You can create professional-looking videos with just a smartphone, but the audio is trickier to get right. If you’re going to create YouTube videos or other content, the Joby Wavo Air wireless microphone system is a great item to get you started, as long as it fits with what you plan to create.
The Wavo Air is a complete system with everything you need to record one or two people using shotgun-style mics for general use or as clip-on lavalier mics for recording people speaking. Even better, the system is wireless, at least for the most part.
If you’re looking to record interviews or get started creating YouTube videos, this system is a great place to start, but there are a few things you should know before you reach for your wallet.
(Almost) Everything You Need
As mentioned at the top, the Joby Wavo Air isn’t just a few mics, it’s a complete system. In the box, you get one receiver, which plugs into your camera, phone, or computer via a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with two transmitters, each with a built-in microphone.
That’s far from the entirety of the system. You also get two actual lavalier mics complete with clips to attach them to a speaker. These are wired, but the included cable is just long enough to plug into the transmitter while it’s hidden out of sight.
If you’re just looking to record a quick video and don’t want to deal with clipping on a lavalier mic, Joby has a novel solution. Included with the accessories is a small lanyard with a magnetic disc hanging from it. Wear this around your neck, slap on one of the transmitters, and you’re ready to go.
The lavalier mics have standard foam windscreens, mainly meant to stop minor wind noise and block plosives (think popping ‘p’ sounds). If you’re using the built-in mics on the transmitters, there are fluffier windjammer-style screens included.
Joby is no newcomer to helping people create videos on the go. This is the company that gave us the GorillaPod, a short, flexible tripod with built-in magnets that let you mount it on nearly anything. There’s even a clip in the box to mount the transmitter to a GorillaPod leg.
Finally, almost all the cables you need are included. You get three USB-C to USB-A charging cables—one each for the receiver and transmitters. You also get a 3.5mm TRS cable (commonly known as a headphone jack) for plugging the receiver into a camera and a TRRS cable for plugging into a phone.
That brings us to the one thing that isn’t included: USB or Lightning adapters for using this system with a smartphone. If you’re already doing video production using a phone, you’ve probably got a handful of adapters, but considering this system seems to be aimed at those jumping into creating videos, it would have been nice to see these included.
We’ve linked our top picks for USB-C and Lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack adapters below if you don’t already own one.
Getting Ready to Record
Setup is extremely easy, despite what you may think right after taking everything out of the box. The transmitters and receiver are pre-paired when they arrive, so all you need to do to prepare for your first shoot is to make sure everything is charged.
Turning on both the receiver and the transmitters is simple, as each has a single button on the front that you long press to turn the device on and off. Turn on the receiver, then turn on each mic, and they’ll all light up to let you know that they’re on. An LED above the button lets you know the remaining battery time.
All that’s left is to plug in the lavalier mics, assuming you’re using them. Then plug the receiver into your camera, phone, or whatever you may be using to record.
The receiver includes a cold shoe mount that lets it sit on top of a camera. If you’re using a phone, many phone tripod mounts include a cold shoe attachment point, but if you’re recording with another device, you may have to improvise a way to attach the receiver.
Ulanzi Aluminum Phone Tripod Mount with Cold Shoe Mount
If you need a phone mount for your tripod, the Ulanzi ST-02S will allow you to capture video in portrait or horizontal orientations.
Roll Sound (Quality)
While you can use the mics in this system for anything you want, they’re very much aimed at video. Even more specifically, they’re aimed at capturing the human voice on camera, so this system is perfect for vlog-style videos, interviews, or any other type of content where you’re spending most of your time talking.
If you’re doing a vlog-style video where it’s just you talking to the camera, one of the transmitters with the windjammer mounted on top of your camera will work well as a makeshift shotgun mic. As soon as you’re more than a few feet from the camera, you’ll want to opt for a lavalier mic for a more direct recording of your voice.
The sound quality is good on both the built-in mics and the lavalier mics. Joby doesn’t seem to have a frequency graph as most traditional microphone manufacturers would, just a frequency range of 50 Hz to 18 KHz. I’ve used countless mics over the years, and just based on my hearing, it sounds like the microphones in this system are mostly focused on the frequencies around our vocal range.
There is some very slight latency using the wireless transmitters and receiver, but no more than a few milliseconds. Recording a few test videos on my phone, I found that my voice synced up with the video almost perfectly. In most cases, I can’t see much reason to manually shift the audio to align even better, but this is a simple task in most video editing software.
One of the nice features of this system is its modularity. For example, if you want to upgrade the lavalier mics, or you already have a nicer lavalier mic, the standard inputs on the transmitters means you can use any mic you want.
No Wires, Plenty of Time
Joby claims up to six hours of recording time for the Wavo Air. I didn’t test this out in a marathon-style recording, but I did get around that much battery life while I was testing the system.
Earlier in the review, I mentioned that LEDs on the transmitters show battery life remaining. This is true, if in a relatively barebones sense. At first, you’ll get a solid blue LED, then a smaller, red LED will light up when you have 90 minutes left. When that starts to run out, the light flashes.
Additionally, with the Wavo Air, Joby is following the recent trend of including charging cables but no charger. This can be frustrating with more power-hungry devices, but the receiver and transmitters require so little power output to charge that you can use any charger you have lying around.
When the battery finally runs out, a two-hour charge is all it takes to get you back up to full. A weaker charger may theoretically charge these slower, but you should get that quick charge with any USB charger.
Is the Joby Wavo Air the Right Mic for You?
Looking around the web, I couldn’t find too many packages that do the same thing the Joby Wavo Air does. The Rode Wireless GO II and DJI Mic offer slightly better performance, but both are also more expensive. The Wavo Air is a product for a specific use case, and this is the only thing that makes recommending the Wavo Air tricky. It’s a great product, as long as you actually need it.
The sound quality on the included mics is good, and the system is easy enough to use that I figured everything out before consulting the manual. Sure, it would have been nice to see USB and Lighting adapters included, but considering everything else you get, the package still feels like a good deal.
If you’ll never need more than one mic, this system probably isn’t for you. That said, if you’re looking for a semi-modular wireless mic system that will handle the vast majority of what a content creator requires, this is a solid all-in-one package.
Here’s What We Like
- Easy setup
- Good sounding audio from both mics
- All the cables you need are included
And What We Don’t
- Some small amount of latency
- Additional mounting pack costs extra
- LED battery indicators are somewhat cryptic
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