Great audio for your video. I tested two sets of microphones that will work with the camera and smartphone

The video has grown into the most popular content format in recent years. Everyone is recording video - not only with the help of professional cameras, but also with smartphones on hand. I have recently tested accessories that will ensure that our video not only looks nice, but also sounds.

Sound is the most overlooked aspect by home-grown video makers, and even on a semi-professional level it is often not given as much attention as image quality. And this is a mistake, because even the most beautiful video will not be able to watch if the audio is fatal. In turn, even not very nice video can be digested, as long as the sound is tolerable.

In search of a new solution for my video needs, I tested two sets of microphones from Sennheiser - one for use with a camera / video camera, the other strictly designed for a smartphone.

The Sennheiser XSW-D is the easiest to use wireless microphone I've ever used.

Anyone who has ever used a set of microports to record sound for video knows how annoying it can be. Loosing frequencies, protruding antennas (in the case of old-type microports), complicated menu, the need to remember to replace the battery, large dimensions ...

Sennheiser XSW-D Lavalier Set is the exact antithesis of the classic microport, which has its pros and cons.

Let's start with the pros. An undoubted plus of the Sennheiser wireless set are its dimensions and quality of workmanship. The plastic housing of the transmitter and receiver is extremely solid. Both elements also look identical - you can basically recognize them only by the icon at the bottom of the housing. Of course, I'm talking about a set dedicated to the camera - if we choose the Sennheiser XSW-D in the option for a hand-held microphone or instrument, we can easily recognize what is what on the XLR tip itself.

The transmitter and receiver housing is a very simple design - we only have one switch, a diode, a 3.5 mm jack and a USB-C charging jack.

The set also includes appropriate clips for the transmitter / receiver to attach one of the elements to the camera's hot shoe and the other, e.g. to trousers. We also have a great-sounding ME2-II microphone and a cable to connect to the camera.

It is worth noting that both the microphone cable and the cable connecting the receiver with the camera have a built-in threaded protection. So there is no chance to unintentionally unplug the cable either from the transmitter or the receiver.

How does it sound? Using the Sennheiser XSW-D Lavalier Set, I recorded several videos, including a guide on night photography. Despite the fact that some of the fragments were recorded in a very windy environment, and others in the heart of the seaside town at the peak of the season, the audio sounds very clear and clean. There was no graphic correction applied on the recording - only Hard Limiter set to -3 dB:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEzIDroQ0PI

Apart from the great sound, the simplicity of operation and pairing of the devices is also great. Just press the button on the housings of both elements - when the lamp flashes, it means that it is looking for a connection. When it lights up with a uniform green color - it means a connection with the second element. When it is yellow, it means that the charging element needs to be connected.

The battery lasts for 4-5 hours of recording.

During the two weeks of testing, I didn't notice a single case where the set disconnected or showed any other problems. Everything worked perfectly. Exactly how professional equipment should work - practically maintenance-free.

Simplicity and maintenance-free are, however, not only an advantage, but also a huge disadvantage of the Sennheiser XSW-D set. There is no display here that even allows you to change the frequency or convenient connection with a second receiver. What's worse, there is also no indication of audio levels, which forces you to use the indicators inside the cameras, and these - depending on the particular model - are not a very good indicator of whether the recorded sound is clear or not.

As for the sound purity, if I can't fault the set from the quality side, the signal sent to the camera by default is quite low. This, in turn, makes it necessary to increase the preamplifier sensitivity in the camera, which - depending on the camera - may result in the appearance of unwanted noise. While in the Sony A7III, which has good preamplifiers, no noise occurred after such a procedure, so in the Olympus EM-1 mkII, which has fatal preamplifiers, the noise appeared almost immediately.

There is also no clear indication of the battery charge level - when leaving the house for photos we are never sure whether the green LED means full charge, or maybe after a few minutes of recordings the color will turn yellow and the battery will soon discharge. This makes me forever end my day by connecting the elements of the set to the charger.

And finally we come to the price, which is the biggest problem with Sennheiser's product. Not because it is high - PLN 1,500 for such a set is a really bargain price, especially since the microphone attached to it offers really great quality. It is high because Rode offers a Wireless GO set almost half as much. It is true that this is a set without a microphone, even if we buy a dedicated lavalier for the set we get a lower price than what Sennheiser wants for its set.

Rode Wireless GO is smaller, it has a display with all necessary information, the transmitter has a built-in spare microphone, and the battery offers up to 7 hours of work time. Sennheiser may be better made, simpler to use and sounds better, but with such a big difference in price, Rode is the better choice, though ... everything depends on your needs.

Personally, I value maintenance-free more than additional features, so my money is still Sennheiser, although I'm probably a minority here. XSW-D is a great product, but at such a low price, Rode Wireless GO can hardly be expected to outpace its competitor with popularity.

Sennheiser Memory Mic - finally a solid solution for an Android smartphone.

When it comes to recording audio with Android smartphones, in 10 cases you can spread your hands, in 1 out of 10 you can record the sound with built-in microphones, and in the rest connect the Sennheiser Memory Mic.

Unfortunately, how Android smartphone manufacturers approach the issue of recording sound is embarrassment, mockery and a bucket of wash poured over the heads of consumers.

You can buy a huge number of dedicated accessories for the iPhone - I tested the hand-held microphone or headphones for recording surround audio myself. Ba, through Lightning (or an adequate adapter) we can also connect a dedicated microphone and thus record the sound.

It's not that easy on Android. There are simply no USB-C solutions. And even if our smartphone still has a 3.5 mm jack, it does not mean that we will connect a microphone to it. Let's assume, however, that we managed to connect the microphone, be it "yes," or using the TRS-TRRS adapter: it still does not guarantee recording sound for our video, because most smartphones do not allow recording external audio in the default camera application!

Sennheiser Memory Mic does not solve this last limitation, resorting - like other such solutions - to the manufacturer's dedicated application. It has fewer options than the default application or advanced applications such as Filmic Pro, but it is the only option.

Sennheiser Memory Mic connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth and offers a stable connection up to approx. 30 m. As for a tie microphone, the whole structure is quite large and heavy - after fastening the magnetic clip on the T-shirt, the weight of the device pulls it down. So it's better to attach the microphone to something more stable, e.g. a bag belt or shirt collar.

However, the Sennheiser Memory Mic is much more than just a tie microphone. The same magnetic clip allows the microphone to be attached to a metal surface; we can also simply put it on a countertop, for example, and use it as a condenser microphone. This means that we can use the microphone not only for video, but also on our own, recording only sound - this is a great option for students, journalists or enthusiasts.

The sound quality generated by the Sennheiser Memory Mic is outstanding. The microphone capsule is large, easily copes even in noisy environments and collects deep, full audio details. And it is better if he does it, because it costs over PLN 800, which is a very high amount for a smartphone microphone, but relatively small for the quality offered by Sennheiser.

And how it sounds can be heard from 9:40 in the video below, where I switch between the built-in microphones in the smartphone and the Sennheiser Memory Mic:

https://youtu.be/QydVkHOwLDs?t=581

How does Sennheiser Memory Mic record?

Well, it's not as obvious as it might seem. It is not so that when recording video in a dedicated application, we immediately get the resulting file with the recorded sound from the microphone. It looks a bit different.

Inside the application, we primarily have an overview of microphone information. There is a battery charge status (it should last for about 4 hours):

You can also select the microphone sensitivity, depending on the scenario:

In the application, we also adjust the video quality:

During recording, the sound is not automatically transmitted to the smartphone - it would not be possible through the Bluetooth protocol while maintaining a satisfactory high quality.

So, after making all recordings in a given session, we must synchronize the sound from the microphone with the sound from the smartphone. For this purpose, the application connects to the microphone via WLAN and transmits files from the device. If we do not save the recordings, we can delete the data from the microphone cache (it will fit a maximum of 4 hours of recordings).

Interestingly, the resulting file has two audio tracks - the one from the microphone and the original from the smartphone. In the assembly program, we can choose which path to use.

Despite the fact that the whole process is a bit too complicated for my taste, the final quality of the recordings is worth some inconvenience.

Is it worth spending over PLN 800 on Sennheiser Memory Mic?

It's definitely worth it. Especially if we have an Android smartphone - then it's really hard to get anything better. And even iPhone owners who are serious about smartphone video recording will appreciate the quality and convenience offered by the Sennheiser microphone.



Great audio for your video. I tested two sets of microphones that will work with the camera and smartphone

Comments

  1. Thanks For Giving the Review about the Microphones. You have Given Two Set of Microphone in which i have chosen one i am going to choosen Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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