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Saramonic Blink500 B2 review

The Saramonic Blink500 B2 kit is cheaper than the Pro version but still captures high quality sound wirelessly from a distance

Saramonic Blink500 B2
(Image: © George Cairns)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This Saramonic Blink500 B2 kit frees you to wirelessly talk to camera for up to 50 meters (as long as the transmitter mics have line of sight with the receiver). The two supplied lavalier mics reduce wind noise effectively. The feather-weight kit is compact and portable so will easily fit in your kit bag. It’s compatible with both DSLRs or smartphones (as long as you have a jack to lightning adaptor cable for newer iPhone models such as the 13 Pro Max that we used in our test video).

Pros

  • +

    Wind-free audio

  • +

    Broadcast quality sound

  • +

    Feather-weight

  • +

    Very low latency

  • +

    Budget friendly

Cons

  • -

    Wind noise when using built-in mic

  • -

    Plastic build

The Saramonic Blink500 B2 is a dual channel wireless microphone system that enables you to talk to camera without being hindered by cables or wires. Simply clip a transmitter onto your shirt, attach a receiver to your smartphone or DSLR and start recording. You can wander freely as you talk and the receiver will capture broadcast quality audio on your video recording device.  

The Blink500 B2 is the budget version of Saramonic’s Blink500 Pro kit. At nearly £100 cheaper the Blink500 B2 still sounds as good as the more expensive Pro kit, although it has half the walking/talking range at 50 meters (with line of sight between transmitter and receiver).  The Blink500 B2 kit lacks the Pro version’s travel case that simultaneously charges the two transmitters and the receiver, but you’ll be happy to charge the three units individually if it saves you £100. The Pro version’s transmitters have an additional display that shows the presence of an audio waveform, but this is more cosmetic than functional when it comes to seeing output sound levels. 

One criticism we had of the more expensive Blink500 Pro kit was that the two transmitters and the receiver looked identical, which could lead to mix ups when setting up an interview. The cheaper Blink500 B2’s transmitters look the same as each other but the receiver is easily distinguishable thanks to a narrower body and a distinctive red On/Off button. 

Here's a short video showing how the Blink500 B2 kit works.

The Blink500 B2 kit has a lot in common with the JOBY Wavo AIR kit, which is comparative low budget wireless mic kit. In both instances the transmitters and receiver are made of feather-weight plastic. Both have a range of 50 meters, though we noticed less drop out on the Blink500 B2 when it lost line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.  The Blink500 B2 kit also suffered less from latency than the similar JOBY Wavo AIR, so the sound was more in sync with the speaker’s lips in the recording.  The Blink500 B2 lacks the JOBY Wavo Air’s windshields that clip straight into the transmitters and it doesn’t have a magnetic pendant than you can attach a transmitter to, but these extras probably aren’t worth the extra £25 you need to pay for the Wavo AIR.

Specifications

Receiver specifications

Frequency: 2.4GHz
Dimensions: 2.5 x 1.7 x .65” (63 x 43 x 16.5mm)
Weight: 1.2 oz (34g) Voice Delay: ≤6ms
Plug-In Power: Yes, 1V
Digital Resolution: 24-bit / 48kHz
Frequency Response: 20Hz to 16kHz
Max Operating Range: 98.4’ (30m) with Obstacles, 164’ (50m) in Open Area
Battery: Built-in Li-ion 3.7V / 400mAh
Battery Life: Approx. 5 hours
Charging Connector: USB Type-C (1.5 hours to be fully charged)
Pattern: Omnidirectional (Built-In Microphone and External Lavalier)

Transmitter specifications

Frequency: 2.4GHz
Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.3 x .61” (62 x 33 x 15mm)
Weight: 1.09 oz (31g)
Battery Life: Approx. 5 hours
Audio Output Level: 5dB

Key features

Clip the transmitter onto your shirt and start broadcasting to the receiver. The transmitter has a built-in mic. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Instead of using the transmitter’s built-in mic you can plug in a lavalier clip mic (supplied). (Image credit: George Cairns)
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As with most wireless mics you need to pair the Blink500 B2’s transmitters with the receiver before you can start recording. This is a simple (and one-off) task which involves poking the receiver with a supplied paper-clip device (like the one used to remove an iPhone’s Sim drawer).  

Each transmitter has a built-in mic so you can quickly clip one to yourself (and and the other to an interviewee) and start recording via the receiver attached to your DSLR or smartphone.  

You can also plug a supplied SR-M1 professional omnidirectional clip-on lavalier mic into each transmitter to capture sound more discretely (with the bulky transmitter clipped to a belt).    

Build and handling

Hold the + and - icons simultaneously to pair the transmitter with the receiver. You only need to do this once. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Use a plus or minus button to set the output levels. The blue LED gives a crude indication of level strength. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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The transmitters and receiver are built of a feather-weight plastic which is similar in size and weight to the similar JOBY Wavo AIR kit. Both transmitters have a plus/minus button that controls the devices’ output levels.  

A circular LED lights up in increments to indicate the strength of the gain. This level indicator doesn’t really help you choose a suitable output level so you’ll need to monitor the incoming sound on your recording device to be safe (plus you can also spot problems such as wind-noise and re-record the interview if necessary). 

Performance

Capture clean wireless audio from up to 50 meters (if your transmitter has line of sight with the receiver).  (Image credit: George Cairns)
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For more discrete recording, clip the transmitter to a belt and hide it under your subject’s shirt while using the lavalier clip mic. (Image credit: George Cairns)
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When using the transmitter’s built-in mic we noticed a few plosive popping sounds (check out our supplied test video to hear the mic in action). The lavalier mic’s foam pop-shield did a much better job of reducing wind noise during recording. We recorded the transmitted audio directly into our iPhone 13 Pro Max’s Camera app and were impressed by the strong rich broadcast quality sound that it produced.  

With a voice delay of ≤6ms we were pleased to see/hear that the recorded sound was in sync with the subject’s lips, so there was less latency than that produced by the similar JOBY Wavo AIR kit. 

We were impressed that there was no audio drop out during our test, even when the transmitter lost line of sight with the receiver. With 5 hours of battery life we had plenty of time to record our test video without needing to return to base for a recharge.

Verdict

The Blink500 B2 kit may lack the charging case that ships with the Blink500 Pro version of the kit but at around $100/£100 cheaper, it’s well worth considering if you’ve yet to buy a wireless mic set. It’s even cheaper than the comparable JOBY Wavo AIR and its low latency and lack of drop-out gives it the edge over that budget mic kit. 

This is one of the best performing wireless mic kits that we’ve used. The plastic transmitter and receiver units do feel lightweight and cheap but the sound quality that they produce is indistinguishable from that captured by the more expensive Blink500 Pro kit.

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George Cairns
George Cairns

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.