Tips: Wireless Mic Alternatives
In this article, several options for inexpensive wireless audio solutions for video projects are discussed. These options include the Sennheiser AVX, Deity Pocket Wireless, DJI Mic, and Rode Wireless Go II, all of which are compact, easy to use, and provide quality audio. Boom mics, external recorders, and cell phone mics are also explored as viable audio recording options. We also review various factors to consider to determine what alternative is best for you and your project.
If you're looking for an audio solution for your video or podcast projects, you might be intimidated by the high prices of professional wireless systems. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that can provide quality audio without breaking the bank.
Inexpensive Wireless Options
Some of the best options for an inexpensive wireless audio solution are the Sennheiser AVX, Deity Pocket Wireless, DJI Mic or the Rode Wireless Go II, which are compact, easy to use, and can be used with a wireless lav mic. The Rode Wireless Go transmitters have an additional built-in mic and have the option of internal recording if range or wireless problems arise. Out of these options, the DJI Mic is kind of the only one that's not designed to be hidden with a lav, so if microphone visibility is a concern that might not be the best option for you. This arena is constantly evolving, so be sure to check with these manufacturers for updates in their lineup.
Booming is always a solid solution and reliable solution one should alway have on hand. They don’t require much setup time as a wireless system, and are generally going to capture a cleaner recording a lav microphone may have issues with. The main issues you have to worry about is isolation, making sure you can reach your subject, and are able to hold the boom for long periods of time.
External Recorders/Body Pack Recorders
Body pack recorders provide a separate source of recording, which is great for backup purposes, especially when range is an issue. The Tascam DR10, Tentacle Track E, Zoom F2, and Zoom F1-LP are great options that can be paired with a lav microphone. They also have the huge benefit of being generally small units that can be hidden easily. Synching can vary depending on the unit's timecode option, with the Tentacle Track E being the best option with that feature, but these external recorders provide a reliable solution for audio recording.
Cell Phone Mics
With the rise of popularity of vloggers and the ubiquity of the cell phone, microphone options that can connect to phones are a viable solution. You could use your cell phone as an area mic or connect a cell phone compatible lav, such as the Rode SmartLav or Shure MVL. Don't forget the appropriate dongle that your device may need to be compatible with these options. Cell phones already have an internal storage unit that allows you to easily backup or transfer in a pinch. Additionally, you can use your Apple Watch Voice Memos as a great option as well.
Ease and Area of Use
Most of these options are easy to use, and most of them are plug-and-play or take less time to set up. If you need wireless that is small and easy to set up, cheap wireless is a good option. Boom mics are always the best choice and can be relied on for most projects. External recorders are good if you are worried about range, and they are also great backups for a wireless system that is already set up. Cell phones can be used for ENG or street style recordings because people usually have them with them and all they need is a lav to complete the package.