ECZ-990 Zoom Microphone Response and Clarification

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Azden Speaks Out

We have just read your review of our ECZ-990 zoom microphone in the November issue, and we are appalled!

First of all, it is surprising that you would choose to now review a product that has been on the market for more than five years. Secondly, in no place in the article do you state that it was designed for use on consumer level camcorders, and not professional videographers using digital cameras! Thirdly, the measurement tests you subjected it to, bear no relationship to how it sounds on a camcorder, given the limitations of the audio portion of the consumer-level camcorders. And, you neglected to mention in the review what camera you were using for your listening tests! Is it digital? Is it stereo or mono? Is it a $5,000 camera or a $500 camera?

Perhaps the most galling and shocking point is that the person writing the review does not understand the purpose and intent of the ECZ-990! It’s main purpose is not to "get close" to a distant subject, (for this you need wireless) but to pick up the sounds that are in front of the camera lens, and not sounds coming from the back or sides. You neglected to inform your readers that the weakness of a camera’s built-in microphone is that it’s omni-directional, meaning that it picks up sounds from all directions equally, whereas a "shotgun" or "zoom" microphone has an elliptical pick-up pattern, and your subject’s sound is much more prominent.

We’ve sold tens of thousands of ECZ-990s over the years, and we’ve never had a customer return one because it didn’t meet their requirements and expectations.

Since the audience of Videomaker is both consumer and professional, it might be helpful in the future if your editorials identified which segment of the market the product is for.

Ken Busch

V.P. Marketing

Azden Corporation

Franklin Square, NY

Mr. Busch:

We did accurately report that the manual says "the ECZ-990 is not designed for distance shooting" (we also noted that Azden claims a pick-up range of 30 to 40 feet on the ECZ-990’s box). And we did not test the mike on a professional DV camcorder. We tested the ECZ-990 on an entry-level consumer camcorder–the Panasonic AG-188U, an $800 VHS model. This camcorder was a good choice, we think, for testing a mike aimed at the consumer videographer market.

While it’s true that we didn’t describe the pick-up pattern of built-in microphones (a subject covered in many articles in Videomaker), we did report that the ECZ-990 offers the user a choice of two patterns ("Short" and "Long"). We also reported that, with a speaking subject 10 feet away in a moderately noisy environment, both settings offered an improvement in noise rejection over the camcorder’s built-in mike.

You are correct in asserting that we did not clearly identify the market segment for which the mike is intended (although the low price is indicative). In fact, we agree with you that doing so would be a real service to our readers. In future product reviews, we will clearly identify the market segment, and review each product in light of the intended audience. Thank you for that suggestion. We regret any misunderstandings this may have caused.

–The Editors

Correction: In the Step-by-step Guide to Home Video, our Buyer’s Guide listed Sony’s CCD-TRV25 at $699. This camcorder’s Manufacturer’s Suggested
Retail Price is actually $799. We regret any inconvenience.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.