Reviews |Hollyland Lark M1

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

A lightweight wireless mic system that great for vlogging and interviews

Hollyland Lark M1 Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£149

$147
Check current price

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a compact and easy-to-use wireless mic solution, look no further than the Hollyland Lark M1. The duo kit arrives with two mics and receiver, with a set-up that is just about as straightforward as they come.

Insert the receiver into your camera’s hot shoe and link-in through a 3.5mm jack, then clip the two transmitters to your interviewer and interviewee, adjust the levels, and you’re set to go.

Compared with more advanced wireless mic solutions, the controls are limited, with the units working on 2.4GHz with frequency hopping to avoid a clash with other wireless systems.

In use, they couldn’t be more straightforward, with built-in noise cancelling and three-volume presets, there really is a lot to like about this small package.

The only issue I found was that in some echoey locations, the noise cancelling muffled the audio slightly; however, a quick audio check before you start is essential and if it’s an issue you can always switch it off.

Overall an excellent option for vlogging and interviews, well made, with a decent range and great audio quality.

For

  • Compact
  • Ready to go
  • Excellent audio quality

Against

  • The large logo is easy to see
  • No single transmitter volume control

What is Hollyland Lark M1?

Until recently, wireless mic systems could be complex, with different routes to pairing, matching, and making sure that the channels and groups were good. The main thing being that you weren’t picking up the local taxi firm or takeaway.

In a few short years, the options for wireless mics have transformed, along with the prices. The RODE Wireless Mic GO and GO II really set the level and since their release, other companies have been hot on RODE’s heels with equally small, and cheap solutions.

The Hollyland Lark M1 duo kit is an all-in-one solution for vloggers and interviewers who are looking for a no-fuss audio solution. The kit arrives neatly packed in a semi-hard case that contains the recharging case with the transmitter mics and receiver, along with all the camera link cables you need to get started.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

The design is simple, as are the units inside, everything arrives paired and ready to go. Inside the charging case is the compact receiver that slots into your camera’s hotshoe with a cable that links into the input audio port of your camera. The case also contains the two transmitter mics. As with the receiver once removed from the case they automatically power on and can be clipped to the interviewer and interviewee; at the base level, everything is ready to go.

Essential, the Hollyland Lark M1 is the ultimate plug-and-play interview kit. In use, the two mics and receiver couldn’t be easier, with great audio quality out of the box. These mics instantly far exceed what you would expect for a set of wireless microphones at this price.

Specification

  • Wireless Transmission: 2.4GHz Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH)
  • Transmission Range: 40M (free movement), 650ft(200m)
  • In-Built Microphone: Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional Frequency Range: 20Hz~20KHz
  • Maximum SPL: 100dB SPL
  • Input Dynamic Range: 86dB
  • Dimensions(H×W×D): TX:48×21.5×10 mm, RX:48.3X27.6X11mm, Charging Case:83x60x30 mm
  • Weight: TX:11.8g, RX:17.5g, Charging Case:80g

Build and Handling

There are three main parts to the Hollyland Lark M1. The charger case, the receiver and two identical transmitter mics.

Starting with the charger case, the design is simple and matches many of the device charger cases I have seen in the last few months. However, it’s unusual to see one provided by the manufacturer and not by a third party, which is a nice touch. The odd thing is that while I like the design of the transmitter mics and receiver, which are all very compact and elegant, the charging case is a little bland.

The case does what it does, and that’s it; there’s no real product design that makes you feel like you’re buying something desirable; it’s just a functional bit of hardware. To that end, it is a charging case that holds the three components and gives them a boosting charge when in your kit bag and between shoots.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

On the front of the case are four small lights that tell you how much charge is left, and inside there are three slots to take the transmitters and receiver. The case design is functional rather than aesthetic.

Next, is the receiver, which is very nicely designed in contrast to the case. I’ll point out at this point that the transmitters and receivers are simple, so there isn’t the huge depth of features such as channel, group selection and fine volume adjustment as you would expect with a professional outfit. What you get will enable you to get up and running quickly.

The receiver is nice and simple, with a 3.5mm audio out that links directly into your camera. There is no on-device audio monitoring, so headphones must be plugged directly into your camera.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

Once slotted into the camera’s hotshoe, the two lights on top will initially flash blue until they connect with one or both of the transmitters. Once that’s done and the lights turn solid, you’re ready to go.

Along one side of the receiver is the USB Type-C charging port if you don’t have the charging case. Then you have two dual-use buttons; one takes the volume up and the other volume down; the other use for these is that the first is used when manually pairing, and the second is for switching between mono and stereo modes. I’ll come on to the use of these in the performance section.

On the opposite side are the 3.5mm jack and the power button, and the two contacts for the charging case are on the bottom. The unit’s design is small and features a clip on the underside enabling the receiver to be clipped easily to a cable or slipped into the camera’s hotshoe. It’s all very well considered.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

Taking a look at the transmitter, and again the approach is simple, with the small clip enabling you to clip the mic to a lapel easily. The unit’s design is small, but Hollyland has printed its logo across the unit in large white letters. It looks great, but inevitably a small length of electrical tape quickly covers the logo making the unit far more discreet!

On top is the mic mesh with another on the front to ensure a good audio pickup from whoever it’s been clipped to, in the box are wind jammers that easily clip on and off when needed. On the side is the power button, and below this is a dual-use pair and noise-cancelling on/off button. On the base is a USB Type-C port for charging; again, if you don’t have the charging case, that’s it. A quick Look through the list of accessories, and it doesn’t look like this USB port would accept a lavalier mic, say if you did want something a little more descrete on your collar than a logo emblazoned Lark M1.

Performance

Extracting the two mics and receiver from the charging case, all units instantly start flashing to show the auto-pairing process has begun, which takes all three seconds. Initially, all unit lights glow blue, quickly changing to green on the receiver to show that the connection is made.

A single blue or green solid light on the transmitters shows that the unit is connected to the receiver; if this light is flashing, it means it hasn’t connected. Through the test, the auto connection process worked every time, so there was no need for a manual pairing, but the process is relatively straightforward if it does need to be done.

Before recording the audio settings on the camera need to be adjusted. On the Sony A7 IV and Canon EOS R5 C, the audio was reduced to 1 in the audio settings. If this isn’t done, the input audio can distort easily.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

Next, on the unit, you can opt to adjust the noise cancelling; this setting is on or off and activated by clicking the button on the side of the transmitter. The Blue solid light shows that it is off while the solid green light shows that it is switched on

Finally, you have two modes; Mono Mode or Stereo Mode. Mono mode sees the audio pickup from both mics transmitted back to the receiver and then laid down as a single track. Stereo splits the two feeds from the transmitters onto channels one and two. Depending on the camera, you can then adjust the levels of the channels to balance the volume of the two people talking. If your camera doesn’t enable you to do this, then this is always something that you can adjust in post.

With the unit set up and ready to go, using the Hollyland Lark M1s is incredibly easy. In most situations where there is a little background noise switching on the noise cancellation does a great job; however, I found that in areas where there was quite a bit of echo, the noise cancelling overly muffled the speech, so switching it off and applying noise cancelling later was preferable.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

I am impressed when it comes to the actual audio quality; the vocals’ tone is full and rich with that slight radio DJ depth to the sound. Ultimately the audio that these mics enable you to capture is far removed from that of the built-in mics of the camera and better than many wired solutions.

Aside from the audio quality, the two other aspects that stood out were noise interference. The 2.4GHz channel hopping seemed to do the job; even with mobile phones on and receiving texts, there was no interference. The second quality test was the working distance, which Hollyland state is up to 200m. This 200m is clear sight, and that distance dramatically reduces once a wall or floor is placed between the transmitter and the receiver. Still, the quality and transmission between units were excellent, and there were no issues with an audio break-up to a distance of around 100m clear distance with only a slight break-up from 150-200m.

When it comes to performance, considering these are a relatively cheap no, fuss wireless mic option, the quality of the audio is incredibly good, as is the function.

Final thoughts

The Hollyland Lark M1 Duo kit is an ideal place to start when it comes to a wireless mic system. Firstly it’s comprehensive, with everything you need to get started included in the box. The small charging case is functional and does the job and arrives in a semi-hard case that keeps the charging case with a wireless mic system contained within, along with cables, all neatly together.

Hollyland Lark M1 Review

Out of the box, there are no set-up quirks; just plug it in and off you go. The only real functions you’ll need to know are switching the noise cancelling on and off on the transmitters and switching from mono to stereo mode on the receiver.

The build and handling are excellent, I may not be overly impressed with the aesthetics of the charging case, but the transmitters and receivers are expertly designed. The only quibble with the transmitter mics is the large logo you’ll need to cover with tape.

As a starting point, the Hollyland Lark M1s are excellent and easy to set up and use.

They do however have limitations; there’s little adjustment over the noise cancelling, there’s no 3.5mm audio in the jack for a lavalier mic, and volume control is limited. However, those feature restrictions enable a product like this to exist at this price and level.

At the end of the test, the Hollyland Lark M1 Duo Kit performed incredibly well; functionally, they are as easy as they come, and this ease is matched by rich, high-quality audio. If you’re in the market for a wireless mic system for vlogging and interviews, the Hollyland Lark M1 is an ideal solution.

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