Rode Wireless GO vs FotoWelt AirPlus vs Sennheiser XS vs FotoWelt MK-7 Lavalier Test Review

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So I decided to do a comparison of four budget-friendly wireless lavalier microphones and compare them against my old Sennheiser ew100 G3 (link to Amazon), and to see which one I liked the best.

I basically wanted to test how these affordable options stack up against each other and against a much more expensive option like my older Sennheisers.

As a part of this test, I’ve also created a series of videos where I talk a bit about these microphones, and where you can hear how they sound.

I’ll post a link to the relevant video under the more in-depth description of each microphone in this article.

I also ended up creating a video that simply compares the sound-quality of each of these systems, which you can watch here:

So let’s have a more thorough look at each of these microphone systems, and include some of the specifications I couldn’t fit in the videos.

We’ll start with the…

1. Rode Wireless GO

The Røde Wireless GO is a neat little wireless lavalier kit that consists of a transmitter unit and a receiver unit.

The transmitter unit has an in-built omnidirectional microphone, and you can attach it directly to your clothes. So you don’t need to get your talent or interviewee to wear a wire. If you’re a vlogger this is a quick setup as well.

You do get the option to plug in a lavalier microphone if you want to, but as you can see, it isn’t necessary.

The transmitter unit comes with a couple of dead mice that you can use to shield the microphone in windy conditions. However, I find that they fall off too easily.

In strong wind, I’d recommend to wear a wire with a dead mouse and then shield the microphone beneath my clothes.

The receiver unit has a nice OLED display that lets you see the signal strength, the microphone input level (gain), the output level (volume), the battery status of both units, and the screen brightness.

The kit has three gain stages at 0dB, -12dB, and 24dB which is nice – especially if you don’t have a preamp for your camera, because the signal might come in too hot otherwise and you’ll end up with distorted sound.

The system uses the 2.4Ghz digital frequency-agile system, that is capable of continually detecting and adjusting its frequency to operate without interference.

The latency for the analog to digital conversion (and vice versa) is less than 5 milliseconds, which is very impressive.

The signal range in my experience is 70-80 meters in a free line of sight.

The Rode Wireless GO comes with an in-built Li-Po rechargeable battery that will last you up to 6 hours and 10 minutes (in my tests).

It would have been nice to be able to change the battery, but as an alternative solution, you can use an external battery pack to power the units via the USB-C port.

All in all, this is a great kit for run-and-gun interview setups and vloggers.

And there are a lot of accessories available, e.g. a microphone, a magnet for better concealment, and more.

ProsCons
Small and lightweight (31 grams per unit)
Good sound quality
Low latency
Decent range
+6 hours of battery life
70-80 meters range with free line of sight
Possible to power through USB-C while in use
Available in black and white
Possible to use up to 8 kits at a time without interference
3.5mm curled cable for less mess
Included dead mice keep falling off too easily
No included lavalier microphone
Not possible to change the batteries
Drags the t-shirt down despite being lightweight
No XLR cable included
No safety lock on the cables
Bad pouch/protective cases included (too small)

2. FotoWelt Air Plus Wireless Lavalier System

The FotoWelt Air Plus Wireless Lavalier System is the best alternative to the Rode Wireless GO, that I’ve tried.

And what is really cool is, that in this kit you get two transmitters that can talk to a single receiver. That way you can easily do a two-person run-and-gun interview setup without having to buy an extra kit.

Like the Rode Wireless GO, the transmitters have in-built omnidirectional microphones but you can also use the included lavalier microphones if you prefer. The lavs aren’t sounding that good though, they sound a bit muffled.

But you can just purchase a better lav to use instead. So it’s nice to have the option to use both types of microphones. And the Røde doesn’t come with any lav included in the basic package.

The FotoWelt Air Receiver also has a headphone output which is awesome! That way you can easily monitor the levels even if your camera or smartphone doesn’t have an headphone output. Nice touch!

On the outside the FotoWelt Air Plus seem similar to the Røde Wireless GO, but the technology they use differ for better and for worse.

Instead of the digital 2.4GHz band, the FotoWelt Air Puls system uses the UHF band. The frequency band you can dial in are between 570.15-606.15 Mhz, which is pretty narrow. So check that you can use this in your area before purchase.

The range of the system is also around 20-30 meters less than the Rode Wireless GO.

However, because the FotoWelt Air uses an analog band, you don’t get any latency as you do with the Røde Wireless GO.

That’s because the system doesn’t have to convert the analog signal of your voice into a digital signal for transmission (AD-conversion) and then back again through the TRS mini-jack to your camera mic input (DA-conversion).

Personally, I’m a fan of the UHF band myself, and my Sennheisers G3 also uses this band.

All the units have a great display where you can check things like real-time audio signal, volume, and more. I prefer this to the Røde as well, as I like to be able to check things directly on the transmitter units as well.

The units come with an in-built rechargeable battery.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be a fan of in-built batteries that can’t be replaced. You get about 4 hours of battery life on these on a full charge, and that isn’t much if you need to do several interviews in a day – or if you forgot to recharge them before you left home.

Yes, you can power them via an external battery through the USB-port, but I’d prefer not to have a big battery bank lying next to my interviewee.

The kit comes with all the cables you need to get it running for both smartphones and cameras. I’d have loved to see locking mechanism on the cables like my Sennheisers have, so you can accidentally unplug the cable during an interview.

Also, it would have been nice with a shielded XLR-cable to plug-in to your Zoom Handheld Recorder or camera preamp.

All in all though, this is a great kit and versatile kit for the run-and-gun interview shooter or vlogger.

ProsCons
Comes with two transmitter units instead of one
Great display on both transmitter units and receiver unit
The receiver unit has a headphone output for monitoring the audio
No AD/DA latency because of the usage of the UHF band instead of the digital band
Can be powered via the USB-C port
Comes with triple USB-A to USB-C charger
Comes with both TRS and TRRS cables for cameras and smartphones
Comes in an excellent protective case
Limited Bands Frequency Range of 570.15-606.15 Mhz (UHF)
Limited range of 50 meters
The included lavaliers included are not the best quality
4 hours of usage on a full charging isn’t much if you’re doing more than one interview a day
Not possible to change the batteries
No XLR cable included
No safety lock on the cables

3. Sennheiser XSW-D Wireless Digital Lavalier Microphone System

The Sennheiser XSW-D is a nice wireless lavalier kit that consists of a transmitter unit (TX-35), a receiver unit (RX-35), and the Sennheiser ME2-2 lavalier omnidirectional microphone which offers good sound quality.

Unlike the Rode Wireless GO and the FotoWelt Air Puls mentioned above, the Sennheiser XS doesn’t come with an in-built microphone in the transmitter body.

I really like that both the transmitter unit and the receiver unit come with a locking mechanism, like the one I’m used to on my trusted old Sennheiser ew100 G3s. It makes for extra security during interviews that you or the interviewee not accidentally pulls out the cable.

It would have been nice to have seen a dead mouse included in the package as well though.

Neither the transmitter unit nor the receiver has a display. They only come with a tiny LED that indicates if the units are turned on, muted, or about to run out of battery (they switch from green to yellow to red).

I would really have loved to see a tiny display, especially one that gives me a better idea of the remaining battery life as well as the volume.

Speaking of volume, the Sennheiser XS doesn’t come with any gain control whatsoever. Instead it has some kind of automatic gain control built-in. But when I tested this on my Panasonic GH5S camera, the signal was too hot, even though I had dialed down the mic input on my GH5S to the lowest setting.

Luckily, I also own the Panasonic XLR1 preamp that let me set the input gain to -20dB. So I was still able to use the mic.

In my opinion, Sennheiser didn’t think this through.

Like the Røde Wireless GO, the Sennheiser XS uses the 2.4Ghz digital frequency-agile system, that can continually detect and adjust the frequency to operate without interference.

The latency for the analog to digital conversion (and vice versa) is less than 4 milliseconds, which is very impressive. And I find that they’re faster to sync up than the Røde Wireless GO.

The signal range in my experience is 70-80 meters in a free line of sight.

The Sennheiser XSW-D comes with an in-built Li-Po rechargeable battery that will last you up to 5 hours, which is decent.

Again, it would have been nice to be able to change the battery, but like the Røde and Fotowelt AirPlus, as an alternative solution, you can use an external battery pack to power the units via the USB-C port.

I didn’t get any case included, which I din’t like. It would be nice with a small protective case to keep everything together while transporting it.

And there are a lot of accessories available, e.g. a microphone, a magnet for better concealment, and more.

Despite the flaws, I feel like this is the best contender to my old Sennheisers in terms of sound and build quality, and I this is a great kit for run-and-gun interview setups and vloggers.

ProsCons
Safety lock on the cables
3.5mm curled cable for less mess
Good lavalier microphone included (ME2-2)
Quick to sync up
Decent range
Decent battery life
Low latency despite AD/DA conversion
No gain control
No OLED or LCD screen for monitoring
No protective case included
Not possible to change batteries

4. FotoWelt MK-7 Wireless Lavalier System

The FotoWelt MK-7 is the lavalier system that – in body design – comes the closest to my Sennheiser ew100 G3s.

In fact, they have several things in common:

  1. Both kits have an antenna, unlike any of the other kits in this article have.
  2. They both allow you to switch batteries on the fly, which I really like.
  3. They both let you dial in the gain in 1dB increments
  4. They both use the UHF band

The antennas gives this kit a slight edge over the other affordable options this post, and gives you up to 90 meters when you have a free line of sight.

I also really love, that you can dial in the gain in 1dB increments, and you can gain the input signal with up to 15dB.

The use of the UHF band means that there is no latency from AD/DA-conversion, although you only get one range, which is limited between 570-583 Mhz. So make sure you can use them in your area before you purchase them.

I also like that you get all the necessary cables, and even a XLR-to-TRS cable. Despite of this, I still find that the noise floor is too loud, which indicates a bad signal-to-noise ratio in this kit.

I also find that the included lavalier microphone sounds muffled, so it needs some work with an equalizer in post-production in order to become useful.

Despite their plasticky build, I do like that they’re lighter than my Sennheiser ew100 G3s. And I LOVE that I can change the batteries whenever I want to.

ProsCons
You can change the batteries
Light-weight build
Decent display
Good range at 90 meters (thanks to the antennas)
You can change the gain in 1dB increments (up to 15dB)
Inexpensive
No latency from AD/DA conversion (uses the UHF band)
Comes with all the necessary cables
Comes with an XLR to TRS cable included
The signal to noise ratio isn’t very good so you get a lot of background noise
Plasticky build
The included lavalier microphone sound muffled
Limited band possibilities (570-583 Mhz)
Comes with a good protective case for transport

Check the current price on Amazon

Conclusion

I find that all of these microphones have their pros and cons, and I’m not quite sure which one of them – if any – will be the right replacement for my Sennheiser ew100 G3 in the near future.

What I did find, however, is that you can get some really good microphones today at a fraction of the cost of the professional top-tier kits from brands like Sennheiser.

Of course, you pay for reliability and versatility as well in the more expensive systems, but in terms of sound quality, I think a lot of people – including my clients – will be hard pressed to hear any difference.

Especially if I plug in a good lavalier microphone, like the ones I have on the G3s, into any of these units. Well, maybe except for the FotoWelt MK-7, which I found to have too high a noise floor to my liking.

I hope you found this test useful? If you have any comments feel free to share them in the comment section below.


About the author:

Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He’s the owner of filmdaft.com and of the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

4 thoughts on “Rode Wireless GO vs FotoWelt AirPlus vs Sennheiser XS vs FotoWelt MK-7 Lavalier Test Review”

  1. If you aren’t trying to monitor your audio (mix it live) then the Tascam DR-10L’s are a great option if you’re trying to avoid wireless signals and multiple recorders. They record to themselves via an internal mirco SD card. I had the Azden Pro wireless two-unit system but I found the signal a bit noisy and disliked having to have a dedicated recorder for the receiver because the in-camera audio jack isn’t good enough to me. I like having the groom and officiant mic’d up, having another microphone for ambient noise and connecting a third one to the PA system if someone is singing or using a different microphone.

    Reply
    • Hi Nick.

      Thank you for your comments (here and on the other blog posts). The Tascam looks interesting. Does it come with a receiver-option so you can check the audio from time to time remotely? I’d hate if I had a bride or groom wearing this all day, only to find out that they had accidentally pulled out the lapel mic, the batteries had run out, or some other thing had gone wrong e.g. with the cable. Especially since you can’t run up to the bride or groom every 30 minutes and plug in headphones 🙂

      Best, Jan

      Reply
      • It does not come with a receiver option but it does have a head phone jack so I suppose you could use that signal into a wireless send and receive system but that’s more power being used by the battery in the recorder. It comes with dual-level recording so if they get louder than you set the recording to you’ll have a backup track you can mix in. The lapel mic actually attaches via a screw to the recorder unit so it can’t come unplugged, it can only come unclipped from the lapel which would require the groom to be doing a summersault mid ceremony so hopefully that doesn’t happen. The battery is set to last 8 hours so if you start the day with a fresh battery, or a freshly recharged battery, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about it dying.

        Plus, if your wireless system died or came unplugged there wouldn’t be much you could do about it anyways if they’re in the middle of those “I do’s”.

        Reply
        • Hi Nick.

          That actually sounds like a great system. It’s good to hear that they’ve thought about the screw (one of my favorite things about Sennheiser), and the back-up track at a lower gain setting. And 8 hours of battery life sounds good also. I might purchase one to check it out.

          Best, Jan

          Reply

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