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Boya BY-XM6-S2 wireless microphone system review

Designed for video, the Boya BY-XM6-S2 can deliver wireless audio to your DSLR or smartphone from a distance

Boya BY-XM6-S2
(Image: © George Cairns)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Boya BY-XM6-S2 mic system is a good place to start if you’re on a budget and it will certainly elevate the audio production values of your footage. It works straight out of the box too, so you don’t have a huge learning curve to climb if you are new to wireless mic systems. Its closest alternative is the JOBY Wavo AIR, but extra features such as onscreen displays and a cheaper price make this an attractive option. Compared to the Wavo’s 4 stars the Boya loses half a star for drop out.

Pros

  • +

    Clear signal from 100 meters

  • +

    Clean crisp audio

  • +

    Negligible latency

  • +

    Carry case for safe transport

Cons

  • -

    Signal loss from close obstacles

Your smartphone or DSLR can do a great job of recording a subject’s audio if they are in close proximity to the built-in mic. However, as soon as they move away from your device the sound quality will drop and unwanted background noises will begin to obscure the subject’s dialog. A hardwired mic will improve sound quality, but the subject’s freedom of movement will be limited by the length of the mic’s cable. 

The Boya BY-XM6-S2 wireless microphone system gives two subjects the freedom to walk and talk for up to 100 meters while their sound is transmitted to the recording device which makes it a perfect choice for vloggers, YouTube content makers and documentary interviewers. 

Specifications

Transmission Type: 2.4GHz Digital Frequency
Modulation: GFSK
Operating Range: Up to 100m (328 ft) without obstacles
Mic Sensitivity: -39dB
SNR: 84dB
Battery Life: Approx 7 hours
Weight: 32g (1.13oz)

Key features

The supplied lavalier mics clip onto the subject’s shirt for a more discreet way of recording  (Image credit: George Cairns)
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A fluffy wind shield clips straight onto the receiver’s built-in mic for a fast set-up. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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One welcome key feature is the fact that both transmitters come paired with the receiver straight from the box, so there’s need to squint at a manual’s tiny font to get them up and running. 

Both transmitters in this Boya kit have built-in mics, so if you’re in a hurry you can simply clip a transmitter to your subject’s shirt or jacket lapel and start recording their voice. This non-intrusive mic technique is great for vox pop style interviews where you don’t know the subject and they don’t know you. 

If you’re making a documentary and are more familiar with your interviewee you can clip the supplied lavalier mic to their shirt and then tuck the cable down inside their shirt and attach it to the receiver which is clipped more discreetly on their belt. Then only the small lavalier mic will be visible (rather than the larger transmitter). The lavalier mics are omni directional so you can clip them facing downwards and they’ll still pick up the subject’s voice (without the risk of ‘popping’). 

The Boya BY-XM6-S2 kit has several useful features to help the sound recordist avoid some of the many pitfalls that they face. Both the transmitters and the receiver have a little display that shows an audio waveform when the subject is talking. If you can see the waveform on the receiver then this reassures you that a signal is being received. 

Unlike some similar low-budget wireless mic kits (JOBY Wavo AIR we’re looking at you) the Boya receiver also has a built-in headphone jack so that you can monitor the sound during the recording. This is very handy as it helps you detect take-spoiling background noises or cases of signal drop out. 

One thing that’s missing from all the wireless mic kits that we’ve tested is a 3.5mm jack to lightning port adaptor. This short but essential adaptor cable enables you to attach the transmitter to a newer iPhone model such as the 13 Pro Max. Make sure that you attach the Boya’s supplied 3.5mm to TRRS cable from the transmitter to the adaptor (it has a handy ‘smartphone’ label attached to it.) For our test video we picked up a UGREEN Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter (opens in new tab) from Amazon. 

Build and handling

The transmitters and receiver display a reassuring waveform graphic on their built-in displays. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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To get the receiver to talk to an iPhone you’ll need to buy a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter separately. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Like most devices these days, the Boya’s two transmitters and the receiver are made from a lightweight plastic, so you won’t even notice their weight in your kit bag. The belt clip on all three devices has a strong spring so they will stay nicely secured to the subject (or if clipped to a tripod). The only metal component is the sturdy crocodile clip that fixes the lavalier mics to the subject’s shirt. 

Optional fluffy wind shields can be clipped directly onto each transmitters’ built-in mic. These wind shields are a fiddle to attach to the transmitters as their two plastic prongs are obscured by fluff and it can be tricky to tell if the shields are fully clipped in. To be honest this fiddly insecure wind shield phenomenon applies to other wireless mics that we’ve tested (including the JOBY Wavo AIR) as they all share a similar design when it comes to attachable wind shields.

Performance

The official specification for the Boya BY-XM6-S2 states that it has a transmission range of up to 100 meters (without obstacles). As you’ll see from our test video the body of the presenter can be considered as an obstacle. The sound occasionally dropped out when the subject turned away from the camera and transmitter lost line of sight with the receiver, even when subject and camera were quite close. 

However when facing the camera we could indeed still hear the presenter loud and clear even when we could barely see him in the distance. 

Wireless mics can suffer from latency, where the sound is slightly out of sync with the subject’s lips. Despite being cheaper around £50 cheaper than the similar specced JOBY Wavo AIR the latency from the Boya BY-XM6-S2 kit was negligible, so we didn’t need to shift it a few frames in our editing app to get it in sync (as we had to with the Wavo’s audio track). 

Verdict

As long as you face the camera you can transmit your voice wirelessly for up to 100 meters. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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For a budget wireless mic kit, the Boya BY-XM6-S2 does a good job, transmitting clear and clean sound from presenter to recording device. There is an issue of signal drop out when the presenter turns away from the camera, but most of us tend to talk facing the camera anyway so the Boya gives us freedom to roam and still be heard from a considerable distance (as you’ll hear from our test video). 

The waveform display on the transmitters and receiver re-assures us that a signal is being transmitted, plus we can hear the signal via the receiver’s headphone output (key features that are absent in the similar but more expensive JOBY Wavo AIR).

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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.