Honest declaration. I’m a big time Sennheiser user. I own the MKE 600, you can see/hear it in most of my YouTube videos. And you can hear one of their Lavaliers in every single professional project that I direct/produce. But as a tech journalist I keep myself behind the thin fine ‘fanboy’ line. And since I haven’t had the chance to test these personally, I’m not going to compare them with the Rode Smartlav, which I own.
Sennheiser is a 75 year old audio savant & they make some of the most trusted professional audio products worldwide & I don’t just mean microphones, Sennheiser headphones have helped me mix & monitor audio for paid gigs and international broadcast for the longest of times. But they have been missing in the beginner/budget microphone market, especially in India. While everyone knows that good audio is arguably 50.01% of the final mix, due to budget constraints, this category either just Amazons or Flipkarts whatever is the ‘cheap & best’ within their budget range or just goes commando, using internal microphones on their phone or camera.
Sennheiser is trying to offer a quality solution to these people with their latest range of Lavalier microphones.
There are multiple benefits to using a lavalier microphone. Microphones work best when they can be placed as close to the source of sound that you are trying to record. When you do that, you can keep your levels low enough to not capture noise floor & most of the environment around. Other than literally holding a microphone to your face & mouth or wearing a headset, lavalier or collar microphones are the second best option to getting close to a talking head. They are also the most discreet. While all of us are used to seeing lavaliers clipped on t-shirts or neckties, when you don’t see them, they’re still there, taped under clothing. The other factor to keep in mind here is sound quality. Not every vibrating membrane is a good microphone. This is where you sort of have to put some blind trust in certain brands because of their stringent quality adherence & acceptance worldwide. Sennheiser enjoys that reputation. Plus having used Sennheiser products in some of the most extreme work environments & even weather & climactic environments, I honestly place my blind trust in their build quality.
And now with their new XS Lav range, they’ve come under the budget radar as well. The XS Lav mics are simply plug & record for your Android smartphones. Clip the mic on your collar, plug the other end into your phone & you are good to go. Most apps will recognise the device as an externally attached microphone. Simple.
The capsule is omnidirectional which means even if you naturally move or turn your head around while talking, you will not lose the audio. The cable is 2 meters long, roughly 6.5 feet. This makes it pretty versatile for usage in podcasting, recording a voice-over, interviewing or vlogging. They are powered by the small phantom power that phone & laptop jacks output. The microphone is available in two output jack variants, as an XS Lav Mobile with TRRS connector, which will connect to any smartphone that still has a 3.5mm headphone jack & you would need a TRRS to TRS adapter to plug it in your camera or laptop. It also comes as an XS Lav USB-C with USB-C connector, for every other android device and many newer laptops. You can of course get a Type-C to Type-A adapter if your laptop doesn’t have a Type-C port. You can also choose to buy a XS Lav USB-C Mobile Kit with an additional Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod and Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp. All XS Lav mics include a microphone clip, removable foam windshield and a draw-string storage pouch as a standard.
If you wish to purchase the microphone, I have linked affiliate links to the products below. I get paid by Amazon if you purchase from the links below, however it does not affect the price for you at all.
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