Hands-on review: Joby Wavo Pod mic and boom ‘streamer kit’
Image credit: Joby
Get your stream on, Wavo style.
As a main gig, a potentially lucrative side hustle or simply as a personal forum through which to get a few things off your chest, streaming, vlogging and podcasting could be the way to go, as many an enterprising soul has already demonstrated.
With your voice as the primary vessel through which your message will be delivered unto the world, it makes sense to have a decent microphone picking up your pearls of wisdom. If that mic could also be neatly paired with a professional, adjustable boom arm – personal radio station-stylee (hey, there's another potentially money-spinning idea) – you'd have all the makings of a future streaming star.
Joby's Wavo Pod streamer kit bundles together two essential tools of the streaming trade, with the Wavo Pod microphone and the Wavo Boom Arm. Decked out in the vivid signature Wavo black and red livery, these are products with a visual as well as a sonic impact.
The Wavo Pod (Pod by name, podcast by nature) is a good-looking, good-quality, large-diaphragm, condenser electret microphone, with omnidirectional or cardioid polar patterns, 24bit/48kHz audio conversion and a bus-powered USB-C connection for most laptops, tablets and smartphones. It is USB only, no XLR, so you can't plug this mic into your audio interface: effectively, it is its own interface.
Pod's frequency response is stated as being the ubiquitous 20Hz-20kHz, with a signal-to-noise ratio of 80dB, around 40dB of gain and capable of handling a maximum SPL (sound pressure level) of 110dB. Unless you're really screaming into it from close range, you shouldn't have any problems with overloading this mic to distortion – unless you're deliberately going for that in-your-face Howard Stern aesthetic.
Physical volume, mute and gain controls are all built into the Pod's body, so it's easy to make fine adjustments to levels without having to revert to fiddly software interface. Having that degree of hands-on physical interaction can really elevate a product in an era of apps and digital control panels. The various levels are accessed via a multifunction knob with a colour-coded indicator system, e.g. headphone volume is blue, gain is purple, mute is red. It's easy enough to get the hang of this in short time.
There's also a 3.5mm headphone port on the mic itself, so you can soundcheck your own levels and tone, along with that bright red pop filter to dampen plosives in speech or singing.
We say singing, because this is a microphone just like any other. You can just as readily use the Pod with, say, Garageband on an iPad to record vocals, acoustic instruments, guitar amps, percussion and the like. Lay down some tracks, make some tunes. It's not just for your podcast yak. Equally, we can't ignore Zoom and Teams calls in 2023 for all those delightful online presentations and meetings. The Pod will do a great job here, too. You'll never have sounded so good to your colleagues.
With the polar pattern switch, you also have two 'flavours' of signal pickup to choose from. The omni and cardioid options are intended to enable the user to switch from a two-way conversation in a podcast to just the presenter's voice, for example. Similarly, recording musical sources can enjoy the same flexibility. There isn't quite the same hard rejection of sound as there is with more expensive studio-quality mics, but there is a noticeable difference between the Pod's two patterns, which should be fine for most streaming situations.
While you don't need the matching Wavo Boom Arm to use the Pod mic – its body is compatible with 3/8" and 5/8" threads, using the adapter included, so it'll fit many standard mic stands or Joby's own GorillaPod – having the Boom Arm does seriously raise your streaming and recording game. There's really nothing like having a strong, reliable device holding your mic precisely in place to free up your mind to focus on the creative job in hand, instead of being bothered by the distraction of your mic drooping limply out of range or falling off the table completely.
Vertical mic stands are a good choice, although having an adjustable boom arm is even better. The Wavo Boom Arm complements the Pod mic perfectly (hence this 'streamer kit' bundle). It's a beefy hunk of metal, with a reassuring heft to it. This is one boom that isn't going to wilt disappointingly in the heat of streaming action.
It can comfortably cope with a microphone payload of up to 1kg: the Pod weighs in at a little over 700g. Fitting the mic in place is straightforward, with the cabling (it has space for either USB or XLR cables) neatly routed inside the aluminium metal arms, hidden away for a streamlined, efficient work environment. This also makes positioning, adjusting and generally freely moving the boom arm much easier. The black and red colour scheme matches the Pod mic, which is a nice stylish touch. There's even a cup/small bottle holder and a hook for headphones (also metal), creating a neat mini-streaming studio environment.
Maximum arm extension is 87cm and it folds approximately in half, to around 46cm. The attachment is either a 1/4", 3/8" universal mount or 5/8" screw, opening up the Wavo Boom Arm for use with more kit than just the Wavo Pod mic. Other mics and cameras can also be fitted to the Arm. Protective rubber pads are included in the delivery to help protect your desk or table surface from indentations when the clamp is tightened to hold the Boom Arm in place.
With a boom arm, it's much easier to position a microphone exactly where you want it, need it or prefer it, as well as switching to a completely new configuration or orientation in a snap. Grabbing and swivelling the boom arm to bring the mic closer to your mouth is a classic radio move for a more intimate tone of voice. Pushing it away allows you to amp up the volume without destroying the mic's capsule and your listeners' ears.
For photography and filming work, the Boom Arm also makes life much easier, with the ability to angle and position the camera and arm together, smoothing the production workflow. It's little touches like this that could elevate your productions above the amateurish level. As with any job, having the right tools to hand is half the work done already.
For anyone interested in creating any kind of audio-visual content for the streaming era, either of the products in this bundle are worth a long, lingering look. The mic captures good quality audio, is flexible and easy to use and has a broad range of applications. The boom arm is ideal for in-situ content delivery, be it for voice work, photography or video vlogging. Together, the two make a great streamer kit – potentially, it's all you need to make it big, or at least carve out your own content niche.
Wavo Pod microphone
Wavo Boom Arm
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.