This pocket-sized wireless assistant from Joby brings professional sound to YouTube videos
Have you ever watched a video on YouTube where someone is talking to the camera but you can barely hear them because they’re relying on the built-in microphone on their smartphone or video camera? This happens a lot and it’s the only thing that separates an amateur videographer from a more polished and professional job. Poor sound quality is probably one of the biggest reasons people give up watching video.
To make videos more professional, you need to pay as much attention to audio quality as you do to video. Joby is the company behind the iconic Gorillapod and has just announced its new collection of Wavo audio products for creating great videos with high quality sound.
I decided to review the Joby Wavo AIR kit, a collection of two wireless transmitters and a receiver that can pick up sound and transmit it wirelessly without the need for additional cables or even microphones. The Joby Wavo AIR kit comes with a few lavalier microphones. These tiny microphones can be attached to a lapel or tie during an interview.
A lapel microphone picks up sound very clearly and makes all the difference in the quality of an interview. The Joby Wavo AIR transmitters also have a built-in microphone, so there’s no need to use a lavalier mic if you don’t want to, but to get the best sound for an interview, I recommend using the lavs .
Setting up this versatile little sound department is very simple. Both transmitter units and the receiver are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. A full charge using USB-C cables provides enough juice for a full day of shooting. The transmitters automatically pair with the Wavo Air receiver, then the receiver’s line out jack simply needs to be connected to the video camera using one of the supplied cables. You can even connect the receiver to a smartphone’s headphone input if you’re using a phone to video.
Wavo Air transmitters include a modular bayonet-style mounting system that can be used to attach the variety of clips and brackets supplied with the Wavo AIR kit. There is a choice of cold shoe, magnet and alligator clip attachments that allow Wavo transmitters to be attached to almost anyone or anything. The mounting system is simple and quick to use. The transmitters and receiver are housed in a sturdy plastic case that should easily withstand drops.
I mentioned earlier that there was a choice between using the built-in mics of the wireless transmitters or plugging in a lapel mic. The kit’s omnidirectional lapel mics are ideal for interviews or on-camera pieces. The built-in microphones also have their uses. For example, they are ideal for placing anywhere in a scene to pick up general background noise. You could shoot wildlife from a distance with a telephoto lens, but you still want to get sound. Placing one of the Joby Wavo AIR transmitters near wildlife is a great way to pick up the sounds you need.
Controlling Joby Wavo AIR transmitters is simple. Simply select the gain level by pressing the buttons on the side of the unit, then monitor the sound using headphones plugged into the receiver. Most people will be able to achieve great sound with the Joby Wavo AIR without any specialized training. It is designed to be easy enough for everyone to use.
The two lavalier microphones that come with the kit are perfect for picking up sound clearly. They have a clear, natural voice and Joby also sells the new Wavo Lav PRO microphone if you need an extra or spare mic. The sound is clear and the directivity is omnidirectional. I noticed that the sound is dry and neutral right out of the receiver. This is good because the sound is not colored and it means you can add whatever level of EQ you want during the editing process. The microphones are free of sibilance and come with a soft windshield to reduce wind noise when filming outdoors.
Verdict: The Joby Wavo AIR is a nice little wireless sound kit ideal for interviews. The kit includes two separate wireless transmitters with built-in microphones and a jack for plugging in a lavalier microphone. Transmitter gain levels can be set independently on each unit and the receiver has a line level output for connecting to a camera or DVR using the supplied cables. The whole setup is easy to pair and use, and there are rechargeable batteries with enough muscle to last a day of shooting. Currently, RØDE has excellent activity serving this market with its Wireless GO Pro kits, so it will be interesting to see how the Joby Wavo range is received by professional video creatives.
Price and availability: The Joby Wavo PRO Wireless Sound Kit is available now and costs $249.95. The Joby Wavo Lav PRO is also available now and retails for $79.95.
More information: www.joby.com
Joby Wavo Air
- High– quality and secure 2.4 Ghz wireless audio transmission
- Modular mounting system adapts to your creativity
- Quick pairing and easy setup process. Up to 6 hours of battery life
- Includes two lavalier microphones and a dual transmitter (TX)
- Works with smartphone or camera right out of the box
Joby Lav PRO
- Portable and professional lavalier microphone
- High-quality capsule with a crisp, warm and natural voice
- Long cable for convenient maintenance setup
- Ultra-small professional capsule for easy concealment
- Works natively with most cameras, pairs with Wavo PRO