Let me get this out – I hate Air Pods and clones being used for non-personal video calls, more so when I see them used in TV interviews!
I had been looking for a microphone that can record clear audio with noise reduction. I wanted one that I can connect to my laptop, to be used for video calls and webinars. Superior quality microphones don’t come cheap, so it will be great if the same could be used with my iPad Pro or Samsung Phone for recording videos capturing crisp audio. I didn’t want to invest for the Pro condenser microphones used by popular podcasters as they were expensive, and I don’t see myself using them that often.
My search stopped with this recommendation by Mr Kiruba Shankar when he had posted a video review about this product from a company called Saramonic. I immediately ordered one online from their website and it got delivered a few weeks before the lockdown in India. The device is called Saramonic Blink 500 B6 wireless microphone system (two transmitters and one receiver) and I am loving it. I have been using it for my Zoom calls, YouTube recordings, Team calls and the listeners are noticing the difference and the clarity in my audio.
Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement or commission of any sort involved in this post.
The cost was INR 19,979 (USD 264). They have other models with a single transmitter and variations. The receiver has a USB-C port that connects easily to my laptop, Android Phone, and iPad Pro – it works across apps including Zoom and in-built camera app – no drivers needed.
The package ships with two wireless transmitters (microphones), two wired lapel microphones that connect to the wireless transmitters for better clarity, one receiver that has a USB-C port, and two USB-C charging cables. Go for it.
Charging problem solved!
After a few days of usage, the transmitters stopped working during a call. I have been connecting the transmitters to the USB-C chargers (that shipped with iPad Pro and Google Pixel) and presuming it was charging, but it seems they were not.
At random, I tried connecting the transmitter with the USB-C (to USB-A) cable that shipped in the box to my laptop and voila! the green light was glowing in the transmitter indicating it was charging. So, for reasons I haven’t figured out (yet) the Saramonic wireless microphone transmitter charges with the USB-A to USB-C charging cable that ships it and a few others I tried, but not with the USB-C to USB-C chargers.
P.S.: I had initially bought this system for recording my voice during my presentations on stage – iPad Pro records excellent video, but being done from a distance, the audio was bad, this wireless microphone will correct it. But, in these times of staying at home, it is making a substantial difference in the quality of the Zoom (and Microsoft Team) video calls.
What are the other options?
If you are looking to buy a microphone, first be clear on your usage and the purpose. Are you going to be doing video calls, or recording for podcast, or having more than one person talking, or recording music and so on? There is also personal preference and comfort. I will suggest you spend some time understanding the diverse types of microphones, then watching demo videos in YouTube of the microphones you are considering and then decide.
- Start with the easiest to use, the simplest and cheapest. At around INR 800-1000 (USD 10) you can get a good lavalier microphone like the “Boya BY-M1 Omni Directional Lavalier Microphone” or “Ahuja MTP-20 Unidirectional Lavalier Microphone“. Both come with a long 20-feet cable and connects to the 3.5mm headphone jack in your PC or Mac or Android phones.
- Many of the modern webcams like TVS 1080p or the Logitech 4K Brio comes with inbuilt microphones that are decent for most video calls. They work well with one or two people talking in front of the screen.
- Go for an easy-to-use condenser microphone like Blue Yeti that cost INR 11000 (USD 150) or a cheaper equivalent like Fifine K678 Condenser microphone that I bought for INR 6500 (USD 90). Remember these connect only to your PC or Mac, they require a regular USB-A port to drive them. These offer the best audio quality out of all the options reviewed in this page.
- If you are considering Saramonic Blink, then there are other brands that offer similar features like Hey Mic, or Rode Wireless Go II. All three of them are not available in India, you need to order them directly from their manufacturers and have it shipped to India.
- I haven’t discussed here any of the professional microphones used in recording studios as I have little knowledge about them, and I don’t want to pretend to be an Audio engineer!