tm-st2I’ve long been an evangelist for using a microphone — any microphone — when shooting a social media video.  On-camera mics rarely impress, especially at a distance, and great sound is critical to a successful message.  But sometimes a lapel-style microphone won’t do.  You’re doing an interview.  You’re in a public setting and you want to pass the mic.  You need a good all-purpose handheld microphone.

That’s where the TM-ST2 from TASCAM comes in.  It’s an affordable, well-built and rich sounding microphone perfectly suited for social media and “pro-sumer” applications.  I found myself purchasing this microphone when the need arose for doing interviews in the field.  We needed something that was flexible, reliable and easy to use.

The TM-ST2 is a stereo microphone, giving you warm, dimensional sound.  That said, the head of the microphone is noticably square.  I’ve even compared it to a metal popsicle.  It comes with a foam windscreen that removes a certain amount of the “boxiness” of it.  This stereo microphone is particularly well-suited for lower-cost video cameras.  The Kodak Zi8 and other recent video cameras often feature a 3.5mm stereo microphone input, and that’s what this mic gives you.

What is particularly nice is the fact that the TM-ST2 comes with two cables.  One is about 18-inches, which is perfect for mounting it on or close to the camera.  The other is 10-feet, which is perfect for interview situations.  Both cables are sturdily-built and look poised to endure a good amount of field use.  With our Canon Vixia camera, we permantently attached the short cable to the camera and use a regular XLR microphone cable between that and the microphone.  This gives us the latitude to attach longer cables for different situations.

Your options aren’t limited to video recording either.  If you’re doing audio interviews or recording, this microphone could be used with mini-disc recorders or digital dictation recorders.  You can even use it with the sound card input of your computer.

Like most condenser microphones, this model requires power to operate.  This comes in the form of a single “AA” battery in the base of the microphone itself, which lasts about 400 hours.  It features a simple on-off switch, and a “low cut” filter to remove low-frequency rumble during recording.