3 Dec 2021

Road Test: Earthworks FMR500 FM FlexMic

by Mark Patterson

Mark was roped into the audio-visual world over two decades ago when a local musical co-opted him as sound tech, his usual pipe organist role surplus to requirements. The company that provided the audio gear offered Mark a job and he hasn’t looked back. Mark has been a self-employed audio engineer since 2004. He started up installation company Lifestyle AV in 2015, based in Dunedin and operating nationally supporting churches, community venues, hospitality and contractors.

I have worked with Pacific AV from time to time over the years and it was Marcel Reinen, Managing Director, who introduced me to Earthworks a few years ago. My purchases are always guided by the quality of the product rather than my relationship with the supplier, so I put Marcel’s suggestion to the test. I compared the FMR Series mics against a whole host of others and concluded that Marcel was indeed right, and the range was truly worthy of my clients’ consideration.

To see and hear them in action, I also asked Nelson hire company Events Audio to try them out for me. They were struggling with their existing lectern mics and feedback. The majority of people using the mics were not trained in mic techniques and their current stock just wasn’t forgiving enough. The first time we used the FMR500 we were amazed how the Earthworks mic accepted the range of different speaking styles and volumes, picking them all up beautifully. The hire company and I walked away thinking these are awesome and put them straight into stock.


Since then, I have used the FMR FlexMics consistently for installations including Nelson Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral in Dunedin, the event space in Dunedin Art Gallery, the Basilica in Oamaru and many others. They are my go-to choice and, obsessed as I am with comparing things, I still think these are the best of the bunch.

Optimised for speech, the main things for me are pick up, feedback (or lack of), and clarity. They provide incredible coverage and allow great freedom of movement. The Minister at a church in Nelson was astonished how the lectern mic could pick up speech from people who were on the altar but quite a bit further away from the mic than himself. He said it was akin to having more than one mic. Plus, the built-in isolation means it handles the unwanted sounds and inevitable bumps that go on in a church situation.

Speech intelligibility and articulation is impressive too. In my recent fit out at St Paul’s Cathedral in Dunedin, I paired the mic with a d&b sound system, so really good sound and really good mic, and the congregation haven’t stopped commenting on the difference. In Nelson Cathedral where I just replaced the lectern mic, we’ve also received heaps of positive comments even without upgrading the speakers. 

Lastly, and maybe not as crucially, it looks good. It is an elegant mic with a quality finish that isn’t so big and intrusive as to intimidate a speaker.

There are no negatives that I have found. Frankly it isn’t cheap, but the reality is you get what you pay for and it is absolutely worth spending the extra money on this mic. Support hasn’t been a factor. The mic has turned up, worked and been great but I know Marcel at Pacific AV would be there for me if I needed anything.

With New Zealand being so isolated we sometimes miss out on really high-quality products. It is thanks to Marcel at Pacific AV and his commitment to keeping me up to date and understanding my market that I have been able to pass on this quality product to my clients. I am pleased to see Earthworks slowly becoming a well-known and respected brand over here.

Product Info:

Distributor New Zealand:

Distributor Australia:

Earthworks FMR500 – The Specs

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20khz

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Sensitivity: 20mv/Pa (-34dbv/Pa)

Power Requirements: 24-48V Phantom, 10ma

Max Acoustic Input: 139db SPL

Output: XLR (Pin 2+)

Output Impedance: 65Ω Balanced (between Pins 2 & 3)

Min Output Load: 600Ω between Pins 2 & 3

Noise: 16db SPL Equivalent (A-Weighted)

Weight: 225g


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