The Sony ECM-S1 is a very Sony product; essentially, there’s a high level of innovation that only a company like Sony can afford to create. Ok, there are other wireless microphone systems, but this hits a niche and has been designed as the microphone choice for their best-selling ZV-1 series—although it will work with the newer A7 Mirrorless cameras.
I tested the unit with the Sony A7 IV, popping the small receiver onto the hot shoe and then powering up the wireless mic, which was easy to position due to having no wires and an internal battery.
In use, the controls on the Mic are straightforward, and the level lights let you instantly know how high or low the volume is. All settings can be adjusted on the transmitter or receiver, with additional functions through the camera’s audio interface.
There are many things about this wireless microphone system that stand out, but for me, if you’re a one-person band and looking for a good and simple audio solution for your Sony system, then this is absolutely superb.
Versatile Mounting Options
What is the Sony ECM-S1?
The Sony ECM-S1 is a wireless microphone system that’s aimed at creators of all types. It’s been created to be as simple as possible and eliminates the need to attach or mic up anyone that you want in your videos.
The camera’s receiver unit utilises the hot shoe to mount to the camera and uses Sony’s Multi Interface Shoe to make the connection between the receiver and the camera.
The wireless Mic unit looks a little more traditional and is made from lightweight yet robust plastic. It’s designed to either sit on a desk, be tripod- or mic stand-mounted, enabling a huge variety of different audio uses. It also has a mic type selector, which enables you to switch from uni-directional to omni-directional to stereo with the flick of a button.
The Sony ECM-S1 is designed with simplicity in mind and is an ideal solution for any creator who needs a high-quality yet versatile multi-use wireless mic.
Communication system: Bluetooth specification Ver. 5.3
Working range: Up to 150 m (450 ft.)
Receiver operating time: 3 hours (with the fully charged built-in battery and with the analog audio output selected)
Receiver Dimensions: 32 mm × 29 mm × 50 mm (1 5/16 in. × 1 3/16 in. × 2 in.)
Microphone dimensions: 63 mm × 137.5 mm × 63 mm (2 1/2 in. × 5 1/2 in. × 2 1/2 in.)
Microphone weight: 157 g (5.6 oz.)
Build and Handling
I’ve been using professional Sony audio gear for many years, including an old Sony WM-D6C which was only retired when I needed to buy a set of wireless microphones about ten years ago. The thing with Sony kit is that it’s usually well-built and innovative. That innovation and reliability are what have made me rely on the Sony A7 series since it was launched and invest in many other Sony items over the years.
The Sony ECM-S1 isn’t in the professional range but caters to that emerging market of content creators looking for solid kit that can be relied on and integrates in with their present kit and setup.
The ECM-S1 instantly has that professional look to the design as you lift it from the box. It’s small, neat, and with dials and buttons along with level lights on the front; everything feels very Sony and professional. The only major difference between what you would expect from Pro gear and this is the materials.
The ECM-S1 is lightweight and made from high-quality plastic that is very nicely finished. What this essentially means is that in a bag, it will be robust enough to be transported from one location to another without worrying about it too much and light enough that you won’t actually notice the weight in your bag. If you’re a pro, then that plastic lightness might put you off.
In use, the ECM-S1 is outstanding. First used to record a few minutes of acoustic guitar, the line of level lights on the front illuminate to show exactly where you are with the recording. Then the input volume can be increased or decreased as required. If you have someone with you, then they can pop in some headphones to monitor the audio.
As the unit is self-powered, there’s no need for cables, so you can pop it into a desk, mount it onto a mic stand with an adapter, or something else; it’s incredibly versatile.
Being wireless, the unit is self-contained, and once switched on, it actively transmits to the receiver. The receiver is the same one used with Sony’s other creator wireless mic systems and slots into the camera’s hot shoe. Here, it’s worth pointing out that you need to be using a compatible Sony camera to make the most of this mic system as it utilises the connection to the Multi Interface Shoe on the hot shoe of the camera. There is an option to connect through a 3.5mm jack, but then that rather defeats one of the main features of the system.
What many creators will like is the pure simplicity of the system. Plug it in, switch it on, and you’re ready to go. Everything is non-technical and visual, making it easy to understand for anyone.
The Sony ECM-S1 is a wireless microphone equipped with three large-diameter 14mm capsules designed to offer high-quality sound recording. It focuses particularly on the low-mid-range voice band for clear vocal capture and utilises a flat frequency response for balanced audio output.
The microphone employs Bluetooth 5.3 and an LC3plus1 codec, aiming for low latency and high sound quality. Its wireless capabilities are designed for improved connection stability even in environments with obstacles or multiple wireless sources, and it allows for a communication range of up to 150 m² when there is a direct line of sight.
The microphone is specifically tuned for streaming and aims to capture the human voice clearly with low intrinsic noise and a wide dynamic range. It features a digital noise cut filter and a low cut filter, which serve to remove background noise and low-frequency sound, such as wind or air conditioning noise, from recordings. This helps to reduce the need for post-production noise removal.
Users can select from three directivity options: Uni-directional, Omni-directional, and Stereo, each suited for different recording environments and needs. The Uni-directional mode is designed to reduce sound reflected from walls, making it ideal for indoor use. The Omni-directional mode captures ambient and environmental sounds, while the Stereo mode offers a sense of presence and higher sound quality.
In terms of power supply, the receiver can be directly connected to a camera through a Multi Interface (MI) Shoe or by USB Type-C to a PC or other device. The built-in battery of the microphone provides approximately 13 hours of use, and it can also be powered continuously via USB Type-C.
The ECM-S1 features a compact and lightweight design with the receiver weighing 25g and the microphone 157g, including the stand. It offers flexible mounting options, including attachment to a stand, tripod, or boom arm. Real-time audio monitoring and adjustment are possible through the AUDIO LEVEL dial and LED indicators. When recording via USB, audio can be monitored before transmission to the external device by connecting headphones directly to the microphone.
For additional connectivity, both the microphone and receiver are equipped with a USB Type-C port that supports 48 kHz / 24-bit digital audio output. A 3.5mm mini jack is also provided for audio output, making the microphone compatible with a wide range of devices not equipped with a Multi Interface (MI) Shoe.
The Sony ECM-S1 embodies everything Sony stands for: it looks both retro and modern and exudes a sense of professional design despite the use of lightweight materials. Setting up is straightforward; after all, you only have one mic, and Sony has ensured multiple ways to mount or position it.
Throughout the test, I used the ECM-S1 in various situations. The first was during an interview involving multiple people engaged in a discussion. Normally, miking up each person (and myself) would have been time-consuming, but the room we were in was relatively quiet. I placed the ECM-S1 in the middle of the table and started the conversation. The Omni-directional setting meant that with the mic centrally positioned, it easily picked up audio from all directions.
Throughout the discussion, I faced the front of the mic toward myself, allowing me to visually monitor the audio using the line of lights on the front. These lights show white for standard levels and red to indicate peaking—visually, this is incredibly easy to understand.
The resulting audio was good. However, as is common with this type of Omni-directional setup, room audio—including echo—is also captured. Therefore, it’s essential to run the audio through some post-processing to reduce background hum and diminish the echo slightly.
Next, I mounted the mic on a stand to record some guitar and vocals. I had seen this in an advert and thought it would be a good test. Starting by recording vocals and guitar together and selecting Uni-directional as the mic setting, I found the sound quality excellent. Redoing the track by recording the guitar first and then the vocals produced a surprisingly good effect, even if the vocals were in a completely unintended key!
The final test involved the stereo setting, which I trialled by placing the mic sideways on a table between two people talking. This served as an alternative to using wireless microphones. The effect was surprisingly good, even though the mic itself became somewhat of a talking point. For me, this is where the ECM-S1 truly excelled. Its sheer simplicity makes it a standout option for creators needing to record various types of audio.
The ECM-S1 is also incredibly easy to set up and utilises the same receiver as the ECM-W3 and ECM-W3S, providing both analogue and digital connection options.
Overall, I’m highly impressed with this mic setup. It’s a versatile all-rounder that I would recommend to any creator looking for flexible audio options.
The Sony ECM-S1 feels like a quintessential Sony product, offering professionals and creators a specialised kit that enhances their recording capabilities. The ECM-S1 is well-designed and brimming with features and controls that contribute to the system’s versatility.
It is a bit on the pricey side, but that’s par for the course when purchasing a Sony product—what some refer to as the “Sony Premium,” which must be factored into the cost. However, apart from other Sony offerings, you simply won’t find this level of integration with any other manufacturer.
This expertise is born out of years in the professional market, the influence of which we now see trickling down to the consumer side.
When it comes to build quality, I do have some reservations. While the plastic construction is high quality and the lightweight design is ideal for creators, I would have preferred a heavier, more robust professional-style iteration. That said, such an upgrade would inevitably drive the price up further, and the ECM-S1 is already a costly option.
Yet, if you’re a Sony user, particularly of their newer cameras, this mic is a superb choice despite its premium price tag. If you’re using cameras from other manufacturers, you can still benefit from the ECM-S1, albeit in an analogue capacity, although there are invariably less expensive options available.