In this entry-level guide, we look at the best options for which wireless microphone for YouTube you should choose for beginner smartphone filmmaking.
If you’re starting out on your video creating journey and want to know more about how to make sure your audio is the best it can be when you’re shooting with your phone, then this is for you.
When it comes to video, people forgive a wobbly shot or two. However, if your viewers can’t hear what’s going on, they will lose interest in seconds and disappear, never to be seen again.
In this post, I’m going to dispense with any trailing cables. We don’t want to be hemmed in by a cable from the phone to our mic, we want to run free. We want to experience the freedom that radio mics give us as video creators.
The Radio mics
Now the first thing to say about radio mics when compared to their hardwired cousins is that, it requires more investment. To get a decent entry level radio mic set up, you should expect to spend anything from around about £140, which is about $150 or so. To give you some kind of context in my day job in Broadcast TV, the radio mics that we use there start around about £600.
So at the entry level they will be some compromises, but the mics that we’re going to be talking about today, really do a great job at capturing decent quality sound. Certainly good enough for beginners starting out on their video creating journey.
Rode GO setup and microphone system
One of the most widely recommended entry level radio mics is the Rode GO. Now these little chaps are really super compact. So really lend themselves to smartphone filmmaking. As with all radio mic setups, you’ll get one box which is the transmitter, and one which is the receiver. The receiver is what you plug into your phone.
The beauty of the Rode GO is it’s pretty much ready to take out the box and use straight away. The system’s got rechargeable batteries, which you can recharge with USB and the battery life is a phenomenal seven hours. One thing to point out with the Rode GO, is when you buy the kit, it doesn’t come with a lavalier mic. However, the transmitter unit does have an inbuilt mic. But to make this work, you’d need to clip it onto your clothing just as you would a clip mic, relatively near your mouth so it can pick up what you’re saying.
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Improve your audio when recording
Now as I mentioned before, at this entry level there are compromises in terms of the functionality, that these little radio mics have in them. Case of the Rode GO they don’t have a headphone input. But what does that actually mean in real life? Well, normally with any prototype setup, you’d always monitor the sound as you record it, when you’re out filming. In that way if there’s anything untoward, noise is off, or a distracting sound that cuts across something someone says, you can stop recording and retake it. This is a lot better than the alternative of carrying on recording, and then only realizing that there are audio issues when you’re in the edit.
At this point your options are pretty limited. So it’s always much better to address any sound issues or do any retakes you need to, when you’re still on location filming. The work round in the case of radio mics that don’t have a headphone output is simply to check back the recording as soon as you finish your take before you leave location, just to double check everything is as it should be audio wise.
The other thing is just be aware in terms of the environment in which you’re filming. So things like don’t film in locations that are next to massive construction sites, or underneath flight paths, or just a general awareness of the audio characteristics of the location you’re thinking of filming in.
So the Rode GO is available from around about £140 or $150. And there’s a link down below in the description for more information and for some buying options.
How to record two inputs?
If you’re wanting to record two inputs, for example, if you’re filming an interview, and both the interviewer and the interviewee are in shot, then you’re going to need to have two mic transmitters. One on each contributor so that you can hear what each person is saying clearly. In this situation it’s much simpler to have the one receiver that’s taking the signals from both mics and then feeding them into your phone. So for this you’re going to need a two transmitter set.
Saramonic Blink 500 Wireless system
So the Saramonic Blink 500 wireless system is available in a two transmitter version, that gives you the ability to record good audio from two people at once, really easily straight out the box. It’s not wildly different in terms of design to the Rode GO. The transmitter is also a little box, that in the same way you can clip directly onto a lapel and use it’s inbuilt mic. In my opinion the best way of using these little transmitters is by plugging the lavalier mic in which is a lot easier and subtler to place on someone. The advantage of this kit compared with the Rode is that it comes with connectors for both DSLR and camera inputs as well as a cable for mobile phone inputs.
The kit also includes two lav mics, so you pretty much have everything you need right away. The only thing I would say that you need to buy in addition, would be a couple of wind gags if you’re going to be recording outside. Battery life on this system is around about the four hour mark, which is probably going to be absolutely fine for most applications. Charging is also by USB-C light with a Rode GO, and the batteries in the kit are obviously rechargeable. Pairing the mics with the receiver is a simple process that only needs to be carried out once.
The only slight negative is the fact that the mic cable plugs into the side of the unit rather than to the top as with the Rode GO. So this could be more prone to getting snagged and potentially breaking.
Technically though the sound quality is really good given the price point. You can pick up the Saramonic Blink 500 Jual mic kit for around about the £190/$200 mark, by way of comparison Rode’s Jual mic kit, the Rode Wireless GO II is around about the 280 pound $300 mark.
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Saramonic Blink 500 setup
But to be fair, this setup has a few extra features, such as mono and stereo recording modes as well as onboard recording capability. But ultimately if you’re happy with a smaller feature set, then the Saramonic Blink 500 Jual mic kit would be a really good bet as a starter kit, for smartphone filmmaking.
I really hope you have got lots of value from this. We’ve got a free YouTube resource, obviously which is a Bitly link there Business Growth With Video. If you’d like to download a Business Video Guide, go to that URL and ping us your email details, and we will be really chuffed to rush you a copy of the 20 page PDF, that’d be fantastic, I’d hope you’d find that super useful.
To dive into more detail about how to create video for your business, do check out the other videos on our YouTube channel.