Electronics

Audio-buffering Bluetooth mic gives drop-outs the slip

Audio-buffering Bluetooth mic ...
The Hooke Lav is currently on Kickstarter
The Hooke Lav is currently on Kickstarter
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The Hooke Lav delivers 24-bit audio, and has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
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The Hooke Lav delivers 24-bit audio, and has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
The Hooke Lav is currently on Kickstarter
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The Hooke Lav is currently on Kickstarter

Although TV professionals commonly use wireless microphones when shooting on location, decent-quality units are generally too expensive for use by regular folks shooting on smartphones. The creators of the Hooke Lav mic, however, have set out to change that.

Usually, if "everyday videographers" don't want the hassle of using a hard-wired external mic, they go with a model that wirelessly transmits audio via Bluetooth. The problem is, if the mic is too far from the phone – or if other radio signals in the area are causing interference – there can be drop-outs in the received/recorded audio.

The Hooke Lav gets around this problem by recording drop-out-free audio directly onto its own 8 GB of internal storage. It still also transmits zero-latency dual-channel Bluetooth 5.0 audio to the smartphone, where it's decoded by an iOS/Android app and added directly to the video.

Once the recording is complete, though, the mic automatically transmits its onboard buffered audio file. This is merged with the audio track already on the video, covering over any drop-outs that may be present in it.

The Hooke Lav delivers 24-bit audio, and has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz
The Hooke Lav delivers 24-bit audio, and has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz

The mic can also be used with DSLRs and dedicated video cameras. In their case, however, because they're not running the app, a second Hooke Lav has to be plugged into the camera's audio-in port, where it acts as a receiver. If there are any drop-outs in the transmitted audio, the mic's buffered audio can be substituted in the editing process.

Alternatively for DSLR/video camera users, the mic can also be set to Island Mode, where it buffers audio without transmitting it at the same time. As long as there's a visual cue such as a hand-clap in the video, syncing that audio in post-production should be a fairly simple process. Additionally, for shooting two-person interviews, Duet Mode allows the audio from two Hooke Lavs (one on each person) to be transmitted and recorded simultaneously.

The microphone itself weighs 10 grams, and is simply clipped to a lapel, shirt collar or other bit of clothing. It features multilevel noise reduction, and comes with two physical wind screens. One charge of its lithium-ion battery reportedly ought to be good for seven hours of use.

Should you be interested, the Hooke Lav is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$109 will get you one, when and if it reaches production. The planned retail price is $179.

You can hear audio recorded with it, in the following video.

Sources: Kickstarter, Hooke Audio

Hooke Lav: A Sleek Wireless Mic With Pro-Grade Sound

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