JOBY Wavo POD Review USB Microphone For Voice Recording

Monday, June 27, 2022

Raise your audio game with the new JOBY Wavo POD - a USB condenser microphone with headphone jack for sidetone monitoring, microphone stand and pop filter. 

JOBY Wavo POD is plug and play so, it is easy to setup. Simply plug into a computer and you're good to go. The JOBY Wavo POD microphone is entirely made of plastic, including the grille, red guard trim, knob and button. The dimensions are 14cm tall, 6cm wide and 7cm deep including the knob which has a clicky centre push button for switching between 3 function modes: gain, sidetone monitoring volume and mic mute. The knob sits on top of a rotary encoder with low/medium resistance; hence the knob rotates freely with little resistance so, it provides very little tactile feedback. 

The button below the knob is designed to toggle between pickup modes: cardoid mode and omnidirectional mode. Cardiod mode turns the Wavo POD mic into a unidirectional microphone picking sound only from the front side. The ominidirectional pickup pattern picks sound from all around (front, sides and back). 
The rotary knob integrates an led ring, which turns different colors to indicate each function. Red led color activates mic mute, while blue color indicates "sidetone mode", which is a really useful feature that lets you optimize the gain by checking the volume level of the sound source so, the recording isn't shouty (very annoying) or too quiet, which is also hampers a successful recording.
The Purple led color indicates "gain mode", which allows you to increase and decrease the volume level of the microphone. How low or high you adjust the mic gain depends on the loudness of the sound source, distance from sound source and type of sound source (constant or variable). The type of sound source is very important because this will mainly determining whether to set the Wavo POD mic gain low or high to avoid clipping (distortion), which easily happens when setting the mic gain too high when recording a variable sound source such as a dynamic conversation. 

When recording dynamic sounds with variable volume, it is always better to set the mic gain a bit lower for headroom and minimize clipping (distorting) the recording. Some people like setting their mic gain to -12dB (high) and others to -6dB (low). The JOBY Wavo POD microphone doesn't have a built-in meter - most microphones don't - even USB audio interfaces such as the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) don't have a proper mic gain meter built-in. 
Fortunately, you can check the gain level using any digital audio workstation (DAW) software such as Logic Pro X. A very important thing to remember  when checking the mic gain level is that the DAW volume fader (if it has one) has to be set to "unity gain" which is 0dB so, it doesn't affect the reading that you are getting.

Along with the microphone, you get a red "JOBY" branded curved shield pop filter, which is detachable and measures about 8.5cm high and 9cm long. The pop filter mesh is made of metal while the clip is made of plastic. You can add a second pop filter to the microphone too but by buying an spare one from JOBY website.

When plugged into a computer, the JOBY Wavo POD microphone gets recognized as a speaker and this is because of the built-in headphone jack, which is dual purpose. As well as sidetone monitoring , the JOBY Wavo POD microphone headphone jack has passthrough audio function so, you can listen to listen to audio on your computer via the JOBY Wavo POD microphone without having to physically connect your headphones into the computer. This is very useful if your computer aux/3.5mm port happens to not work.
The JOBY Wavo POD microphone also comes with a very nice cradle stand with a swivel round base (10cm in diameter). The cradle measures 14cm tall and integrates a thumbscrew (plastic head and metal body) on each side designed to suspend the microphone in mid-air. The thumbscrews integrate a thick rubber shock absorber ring, which also helps to keep the thumbscrew snugly screwed in. When mounted on the cradle stand, the JOBY Wavo POD microphone measures 25cm tall and can be tilted up to 360 degrees on the y axis. 
The cradle stand is designed to rotate around the base and, you can also detach it from the base by unscrewing, allowing you to attach the cradle stand on a standard tripod male thread (1/4-20 inch). The base of the cradle stand is also fitted with shock absorbing padding (closed cell foam), which also prevents the cradle from skidding on a desk. 

The threaded holes labeled "JOBY Links" - are 1/4-20 inch female threads which allow you to attach flexible tripod arms so, you can attach accessories such as a phone and camera onto the Wavo POD microphone. There are a total of three JOBY Links - one on the back of the Wavo POD microphone and two JOBY Links on the cradle stand U bracket.

The bottom of the JOBY Wavo POD microphone also integrates a threaded hole (3/8 inch), which can be converted to a 5/8 inch thread via the included 3/8 inch male to 5/8 inch female adapter. One potential deal breaker for the Wavo POD is the lightweight plastic construction, which makes the mic eel cheap. The included cradle stand is made of solid aluminum metal though, which is nice as this gives the JOBY Wavo POD microphone a premium feel. Te JOBY Wavo POD microphone by itself weighs 214 grams. The pop filter shield weighs 44 grams and the cradle stand weighs 463 grams. Total combined weight of the JOBY Wavo POD microphone and accessories is 721 grams.
 As far as sound quality performance, the Wavo POD mic has an analytical sound signature; hence the audio you record will have a flat and bright sound profile. The Wavo POD mic works great for most voice recording jobs such as videogame commentary, podcasts, interviews and recording vocals but not all (e.g. bass voice) due to the bright/flat sounding signature. It is not the most ideal mic for music recording, although you may be able to use the Wavo POD for miking a drum kit. You can record from 2-3ft away but the best recording quality is obtained when the Wavo POD mic is set at arm's length from the sound source.
Other accessories included with the Wavo POD are two rubber cables: a 3 meter long USB-A to USB-C cable and a 2 meter male to male USB-C cable. The Wavo POD rotary encoder works well but has no start or end point like traditional potentiometers. It would have been neat if the JOBY Wavo POD had a "positional led ring" rotary encoder (such as a neopixel led ring for Arduino) to allow you to track the current value and make it easier to set the volume and gain at a specific level without having to use a DAW. You can buy the JOBY Wavo POD from amazon.

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