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Run & Gun, DV Video, HD Video or Sports audio capture your job? - Enter the Rycote Softie. The Softie Windshield System complete with its special Lyre shockmount provides two critical solutions for your microphone - wind noise attenuation and handling vibration isolation.
The Rycote "Softie" is arguably the most famous and recognizable microphone wind protection device in the world. It is the original slip-on, open cell foam with integral fur cover windscreen that has been relied on by professionals for over 25 years! Everyday and everywhere there is a sporting event, outdoor ENG newscast or camera shoot, you're sure to find a Rycote Softie-wrapped microphone creep into the shot. Your friends and family usually refer to it as the "dead cat on a stick" or "the fuzzy thing" - little do they know that this is highly engineered, crucial aspect of audio capture for a plethora of outdoor recording applications. Softies are used on all sorts of cylindrical microphone types such as shotguns, small diaphragm condensers, ribbon mics and on-board camera mics.
A Softie Windshield is constructed of acoustic, open-cell foam with integral synthetic fur cover. It has been engineered to provide excellent audio transparency while being tough enough for relentless use in harsh outdoor environments. The critical elements of how the foam and fur are constructed is often overlooked or disregarded. Rycote's Softie foam is specially designed to last and not be affected by inescapable damaging UV rays. So many of the "me-too" Softie copy products use cheap foam that will break down and disintegrate within a short time of use in the field. The material and pile of the fur is also vital for the Softie's ability to attenuate wind noise while having minimal effect on the microphone's response. Rycote Softies have a unique rubber end cap where the microphone is inserted that creates a non-slip seal and prevents wind swirls at the rear of the microphone from getting in. Softies generally provide up to 23 dB of wind noise attenuation on axis at 0.
Rycote Softies provide improved wind attenuation and audio transparency compared to classic foam windscreens. Its better performance is the result of a series of factors - the fur to impede wind gusts, the open-cell foam to further diffuse the wind and the dead-air space around the microphone created by its 70mm diameter.
How to quickly choose the right Rycote Softie Windshield for your microphone:
Pick one of two hole-width diameters - Standard hole for 19mm to 22mm width microphones or Large Hole for 24 to 25mm width microphones. For best results, the area of the microphone the Softie covers must have a consistent cylindrical diameter without any taper or extrusions.
Example: a Sennheiser ME66/K6 is 21mm diameter = Standard Hole
Pick the length based on the "slots" of the microphone where sound is picked up - 5cm, 10cm, 12cm, 14cm, 18cm, 21cm, 24cm, 29cm, and 32cm lengths available. All the sound slots must be covered for proper results. Any integral microphone switches (low cut or pad) should also be covered with gaffers tape to seal-off potential wind incursion.
Example: a Sennheiser ME66/K6 uses an 18cm length to cover all the slots
Pick the fur length - Standard Hair (default) or Short Hair - For most applications the standard length fur is ideal and recommended. The short hair can be better for camera mics mounted close to the lens whereas you want to prevent Softie shadows cast in your shot. The Short Hair Softies have a negligible compromise in wind attenuation.
Your Softie: a ME66/K6 on a boom pole will use a 18cm, Standard Hole Softie