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SmallRig Forevala W60 wireless microphone review

The SmallRig Forevala W60 is a great two-mic wireless mic kit with good range and low latency

SmallRig Forevala W60
(Image: © George Cairns)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This compact SmallRig Forevala W60 wireless transmitter and receiver kit enables you to capture great quality sound from a distance (and the subject’s voice will be in sync with their footage). By charging the units simultaneously via the carry case both transmitters and the receiver will go the distance during a shoot. Large LCD screens help you keep an eye on sound levels. A great piece of kit!

Pros

  • +

    Charge all units simultaneously via box

  • +

    Dials for adjusting levels

  • +

    Long distance transmission

  • +

    Low latency

  • +

    Up to 8 hours battery life

Cons

  • -

    No lavalier mic supplied

  • -

    Windshield fiddly to attach

SmallRig produces a wide range of microphones under its Forevala brand, from desktop USB mics such as the Forevala U60 to lavalier clip-on mics like the Forevala L20. 

The newly released SmallRig Forevala W60 frees you from the constraints of having a physical cable tethering your presenter to a camera. The W60 is a wireless microphone set that lets you walk and talk freely in front of a camera, capturing strong clear sound. It contains two transmitters and a receiver so you can record interviews if required. 

We got hold of one before the release date which gave us plenty of time to put it through its paces and test its claims to transmit clear sound from up to 100 meters away.

Specifications

Transmitter

Wireless band: 2402 - 2480 MHz
Polar pattern: Omni-directional
Sound delay: <15 ms
External input port: 3.5 mm TRS
Battery life: 8 hours
Display: LCD

Receiver

Wireless band: 2402 - 2480 MHz
RF sensitivity: -81dB
Sound delay: <15 ms
Output port: 1: 3.5 mm TRS audio output
Output port: 1: 3.5 mm TRS/TRRS headphone output
Battery life: 8 hours
Audio channels: 2

Key features

The carry case, mics and transmitters can be transported in a SmallRig branded cloth bag. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Both transmitters have a built-in mic so you can simply clip them on your shirt and start talking. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Both transmitters and the receiver have an LCD screen that displays information including sound input levels. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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The Forevala W60 ships in a plastic carry case that doubles up as a charger. A handy cable tucked in at the box’s base can be extracted and plugged into a USB charging port. This is a brilliant feature as you can charge the two transmitters and the receiver at the same time. As well as saving you time getting ready for a shoot this feature also enables you to rely on each unit being fully and equally charged. If you had to charge the transmitters and receiver individually one of the units might go flat before the others did, which would curtail your shoot. 

Each transmitter clips to a shirt and transmits your voice to the receiver via its built-in microphone. The W60 doesn’t come supplied with lavalier mics like some other wireless mic kits do, such as the Boya BY-XM6-S2 wireless microphone system. This means that the black boxy transmitter mics are noticeably in shot when you record your footage, making this kit more suitable for vloggers than for presenters or actors who need to hide their mic. The mics are even more noticeable if you clip the supplied furry windshields onto them. Fortunately each transmitter has an input socket for a lavalier mic which is handy if you already own one. 

Both identical transmitters also have a low cut filter switch which helps to remove background noises. These filters reduce noise below 200Hz, such as the rumble of traffic. The larger receiver has a handy jack socket for headphones so you can monitor the sound during the recording and identify problems such as a the noise from a passing aircraft. 

Build and handling

Both transmitter a have a low cut filter switch to reduce unwanted background noise. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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The supplied windshields help reduce the rumble of wind noise, though they can be a bit fiddly to attach to the transmitter’s built-in mic. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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The W60’s receiver has wonderfully tactile dials that enable you to adjust the audio input levels from both transmitters. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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The Forevala W60 kit is easy to use. The two transmitters come already paired so it works straight out of the box. Simply clip a transmitter to your shirt, plug the receiver into a recording device and you’re ready to record. 

The kit ships with a couple of receiver to recorder connector cables, one of which is a smartphone friendly 3.5 mm TRS jack. If you use an iPhone (like we did for our test) then you’ll need a third-party TRS to Lightning port adaptor to use this kit. They’re not expensive – we used a UGREEN Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter adaptor that we bought from Amazon. 

What elevates this wireless mic kit above some of the others that we’ve used is the LCD screens on the transmitters and receiver. These screens give a highly visible audio waveform which enables you to see if your sound levels are distorting into the red (or are too low). Two physical dials on the receiver enable you to tweak the levels of the left and right channels with ease and precision (which is much more effective than the hit and miss button tapping that you need to do on other wireless mic sets such as the JOBY Wavo AIR.

Performance

The SmallRig Forevala W60 wireless mic kit was a pleasure to use. Since it didn’t require any pairing of mics and receiver we were able to hit the ground running and record our voice clearly and cleanly into an iPhone straight away. 

Despite the glare of the sun we were able to see the sound levels on the receiver’s LCD screen and use its dials to tweak the levels to avoid distortion. 

Some wireless mics suffer from latency (which causes the subject’s voice to be a few frames out of sync with the video) but latency is negligible with this kit (see our accompanying test video). We found that the sound signal did start to drop out at around 17 meters but only if we turned our back on the receiver and the transmitter lost line of sight. With line of sight between transmitter and receiver the sound was loud and clear at 60 meters. 

SmallRig claims that the kit can transmit voice up to 100 meters and while we could still hear our subject’s voice from that distance there was a some drop out in the signal. However at 100 meters you can barely see the subject, making clear audio seem a little unnatural anyway, and you could easily replace any dropped out audio sections with a post-production voiceover using your desktop microphone. 

The two supplied windshields clip directly onto each transmitter’s built-in mic. This can be a fiddly operation to start with but you’ll get faster as you get familiar with the kit.

Verdict

The carry case doubles up as a charger so both transmitters and the receiver will last for a whole shoot (up to 8 hours of action!). (Image credit: George Cairns)
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We can strongly recommend the SmallRig Forevala W60 wireless kit for the average vlogger or presenter who doesn’t mind their mic transmitter being in shot (which is very common on social media feeds). 

Thanks to tactile dials on the receiver it’s easy to tweak the sound levels on the LCD to perfection (and you can double check auto quality by monitoring sound through the headphone jack). 

The quality of the transmitted audio sounds strong and clear as you’ll hear from our test video. In fact, when editing the test video we didn’t need to use any EQ tweaks to improve the audio, which is a testament to the quality of this excellent wireless kit.

Read more:

Best camera phones
Best cameras for video
Best cameras for vlogging

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George has been freelancing as a photo fixing and creative tutorial writer since 2002, working for award winning titles such as Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N-Photo and Practical Photoshop. He's expert in communicating the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as producing video production tutorials on Final Cut Pro and iMovie for magazines such as iCreate and Mac Format. He also produces regular and exclusive Photoshop CC tutorials for his YouTube channel.