Sanken is a family owned business, which was started Japan and dates back to 1925. Sanken has enjoyed a very fruitful and longstanding relationship with NHK, a major Japanese TV and radio broadcast company, for whom it develops microphone solutions specially designed to meet the needs of modern professional audio production.
Sanken engineers are known for their innovative, physics-driven designs. For example, the rectangular diaphragm used in the COS-11D is an original Sanken design, only later implemented by other manufacturers. The Sanken brand has been long associated with top quality broadcast audio in the world of professional audio capture.
Most of the Sanken microphone designs are a direct result of a problem-solving engineering philosophy. They are unique tools, designed to address specific needs of audio production. Sanken's largest market is feature film, TV episode, and reality TV productions, where high audio quality is essential.
The COS-11D microphone is one of the most popular audio solutions Sanken offers at the moment. The microphone was announced in 2009 as the latest version of the popular COS-11 series. The capsule is based on a new designed, developed specifically for improved hybrid wireless transmission. The COS-11D can be terminated for use with many popular wireless systems, such as Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, and Sony.
Sanken designed the COS-11D microphone with speech in mind, advertising the unit as "optimized for human voice." The microphone is engineered to withstand the rigours of the modern broadcast and professional video environment, where high quality speech audio capture is imperative. The COS-11D features, among others, improved resistance to moisture and temperature, as well as resistance to handling noise.
See the specifications of the Sanken COS-11D below.
The Sanken COS-11D has all the acoustic and electrical properties required of a good speech recording microphone for a professional video environment and broadcast use. The frequency response is wide and flat (Figure 2). There is a presence peak at around 8,000 - 10,000 Hz, in ways similar to many competitor microphones, such as the Audio-Technica BP892.
The Sanken COS-11D BP microphone comes with a hard-wired power adapter shown below.
The absence of a mute switch is perhaps a bit more troubling, but by no means a deal-breaker. Finally, the adapter is terminated with an XLR-3M connector, which ensures compatibility with most standard professional audio equipment.
As mentioned above, the adapter operates on one AA battery or standard 48 V phantom power. Battery life is one of the field recordists' most serious concerns. Many speech recording condenser microphones (e.g., the Beyerdynamic Opus 55 Mk II) need only a small voltage of 1.5 - 9 V for proper operation.
However, standard phantom power supplies available on many field mixers and recorders supply as much as 48 V of DC voltage, which puts a significant strain on the device's battery life. Most microphone manufacturers provide a phantom power adapter, such as the Sanken COS-11D BP unit, in order to make the microphone compatible with 48 V phantom power.
While this works perfectly with power supplies operating on A/C voltage, it is a rather inefficient system for battery-powered devices. Sanken clearly understands the importance of providing the microphone with a very economical power source (i.e., a AA battery) and should certainly be commended for that. Also, as you can also see in Figure 3, the adapter comes a convenient, removable belt clip.
The microphone comes in four colour choices and it includes a number of useful accessories, such as a metal windscreen, a holder clip, a rubber mount, and a nice vinyl case. The holder clip is very well designed and is a pleasure to use. It allows quick placement with very little to no hassle, and this is a great time saver on set. The metal wire used to hold the capsule provides a sort of mini shock mount for the microphone, which further reduces handling noise.
The microphone has a very slim profile as shown on the picture below, which should facilitates inconspicuous and unobtrusive placement. The microphone capsule has a unique vertical diaphragm design and comes with a coated wire mesh, which provides additional water resistance. The coating of the capsule as well as the cord does reduce handling noise. The Sanken COS11-D is rather resistant to handling noise, certainly on par with or better than other manufacturers out there.
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