The world´s smallest microphone!… for sure?

the smallest wireless microphone in the world, the XSDT or “eXtra-Super-Damn-Tiny.”(…) with a 1x1mm capsule area, provides an astounding frequency response of 5Hz to 120kHz(…) the XSDT-ALK which uses an alkaline AA battery, providing 38 minutes of operational time; and the XSDT-LITH using a lithium battery providing 1 hour and 15 minute operational time. Due to the permanently installed battery on each unit, the XSDT must be discarded once the battery dies. MSRP for the XSDT-ALK: $499.99, for the XSDT-LITH: $699.99.

Just let me add something: this information was first published last saturday, April 1st- and yes, it´s an April fools joke, albeit a very interesting one.

I was browsing Digg just a few hours ago when I found a piece of news about this microphone. I clicked the headline to see what it was about, which got me to I then read the description and decided to write an article on the microphone, since I found it quite odd that it was attached to a big battery and was so expensive for such a short life span. By that time I didn’t doubt it was a real product; I just hadn’t taken the time to decypher the acronym (we’re faced with weird acronyms everyday: I know it, you know it, every NaN out there knows it), and though 120 KHz sounded quite excessive (we humans hear on average up to 22KHZ), it backed the statement that the mic was “astounding”. All in all, I thought it was a weird microphone, though surely appealing to someone somewhere… (I work with microphones and recording equipment every day, so please excuse me if I take now a short break to blush in the corner).

Anyway, the thing is that I decided to write today’s article on the microphone, and as I always do I tried to find the original source for the article I had just read. I made a search for Lectrosonics which got me into their site, and the link to the article on the mic was easy to spot as it was on the cover. It mostly looked like the same information I read before, but just in case I decided to read it again… and then I noticed something: that “April 1, 2006” followed by the “immediate release”… fool of me! that was it, after all!

After I realized I had been fooled I thought on leaving the issue to search for something else to write about, but in the meantime I went back to Digg´s Thread. I supposed that I hadn´t been the first one to realize that it was a joke, and I found evidence after scrolling down for a while. However, it´s interesting to keep on reading the thread. Still after the hoax was discovered, you can still read comments from people complaining on the microphone´s design. To these complaints someone remarks:

sometimes it’s just amazing how fast people want to comment on something and therefore miss out the whole progress everybody else made (such as discovering that this anouncement was an April fool’s joke).

and immediately after, someone answers:

Um, it’s dated April 3. But it might as well be April fools, it’s retarded and way too expensive.

Dated April 3? Doesn´t make sense, since Lectrosonics clearly states “April 1”! But wait… that’s Lectrosonics’ site, not the bit of news from which the thread originated. If we go back to mobilemag, the date is April 3rd. However, mobilemag cites a source, and there we go: biosmagazine‘s article is a reprint (well, not exactly: they add the prices in pounds) from Lectrosonics’ information. With a different date and no credited source, said article lost its link to April 1st and was given credibility as true news. And that’s the point: sometimes, it only takes two small unintentioned details to turn fiction into reality.

In one way, this is the old story of “a friend of a friend saw…”. In another way, though, reading news on “printed” media is different from hearing gossip from a friend (even if the news is gossip-related). All in all, I believe we should always search for our own sources: search and think.

ps. The hoax was pretty convincing, after all. An example: this article from Harmony-Central gives the link to Lectrosonics, but not to the original article: as soon as it goes out of the cover, the mic will be just one step away from being real.

ps2. The title says “for sure”, not “from Shure“. Just in case… 😛

ps3. Just to clear any possible doubt on the issue, this is what John Muldrow, from Lectrosonics, has to say:

Yes, this is an April Fools joke. This seems to have taken on a life of its own!

Thanks John!

Update 05.04.06 I have just noticed that mobilemag has updated their page on the microphone, admitting the mistake with a good sense of humour.

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