The Sennheiser Memory Mic is a “wireless” mic/body recorder that auto-synchronizes audio that it records with the companion app that can shoot video. In fact, the device hardware is much better than the first version of the companion app for both Android and iOS, so Sennheiser will hopefully add the missing features to the apps. Then it could become the dream solution for today’s producers who want to to produce a Candid Camera type show. Allen Funt first created the Candid project for radio as The Candid Microphone in 1947, before launching the Candid Camera TV show in 1948. Ahead you’ll hear and watch Sennheiser Memory Mic audio/video recordings and learn what’s missing (and wrong) from the first version of the software.
Public domain photo of Allen Funt (1914–1999) taken in 1974. Allen Funt is best known for his Candid Camera television program, and as a guest on the Dick Cavett talk show.
3 sequential videos shot by Memo Sauceda on his iPhone in a noisy hotel reception
The above sequential videos were trimmed in Screenflow, where the lower-third was added. No filtering, leveling, noise-reduction or resampling has been applied. I left the audio as it was recorded in its original level and the non-standard for video 44.1 kHz sampling rate and exported it at that same non-standard rate. More details ahead about that later in this article.
Sennheiser sales video
Functionality of the Sennheiser Memory Mic
After a basic setup which uses a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi, you sync the Sennheiser Memory Mic with your smartphone or tablet. From there forward, the app can record video with audio (with a combination of the phone’s or tablet’s local microphone and the one in the Memory Mic) for later automatic synchronization, even if the person who has the Memory Mic goes beyond the range of the wireless connection, since the Memory Mic is also a body recorder. In post-production using the matching Memory Mic app, the user can balance between the phone’s or tablet’s local microphone and the sound from the Memory Mic’s sound. For the purpose of this review, I only used the sound from the Memory Mic’s sound.
What’s missing from the Android and iOS apps?
- The app currently delivers 44.1 kHz audio, which is non-standard for video (see my All audio production & distribution should go 48 kHz) and also non-standard for the default audio sampling of the latest iOS devices, according to Apple. The app should be fixed to recored either 48 kHz only or at least default to 48 kHz on all devices that support this standard sampling frequency. This could be easily fixed by Sennheiser or its developer, since many other apps offer this capability.
- Although the app offers a variety of spatial resolutions, it offers no options for temporal resolution adjustment, aka framerate adjustment. The latest version available on the date of our recording records at ≈30 fps only (likely variable framerate, as covered in my Understanding iPhone framerates for shooting, editing & distribution), but offers no selection for ≈25 fps (which is essential for PAL and ex-PAL regions) or ±24 fps either. This could be easily fixed by Sennheiser or its developer, since many other Android and iOS apps offer this capability.
Conclusions, and why Memory Mic reminds me of a consumer version of AirLinc
You may recall that I have covered AirLinc twice so far. AirLinc is an iOS app that converts an iPhone or iPod Touch into a body recorder, and later auto syncs to another iOS device. Here are the two links:
- AirLinc, the iOS app that truly competes with wireless mic systems from May 2015
- AirLinc for iOS goes multi-channel/multi-mic from March 2018
AirLinc is obviously a much more professional solution, which already supports proper 48 kHz/24-bit recording and even multiple microphones and multitrack recording, but requires the use of more iOS devices, microphones and post-production. (So far, there is no Android version of AirLinc.) On the other hand, the US$199 Sennheiser Memory Mic (Amazon — B&H) requires less equipment and much less post-production, and can work with either Android and iOS. Some producers may choose Memory Mic now, especially those who are doing web-only productions in NTSC or ex NTSC countries. More many more producers will consider it after Sennheiser fixes the two issues in the companion Android and iOS apps.
Thanks to Memo Sauceda
Thanks to Memo Sauceda, award-winning actor and voiceover talent, for shooting the footage for this article review, using his iPhone.
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