Review: Joby Wavo Plus On-Camera Microphone

Enhance Your Video Sound Quality with the Joby Wavo Plus On-Camera Microphone

Joby Wavo Plus is a shotgun-style, on-camera microphone and is packed with features that belie its diminutive form and weight.

We live in an age where Content is King. Content producers come in all shapes and sizes from teenagers showcasing their video gaming skills in suburban USA to octogenarian grandmothers putting on a cooking masterclass in a remote village in India.

Almost anyone can be a content producer as long as they have right the tools at their disposal. So much effort is taken to make sure that our cameras are capturing us in the best light that the quality of the sound is all too often neglected. Let’s face it, no matter how good the visuals are, if the sound is poor quality, people will just switch off or worse, go elsewhere!

This is why you should consider a quality, dedicated solution to enhance your audiovisual experience.

First Impression

The very first thing I noticed when I took delivery of the Joby Wavo Plus was how light it was. Maybe it’s a sign of the times but when I was growing up, if you bought a product for close to £190, there was an expectation that it will be weighty. However, this 85g (approximately) microphone is light for a reason. I suppose it’s a testament to the advances in design and manufacturing technologies that a device like this has come to fruition.

Setting it up

As with most “expensive” purchases, I always try to open the packaging as carefully as possible as I don’t want to risk losing any small, vital parts. Besides, I may have to return the item if it proves faulty! There was no need to be so cautious with the Joby Wavo Plus. The microphone and its accessories are so carefully crammed into the box, I had to use surgical effort to release the contents. There is no physical manual in the box but instead, users are asked to scan a QR code in order to be directed to a download file. Once downloaded it can be quite disconcerting to realise the document is 37 pages long but fear not, it’s a multi-language manual and most of it is all foreign language translations.

Features Galore

The Joby Wavo Plus is hailed as the next step up from using the microphone on your phone or camera alone. However, I feel the quality of the output is far superior to other top-end microphones and this alone justifies the £189.95 price tag. It comes with practically everything a content creator, voice-over artist, filmmaker or dare I say…singer may need in their studio or home setup. In addition to the shotgun-style body, the foam windshield that neatly slips over it does a great job of reducing ambient noises of people talking in the background, vehicles passing by or the noise of the wind blowing which notoriously makes playback harsh to listen to. The built-in shock mounts further reduce vibrations should you wish to record while on the move.

The Joby Wavo Plus also comes with a variety of cables. A USB Type-C to Type-A, a USB Type-C to Type-C, a TRS cable and a TRS to TRRS cable. According to the manual, there should have also been a 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter which I found to be missing in my box unfortunately. When connecting your microphone to a camera or laptop, it’s important to use the correct cable. I was initially disheartened when I tried to connect the microphone to my MacBook. It wouldn’t appear as an input device until I realised that I may be using the wrong cable. A rookie mistake apparently!

The microphone is able to conserve battery power by switching on and off automatically when connected to a camera. For additional peace of mind, there is also a red, amber and green LED visual notification showing the status of battery power. I found that the built-in, rechargeable battery was able to be fully charged (with the supplied USB cable) within no time.

The Joby Wavo Plus also benefits from a headphone port at the rear that allows the user to monitor noise levels at the source. The red dial at the back of the device controls the headphone volume.

I was able to compare the Joby Wavo Plus with an AKG C414XLS costing around the $1300 USD price point, in what I felt would be a David vs Goliath scenario. The results were very impressive with the Joby Wavo Plus producing a deep, warm and lucid sound. It was observed that the microphone produced the best results when kept about 12 inches from the subject.

Fancy tweaking the sound even more?

There are switches on both sides of the main body. On one side you’ll find a Safe Track switch which when turned on, records one track at full volume and another at a lower -10db. This feature comes into its own when you’re recording in an environment where the sound is prone to intermittent increases, for example during a sports match. Below the Safe Track switch is a Low-cut filter switch which further reduces low, droning sounds below 100Hz. This will further enhance the quality of the sound the microphone is supposed to be picking up. On the other side of the microphone body is an Output gain selector switch. This allows you to toggle the sound level from -10db to 0 to +15db. It’s important to mention that while all these switches do a superb job, it’s probably best to do a test run and make these tweaks prior to your final recording. You don’t want to inadvertently pick up the sound of the switches being turned on or off during your final recording.

What do I really think?…

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m not a seasoned vlogger. I’m always complaining that I never sound the way I think I sound when I hear my voice on recordings. So I was hoping to discover if the Joby Wavo Plus was going to make my voice sound Morgan Freeman-esque or not! I can put my hand on my heart and say that this microphone opened my eyes (and ears) to how vital sound quality is when producing content. The only gripe I have is that it doesn’t come with a handy storage bag or pouch which would help with portability. I’d have also liked a clip accessory of some description to allow the microphone to be fastened to something if a boom arm is not an option. Furthermore, as the microphone is made of ABS and is quite light in the hand, I fear it may not be able to endure the abuse hurled at microphones in certain recording environments.

Having said that, at £189.95, the Joby Wavo Plus isn’t cheap but it will certainly hold its own alongside its competitors.

Check out the Joby product ranges at: Joby or Amazon

About Author
Chetan is a London-based designer by profession. He is passionate about the role design plays in everyday life whether it's graphic, digital, fashion, product or environmental design. Motivated by aesthetic design, function and the User Experience of emerging and new technologies, products and platforms, he is ever keen to learn, discover and innovate. Although he doesn't consider himself a nerd or a geek, he is a big movie fan and lists Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Shawshank Redemption and… Brewsters Millions among his favourites! Chetan is also an aspiring author and is currently working on his first novel.