Hohem brand is responsible for all the memories from Marrakech filmed on iSteady M6 and my experiments in adding a proper DSLR onto a Hohem iSteady MT2. With all my video stabilisation needs covered, I decided to treat myself to the DJI Mic (£219) to treat the audio issues in my videos. After all, throwing money at the problem is usually a good solution – except this time, Hohem released a product that may prove otherwise – Hohem Mic-01.
Not just for mobiles
I cannot overstate how important it was to me to have my microphones charged at all times. Each time I found my Comica lavs without the charge, I got annoyed at myself for forgetting to keep up with it. Hohem Mic-01 is unlikely to follow the same trend as the microphones are tucked inside a charging case. It’s the same convenience I praised while reviewing DJI Mic. As I know all the pros and cons of DJI’s product, I can decide if I made the right call. Hohem Mic-01 is priced at £49 (£109 for the 2 TX version) which is very tempting.
Hohem Mic-01 came packed inside a tiny carrying case. It’s light, compact and portable. Much smaller than DJI’s product. Stored inside are two Lavalier microphones and a single receiver. Other than two wind socks and a charging cable there isn’t anything else inside. I’m going to make the same point I made about the DJI set – where are the external lavs? As each transceiver has the option to add an external microphone, not including these inside the box feels like a basic omission.
Even if you get them separately, the charging case that holds the mics has no space for anything else. It’s small and portable and designed for creators who want their kit to be as portable as possible. While it aims at people who use mobile phones to record their videos, it’s not the only way to use Hohem Mic-01.
The receiver is designed to work nicely with mobile phones. What I appreciated the most, is the ability to start/stop videos from the microphone itself, and the fact that Hohem Mic-01 doesn’t connect as headphones. You can listen to audio on your phone while the Hohem Mic-01 received is connected via USB-C.
Hohem Mic-01 is available also for iPhone users with a receiver that has the Lightning connector instead.
As I have USB-C ports on my laptop, I promptly connected Hohem Mic-01 to the computer to see how easy it is to set it up. A moment later, the device connected and I was able to record sounds just as I would via any other microphone. Unfortunately, the button bindings for mobile devices were useless on my PC. It’s not a big deal, I still like the utility of the dongle. The shape of the dongle may cover up other ports, but the inclusion of the small extension cable swiftly deals with that issue.
I’m unsure if any cameras support USB-C audio, but connecting Hohem Mic-01 to a DSLR will be the most problematic out of the bunch as you need to deliver power. If your camera is hooked to Hohem iSteady MT2 or similar, you can use the built-in USB-C ports to power your receiver and connect your microphone via a 3.5mm jack. Otherwise, it would be best if you used an external power supply or a power bank.
This is where I run into some issues. Connecting my Lumix S5 has proven to be a nightmare. Despite trying different 3.5mm cables, and testing the same settings with the DJI product, I had a constant hiss in my recordings. At first, I couldn’t pin the problems on anything, as the audio was perfect when using the hearthrough option in the receiver with my headphones. The reprieve came after I switched the input type of the Lumix S5 from microphone to line-in.
While the trick worked, and the hiss was gone, the input audio was very quiet. I had to boost the input gain in my camera and set the gain settings on Hohem Mic-01 to the max. The audio is workable, but I can see potential problems with other cameras that may not have advanced audio settings to make things work just as well.
This is where the Hohem iSteady MT2 comes in handy, the gimbal comes with USB-C ports that can be used to control compatible cameras, but also power the Hohem Mic-01 receiver. You don’t have to worry about power banks, simply make sure your gimbal is charged up or use the power passthrough to keep it topped up. The received fits nicely.
This is also true for iSteady M6, however you are likely to connect the receiver directly to your mobile phone. Either way, you’ll end up with a professional audio setup.
DJI Mic vs Hohem Mic-01
Impressed with DJI, I was curious what sacrifices Hohem Mic-01 would make to lower the price so significantly. Two features stand out from the specification. Hohem Mic-01 has a smaller range and is unable to back up the recorded audio locally. It uses 2.4GHz radio to communicate between units, which gives you approximately 20m of effective range (which extends to 100m in ideal conditions).
While the backup recording feature is missing, each transceiver can be used as a standalone recorder thanks to the included micro SD card slot. Another significant difference is the lack of display. Hohem Mic-01 uses a series of button presses and LED colours to enable basic microphone controls. Having the manual handy is a must at first.
In my DJI review, I noticed that the audio quality was severely impacted when using the set with my wireless remote functions to trigger the camera and the preview from the app. I’m pleased to confirm that Hohem Mic-01 doesn’t get any interference when used with WIFi modes on my camera. It managed to outperform DJI in this regard.
Microphones (TX) transceivers
The microphones are surprisingly small, yet pack features no content creator can pass on. Each transceiver can be attached thanks to a small alligator clip which doubles as a magnetic pin. This gives you the flexibility you need, as often a good attachment point can make or break the sound!
Hohem Mic-01 mics are charged inside the case but can also be used (and charged) while plugged in. There is a USB-C port on each unit to charge it up. Just above it lays the micro SD card slot (check out these SD cards on Amazon) that supports up to 94 hours of local recording (32GB). Transceivers can be used as standalone voice recorders when not paired with the receiver. The instruction says I should expect up to 7.5 hours of battery life, with the option to run them plugged in for longer.
Even smaller than the microphones, the receiver is made for mobile phones. Available with USB-C and Lighting Port options, it latches to your phone’s charging/data port and routes the audio. Without a display, I have to rely on my memory and live feedback from the 3.5mm jack output, which doubles as the mic input into DSLRs. Strangely, the 3.5mm cable isn’t included in the set either which was disappointing.
The buttons on the unit are used to re-pair the transceivers and to adjust the gain levels (5 levels). The unit has USB-C male for phone connectors and a dedicated USB-C power port that also acts as a power passthrough.
I’d love the version with a built-in battery, but at the same time, I’m impressed with how small and portable it is. As a DSLR user, I would appreciate it, but anyone who uses a mobile device won’t care for it as much. Another missed opportunity is not using the Hohem Mic-01 case as a power source. It would be great to simply use the case as the power bank for the receiver.
Before I jump to sound quality, I want to mention the advanced sound options like noise cancellation, reverb reduction and 5 levels of gain adjustment. The noise cancellation in the medium level does a great job of removing background music without damaging the sound of the voice, but a strong level is advised only when you are happy to sacrifice the audio quality a bit.
I like the pickup of Hohem Mic-0. My voice is clear and rich. I was concerned at first with the microphone grill located at the front of the unit, wondering if this significantly changed the pattern of the pickup. As lavs are omnidirectional, my worries were completely unfounded and the recording is just as good (if not better due to better resistance to positioning errors than my DJI Mic).
I’m stunned, that you can get this quality from a product that can be purchased from £49! I briefly switched over to the external lav mics I got from my Comica set – but this was just to confirm that everything works as expected. While using these, the recordings were comparable to the DJI and Comica set I own.
It’s almost uncanny, that as I write this review, DJI released DJI Mic2 – which now makes the choice for fancy lavs even harder. It comes down to creature comforts. Hohem Mic-01 sounds great, offers the most important features lav should have and comes in such an easy-to-take-anywhere package. It’s brilliant for mobile content creators, but DSLR owners need to be aware of the issues I encountered. While I could complain about the lack of display and backup recording, the truth is: that I’m yet to use these on my DJI set (once set, the screen is not needed). For anyone looking for a great audio quality without splashing out Hohem Mic-01 is a mic to consider. Got questions? Let me know in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.