Joby Wavo Plus Mini Shotgun Mic will make your video sound better

Creating videos is quickly becoming one of the most effective communication channels. Whether it’s creating a video for your business or a community campaign, you can deliver a message much more effectively than printing a flyer or newsletter. And thanks to the excellent image quality offered by cameras and smartphones, almost anyone can have access to broadcast-quality video. However, sound is often where many amateur filmmakers fail.

If you’re using a video camera to shoot your movie, chances are you’ll be picking up great quality audio until you shoot bits on camera. An “on-camera piece” is where a presenter or interviewee is filmed a little away from the camera. Within a few meters of the camera, the person being filmed will not be heard very clearly. In these situations, you should use a wireless or shotgun microphone.

The Joby Wavo PLUS is a compact shotgun microphone that can fit on the accessory shoe above a video camera or DSLR. The mic connects to the camera’s analog audio input and is highly directional, picking up sound with a super-cardioid polar pattern. It is very good at picking up sounds from a distance and rejects unwanted off-axis sounds. A shotgun microphone is like a telescope for picking up sound.

The Joby Wavo PLUS has a built-in battery to power the mic and headphone output, so it doesn’t need to rely on a camera power source. And because a shotgun mic follows the subject with the camera, the person being filmed can walk and move while being clearly heard. The sound quality is often much better than the small microphone built into most cameras.

One issue when using a camera-mounted shotgun mic is wind. The mic will pick up the slightest whisper of a breeze and drown out all other sounds. The Joby Wavo PLUS has a foam windscreen that can silence a lot of wind noise while still picking up all the audio action happening in front of the camera. A high-pass (or low-cut) filter is built into the mic, which can be activated to cut low-frequency rumble sounds.

A handy feature of the Joby Wavo PLUS is its integrated headphone jack. You can plug a pair of headphones into the mic and hear whatever is picked up. Headphones are great for monitoring latency-free audio. If you need more mic gain, a slider switch can boost or cut the output by +15dB or -10dB. The gain level can also be adjusted on the host camera. Meanwhile, a dial on the back of the mic can increase or decrease the headphone output.

The Joby Wavo PLUS also has a Safe Track function. Usually the mic picks up sound in stereo, but when you activate the Safe Track feature, you get two tracks recorded left and right, with one of the tracks recorded at -10dB below. Safe Track is handy as a backup, if the main track is muted. If you’re filming in areas where there may be sudden, loud sounds – like a shooting range or a live concert – this can be a great backup.

Unlike more expensive professional shotgun mics, the Joby Wavo PLUS is made primarily from plastic, making it lighter and less sturdy than some high-end mics. Joby makes a more expensive model called Joby Wavo PRO DS in aluminum, but it costs more. Not everyone needs a mic that can withstand the daily punishments in a professional environment.

The body of the Wavo PLUS rests on a shock mount that prevents it from picking up unwanted vibration or handling noise from the camera. The mic base is a combination cold shoe that fits into a camera’s accessory mount that can also hold an external flash. The stand also has a standard tripod ring for mounting on various devices such as stands and tripods.

The mic outputs are a standard 3.5mm stereo jack and a USB-C port for connecting to a Mac or PC. The Joby Wavo PLUS comes with TRS and TRRS cables to connect to most cameras and smartphones with an analog input. There is also a choice of USB-C cables ending in USB-A or C. However, the only thing missing is a USB to Lightning cable to connect to an iPhone or iPad, perhaps to keep the cost down because Joby would have to pay Apple an MFi license fee. If you want to use the Joby Wavo PLUS on an iPhone, you will need a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter. I wish Joby had included an iPhone cable like RØDE does with its Video Mic GO II.

Verdict: The sound quality captured by the Joby Wavo PLUS is excellent. This mic also has some handy features. I like that it can be used in analog or digital mode. The Joby Wavo PLUS can even be used as a computer microphone with zero-latency monitoring simply by connecting with the included USB cables. The Joby Wavo PLUS isn’t as versatile as RØDE’s excellent Video Mic GO II, which is cheaper and can connect to an iPhone, although it lacks the Safe Track feature. That said, this is an effective mini shotgun mic that will make your videos sound better than a camera’s built-in mic.

Price and availability: The Joby Wavo PLUS costs $199.95 / £189.95 / €199.95.

More information:

Technical specifications:

  • Capsule type: Electret condenser (gradient line).
  • Polar pattern: Super cardioid.
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
  • Sensitivity: -16dBV/Pa at 1kHz (+-3db).
  • Signal to noise ratio: 75dB.
  • Maximum SPL: 130 dB SPL (1 kHz, 1% THD, 1 KΩ load).
  • Dynamic range: -110dB.
  • High pass filter: 100Hz.
  • Gain adjustment: -10, 0, +15dB.
  • Output impedance: 10Ω.

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