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Review: Shure MoveMic

If you increasingly rely on your smartphone for video duties, MoveMic is a portable, fuss-free, DSP-equipped ticket to better audio.

By

20 June 2024

With the performance of smartphone cameras nowadays, it’s easier than ever to leave the DSLR at home and capture content on a device that actually fits in your pocket. As recently as five years ago, I’d have baulked at the notion. Now I happily defer to such an approach purely for the sake of convenience. Not all videos warrant a full camera setup.

Increasingly, tools are becoming available to empower this kind of videography. MoveMic is Shure’s newest audio tool for content creators and mobile videographers. The tiny mics (sold as single or dual mic systems) connect to your phone via Bluetooth, and provide easy, wireless audio capture using Shure’s Motiv apps. You can also use them with a camera or other device with a 3.5mm input by purchasing the separate MoveMic Receiver.

PRESENTATION

Packaged in a small black charging box, with a magnetically closing lid, are the two mics themselves. Each mic snaps satisfyingly into its recessed cutout thanks to magnets on either side of the clips. The oval-shaped units are made of plastic and light as a feather, making them easy to conceal and they don’t tug collars/lapels. The flipside is they’re so tiny they can be mistaken for something far less precious, and it’s hard to make medium-term predictions about how robust they are – that said, Shure has plenty of runs on the reliability ‘board’. Clip-on windshields are supplied and both mics will fit in the case even when they are attached.

A single USB-C cable attaches to the case to charge both mics. LEDs on the front of the case tell you whether the mics are charging, fully charged, or updating. Each charge provides up to 24 hours of battery life. For the purposes of this review I had the MoveMic Two Receiver Kit which comes in a pouch that neatly unfolds to reveal the MoveMic case, receiver, cables and accessories all in their own pockets.

ON THE MOVE

Portability is a standout feature of the MoveMic. Throw the little black case into a bag or backpack and, as long as you’re shooting on a Bluetooth-equipped smart device, you have all you need to reliably capture two channels of wireless audio.

Pairing a transmitter with your phone is a matter of pressing and holding the On button for six seconds then finding the mic in the Shure Motiv app on your iOS or Android device. Repeat for the second transmitter and you’re ready to record. It’s important to note that MoveMic will only talk to the Motiv apps on your smartphone – they will not show up on third-party audio or video recording apps.

Motiv Video is Shure’s app for shooting video. You get control over most of the parameters your phone camera app will give you, such as recording resolution, audio resolution, front or rear camera, and zoom setting. Bewilderingly, I couldn’t find a 25fps setting (the Australian video standard) among the range of frame rate options available in the app. My only other niggle with the Motiv Video app is that every video saves in 9:16 orientation, even when shot in landscape, leaving me to rotate each clip 90° in post. Both these niggles feel like they’re only a firmware update away from a resolution, but do need addressing.

NEED TO KNOW

Shure MoveMic
Wireless Microphone System
  • PRICE

    MoveMic Two: A$699
    MoveMic Receiver Kit: A$839

  • CONTACT

    Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or www.jands.com.au

  • PROS

    • Built-in DSP options useful/sound good
    • Extremely portable; efficient for use with smartphones
    • Motiv Video and Audio apps well implemented

  • CONS

    • Limited to use with Shure Motiv apps (without Receiver)
    • Receiver lacks a physical headphone volume control

  • SUMMARY

    The Shure MoveMic is a nifty wireless audio tool for anyone shooting video on their smartphone. Compact, efficient, and with built-in DSP, it’s ideal for content creators on the go. Just note, you’ll need the extra Receiver if you want to expand its use outside of Shure’s Motiv apps.

MOTIV VIDEO

There’s plenty to like about MoveMic. The biggest drawcard in my view is the range of DSP options Shure has integrated into each MoveMic channel which are controlled via the app. This is where MoveMic comes into its own.

Say you have two presenters on camera, each wearing a MoveMic. You can adjust each mic’s gain from 0-60dB in 1dB increments to suit each speaker. If you forget who’s wearing which mic, press Identify in the app and it’ll flash the LED on the corresponding mic. Each mic can be muted in the app or by a single press of the Power button. DSP features include a five-band graphic EQ, a compressor with three settings, a high-pass filter (75Hz or 150Hz), and noise reduction (on/off). The noise reduction is particularly helpful for achieving cleaner audio with multiple speakers by reducing mic bleed between mics.

MOTIV AUDIO

For audio-only recordings, the Motiv Audio app provides identical control over the MoveMics as the video app. Audio formats include WAV, FLAC and AAC. Recorded files can be split, trimmed, marked, and ‘enhanced’ inside the app before exporting.

Using MoveMic with the apps is a breeze. The mics themselves are discreet, clip onto a lapel or dress securely, and the omnidirectional capsule protrudes beyond the clip just enough to mostly avoid rubbing on clothing. The Bluetooth connection was solid for the majority of my tests. I did experience the occasional momentary dropout in busy environments like the middle of Melbourne CBD which sounded more like a slight warble than a drop to silence. The windshield does a respectable job rejecting wind noise but you’d want something fluffier if you’re regularly out in the elements.

Sound-wise, I found the MoveMic sounds fairly bland and muted with a flat EQ curve, but a boost at 4kHz and 10kHz on the graphic EQ revives intelligibility on spoken word and even sung vocals. In fact, the EQ became essential for me and I hardly ever recorded flat. For instance, clipping a MoveMic on the rim of my acoustic guitar’s soundhole yielded a lovely, rich tone after taming boomy lows with a steeply upward-sloped EQ. Putting the other mic on a singer was a fun way to record some acoustic jams with the flexibility of applying compression and EQ to each mic individually as needed. User presets can be saved for easy recall and you get three basic presets built-in. Both Motiv Video and Motiv Audio can record MoveMic channels in stereo as separate left/right or summed to mono.

MUCH TO GAIN

I was amazed by how much sensitivity 60dB of gain gets you with the MoveMic. Voice recordings required a gain setting of 22-28dB for the most part, and the acoustic guitar recording only needed 15dB gain. So cranking it up to 60dB turns the mic into a forensic hearing device that catches every bird chirp outside and the rumbling of a truck half a kilometre away. The noise floor becomes quite audible at the top end of the gain range. I can’t think of many situations where such high sensitivity might be required with this type of microphone but the fact that it’s capable of this is worth a mention. That said, it does mean you need to keep an eye out for input clipping, and a limiter or automatic gain feature would be a useful addition to guard against an overcompensated gain-setting.

RECEIVER KIT

The MoveMic Receiver is a small square unit with a cold shoe mount, a screen on the back, a USB-C connection, a headphone output, and a 3.5mm main output. You’ll need one of these if you want to use MoveMic with a pro camera or a computer, or even a third-party app on your smartphone (remember, the MoveMics by themselves can only talk to the Motiv apps on a smartphone).

All the DSP settings from the app can be controlled from the Receiver as well. It’s a bit fiddly and less efficient compared to the app but navigating the on-screen menu is made easier by the pushable joystick button. The main display offers a clear readout of the connected MoveMic transmitters’ battery level, input level, and gain setting. Headphone and USB outputs can each be configured as left/right or summed mono. The same applies for the main output, along with the choice of a -6dBV line or -24dBV mic level, and an attenuated safety track option.

I plugged the MoveMic Receiver into my iMac with a USB-C cable and it instantly appeared as an audio device in System Preferences. Selecting the Receiver as the computer’s output device let me monitor audio from the computer through the headphone output, basically turning the MoveMic system into a 2×2 audio interface. A setting in the Receiver adjusts the mics and USB levels to get the right balance for real-time monitoring via headphones. It’s a fun way to use MoveMic to record a podcast or musical sketches into a laptop on the go. I only wish adjusting the headphone level was easier than navigating deep into a menu to move a slider.

I LIKE TO MOVE IT

The value of the Shure MoveMic system is most apparent if you’re shooting video or capturing audio on a smartphone – MoveMic’s portability, DSP options and efficient setup will win you over. The drawback is you’re locked into using Shure’s Motiv apps. If that’s a dealbreaker, then grab the Receiver kit which lets you use MoveMic with third-party apps – although having a little box dangling from your smartphone does detract from the portability and efficiency selling points. As a way of capturing wireless audio into a professional video camera or other recorder, the MoveMic Receiver Kit deserves consideration particularly for the compression, EQ and noise reduction capabilities which can be invaluable on a shoot.

Ultimately, the Shure MoveMic system makes wireless audio flexible and efficient, and for the reasons listed above, it’s a compelling choice for both casual creators or pro videographers.

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