Rode smartLav review: Rode smartLav

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The Good Omnidirectional mic. Compatible with a wide range of Android and iOS devices. Very good quality audio.

The Bad No way to monitor audio during recording. Rode Rec app is iOS only at the moment.

The Bottom Line The smartLav is an inexpensive and highly portable solution for recording broadcast-quality audio using a smartphone.

8.5 Overall

Review Sections

Design and features

The smartLav is an omnidirectional microphone with a 3.5mm jack that can be plugged directly into most smartphones, tablets or computers. Included with the mic is a lapel clip, which allows it to be attached to the wearer in a number of different configurations, making it ideal for capturing content like speeches or interviews. It could also be used in place of a wireless audio system, which in itself, can cost many hundreds of dollars.

As it's an omnidirectional mic, it can capture sounds around 360 degrees, which makes it ideal for capturing speech. If you move your head away from the mic or back and forth, there is little difference in the audio captured. A pop filter is included to help reduce wind noise, as well as hard speech sounds by the wearer.

The smartLav is compatible with iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch over several generations, but it is also for use by Android users, too, thanks to the TRRS connection. Rode provides a compatibility list on its website.

At the time of writing, the Rode Rec app is iOS only. There are two versions, either the free or the paid app (AU$6.49). The free app has three sample rates (11025Hz, 22050Hz or 44100Hz), visual levels, the ability to enable or disable iOS processing and turn on boost or playthrough. The full version of the Rode Rec app unlocks EQ settings, timed recording and playback speeds, among other options.