Review sample provided by the company
The Hollyland Lark M1 is a compact wireless microphone system that can work with cameras, iPhones and Android phones. These mics are good for vlogging and interviews because there is dual channel recording. For event coverage, directional mics are better.
At the time of review, the price for the set with one receiver and two transmitters is USD 149 on Amazon USA . Adapters are needed for audio recording to phones and are sold separately. The 3.5mm TRS to lightning adapter is $17.90 and 3.5mm TRS to USB-C adapter is $9.90.
On AliExpress, the same 1x RX and 2x TX set is USD 109. With the lightning adapter, it's $116. With the USB-C adapter, it's $113. AliExpress is the place to get this mic if you want one.
This product competes with the following products:
- USD 369 DJI Mic
- USD 299 Rode Wireless GO II
- USD 259 Saramonic Blink 500 Pro (Lighting and USB-C adapters sold separately)
- USD 199 Smallrig Forevala W60 (Lighting and USB-C adapters sold separately)
- USD 149 Fulaim X5
Just for reference, the mics that I personally use are:
- Sennheiser MKE 400 - For outdoor use, event coverage
- Rode lavalier mic - For indoor use
- Sennheiser SK100 G3 with ME 2 clip-on mic - For outdoor use, vlogging, interviews
- Saramonic Blink 500 (gen 1) with USB-C, Lightning and 3.5mm connectors - For outdoor use, vlogging, interviews
The Hollyland Lark M1 is a compact and convienent wireless mic system that records good audio quality and has long battery life. A nice tough case is included to store the charging case and all cables.
There are some missing features such as no 3.5mm jack on the transmitters for the option to use lavalier mics, and no battery life indicators for the devices. The USB-C port on the transmitter is only for charging and cannot be used with USB audio recording.
To record with phones, you have to spend extra money to buy the adapter cables, but those are not too expensive.
The pricing is fantastic if you get this from AliExpress. This mic does provide good value for money compared to competing products which are more expensive.
Items included in the box are:
- Carrying case
- Charging case (80g)
- 2x transmitters (11.8g each)
- 1x receiver (17.5g)
- USB-C to USB-C adapter (sold separately)
- Lightning to USB-C adapter (sold separately)
- 2x windshield
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm TRS audio cable
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm TRRS audio cable (for use with computers)
- Quick start guide
The included fabric textured hard case can store all the cables and charging case.
Having such a nice case is a bonus because many wireless mic systems don't include a carrying case for cables.
The charging case for the transmitters and receiver is well designed with solid build quality. Battery charging indicator is on the front and the USB-C charging port is behind.
This is a compact, portable and lightweight microphone system. The transmitter (left) weighs 11.8g and the receiver (right) is 17.5g. Mounting the receiver on a camera barely adds any weight.
These devices rely on the indicator lights to show low battery status. Having an actual battery life meter would have been more helpful. Battery life for a single recording session is 8 hours. The charging case can provided 2 more charges for a total of 20 hours.
This wireless mic system is sold either with one or two transmitters. If you have the budget, I recommend getting two transmitters because one can be used as a backup. So in this case, the limiting factor is the 8 hours single session recording time for the receiver which should be long enough.
The Hollyland branding and huge text is unnecesarily big and will inadvertently draw unwanted attention. That is not subtle and is best covered up or removed.
The bottom of the transmitter has the USB-C port and connectors for charging. The omni-directional mic is located on the top. The audio is recorded at 48kHz 16bit. Range is up to 200m.
One limitation is there's no 3.5mm audio jack for the option to use a wired lavalier mic.
Buttons on the side of the transmitter are for power, and pairing/noise cancelling.
The wind shield can be installed quite firmly onto the transmitter so I'm not too worried about it falling off.
On this side of the receiver is a 3.5mm audio out for connection to the recording device, e.g. camera or phone, and there's a power button.
There's no 3.5mm audio jack for audio monitoring.
On the other side of the receiver are USB-C port for charging, buttons for Pair/Volume Up and Mode Switch/Volume Down.
One downside is there's no display to show connection, audio recording modes or battery life. I won't worry too much about battery life since the receiver and transmitters are kept inside the charging case and will always be charged at the start of the day.
Audio quality is good. Audio is crisp and the mic is able to filter out noise quite well
I am pleasantly surprised that the audio quality from this affordable mic is comparable to the more expensive Rode Lavalier and the Sennheiser EW 100 G3 for my indoor and outdoor recordings.
Here are audio samples (m4a files) I've recorded:
- With Android with 3.5mm TRRS adapter
- With Android with USB adapter - no sound
- With iPhone with 3.5mm TRRS adapter
- With iPhone with USB adapter - no sound
Since there's no 3.5mm audio jack from the transmitters, I could not attach any lavalier for further testing.
The audio quality is consistent when recording with mirrorless camera, phone and tablet but not on computer where volume is lower.
3.5mm adapter cable is needed to record audio with phones, tablets and computers.
When using TRS cable connection (shown above) for iPhone recording, you can use a phone clamp with hotshoe (e.g. Manfrotto TwistGrip (US $55) to attach the receiver to the phone. I recommend a cable that's 16cm (unextended) or longer, preferably 20cm with possible extension.
It is possible to get a lighting to USB-C adapter instead of a cable but you can see the receiver isn't really designed with that usage in mind. Anyway, the lightning to USB-C adapter records very low volume with iPhone (it's an iOS problem).
When I tried recording to a computer with TRS connection, for some reason the volume is lower than camera and phone recording.
The Hollyland Lark M1 is a compact portable wireless microphone system can record good quality audio that's comparable to more expensive mics. Battery life is good. Operation is simple and straightforward.
Compared to other wireless mic systems, this mic has several missing features (listed in pros and cons list below), but this mic is also cheaper.
Overall, this mic does provide incredible value for money. In 2020, I bought the Saramonic Blink 500 system for camera and phones for several times the price of the Hollyland Lark M1. It's so good to see technology has improved and the price has dropped so much. So yeah, this is definitely a product I can recommend easily to creators who are looking for a simple but effective wireless mic setup.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Solid build quality
+ Compact, lightweight
+ Can be used with cameras and phones
+ Comes with carrying case for the charging case and cables
+ Good audio quality with decent filter for background noise
+ Noise cancelling is available as an option
+ Dual channel recording ideal for interviews
+ Two transmitters included means one can be used as backup
+ Receiver has 3.5mm audio OUT for use with other audio devices
+ 6 hours battery life for single session recording is decent
+ Charging case provides 2x battery life for a total of 18 hours
+ Windshield is firm and has low risk of falling off
- Huge attention-grabbing logo and text on the units
- Lightning and USB-C adapters needed for use with phones are sold separately
- No status display for recording mode, battery life
- No 3.5mm audio jack on the transmitter
- No 3.5mm audio jack on receiver for audio monitoring
- USB-C port on receiver is only for charging and cannot be used for video recording