If you want to get into mobile content creation, you want to make sure that your gear is easily portable in addition to having good quality and diverse functionality. AnkerWork, who only offers one other microphone for content creators, has entered the mobile audio space with the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone, which is kind of a misnomer because it is actually two microphones with a single transmitter that can be used in countless situations.
The M650, which enters the competition for mobile audio supremacy with companies like RØDE, DJI and Deity, among others, came in completely under my radar. When the mic came across my desk, I was excited to give another wireless microphone solution a try, but I was trying to manage my expectations. The kit has big shoes to fill, after all.
In the box, you get quite a lot. You get the charging case, which contains the two transmitters, the receiver and both USB-C and Lightning adapters which allow you to hook up the receiver directly to your phone. In addition, you also get two windscreens, two alternate covers for the transmitters in different colours, a USB-C Cable, a TRS to TRS cable and a travel case for all the accessories and the charging case.
While the charging case design for the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is fantastic and is something that even RØDE doesn’t offer, this humble reviewer would love to make a suggestion. Change the design of the charge case lid so that you might be able to store all of your accessories without the need for a separate bag. This isn’t a knock on AnkerWork. DJI has a similar charging case and also has the same issue. But if my reviews can’t help evolve the industry a little, then I am nowhere near as special as my mom told me I am.
Talking more about the case, the transmitters and receiver all fit snugly into the case along with the adapters, and the case charges the entire kit. You can charge the case itself with a USB-C cable plugged into it, which in turn gives you 15 hours of battery life when actively using the devices.
I can say that since I received the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone, I have not charged the case at all and have used the microphones quite a bit, yet the case is still at nearly full capacity. This should last you more than long enough for any production, and if only one person will be speaking, you essentially double up as you have a second microphone.
The receiver displays the stats and audio levels of the transmitters as well as allows you to control a number of settings. If you swipe down, you see the settings for the receiver. These include noise reduction (which has levels of OFF, LOW and HIGH) and change between stereo and mono output.
You’ll find turn on safe mode, which records your transmitter at its current settings on one channel and a version with the gain backed off on the other channel to protect you from recording bad audio in the field. You’ll also find the AUX gain settings, which should be low when set up for a camera, but high when being used for headphone monitoring.
“The transmitter on the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is aesthetically the nicest design I have seen for this type of device.”
Swipe left or right to access the settings for the transmitters, where you can mute the mic, set its gain and set it to record (each transmitter records files locally and can store 7 hours of audio). Swiping up gives sync settings, applying the same mute or record settings to both transmitters simultaneously. On the receiver, you will find a USB-C port and 3.5mm output for camera connection or audio monitoring. On the other side is a single button which, when pressed for varying durations, can lock the display, turn off the device or put the receiver in pairing mode.
The transmitter on the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is aesthetically the nicest design I have seen for this type of device. It looks the least like a transmitter, resembling more of a button on your shirt. The alternate covers allow for a little more style. The covers were tough to switch out, initially, but you just need to apply the right pressure to the cover and make a quarter turn, reversing the process with the new cover. The clip is magnetic, allowing you to attach the transmitter anywhere on your shirt or anywhere else without crimping up your clothes in the absence of a buttoned shirt or lapel.
The transmitter also has a TRS input for a lavalier microphone (not included). This will allow you to tuck away the transmitter and discreetly use the lav as your microphone. The TRS jack also serves another purpose, which may be the most innovative design in the space. The windscreen has the same shape of plug as a TRS cable, allowing you to plug it into the jack and securely cover the transmitter’s microphone. It works perfectly, and it is a million times easier to apply than the windscreens of competitors.
Another big feature of the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is its software. The AnkerWork Software, capable of connecting to a number of different AnkerWork products, is now compatible with the M650, and there is a ton of control at the software level. For the Transmitters, you can select to mute it and also set the gain. These settings are both available on the receiver, but what isn’t is the ability to control what to do when the storage fills up.
In the AnkerWork Software, you can select to have the transmitters overwrite the oldest available files so that recording isn’t interrupted. You can also customize what the button on the transmitters do. You can set them to mute, mark the record file or do nothing if you are the kind of person who is prone to hitting the button by accident.
The receiver controls have all of the same settings available as the hardware itself, with the addition of an Equalizer for the transmitters, which is a huge feature to help you improve your voice in environments harsher than your home setup. It also features a low-pass filter, which I believe is misnamed given the fact that the settings are for 75Hz and 150Hz, which would make this a high-pass filter.
Regardless of how it is named, it does the job, cutting out those low-frequency hums and sounds that often make up ambient noise. In the software, you can also sync the time in your receiver with that of your PC. It’s through the software that all firmware updates will be handled. It is also worth noting that the receiver can be connected to the computer separately from the case and still be controlled by the hardware. When connecting the case to the computer, the transmitters, provided they are docked in the case, will each show up on the PC as external hard drives so you can access the record files.
Setup for the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone on any device is incredibly easy. To hook up to a computer, connect the transmitter to it, and the M650 shows up as an audio source. To connect to a camera, you connect to the camera by sliding the clip into the camera’s shoe and connect to the camera’s mic input via the TRS cable to connect to a phone, connect the appropriate adapter and plug the receiver directly into the phone, which will use the USB audio immediately.
The sound quality of the AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is quite good. It maybe isn’t as good out of the box as something like the RØDE Wireless Go II, but the EQ, low (high) pass filter and noise reduction options make the M650 a winner of a wireless microphone.
I would recommend keeping the noise reduction to low or, even better, off, as the noise reduction on high does experience some overprocessing of your voice, making it sound a little digital. Use the high setting only when the alternative is the noise ruining your audio. Aside from that, dependence on the low (high) pass filter settings should probably be sufficient and have the smallest impact on your vocals.
The AnkerWork M650 Wireless Microphone is available now at a price of $249.99 USD, which is a huge value when you consider it is cheaper than any of its major competitors and still offers high quality, including features that one wireless mic or another doesn’t offer at a higher price.