review: Sony TX-650 – Best tiny lapel mic ever? (+sound test)

After having the Sony TX-650 microphone for over a year I figured I’d share my thoughts and impressions about it. I also do a disassembly/teardown of the TX-650 towards the end of the article.

This Sony TX-650 review will cover important aspects such as durability, portability, if it’s waterproof, sound quality, and so forth. Without further ado, lets get right into it.

Here are the current prices for the TX-650 on Amazon. The TX-660 is actually cheaper it looks like, so buy that instead!

Sound quality

The absolute most important thing you’re likely looking for in a portable audio recorder is sound quality. How does the Sony TX-650 perform?

Excellent!

It of course depends for which application you’re using it. For near-field, on-person audio recording, it’s an absolutely stellar microphone.

Sony-TX650-deadcat
A simple headphone earpad makes for a great wind filter

Clear, crisp, bassy. It captures mids, trebles, basses very well and for lapel-type purposes it’s been nothing but stellar. It captures L/R stereo, however the separation isn’t anything to write home about.

While it’s designed as a near-field recorder, it does pick-up conversations and discussions fairly well, though beyond a couple metres the signal strength is weak and so it’s best for interviews, weddings, and other similar applications where the mic will be on the subject. I would not mount it on a camera.

There are many recording formats however I always chose LPCM (Lineral PCM) .wav in 44.1kH, 16-bit sample rate. I don’t feel the need for higher resolution and I’ve been able to salvage what was ‘dead audio’ due to the quality data the recordings offered.

You can read all the Sony TX-650 tech specs here.

In post I usually bring up the 60-150hZ frequencies for voices to add depth and impact to recordings.

Sony TX650 sound test

For a test of the sound quality of the Sony TX650, just watch any of the videos from my channel as that’s likely the mic I’ve chosen.

5 Beginners barefoot exercises - FULL CIRCUIT - How to start barefoot running

The barefoot running video is an example of the microphone in use on a windy day with the wind filter on, while the Minirig 3 review video is an example of being in an indoor, high-reverb room speaking at regular volumes.

Wind noise

The TX-650 does pick up on wind noise quite a bit, however using just a simple headphone earpad ($1) I covered the entire body and microphone element, and this worked quite well as a discreet deadcat-type muff.

Sony-TX650-wind-filter
Stretching over a headphone earpad makes for a great wind filter!

I recommend using the built-in filter to cut low frequencies under 80hZ to also help with reducing wind noise. Overall, it performed great when recording audio on windy cliff-tops when doing a barefoot running instructional video.

Portability

It’s really tiny. At a whopping 29 grams, the Sony TX-650 is a featherweight instrument. Barely 4 inches long and less than 1 inch wide, it’s about the same size as a few sticks of gum stacked upon one another.

Sony-TX650-size
Really, it’s so tiny!

The included leather carrying pouch is nice but I did lost mine early on unfortunately. One of the smallest in the business, the TX-650 worked great when I wanted to just roam the streets and pickup ambient audio, provide audio for interviews, or record jam sessions on the fly.

Battery life

Absolutely terrific! I never had to charge it because whenever you plug it in to transfer files, you’ve basically charged it up once again. Sony estimates 12 hours of battery life from a charge when recording in LPCM and while I haven’t tested that, it seems about right.

It’s a small 125mAh battery but hey it works great. Charging and data transfer is via MicroUSB which is meh, though the new Sony-TX660 offers USB-C charging alongside a couple other improvements.

Stealth factor

When clipped onto a shirt it’s very discreet. Only the clip is visible and on black/dark clothing it practically disappears. There is a very small bump from where the microphone sits but overall it’s very stealthy and among the best in that regard.

Sony-TX650-stealthy-microphone
While I usually clip it on the collar, it does fine in a breast pocket too

Playback

The on-board speaker is pretty weak. To be fair it does the trick to demo a recording quickly but it’d be nice is there was an easier way to seek further into a track. You’ll likely want to transfer the files to take

Durability

I didn’t subject it to too much pain and torture, however it held up quite well to my use. The build quality is definitely great, as most Sony products are, and while I wouldn’t want to step on it or crush it against a wall, I’ve never felt like I’m holding a fragile item.

Sony-TX650-portability
I mean really, it’s so small and light!

Disassembly of the Sony TX-650 demonstrates this clever and practical engineering, shown in the section further down.

Is the Sony TX-650 waterproof?

Nope! A brief exposure to saltwater has completely destroyed my TX-650 unfortunately. While the MicroUSB connects to my computer and I was able to recover all my files, the unit does not power on, record, or show any signs of life.

If you’re interested in a waterproof audio recorder which can record in .wav/LPCM, consider the Instamic.

Sony TX-650 teardown

A well-built Sony Product, I would definitely not recommend taking a part the TX-650 unless it has failed entirely since you’ll risk damaging the device entirely. However, since mine is dead, I’ll show what the insides are like 🙂

Sony-TX650-teardown
You must heat the glue and pry the top half off – not so easy
Sony-TX650-disassembly
Loosen screws, remove parts – voila! Circuitry

Overall

It’s a really awesome mic and just a few improvements would bring it to a 10/10 for me – that being Bluetooth, waterproof, and USB-C.

Here are the current prices for the TX-650 on Amazon. The TX-660 is actually cheaper it looks like, so buy that instead!

The Sony TX-660 does have USB-C and some minor UI/UX changes, however is not waterproof nor has Bluetooth, which is a bit of a bummer.

Regardless, I highly recommend the TX-650 if you need a wireless, battery-powered, simple audio recorder which records in .wav and has excellent sound quality and stealth. It’s expensive but well worth it for the simplicity, quality, and form factor.

The Instamic Pro is the only alternative to it that I see, though I cannot comment on its sound quality or other aspects, and it is more expensive.

Anyways, I hope this review helped you out and if you have any questions please feel free to ask away – I’m more than glad to help!

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review: Sony TX-650 - Best tiny lapel mic ever? (+sound test)
Sony TX 650 review 1

Overall a great microphone, however the new TX-660 vs TX-650 is a no-brainer for the USB-C and other small improvements!

Product SKU: Sony TX650

Product Brand: Sony

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 149

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.5

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