tape them to talent and expect it to hold it's original traits once removed (for me anyways).  They're pretty much disposable when you use any kind of adhesive on them.  I guess that's just the sacrifice that has to be made for the extra grip.  This little hard plastic piece seemed like it would remedy that issue.  

I used it in neck tie knots, as well as full length button down shirts.

Simple design makes for a versatile mount
Application Method:
I found Joe's Sticky Stuff to be very effective on this mount.  A little strip wrapped fully around the cylinder allowed perfect placement on the button down shirts.  And with adhesive on both "sides" of the mount, it kinda did the job of topstick, or other double sided tape, by not allowing the clothing to rub against itself.  This proved to be especially useful on starchy shirts.  And it's reusable for at least 10-15 applications before it needs to be replaced, unlike moleskin which has a lifespan of 1-2 uses at best.

Why It's Awesome:
-Reusable; You can apply and remove tape/adhesive as many times as you want.  It won't destroy the mount.
-Rigidity; The mount is hard, but still slightly pliable.  I like this characteristic specifically because it won't crush under the weight of a shirt or a tie.  It stays intact and in it's original shape where ever it's placed.
-Audio quality; The capsule sticks out from the containment just perfectly.  There's absolutely no way you're gonna lose any acoustic characteristics from your COS-11 using this mount.
-No clip/fang; I hope it is kept like this, or at least have an option to have no vamp mount.  It would still work with a vampire clip on it, but I think it's most effective and most versatile without one.
-Snug; It's a perfect fit for the COS-11 and very tight, but still able to be removed without damage to the mic.  It's the same fit as their current vampire clips, but it's actually easier to remove because of the nature of the thickness.
-No parts; There's nothing to break, and it seems indestructible.

Just enough capsule exposure for optimal acoustic properties
Why You Might Not Want It:
-Windscreen; I found I needed room for a windscreen on occasion.  (NOTE: There are plans for a version that fits with a windscreen.)
-No grip; I'd like it to be a more of a textured rubber compound than maybe the slick plastic, but that's not a deal breaker at all.  I think the extra grip would come in handy in the neck tie knots, but it works well enough as is.  I'm not sure I'd want to sacrifice the slickness for grip.  I could see the pros and cons in both options. (NOTE: This prototype version was offered in only a hard plastic version.  They are working on a different rubberized material.)
-Specialty item; I wish I could use them more, but it doesn't always make sense to.  I'd do almost anything to cease the mind-numbing task of cutting strips of moleskin, but it just works so well in most situations.  This mount will get seldom use, but it's very useful when needed (so maybe not a con after all).

Overall, I was impressed with this little thing.  It's a very simple design with a very simple purpose; separate the capsule from the clothes.  Needless to say, it truly delivered.  The only major change I'd make is to have room for a windscreen, but that's already in the works.  Even as a prototype, this new plastic mount from LMC Sound is ready for the field. Look for a finished product in May 2011 from your favorite location audio vendor.

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  1. I'm glad they're still innovating, but gotta say, their vamp clip was a bust since I couldn't get the thing off without feeling like I was gonna put the mic at risk: mount too long, no place to grip the mic (rather than the cable). Thanks for the review :)

  2. The LMC vampire clips are terrible. I bought a bunch of them and was lucky to get 1-2 uses out of them before the pins would either pull away or get torn off the mount. They were just molded into the clip with no retainer of any kind like the old Tram vampires (the pins on those NEVER broke off). Couldn't even charge them off as L&D in good conscience. And Jan is right, they were a pain to get the mic in and out of without placing a lot of strain on the mic cable at the head. They are very expensive for what they are and a total waste of money at that. I won't be buying any more unless they figure out how to get the pins to keep from breaking off so easily.

  3. I agree completely with the comments on the vampire clip. I got some when they first came out and two out of the three broke. One had the pins fall out and another had the tube separate from the pin section. To my surprise, they revamped the manufacturing process to remedy these issues, and the new ones I received have held up so far. We'll see. That's another reason these mounts don't need a vamp clip. These are simple enough that there isn't anything to break, which is probably one of the biggest benefits. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way around pulling the mic out by the cable end. It's part of the design, and it's the same design from that standpoint on this mount.


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