As UK-based Rycote is the industry-standard specialist in shock & wind protection for field production sound, I took their Softie Duo-Lyre Mount with pistol grip handle to the test with the Deity S-Mic 2. The microphone came with only a basic plastic mount that I suspected to transmit all the vibrations and bumps it could possibly suffer from common, daily usage.
When the S-Mic 2 was mounted onto its included plastic clamp, it was impossible to use the recorded audio without having to filter out the rumbling from unintentional cable movements. The included clamp had its advantages too. I learned that even a wooden shelf can cause vibration noise – when I clamped the mic with a Dinkum Systems clamp, the vibration noise from outside traffic was clearly audible.
That meant I had a good testing environment for Rycote’s Softie Duo-Lyre Mount. Traditional microphone mounts are usually equipped with rubber bands to isolate the mic from outside influences. As these bands make your mic wobble when you touch them, it’s visibly clear it’s not in direct touch with whatever it is it is mounted onto. That’s all but clear when you touch the Softie Duo-Lyre Mount. That has what look like hard plastic clamps mounted on a hard plastic holder and they’re quite stiff to the touch. So, if you didn’t know Rycote is the supplier of many of the world’s largest broadcasting companies, you wouldn’t consider the possibility that the system is capable of stopping those pesky sounds dead in their tracks. And yet, even it doesn’t look or feel that way, it does.
The Softie Duo-Lyre Mount with Pistol Grip handle has a suspension part with a clip that grabs microphones with a diameter of 19mm to 34mm. The clip has an anti-slip rubbery coating on the inside that firmly seated the S-Mic 2. The suspension parts – the Lyres that are quite stiff to the touch – the clip rests upon are meant to totally isolate the microphone from handling and cable-borne noises.
To optimise the latter, the Lyres and clip sit on top of a mount that has cable guides, with an extra cable guide at the top of the pistol grip and a soft rubbery clamp at the bottom of it that follows the shape of an XLR plug. To get a very thick XLR cable through these guides will probably not work, but Rycote sells a thin and short cable specifically for this purpose.
I used a regular 3mm thick Cordial REAN Silver cable and that proved to be just thin enough to guide it through the guides. That cable is 2.5m long, so I had to find a quick but firm way to fix it in place at the bottom of the grip. I used a piece of black high-density foam (cut from hard disk packaging material) and wrapped it around the cable. This holds it inside the cavity that is meant to seat the XLR plug. Finally, I fixed it in place with a velcro cable tier.
My contraption is obviously not very efficient when you need to switch cables often, but it does work and if you do it right, it doesn’t interfere with handling the mic in any way. Of course, the big question now was if the Softie would still succeed in blocking cable noise. And it actually did better than I could have imagined.
Even when the cable occasionally bumped into my body, the Rycote mount did not transmit that sound to the mic at all. Shaking the microphone from side to side by holding the pistol grip didn’t transmit any noise, either. You couldn’t even hear the shaking, except when the cable hit something hard, like the side of a table. The grip itself is comfortable to hold, even for longer periods of time, and the large star knob allows you to rotate the microphone an almost full 90 degrees.
Better yet, and quite surprisingly, the noise that I interpreted as reverb when the mic was mounted onto its standard plastic clip and clamped to a shelf, proved to be vibration noise that was mostly gone after mounting the mic on the Rycote mount. To mount the Softie Duo-Lyre Mount w/PG handle on a boom pole or – in my case – a Dinkum Systems clamp, there’s a brass 3/8” mounting thread at the bottom, so I could just mount the microphone as usual.
People who are going to use a boom pole with the pistol grip must take into account that it does add height, which is why Rycote has the Softie Duo-Lyre Mount without a handle as well.
If you buy a microphone that is only a bit better than the cheapest plastic junk device, don’t skimp on the mounting mechanism. The Softie Duo-Lyre Mount with the pistol grip handle costs around €73 while such mounts without a pistol grip are even less expensive.
Based on my experience, it’s money well spent, saving you time in post-production and ensuring you get the cleanest signal possible.