At the annual VidCon convention, Rode announced the release of a new VideoMic Me-L designed expressly for Apple iOS devices.
The new VideoMic Me-L looks exactly like the Rode VideoMicro, except with a Lightning connector. That's a great thing, because the VideoMic Me has been one of the most popular little microphones for anyone shooting with a small mirrorless or DSLR camera.
Rode does have the VideoMic Me which is designed for smartphones with a 3.5mm TRSS jack. But as we know, the iPhone 7 and newer have done away with the headphone jack, so iPhone shooters have been missing a solid audio solution for their phones.
The VideoMicro (and VideoMic Me) have been positively compared in sound quality to the other VideoMics that Rode makes, so it packs a lot of punch for such a small microphone. And it's dead simple - there's no batteries. The way it gets its power is through the 3.5mm cable, and most camera manufacturers provide enough juice out of their mic port to power the VideoMicro.
That is, most manufacturers except Canon. We've really wanted to use the VideoMicro on our Canon C100, since it doesn't come with an internal mic. It would have been a match made in heaven especially for gimbal use, where every little ounce can change the balance significantly.
But unfortunately, Canon Cinema cameras provide no power through the 3.5mm. And so, we've spent hundreds of dollars trying out a slew of other mini microphone solutions, including powered lavs and cheap plastic shotgun mics. None of which come close to the simplicity and quality of the VideoMicro.
The VideoMic Me-L will be excellent for vloggers or musicians who like to use their iPhone on the go, with excellent audio quality, but without a lot of accessories to deal with. It doesn't require any batteries, which is a huge relief, because how many of our accessories need to be plugged in every time we get home or arrive at a hotel from a work day? Most Bluetooth headphones now have to be recharged daily, in addition to everything else we carry. Battery-free gadgets are a welcome relief.
The VideoMic Me-L also comes standard with a furry windshield, and to be honest, we leave ours on the VideoMicro almost all the time, because why not? It's still tiny, it works great, and maybe it even looks kind of cute.
The VideoMic Me-L also features a 3.5mm headphone jack on the rear, which allows audio play-through in real-time. This is a super important feature because when you take up the iPhone's lighting jack with a microphone, there is no other way to listen to audio over headphones, without resorting to bluetooth.
One interesting thing to note is you can use the VideoMic Me-L as a simple headphone adapter for your iPhone. So if you can't find your Lightning to 3.5mm adapter nearby, but only have standard 3.5mm cabled headphones, you can use the VideoMic Me-L's 3.5mm headphone output. Not a bad bonus feature, in our opinion.
It makes sense for Rode to release the VideoMic Me-L at VidCon, which is the annual mecca for online video creators. Over 50,000 current and future Youtube stars are there, and guess what, they all need a mic for their vlogging camera.
We're not sure how much the VideoMic Me-L will go for, but it'll probably be similar to the VideoMic Me, which is damn cheap at $59. Especially considering it comes standard with the furry windshield, itself a $25 item.