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RodeWireless Go microphone system and Vlogger Kit

Cameras and smartphones include built-in microphones, but they’re not great. If you want sound quality worth its salt, a separate microphone is a must

LEFT Rode’s Vlogger Kit is ideal for higher-quality audio recordings using your smartphone


WHEN I STARTED shooting video, the transition from stills to moving images wasn’t my main issue; it was sound. I was using a wired mic straight into the camera, limiting how far I could move. On top of that, my footage suffered constant issues with wind – meteorological, not gastrointestinal! Had Rode offered its Wireless Go mics back then, both problems would have been solved instantly. Touted as the world’s smallest wireless microphone system, the Wireless Go kit comprises two tiddly square boxes, each weighing 31g. One is a transmitter, while the other is a receiver. Pairing the two is as simple as switching each unit on. The transmitter is worn by the speaker. It features a built-in microphone with a clip-on windshield, but you can also plug in an even more BELOW Rode’s Wireless Go microphone system is tiny, but packs a real punch, with a working range greater than 120m

discreet lavalier (lapel) mic and clip the box somewhere on your person out of shot. The receiver plugs into your camera – or separate audio recording device – using a 3.5mm jack plug, so be sure to check your inputs, as you may need an additional cable to connect everything up. This unit also has a small display showing the battery status of each unit, as well as the audio level, wireless signal strength and dB setting. Rode claims that the Wireless Go has a line-of-sight range that reaches 70m, but I found this actually underestimated the system’s capabilities. In a quiet, countryside location I received audio – albeit a little patchy – at nearly 200m from the camera. At a distance of 120m, the sound was robust and consistent. That’s impressive, although it’s worth remembering the kit is designed to be used primarily at closer proximity in busy locations, inevitably reducing overall range. The sound quality captured is excellent – much better than a camera’s

Verdict Both kits help improve the quality of your video output. Whether you buy one or both depends on what you’re looking to capture. For my own use, the Wireless Go mics are perfect. They’re easy to use and highly effective. And when talking to the camera, they significantly improve the audio quality. The Vlogger Kit is more ‘handy- to-have’ than ‘must-have’, but is well made and improves audio significantly. PROS Wireless Go: Small, simple to use, good audio quality, impressive range Vlogger Kit: Improves audio quality, simple to use, well made CONS Wireless Go: May

built-in microphone and superior to an on-camera shotgun mic as well. So, if you’re producing on-location videos where mobility and sound quality are crucial, you should be adding this simple kit to your video outfit. I certainly will be. SMART(ER) PHONE Many content creators use their smart phone and again the audio quality of the on-board mic could be better. Here, Rode’s Vlogger Kit comes into its own. Available in three smartphone fittings – for iOS, USB-C and devices with a 3.5mm connection – the kit improves the look and sound of footage. Give or take the odd connector and bracket, all three kits are the same. I tested the iOS version, comprising a mini tripod, a SmartGrip bracket that attaches your phone to the tripod, a mini LED light with four power settings, a selection of filters for said light, and a directional microphone with windshield. The latter plugs straight into the phone’s lightning connector, assuming that you walk around with a naked iPhone. Like 99% of the population, I don’t, so you have to pop off your case to plug in the mic.

The kit components are well made. The adjustable metal bracket that grips your phone, for example, is nicely machined and its jaws open wide enough to fit larger iPhone models, including my XS Max. The tripod and mini LED light are plastic, but they feel robust. In fact, the only item that I think may encounter longevity issues is the light’s clip-on filter holder. I tested the kit in two scenarios. First, while driving my car to see how the mic dealt with ambient noise; second, while shooting close-ups outdoors to see how it handled wind. In both cases, the plug-in Rode mic delivered higher-quality results than I managed using my phone’s standard mic or headphones that have an integral microphone. In the car, the windshield wasn’t needed, but being outdoors warranted its use, as the uncovered mic was more susceptible to wind noise than the phone’s basic mic. Meanwhile, tested only in a close-up scenario, the mini LED light didn’t offer much difference, even at full-power setting. Like built-in camera flash, it’s handy-to-have, but there are limitations. RP

require the purchase of additional cabling

Vlogger kit: Requires you to remove the phone from protective case, weak light

Issue 86 | Photography News 55

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