Sennheiser Memory Mic: the “wireless” mic/body recorder review

This unusual Sennheiser microphone/recorder could be appropriate for Candid Camera recordings, especially if they fix the two issues in the companion Android & iOS apps.

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 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 (AmazonB&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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No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcasting or TuRadioGlobal programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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Scott Simmons

Interesting. Just so I understand … the Memory Mic records first to the mic itself and NOT directly onto the mobile device? After recording is done it has to then sync the audio file from the mic itself back to the device?

Rubén Abruña

Thanks Allan for the article. I listened to your recordings and they sound good out of my MBP speakers. Even while in your shirt pocket it does not sound muffled or lacking in mid to high frequencies. I did not use headphones though. It is a clever device and certainly useful for many situations with and without video. I wonder if one can export the audio and sync it with video in an NLE without the app, although for that obviously a 48KHz recording would be the way to go. How long can it record in a single take?