In a world of phones ditching the headphone jack, a wireless microphone just makes more and more sense as lavalier microphones aren’t convenient to put on, and while cameras on phones are getting better and better to the point that they can often be used as secondary cameras, audio is not near as good as the quality of videos. And if you have bad audio, your entire clip is bad. Today we are reviewing the Sennheiser Memory Mic. The wireless clip-on microphone that can make your videos better. But how much better? And at what convenience?
What’s a great microphone for us? It’s one that makes life easier. One that we can use in any circumstances. One that works in several different types of work, and most importantly one that sounds great even in tougher conditions. Is the Sennheiser Memory Mic the start of wireless microphones and is it worth having as part of your equipment? Well, that’s what this Sennheiser Memory Mic review is here for. As while this microphone has a lot of potential, the reviews on it don’t tell enough.
It’s Attractive and Ugly at the Same Time
Any form of another wireless lavalier microphone would consist of the lavalier microphone attached to a transmitter which sends data to a receiver which you connect to either a phone or a camera. That requires you to have a transmitter in your pocket, and the cable from the microphone to go all the way from your pocket to the top of your shirt. Not exactly the most convenient.
This Sennheiser Memory Mic compared to a standard wireless lavalier microphone is much smaller, and the actual package looks pretty great. This Sennheiser Memory Mic looks fantastic. Very clean. Very modern. The problem is that this not a car but a microphone, and while I dig the white design, even though the microphone is small compared to a wireless lavalier package, there’s automatically more on display due to the fact everything is together, and the white just makes it stand out a lot. And that’s not great.
The less visible a microphone can be, the better. This one? It’s noticeable, and that makes it ugly even though it is overall attractive.
On the microphone, you will find one button, a small light, and a USB-C port which is always great to see. It makes me happy that companies are putting out USB-C out more and more.
Oh, and this microphone is made in the Netherlands! Always great to see!
A Microphone Is Only as Great as How It Can Be Used
The benefit of a standard lavalier microphone is that it can be plugged in at pretty much any angle due to the small clip making it easy for attachment on pretty much any surface. Not the case for this microphone.
The clip is magnetic with a flap, which doesn’t seem like a bad idea until you put clothing that’s too thick on. It doesn’t work that well then. My microphone fell off due to that once. This microphone is quite heavy for such a small piece and requires the magnet to be very close to the microphone. And due to that, the choice of this specific method of placement on clothing, you are also limited as far as angles and placement because you can’t place the microphone at the angle you desire.
You can pretty much only place it straight, and that doesn’t always work as if you want to attach this Sennheiser Memory Mic to a coat that goes up pretty high, you either attach it sideways which won’t be ideal for recording of you, or you attach way to high if you zip your coat fully. And if you don’t zip the coat fully, that weight of the microphone will make that part of the coat face down. The fact you can’t attach this microphone at any piece of material makes it hard to use depending on what one is wearing.
And that’s something that kills convenience.
Especially if you are doing an interview and want to use this as a solution not to have to deal with wires.
So How Does This Microphone Work?
Well, it doesn’t work with a camera for sure. And that’s a limitation. If I’m going to be getting a microphone for the price of $199 or €199, then I expect it work with a variety of devices, but not with this one. This one works exclusively only with the app provided by Sennheiser. Limiting, to say the least.
To record, you first need to connect the microphone to your phone. You do that by turning on the microphone and having it at your phone with the phone app on. If the microphone is not at your phone, you won’t be connected, and thus won’t be able to adjust any settings which makes it a quite limiting experience. Every time you want to change something, you need to take it off.
Now, the great thing about the microphone is that once you start recording you can be as far as you want from your phone and it won’t stop recording. Afterward, you sync it up, and it will be recorded perfectly. See, this microphone records directly to the microphone, and then syncs up the audio with a video you were recording with the app, or just saves the audio on your phone after.
How much can you record? That’s hard to say considering Sennheiser don’t say the storage size of this microphone, but I never ran out of storage while testing and would assume that it was designed to record as much as the battery life will allow for.
The App Is the Biggest Limitation of This Microphone
Right now to record anything, the app is a must, and the app while not bad, has some major limitations.
A wireless microphone is meant to make things easier, yet with this app, it often makes things harder.
While the connection process doesn’t take forever, it takes enough time to make you annoyed. The perfect microphone is a microphone that makes your life better. A microphone that allows you to record with a touch of a finger.
If you want to just to record audio, being able to double or triple press to record would have been a massive convenience feature that would really make this microphone great to use.
Being able to record a track after track without needing to sync would for sure make life easier too. I don’t want to have to take off a microphone to connect to my phone followed by having to sync up the track, followed by starting to record and then putting the microphone back on.
Perhaps my biggest issue of using this microphone is that I can’t see how things are looking. Sure, I can select the sensitivity I want before recording, but the microphone has to be at my phone to check that. That isn’t going to be the exact location of the microphone when I record, and sometimes, you just want to make sure things are looking okay as technology isn’t perfect and things go wrong, and a certain placement of a microphone can be a difference between too much wind or not. And you currently can’t tell. I know that the Sennheiser Memory Mic is wireless, but I also refuse to believe that there can’t be more done.
The biggest sin of the app though? No choice over audio settings. You are paying €199/$199 for a microphone, and you can’t choose what format or quality you record in? That’s absolutely ridiculous!
And then there’s also the limit of not being able to record either audio or video outside of the app which does make some sense to me, but that’s still a flaw.
Oh, and let’s not forget that if you want to record videos, due to the fact you need to sync a lot, you can’t vlog with this as it will just be very annoying. And no, you can’t record with your front-facing camera.
MAJOR FLAW: Upon trying to get some audio tests into this review, I realized that due to some bug in an app, you could not share the audio recorded, meaning there’s no way to access it outside of the app. It’s fine with videos, but as far as audio is concerned, there’s an issue with that right now. That’s why we will only use audio from videos in this review.
Great Battery Life
When something is fully wireless, there will always be a question of battery life asked. This microphone could have been a lot smaller if it wasn’t for that aspect. Nearly 4 hours is how much you can expect to get with it, and that’s actually the case. A lot of companies give crazy estimates as far as battery life, but this microphone does deliver 4 hours of recording. And that should be enough for most.
But since the battery isn’t replaceable, that brings the question of how great the battery life will be in the future.
At the End of The Day, It’s All About How Your Voice Sounds Though!
Quality wise, this microphone is better than any phone microphone, every single day in all scenarios. It’s also better than the lavalier microphone from Rode as far as the quality of the audio. It’s very clear, doesn’t pick up external noise such as car noise, syncs perfectly, and is just a fantastic microphone to have.
I’m not going to get into the fancy specifications or what not as we focus more on the things that matter to people, but just know that no one will be disappointed listening to your content if it’s recorded with this Sennheiser Memory Mic.
The only problem? Wind. See, this microphone doesn’t come with any protection against wind. Something I was notified of. And while that’s not a big concern as it’s something you can buy yourself, you are paying €199 for this microphone at the end of the day, so you would expect it to at least come with something to solve that problem.
I will say though that while the quality of this microphone is overall great, phones like the OnePlus 6T have a much better wind noise reduction in place.
Unfortunately, due to the bug that doesn’t allow us to export audio, we are not able to showcase some of the clips that show the possibilities of this microphone, leaving us merely with a video comparison with the microphone recording, and without it which does not give the true reflection of how good the microphone actually is due to the wind, and due to the fact it was only tested in one area. Not to mention, that the phone was near me where in most cases, it would be further away if using for the likes of interviews.
With that said, here’s the footage that was recorded with the OnePlus 6T and the Memory Mic.
And below is the same video without the use of the Memory Mic turned off:
Other Potential Uses of This Microphone
The biggest use of this microphone? I like it as a dictaphone. It’s a great device to hold in your hands and to talk to whether that’s notes, a personal journal, or whatever ideas you have. I really enjoy using it like that due to the size.
I did try to place this microphone on the top of a camera hoping that it could potentially be a great external recorder for cameras with no microphone port, but no, it didn’t work effectively from that perspective.
But most? They will use it with the app to record videos with their phones or to record audio.
To Sum up This Sennheiser Memory Mic Review
This is a great microphone that records great audio, and that has a tremendous amount of potential, but think of this as the first iPhone, promising but not perfect. This Sennheiser Memory Mic is a microphone that shows the future, but it’s not quite there yet. Are you wondering if wireless microphones are the future? For sure. But a great microphone can’t be limited to use with just one app and phones. Especially at that price.
I do think that it’s a great addition to a filmmakers set of equipment, especially if you sometimes record with a phone and do interviews, but if you are just looking for one perfect microphone, this is not the one as it doesn’t work everywhere. Sennheiser is a company that makes great hardware, but this kind of product, it’s a product that consists of a lot of software.
Luckily, the fact most of the issues can be fixed with software updates mean that this microphone can get better, but will it? Well, we will see about that when we do a follow-up review in a while consisting of more tests, with some wind protection, and hopefully with updated software.