Using a set of wireless lavalier mics like the Saramonic Uwmic9s-kit 1 & Uwmic9s-kit2 will instantly transform your interviews, or for that matter, any video where your subjects need to mic’d up.
The set consists of one receiver and two transmitters, making it an ideal wireless solution for interview situations.
Setup is easy with a wide range of wireless channels in two groups to select from; these are all quickly accessible through the direct controls on the front of the transmitter and receiver units.
Audio transmission is solid through UHF, with none of the issues that you get with 2.4Ghz wireless set-ups.
You are limited to two transmitters, but for most people that will be one more than you’ll normally need and for the price it’s exceptional value.
Limited to two transmitters
What is the Saramonic Uwmic9s?
There’s no getting away from the fact that if you want a solid wireless mic system you’re going to have to pay a hefty sum. However, while the Saramonic Uwmic9s-kit 1 & Uwmic9s-kit2 isn’t cheap, it is cheaper than most of the big brand names, and by some way.
The Uxmic9s is a UHF wireless system that uses bandwidths assigned to TV. While the UHF is short wave it does offer a far more robust signal than the Wifi equivalent such as a 2.4Ghz wireless system.
In this review I looked at two of the available kits, Uwmic9s-kit 1 & Uwmic9s-kit2, the difference between the two is that the Kit2 features two wireless transmitters compared to the one in the Kit1.
Aside from the number of transmitters, the transmitter and receiver in each kit are identical, meaning you can upgrade from Kit 1 to Kit 2 if you want.
Both kits come in a hard case and this instantly gives the sets a premium feel. In this review, I’ll focus on the use of the Kit2 which features the two transmitters, as aside from the additional transmitter everything else is the same.
Opening up the case and the two transmitters are neatly laid out along with the transmitter. All wires and clips are included and it doesn’t take long to assemble everything you need to get started.
Build and handling
The Saramonic Uwmic9 wireless mics are known to be a decent cheap audio solution, however, this updated release really enhances the build quality.
Firstly there is little to differentiate the robust build and quality of these against the Sony units that I use. They’re solid in design and any plastic quality that you would expect from this price range is completely absent.
The aerials do feel a little cheaper than my Sony’s, but really the build quality of these units is exceptional. The hard case gives an instant impression of quality and this is reinforced by the excellent quality of the units themselves.
Before powering on the mics it’s best that I start by letting you know what kit I’ll be testing them with. I use a Sony A73 and Sony FS7 as I use both regularly with a Sony wireless system; the A73 offers a 3.5mm and the FS7 two XLR.
During the test, I switch between the two cameras and haven’t differentiated this in the review as ultimately the function and quality between the cameras when it comes to the use of the wireless system is identical. One connects through 3.5mm the other through two XLR.
Preparing the transmitter requires a wire belt clip (In the box) to be attached before the hotshoe mount can be slotted and clicked into place. With that done the receiver can be attached to the camera cold shoe and locked in place.
A 3.5mm wire fits directly into the A73 camera and then splits into two inputs on the receiver. Once connected the receiver is set up.
Connecting to the Sony FS7 with the two XLR follows an almost identical setup process. Just the 3.5mm split cable is swapped for two XLR cables, again once connected the audio at its basic level is ready to go.
The transmitters, of which there are two, feature a wireless bodypack with a wired omnidirectional lavalier microphone. The bodypack transmitter again features a wire belt clip that neatly clips onto a belt. Each transmitter features two input options, either a line-in or mic, in our set-up the lavalier mic 3.5mm jack fits into the mic socket.
Once switched on the transmitters and receivers are already paired. If you want to alter the preset pairing then pushing the + or – buttons on any of the devices will enable you to scroll through the settings to the one you want, then hold down the set button to enter the options. It’s all nice and straightforward.
A nice set-up feature if the pairing is ever out between any of the devices is the IR pairing. Essentially you face the transmitter and receiver towards each other than go through the settings of the transmitter and receiver until you see the “Match with RX” or Match with TX” long-press the set button and the devices do the rest.
On the mics, there’s some adjustment, such as Mic gain that enables you to increase or decrease the input volume, and by pushing the power button you can quickly mute the mic, which is useful.
On the receiver there’s a similar set of options, with local mic gain enabling you to plug in a wired mic directly into the receiver and adjust the volume, then there’s the volume adjustment for both Group A and B.
Ensuring the best quality transmission the kit features two groups with 96 channels giving you plenty of options. A nice feature here is an auto-scan that finds the clearest channel for your set-up, this is useful if you’re filming at an event and need to avoid interference from other wireless systems.
Once the set-up is complete, everything is paired and the Auto Scan has located the clearest UHF communication you’re ready to go.
The initial set-up of the Uwmic9s is quick and the fact that the units arrived paired made everything very easy.
Arriving at an interview deep-set in the Hampshire countryside I set up the usual interview scenario, two lights, two cameras and the two transmitters with lavalier mics attached. After a quick test to check that everything was paired the mics were attached to the interviewer and interviewee and an audio check was carried out.
I’d set the gain on both to 5, but with the interviewer far louder than the interviewee I boosted the interviewee’s gain by 1 and reduced the other by 1 to balance the input audio.
I also fed one transmitter through Group A and the other through Group B to ensure that there was no signal interference. When it camera to channels it is listed that there should be 96 channels per group, but I could only find 3 per group, this is something that I will need to check, but in this scenario that was fine.
Using the Auto Scan feature rather than sticking with the default setting or setting manually is the best approach. In the location, there was no interference anyway but just as a precaution, I ran through the scan which took a couple of seconds.
In both the rural location of the first test and then later in a busy city environment test the Auto scan feature did an excellent job of finding a clear channel, or at least there was no interference in the audio recorded.
Once complete I ran another audio test and checked the level, all seemed fine through the two mic’s and I was able to adjust the monitoring volume directly on the receiver.
One thing that I did note is that initially the audio signal from the two mics is set to Mono, this means that the input from the interviewer and interviewee sits on a dual-mono track.
With perfectly balanced audio for speed and ease, this is OK but doesn’t give you any scope for adjustment if needed in post. Clicking through the options I quickly located the Stereo input feature and instantly the two audio levels on the camera showed the stereo input split.
Now that I was happy with the set-up and audio input it was time for the interview to go ahead. Through the hour or so chat the mics performed perfectly, and the internal held more than enough power showing little signs of depleting. In a post and listening to the audio back I was impressed with the quality of the tones.
There was really little to tell in the quality difference between the Saramonic mics and the Sony.
When it came to using the Uwmic9s-Kit2 worked phenomenally well and while it is limited to the two transmitter set-up, I have to say I’m impressed.
I have used the previous Uwmic9 kit, which again was good, but it didn’t feel of the same high quality build as this updated version.
The Uwmic9s-Kit2 is an impressive audio solution for interviews and impresses from the outset. From the moment, you open the hard case that holds and protects the transmitters, receivers and all the cables it’s obvious that this is a set wireless set of microphones that can be relied on.
Unlike some other manufacturers, everything you need is in the box, set-up is hassle-free and delving into the settings and adjustments options are intuitive once you familiarise yourself with the process.
The physical build and handling of the units are excellent and this usability transfers to the user interface and options. Adjusting the gain, headphone volume and splitting the audio feeds from mono to stereo is painless and once you’ve sat and familiarised yourself with the units there’s little not to understand.
At this price, there are limitations although these limitations are not huge. You can only use two transmitters, but then that’s the maximum most people will need.
Thankfully the usability and build quality is backed by the excellent audio quality. The small omnidirectional Lavieler mics pick up vocals well and the gain adjustment, and stereo split enables you to fine-tune that pickup.
When it comes to the UHF signal it proved robust in all situations with a maximum clear sight distance of around 20m, above this and there was some break-up. Using the Auto Scan feature also helped to ensure that even in a busy environment the quality of the wireless transmission was excellent.
The Uwmic9s-Kit2 is an excellent interview wireless mic option with a robust stylish build, excellent audio quality and decent signal strength. For most people looking for a single or dual wireless mic setup, there really is little to fault with this kit at this price.
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