The Joby Wavo PRO takes care of the other, often forgotten, half of your video capture – the audio. When shooting with a DSLR or compact camera you’ll probably get great looking footage. However it’s unlikely that the accompanying audio will be up to scratch.
The sound captured by your camera’s built-in mic is likely to sound thin and tinny. It may also suffer from handling noise as you adjust various knobs and dials and move the camera around. Unless you get the camera close to the subject their sound levels will probably be quite low and their voice may even be obscured by wind noise buffeting the on-camera mic. It’s also difficult and fiddly to adjust the sound levels of a DSLR’s built in mic as you need to dig down into menus and sub menus.
Fortunately, the JOBY Wavo PRO is available to overcome these common sound problems. This on-camera shotgun mic can be attached via the classic shoe mount found on many DSLR and compact cameras. By plugging its supplied cable into the camera’s mic input socket you can instantly improve the audio quality of your recordings.
It also has lots of tricks up its sleeve to help you capture cleaner and stronger sound signals such as the ability to set sound levels via a smart phone app. More on that in the Performance section below.
Meanwhile, take a look at our sample video, recorded using the Joby Wavo PRO:
Noise reduction: ANR (Active Noise Reduction) cleans up bumps in sound from camera handling
LED indicators: Built-in LEDs notify battery and audio levels in real time
Control: Via the Joby Wavo app
Second mic input: Yes
Safe track recording: -10 dB
One of the key Wavo PRO features promoted by JOBY is ANR (Active Noise Reduction). This is designed to remove low frequency noise (such as wind) on your sound track or vibrations caused by handling noise. When we turned ANR on in a quiet indoor location we could hear an unwanted background rumble that wasn’t present when ANR was turned off. Outside, ANR did reduce the presence of wind noise but it also thinned the quality of the subject’s voice. We found that we got better results by turning off ANR and attaching the supplied wind-jammer instead.
The acronym GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out certainly applies to sound recording). If you get the levels on your DSLR set incorrectly you can end up with a distorted sound track that’s impossible to fix in a post-production app such as Adobe Premiere Pro. One very welcome and effective key feature of the Wavo PRO is its ability to record two separate audio tracks. By tapping the Safe button at the rear of the mic it will capture a lower level version of the input sound on a separate channel. If the main audio channel peaks and distorts you have a second safety channel to call upon in the editing stage. This belt and braces approach could be a real life saver - especially if you’re shooting something like a wedding where there are no second chances.
The Wavo PRO also has an input socket for an additional external mic such as the Wavo Lav PRO. This enables you to get a lavalier mic closer to your subject, with is perfect for recording interviews. More on that in the Performance section below.
Build and handling
The Wavo PRO’s compact metal body feels satisfyingly solid and it comes fitted with a removable foam shield (plus a more effective wind-jammer that you can pop over the foam shield). It’s attached via a Rycote shock mount to a plastic unit that contains an external mic input socket and +10 and +20 gain boost buttons to give your sound levels more ‘oomph!’.
You can attach a USB-C cable to charge the mic’s internal battery so that it’ll record for up to 60 hours – which is more than enough to keeping shooting till the end of a wedding day. A metal mount keeps the Wavo PRO securely attached to your camera.
You can plug the Wavo PRO mic into the camera and set the levels using the camera menu, which gets you up and running in a few minutes. You also have the option to control various mic settings via the dedicated JOBY Wavo app.
This is a great idea in theory but a bit hit and miss in practice. We struggled to pair the mic via bluetooth with the Joby Wavo app on our iPhone 13 Pro Max and once we got them paired it took 30 minutes to update the mic’s firmware. When re-connecting to the mic the app often found it difficult to find, forcing us to pair them again and again.
When the app and the mic are on speaking terms they’re a great double act. You can control the Wavo PRO’s sound levels, activate ANR, boost gain and even tweak the mic’s EQ settings from your smart phone’s screen. When plugging in an additional external mic such as the Wavo Lav PRO you can use the app to control its sound levels independently from those of the Wavo PRO. Both mics inputs are on separate sound channels so you can choose the best sounding one in your non-linear edit suite. One word of caution – don’t press the Safe button when recording with an external mic plugged into the Wavo PRO or you’ll mono the two sound channels and will not be able to separate them in post.
To test the Wavo PRO we used it to record a promotional video for a website (see supplied video at the top of this review for the result). Outdoors the Wavo PRO recorded clean strong sound even from a distance. The wind-jammer kept wind noise at bay (which was a relief as we recorded the footage between Storms Dudley and Eunice in the UK).
For the test video’s interior footage we plugged the Wavo Lav PRO into the Wavo PRO’s external mic socket which enabled us to capture clean sound from closer to the interviewee. The Wavo app enabled us to set the levels on both mics but then lost connection, so we had to switch to monitoring the levels from our Canon DSLR’s menu and hope for the best! Fortunately the sound results were good and the client was happy (though losing the connection with the Wavo PRO via the app was quite stressful during the shoot).
As you can hear from our test video, the Wavo PRO gives a DSLR the edge when it comes to recording better quality audio. Features such as Active Noise Reduction help reduce handling and wind noise to a degree but you get effective results using a tripod and wind-jammer.
The Safe audio track is a major bonus as it gives you a second chance if your main channel’s audio is clipped.
The well-designed JOBY Wavo app is fantastic – when it manages to connect to the Wavo PRO – as it enables you to control both audio tracks’ levels, EQ settings and gain boost values independently of each other.