Comica has released the Comica CVM-VM30 (buy here), what they claim to be the world’s first wireless shotgun microphone. While there are a number of modules out there that allow you to add wireless capabilities to an existing XLR shotgun microphone, this is a little different. The Comica CVM-VM30 super-cardioid shotgun microphone has a 2.4GHz wireless transmitter unit built-in.
As well as its wireless output capability, the Comica CVM-VM30 also offers analogue output and digital USB audio output. The analogue output isn’t via a balanced XLR socket, though. It’s a 3.5mm socket for plugging straight into your camera. The digital output, on the other hand, lets you plug it straight into your computer or mobile device.
Comica CVM-VM30 – Three output modes
The Comica CVM-VM30 offers three ways to get audio out of the microphone. The first is the traditional analogue output. In this case, though, it’s not a balanced XLR cable. Instead, you’ve got a 3.5mm socket for when you want to use it on-camera. This lets you plug straight into the camera from the microphone like a standard on-camera microphone, like the Rode VideoMic NTG (buy here) or Sennheiser MKE-400 G2 (buy here).
Like the VideoMic NTG mentioned above, the Comica CMV-VM30 sports an array of buttons on top. These control features like 75Hz and 150Hz low-cut filters, a high frequency boost and a “safety mode”. The safety mode sounds like your standard limiter to prevent clipping. There’s a rotating stepless gain dial on the back end of the microphone and it’s powered internally by a 3.7v 350mAh battery that lasts for up to 50 hours in wired mode.
In wired mode, it also features automatic on and off with the device it’s plugged into. So, it won’t be draining your batteries when you forget to turn it off. You also won’t be recording silence when you forget to turn it on!
As well as analogue output, the Comica CVM-VM30 also offers a digital audio output socket over USB-C. Here, the conversion of analogue to digital is done in the microphone itself. This digital signal is then send down the USB cable to your computer, smartphone or tablet. In theory, this is the best way to take audio from a microphone into your computer in a standard way. Digital means you’re not reliant on your camera, mobile device or your computer’s sound card having a decent microphone preamp.
Use via the USB-C port as a digital microphone also powers and charges the microphone while it’s plugged in. So, it’ll last pretty much indefinitely when used as a digital audio microphone. Interestingly, while the microphone itself has a USB digital audio output, the wireless receiver does not.
This is the main feature of the Comica CVM-VM30. It has a built-in 2.4GHz wireless transmitter, letting you take it completely off the camera and not be tethered to a recorder. In wireless mode, that 3.7v 350mAh battery offers up to 7 hours of use, but it can also be charged from a USB power bank while being used.
It comes with its own receiver, so you don’t have to buy any other devices. It’s a little disappointing that it doesn’t appear to be compatible with Comica’s other wireless systems, though. It’d be great to be able to pair this with something like the Comica BoomX-D Pro (buy here) receiver with the regular wireless lav transmitter on the other channel. Rode offers such compatibility between the Wireless GO II (buy here), Wireless ME (buy here), and Rode RodeCaster Pro 2 (buy here), so why can’t Comica?
Wirelessly, you get only 20ms (0.02 sec) of lag with a range of up to 100 metres in open areas and up to 20 metres in what Comica calls “complex environments”. One feature I would have liked to see in the microphone that it doesn’t have, is a recording capability. There’s no microSD card slot and no internal storage. This is something Comica included in the BoomX-D Pro transmitters, so it’s a little disappointing that it’s no there. Of course, they’ll need to save a feature or two to sell the next iteration of this microphone.
It comes with a two-point shock mount that mounts to either your camera’s hotshoe or using a standard 1/4-20″ thread. This helps remove vibration and handling noise while the supplied foam windshield acts as a pop shield for location without wind. A fluffy deadcat style windshield is also provided for breezy outdoor locations.
Price and Availability
The Comica CMV-VM30 is available to buy now for $189 and is shipping now.
It’s an interesting microphone for its $189 price point. I think it still lacks some features for my needs – like internal recording, USB digital output on the Rx and the ability to pair it with other Comica receivers – but those features would come with an increased price tag. Maybe we’ll see a Comica CMV-VM30 “Pro” model at some point that includes them? If not, I expect the competition might jump on those.