RØDE Wireless GO claims to be the smallest wireless microphone system in the world, and it was announced before NAB.
You can see our interview with RØDE at NAB 2019 above.
RØDE Wireless GO is an interesting product, let us know more about it.
RØDE's goal is to target Wireless GO to anyone who just wants a simple wireless audio solution, whether they are small businesses, movie beginners or video bloggers. It should not be a substitute for the RØDELink wireless system, but an entry-level product.
RØDE Wireless GO is indeed very small and light. It is definitely much smaller than the full-size RØDELink wireless system, and it looks smaller than the recently released Sennheiser XSW-D system, which is also very compact and has a more cylindrical shape instead of the square shape like the new Wireless GO . Sennheiser XSW-D is nearly 150 dollars more expensive than RØDE and retail price is 349 dollars, but it is equipped with ME2-II omnidirectional lavalier microphone.
The RØDE Wireless GO transmitter measures 44 x 45.3 x 18.5 mm (1.73 x 1.78 x 0.72 inches) and weighs only 31 grams (1.05 ounces). This compact size and weight make it a good companion for using smaller size cameras.
Similarly, the RX measures 44 x 46.4 x 18.5 mm (1..73 x 1.82 x .72 inches) and weighs only 31 grams (1.05 ounces). It has a dual-purpose bracket that can be clipped to the camera strap or directly mounted on the hot shoe. The belt clip is actually the width of the cold shoe, so you don't have to attach any other accessories or hot shoe seat.
The RØDE Wireless GO transmitter looks very similar to the Sennheiser Memory Mic released in 2018. Sennheiser Memory Mic is a microphone with an onboard audio recorder for smartphones. It can be used as a lapel microphone, although it is not very subtle or invisible. It will not transmit audio in real time. You sync the microphone to your smartphone, and then people can walk around to record audio, once it is done, the microphone will create a small wireless hotspot and transmit audio via WiFi.
The system does feel a little malleable, and I am a little worried that the buttons will stand up over time. Having said that, it is an entry-level product, so I don't want it to be as rugged and durable as more expensive wireless systems.
Surprisingly, I actually think that the build quality of Wireless GO is actually slightly better than RØDELink. It is also much smaller.
I can only understand the durability of the plastic belt clip by using the product for a long time.
Not only does it have a 3.5mm microphone input jack that can be used as a belt bag for a clip-on microphone, but it also has a built-in omnidirectional condenser pole, so you can easily clip it directly to your talent/subject.
It is said that even if the microphone is not placed ideally, the omnidirectional directivity mode of the internal pole head can ensure reliable audio pickup, and the frequency range of 50 Hz to 20 kHz can naturally attenuate sub-bass such as rumble and rumble; The subject's voice will be clear, understandable, and consistent.
The included 3.5mm TRS output cable allows you to connect the RX device to your camera or voice recorder. Using the SC7 TRRS cable, you can also use it to record directly to a smartphone or other compatible devices.
The RX device also has a small display that shows the battery life, audio level, signal strength, and audio board settings of the TX and RX devices.
Wireless GO is simple to use. All you need to do is start it, press a button to pair, and then everything is ready.
If you plan to make an entry-level product, it needs to be as simple and easy to use as possible, and RØDE does a great job in this regard.
Just like RØDE's RØDELink wireless system, Wireless GO uses the same 2.4 GHz frequency band. By using the 2.4 GHz frequency band, users do not need to worry about scanning channels to obtain strong signals.
RØDE stated that they use an optimized transmission algorithm to enable the Wireless GO system to have an effective range of up to 230 feet (70.1 meters). The system will automatically enhance signal reliability to reduce signal loss in crowded short-distance environments, such as retail stores, shopping malls, office buildings and hotels.
RØDE Series III 2.4 GHz digital transmission includes 128-bit encryption to ensure security, stability, and most importantly, it bypasses the need to process license and frequency requirements. This means you can use it anywhere in the world without problems.
RØDE recommends that in order to get the best performance from this 2.4 GHz system, the user should maintain a direct line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.
I know this is an entry-level product, but I still think that RØDE should use some kind of locking connector. In the case of running and shooting, the cable is easy to fall off or come out. Sennheiser XSW-D has a locking connection.
The RØDE Wireless GO system has no installation points at all, it only comes with a belt clip. Although this is fine for the TX unit, what about the RX unit?
Well, this is where RØDE came up with a smart little solution. The belt clip can be used to connect the RX device directly to any cold shoe or hot shoe. When using the Wireless GO system with a small DSLR or mirrorless camera, this is an ingenious design move and a very convenient addition.
If you prefer a more DIY installation solution, there are many ways to do this. You can use anything, from double-sided Velcro to a small bungee jump, to the belt clip itself. The easiest solution I found is to use a belt clip and connect it directly to your own cable. Since the RX device is very small and not heavy, you will not put any pressure on the cable.
If you are just using the TX unit with the built-in microphone, it would look ridiculous to hang it on a shirt or jacket.
To make it less obvious, you can flip the TX unit and place the clip outside.
Statement and specifications are the same thing, but how does RØDE Wireless GO actually perform in the real world? For me, there are many important things when using a wireless microphone system:
RØDE Wireless GO is very easy to use. All I have to do is turn on RX and TX, they are immediately paired and ready to be used immediately.
The LCD screen on the RX unit is easy to see, and there is no menu to confuse users. On the LCD screen, you can see the battery level, gain indicator and actual input level of RX and TX. The problem is that there is no indication of what these levels are. At least for the gain level, it is easy to calculate the gain level being set.
Although Wireless GO is intended to be used as a traditional radio microphone, I actually found more uses for it. Since the TX unit has a built-in microphone, I found that I can use it to capture ambient audio far away from my camera. Just place it in the room or closer to any object I shoot, and it allows me to capture a more immersive natural sound.
I also found that if I want to record audio notes while shooting, I can wear a TX device and use it as a digital notebook. If the camera you are using can record multi-track audio, this is not a bad choice. This allows me to leave to the editor audio notes about what the lens is, where it can be used in the sequence, etc.
This is difficult for me to comment, because it actually depends on where you use the system. It may work well in one place, and it may not work at all in another.
From my limited testing, as long as I stay within its operating parameters, I will not encounter any problems, it will not work or suffer any interference.
To test the range of the system, I stayed within the sight of the RX and started to walk away with the TX. I found that I can reach about 85-90m (279-295 feet) before the audio starts to disappear. Now, RØDE claims a maximum operating range of 230 feet (70.1 meters), but this can only be achieved on flat open terrain with little wireless interference. I ran this test in central Tokyo, which is one of the most congested areas on the planet with RF and WiFi traffic. I did not expect that RØDE Wireless GO can reach anywhere near its claimed working distance in this environment, but it actually exceeds the distance claimed by RØDE.
This is a difficult one to comment on. There are many factors that can determine audio quality. What microphone are you using, what camera are you using, how good is your recording equipment preamplifier, etc.
When it comes to audio quality, I am not sure what to expect from RØDE Wireless GO.
When you use the built-in omnidirectional condenser pole on the TX, the quality is actually pretty good. I won't say it is excellent, but for those who are going to use RØDE Wireless GO to record audio, it is enough, for presentation and sound only good, not good situations.
I ran some tests with the built-in microphone and RØDE lapel microphone. I used a 3.5mm TRS to XLR adapter to record audio to Nikon Z6 and cameras with better preamplifiers.
The windsock that comes with the built-in microphone on the TX unit is very useless. It's not that it doesn't work, but it's not fixed properly and just keeps falling off. I can almost guarantee that users will lose the product within the first few weeks of owning it.
Above you can listen to the results. Surprisingly, I actually found that the sound quality of the built-in microphone is better than the RØDE lapel microphone that comes with the RØDELink wireless system. Note: When I talk about gain, the RX unit is set to 0db instead of +20db. There is no +10db or +20db option.
Interestingly, this is good news for users of mirrorless and DSLR cameras. The output level of the RX unit is quite high even at 0db. This means that you can set the input level of a mirrorless or DSLR camera very low, and the signal from Wireless GO is high enough to produce the correct recording level. Since most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have bad preamps, you want to set the input level of these cameras as low as possible so that you can get clean audio without any noise.
Interestingly, the output level of the RØDE Wireless GO system is significantly higher than that of the RØDELink Wireless system when they are both set to 0db.
Even if it is not a substitute for the RØDELink system, if you are looking for a smaller and more compact product, there is no reason not to use it as a substitute.
Although Wireless GO is not as versatile as the RØDELink system, it is certainly sufficient for many filmmakers and YouTube users with limited budgets. For example, RØDE Wireless GO does not have a mute function, nor does it have the function of manually selecting and operating channels.
The RØDELink system can also be used with the plug on the XLR module to operate a handheld microphone.
Compared with RØDELink, the biggest disadvantage of Wireless GO is the operating distance. When I checked RØDELink, I found that I can reach a working distance of about 600 feet (182.88 meters), which is about twice the range of Wireless GO.
I personally think that its small size and convenience are enough to make up for its lack of operating range.
RØDE claims that the built-in lithium-ion polymer battery can provide up to 7 hours of battery life. From my tests, I found that I can spend a whole day of use without any problems.
The advantage is that you can charge them through the USB Type-C port or power them through an external USB battery pack.
As I mentioned before, the competitor of RØDE Wireless GO is Sennheiser XSW-D.
So what is the main difference?
The retail price of RØDE Wireless GO is US$199. It is already shipping.
The Wireless GO clip pack includes RX and TX devices. It is compatible with any TRS microphone input or smartLav+ using SC3 adapter.
RØDE Wireless GO is an interesting product, and I think it will definitely be popular with budget filmmakers and YouTube users. This is not to say that it cannot be used by anyone, because of course it can.
Personally, I find it to be a good product that can be put in a bag as a backup solution, or if I need a third radio microphone that is fast and easy to use. For users of mirrorless cameras and SLR cameras, this product makes a lot of sense. Its small and compact size and ease of use make it an excellent addition to streamlined operations and gun kits.
Wireless GO is easy to use, the audio quality is actually better than I thought, and it is small enough that you can take one with you. Despite some limitations, I think Wireless GO will become a very popular product for RØDE.
Matthew Allard is an award-winning, ACS-certified freelance photography director with 30 years of work experience in more than 50 countries around the world. He is the editor of Newsshooter.com and has been writing articles on the site since 2010. Matthew has won 42 ACS awards, including four prestigious golden tripods. In 2016, he won the Best Photography Award at the 21st Asian Television Awards. Matthew can work as a DP in Japan or anywhere else in the world.
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