$5 Countryman Killer? Headset mics from Hong Kong!
It’s always nice to save a dollar or two on a piece of gear, especially when it’s a specialty item where the only options on the market are prohibitively expensive to the average user. While the industry standard Countryman H6 and DPA 4066 headset mics are incredibly popular with professionals, their high price point of $400-700 clearly left the door open for players like OSP and Elite Core (among others) to knock them off and offer similarly styled microphones in the $100-200 range.
These lower priced options have been incredibly popular since they were introduced some years ago, with many folks realizing that while they might need the functionality of a discreet headset microphone, the sound quality of that microphone simply wasn’t high enough on their list of priorities to shell out the big bucks for the real deal. School theater programs, houses of worship, community theater and many other well intentioned but underfunded audio endeavors simply won’t spend $600 on a headset mic that will ultimately be treated poorly and likely destroyed by the ‘talent’.
In a further search for the low water mark on quality vs. cost – some fine folks in Hong Kong have somehow found a way to manufacture and ship internationally a competing headset microphone for only $5. There are no replaceable parts, dubious technical specifications, and limited connection options, but at the end of the day, they’re selling a fully functional headset mic for $5 out the door. Check out the video to hear what it sounds like and to get an up-close look at the build quality. The mic works just fine, but I can’t imagine it will perform as well in a live sound reinforcement setting as it does in a controlled recording environment… but those tests will have to wait for the properly terminated models to arrive (see below). So stay tuned!
In this video I used the Tascam DR-05 which provides the mic-power needed for the microphone to function. The mic I reviewed was terminated with a 3.5mm TS connector, but since recording this video, the same seller is now offering them with a choice of 3 or 4 pin mini-XLR as well. I will be ordering one of these to feature in an upcoming video where I’ll be able to do a direct A/B comparison between these and the Countryman & DPA mics in a real-world live sound PA system setting.
As eBay listings end and the links expire, I have linked the microphone listing here, but you can also find them in the future by searching for seller ‘Jindia’ on eBay.