MOST MAKERS AND marketers of binaural microphones are cottage industries who adapt mic capsules made by other, much larger firms. So it’s interesting to see Roland getting in on the act with their own binaural model, the CS-10EM. It’s available in Britain starting this month, costing around £80.
As you can see they’re nicely finished and could easily pass for earphones. In fact, they have earphones integrated into the design, so you can monitor what you’re recording while your ears are otherwise bunged up. Rubber O-rings lodge the CS-10EMs in the ear canal, and also effect isolation to help prevent feedback. But, according to the manual, feedback may occur ‘if you turn on a recording monitoring function and raise the recording level or headphone volume [or] if you cover the unit with the palm of your hand.’ No doubt users will quickly become highly motivated to avoid such mistakes.
Foam windshields aren’t included in the package, and the manual claims that the mics are designed to minimise wind noise, before conceding cautiously that ‘wind noise might be heard in conditions of strong wind’. Open circuit sensitivity is -40dB 1V/Pa or 10mV/Pa. The signal-to-noise ratio is stated as ‘greater than 60dB’, meaning self-noise should be below 34dB, but probably not by much.
The mic specs are nothing out of the ordinary for the price. The plus points are a smart and discreet appearance, easy ordering for UK-based customers (for example, from Sounds Live), and built-in earphones for you to monitor what’s going on and gloat or fret over your recordings on the way home.