For more than forty years, Rycote has been making industry standard shock and wind protection accessories for microphones and other field recording equipment. Their products are widely used by field recording professionals around the world. In December 2014 Rycote released Cyclone, their new flagship windshield & shock mount model which promises to set a new standard in reducing levels of wind and handling noise. According to Rycote’s product website it is the result of more than a decade of continuous development and today I am going to find out what Cyclone has to offer.
Cyclone Suspension, fitted with 72-shore Universal Lyres
Cyclone cable (fitted)
Cyclone Windshield, Large (left & right pods)
Pair of Universal Lyres 62-shore, for lightweight microphones
Hex key driver, for adjustment of Lyres
Complete windshield and suspension system, with unique, modern design delivers groundbreaking wind and shock protection
Durable, magnetised, two-piece basket design provides instant windshield assembly / disassembly
Isolation from Handling Noise
3D-Tex Material for Durability
>60 dB of Wind Reduction with Windjammer
Mic Type: Shotgun or rifle
Mic Lengths: 250 mm – 280 mm
Mic Diameters: 19 mm – 25 mm
Max. Weight of Mic: 180 g
Mic Connector: XLR 3-pin female
Output Connector: XLR 3-pin male
Wind Attenuation: 50 dB (without Windjammer), >60 dB (with Windjammer)
Total Power: 10Hz – 20kHz, no weighting, under real wind conditions
Frequency Response: Substantially flat (+0db, -3dB), measured differential twin microphone technique, 10Hz
Handling Isolation: Typically >10dB, dependent on microphone type and LF band shaping
Temperature Range: Safe operating range – min. -20°C (-5°F), max. 38°C (100°F)
Overall Length: 18.5″ (470 mm)
Body Length: 13.0″ (330 mm)
Max. Diameter: 6.2″ (157 mm)
Height: 8.7″ (220 mm)
599€ / $699
When I opened the box I was greeted with a stylish black and grey zeppelin shaped windshield. I immediately liked the new somewhat futuristic design. When I picked it up I was a bit surprised of its weight. Don’t get me wrong it is lightweight but I was expecting it to be even more lighter. I then compared it to my Rode Blimp (the old model) and instantly felt that the Rode Blimp is a bit heavier. When comparing Cyclone to one of Rycote’s modular windshield kits the difference in weight is not that big and I think Cyclone is a tad lighter.
One of the main features of the Cyclone is the new magnetized two-piece basket design that is supposed to be easy to assemble and disassemble. At first it took some time for me to learn the new way to open and close the windshield but after a bit of practise I could easily do it in 5-10 seconds which is a huge improvement to the old design. The new way to open and close the basket also feels strangely satisfying when you hear those magnets lock onto each other.
The two-piece chassis weighs almost nothing so the main weight comes from the new floating basket suspension and the handle. The chassis parts are made of plastic and they seem pretty flexible too. I would assume the chassis withstands cold conditions quite well without breaking but I could not test it myself for this review since the weather in Finland was rather warm.
One thing I want to point out is that the Cyclone product package does not include a proper pistol grip. At Rycote they have noticed that people don’t use pistol grips so much anymore. This is not a problem though – you can always buy the pistol grip separately if you need one.
After getting the first hands-on impressions it was time to take this bad boy on the road, test the new 3D-Tex material in windy conditions and hear if the new suspension system is really able to noticeably reduce handling noise as much as advertised.
ON THE ROAD
The first thing I wanted to test out in Cyclone was the new 3D-Tex material and how it handles windy conditions, so I headed out to the nearby park and mounted Cyclone onto my Manfrotto 5001B stand. In the following recording I used Sound Devices 702 with Sennheiser MKH416 shotgun microphone inside the Cyclone and the wind gust test results are quite impressive.
You can hear in the middle of the recording when I start to re-assemble the windshield again that the wind noise reduces noticeably. After that you can hear me put on the other side of the windshield and the wind noise is completely blocked off. In the end of the clip you can hear the same strong wind gusts trying to push over the microphone stand while the Cyclone just sits there and lets me record nice and strong wind gusts. Rycote does have a windjammer for sale for Cyclone if you ever need one but I assume it would only be in very extreme conditions.
The second thing I wanted to test is the new suspension system. With Cyclone Rycote introduces the “multi-suspension” design that is supposed to provide complete isolation against handling noise, cable-born noise and also windshield basket self-noise. The standard patented Rycote Lyre suspension webs are now accompanied with the new floating basket suspension technology. The floating basket suspension isolates the windshield basket so that the vibrations and noise caused by the windshield itself are not transmitted to the primary suspension.
The following recording shows how much handling noise you would expect to get when using Cyclone. Check the comments in SoundCloud for more information on what is happening in the recording.
As you can hear from the recording there is still some handling noise present. What surprised me was the noise when you make very fast movements with the windshield. That noise is actually caused by the Lyre suspension. This kind of movement occurs most likely when you work as a boom operator and have to move the microphone from one actor to another very quickly. I have heard people say that this happens with the old Lyre suspension models as well and that the older O-ring suspension system did not have this problem. This is an extreme example of course but the noise is still there and hopefully there is a trick to get rid of it. In normal use the handling noise is really low and should not cause any real problems.
The Rycote Cyclone is a really high quality lightweight windshield that is easy and fast to use thanks to the new magnetised two-piece basket design. It provides great shock and wind protection for your microphone with the new floating basket suspension and 3D-Tex material windshield basket. When recording just keep in mind the Lyre suspension noise that occurs with very fast side to side movements. The price of Cyclone is a bit high but in the end you get what you pay for, a high quality product that will serve you well even in harsh conditions.
- Easy and fast to use
- Great shock and wind protection
- A bit pricey
- Lyre suspension noise in fast turns