Are you looking for a mini shotgun mic for your small camera? Does your android device have its camera and headphone jack on the same end of the phone preventing you from using the direct connect mini shotgun mics? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, I may have an answer.
The VM 10 mic differs from the Comica VS 08 mini shotgun primarily in that it uses a small lyre style shock mount with a cold shoe attachment instead of the 3.5 mm plug that plugs directly into a jack such as your smartphone’s headphone jack.
The technical specs for this mic vs. the VS-08 are identical other than this mic is reported to have a super cardioid pickup pattern whereas the VS 08 is listed as having a cardioid pattern.
If you’re using a smartphone with the camera and jack at the same end of the device, this mount allows you to get the mic out of the picture as you might have seen in my review of the VS 08. If you’re using a small mirrorless camera or even a DSLR with a hot shoe mount, this little mic will provide you with improved audio over the notoriously tinny- sounding mics found on many cameras. And all for about $50.
Now I know you’re thinking that, hey, my phone doesn’t have a cold shoe mount. Well, right, but many handgrip stabilizers made for smartphones do and they’re cheap. See my review of the Imorden Handgrip stabilizer. I’ll also link the product below.
What’s in the Box
The CVM VM10 mini shotgun mic comes in a nice protective case that will keep it safe in your camera case or backpack. The firm rubbery case and foam filled interior with cutouts for the various components will see to that.
When you open the case you’ll find the microphone itself, a lyre style shock mount with a cold shoe attachment, both foam and furry windscreens, and coiled connection cables for use with either a camera or recorder (TRS to TRS) and one for use with a smartphone (TRS to TRRS). Again, all nicely stowed in the protective case.
Using the CVM VM10 Mini Shotgun Mic
Your smartphone isn’t going to have a mount to accept the cold shoe mount for the VM10 mini shotgun mic. No problem. If you’re serious enough about upgrading your smartphone videos to purchase an external mic, you probably already have or plan to purchase some type of hand grip for your smartphone. That grip will likely have a cold shoe mount or you should plan on choosing one that does.
The Imorden hand grip pictured below with the attached VM10 mini shotgun mic is just one of several inexpensive grips that will work. Besides providing the bracket to hold the microphone, the grip helps you better manage your phone’s stability by allowing your to have a solid grip on the entire shooting rig as opposed to trying to keep things steady just gripping the phone by its edges while keeping your fingers out of the frame.
To mount the mic, you simply snap the narrow rear part of the mic’s barrel into the lyre mount and then attach it to the hot/cold shoe mount on your phone or camera. You’ll use the TRS to TRS cable (labeled ‘for camera’) to attach the mic to your camera or audio recorder such as a TASCAM DR05. One end goes to the socket on the back of the mic and the other goes to the 3.5 mm input jack on the camera or recorder.
If you’re attaching it to a smartphone, you’ll use the TRS to TRSS cable. The TRSS side of this cable is colored gray so its easy to spot. The TRS side goes to the mic and the TRRS side goes to the phone’s headphone jack.
CVM VM10 Mini Shotgun Mic Rating
The CVM VM10 mini shotgun mic’s sound quality was a definite step up from both the camera’s and the smart phone’s mic’s quality. When using the smartphone’s front facing camera in selfie mode and with the mic facing me, the sound was pretty good with none of the hollowness that occurs when the mic is more than a couple of feet from the speaker. When used with the rear camera, the mic did a pretty good job with ambient sound with reasonable sound attenuation to the sides and back.
The mic construction seems solid and the included TRS and TRRS wires makes connecting to your device easy. As with the VS 08, the wind filters are a must. The dead cat does an admirable job of filtering our wind noise outside and the foam cover should probably be used at other times.
You’ll notice in the video below, that when mounted to the DSLR camera, the mic did a good job of excluding the servo noise of the camera’s auto focus system, especially compared to the camera’s onboard mic. If you’re a bit more sophisticated in your post production workflow, you’ll be able to improve the audio even more by separating it from the video file and doing some normalization and noise reduction and then re-syncing the audio. Even free tools like Audacity allow you to do this.
All in all I’m happy with this little guy. If you’re the family photographer or an aspiring YouTube video blogger, you’ll want to consider adding this gadget to your tool kit.