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I reviewed a tiny gadget that could help launch your YouTube career

A person wearing a Shure MoveMic microphone.
Shure MoveMic
MSRP $499.00
“The Shure MoveMic wireless microphone system is a good way to get great audio from your phone, without wires, making it ideal for new content creators.”
Pros
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Compact microphones
  • Flawless Bluetooth connection
  • Effective noise reduction
Cons
  • Receiver is essential for third-party apps
  • Third-party apps may not be reliable
  • Shure's apps are poorly designed

If you make videos or want to start making videos for YouTube using a smartphone, you’ll likely know that video quality isn’t much of a problem these days. However, getting the audio right is much more difficult. And great sound is essential if you want to have a chance of success. Your phone’s built-in microphone won’t cut it, and cables are very annoying. You want something wireless.

The solution may come from Shure with its new MoveMic microphone system, which provides simple wireless audio from a pair of mics that use Bluetooth to connect to your phone or camera. Should you invest, and will it help launch your YouTube career? We’ll dig into all that in this review.

What is the Shure MoveMic Microphone System?

The Shure MoveMic microphones.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Designed to be a discrete and simple wireless microphone system, the Shure MoveMic is available in several different packages. But is it simple? Well, mostly, but we do need to go through the packages available first, as there is an important decision to be made right from the start.

Shure gives the option of buying the MoveMic One (which has a single microphone included) or the MoveMic Two (with two microphones for dual-channel audio recording). The second option is ideal for interviews, of course. They come in a wireless earbud-style case with its own battery inside. Expect to get eight hours on a single charge from the microphone’s battery and a further two complete charges from the case. Purchased like this, the MoveMic connects to your phone by Bluetooth and are operated using the Shure Motiv Audio or Motiv Video app.

Video being recorded using the Shure MoveMic receiver and microphones.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The third option is to buy the MoveMic Two package with a dedicated receiver, which connects to your phone using a USB-C cable. The microphones then connect via Bluetooth to the receiver and are controlled using the onboard screen. This is where you need to make that big decision, as if you want to record audio using a specific app that’s not made by Shure, you must use the receiver; when the MoveMic’s are connected using Bluetooth to your phone, you can only use Shure’s apps to record video and audio.

The microphones are identical regardless of the package you buy and weigh just 8.2 grams each. They have a spring-loaded clip to attach it to a shirt, lapel, or any other item of clothing. The mics are about the same size as a small USB thumb drive, and have an IPX4 water resistance rating, so they’re inconspicuous and durable enough to be worn outside clothing in the rain. They record 24-bit audio.

Setting up the Shure MoveMic

Two microphones connected to the Shure MoveMic receiver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve been using the dual-channel MoveMic Two with the receiver and I was really impressed with just how simple it is to get started. Everything you need is included in the pack — mics, receiver, and USB cables — and connecting them together to the receiver using Bluetooth takes just a few seconds and a couple of button presses.

I’ve been using the mics with an Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max, and after plugging in the receiver’s USB C cable and opening the Motiv Audio app, I was almost immediately began recording audio. To get to this point after opening the box took probably less than 10 minutes worth of effort, outside of charging the devices. It’s even faster still when you don’t have to pair the mics.

The Shure MoveMic system make recording audio very easy and fast.

Once the microphones have been paired with the receiver, they stay paired, so even when they’re put back in the case, all it takes is to power them on, and they automatically reconnect. It’s very convenient and makes on-the-go interview recording really simple. So far, in the short time I’ve been testing the MoveMic, it hasn’t failed to reconnect, indicating it’s a reliable feature. However, if you switch between Bluetooth connection to the app and then to the receiver, the microphones need to be re-paired each time.

The Shure MoveMic system make recording audio very easy and fast, and there are no worries about wasting time with wireless connections, or any concerns about how they will react to changing environments and situations — provided, that is, you stay in the Shure family.

Do you need the MoveMic receiver?

Video being recorded using the Shure MoveMic receiver and microphones.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The receiver makes the MoveMic system more expensive, but it may be considered essential by some people. Leaving aside the app compatibility situation for a moment, let’s talk about the receiver on its own. The body has a USB-C port to charge it and connect it to your chosen device, plus a 3.5mm audio out jack and a headphone jack. If you’re using your phone, you have to either use the headphones to hear audio being recorded, and also to hear it played back if you don’t want to remove the USB-C cable.

It’s controlled by two buttons under the small screen, one of which is a tiny joystick used to navigate through the menus. Through the receiver, the mic’s gain can be adjusted, recording modes for speech and singing can be selected, and a high pass filter can be activated with the option for either 75Hz or 150Hz. There is also a noise reduction feature and a full equalizer. Connect two mics and each can be individually muted with a press of the button. The status is also helpfully displayed on the receiver’s screen. The screen also shows live audio monitoring for the microphone.

The menu system on Shure's MoveMic receiver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you really want to go in-depth into tuning your audio recording on the go, you will probably want the receiver. It’s very easy to use, and if you’re recording video with it mounted on a cold shoe, it’ll provide plenty of information at a glance and peace of mind when you’re actually recording. However, I’d recommend getting the package that includes it if you think you’ll want it at some point, as at $199 on its own, it’s an expensive addition later on.

What happens when you don’t use the receiver?

Screenshots taken from Shure's Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps.
The Shure Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps Shure

Here’s the big deal about the receiver and whether you’ll need it or not. You can only use Shure’s Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps if you pair the microphones directly to your phone. Connecting the mics via the receiver using the USB-C cable enables you to use the microphones outside of Shure’s apps.

While Shure’s apps are fine, they aren’t going to satisfy anyone familiar with other apps or who has an established workflow. For example, the Motiv Video app is too slow, and it takes seconds to swap between the main, wide-angle, and telephoto cameras. It’s also a rather messy interface that takes time and effort to learn.

Screenshots taken from Shure's Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps.
Sthe hure Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps Shure

Inside the Motiv Audio app, you can select different recording formats, including WAV, FLAC, Apple Lossless and AAC in various levels of quality, and at up to 24-bit/44.1kHz and 24-bit/48kHz. For reference, a one-minute WAV recording at 24-bit/48kHz is around 17MB. The Motiv Audio app isn’t slow, but design decisions make sharing files frustrating, as the options are hidden under several button taps rather than the single tap in the standard Voice Recorder app.

Forcing the use of Shure’s apps is a very restrictive decision and goes against the concept of the MoveMic being a system for creators and journalists, who will almost certainly want to use other apps. The necessity of using the receiver may end up putting people off the MoveMic due to the additional expense.

How does the MoveMic sound?

The Shure MoveMic microphones.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’ve spoken a lot about how the Shure MoveMic’s work, what they do, and why you may need the receiver, but the most important thing is how they sound. The microphones connect using Bluetooth, and Shure estimates the range to be around 30 meters with line of sight. During my tests, I’ve been able to move freely around my two-level house without any signal or quality drop during the recording.

I often use my iPhone’s microphone and the Voice Recorder app to record voice-over audio, and the Shure MoveMic is a definite upgrade, with much less echo and a noticeably more natural, less tinny sound to voices. It does pick up quite a lot of background noise, so careful placement of the MoveMic on clothing will be essential. Voices sound fuller, and environments have weight to them when recording with the MoveMic, making audio more pleasant and natural.

The equalizer function on the Shure MoveMic receiver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

By default, the gain does seem to be set quite high, and I found it benefitted from being reduced slightly to avoid sounding harsh and boomy. The MoveMic also has a noise reduction feature, which is very effective at removing background noise without changing the tone of your voice. The noise reduction system does affect latency though, although it may not be noticeable in many situations. The mics are sensitive, and pick up whispered voices and quiet sounds effectively.

What about using third-party apps?

The power button on the side of the Shure MoveMic receiver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Shure MoveMic system works best with the Shure Motiv Video and Motiv Audio apps, but what about other apps? Using the MoveMic Receiver to connect the microphones to my iPhone 15 Pro Max, I used the standard Voice Recorder app and the iPhone’s camera app. The MoveMic worked with the iPhone’s camera app, but I can’t hear quite the same level of quality difference as I did when using voice only. Of course, the wireless MoveMic is vastly more versatile than the fixed iPhone mic, but if you’re also looking for a clearcut quality increase, there may not be quite as much as you think with video.

Annoyingly, I also had some problems with the Voice Recorder app where it would not reliably record audio. Sometimes, the app didn’t seem to recognize the receiver and simply recorded no sound at all, which happened for the entire duration or just a few seconds. Unreliability like this is a concern, as it could mean losing an important recording, and not having trust in a recording system means not wanting to use it.

Audio connections on the side of the Shure MoveMic receiver.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I am testing the MoveMic ahead of release using a beta version of the Motiv Video app, and there is a problem that may be causing this. While there is a firmware update for the microphones and the receiver seemingly available, the Motiv Video app will not update either of them. The update may cure some of the problems I’ve encountered using the Voice Recorder app and further improve the sound quality, but I can’t verify it yet. The issue has been reported to Shure.

Shure MoveMic price and availability

The Shure MoveMic receiver and microphone case.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Shure MoveMic One — which comes with a single MoveMic, the charging case, and a USB-C cable — costs $249 or 259 British pounds. The MoveMic Two system with two microphones costs $349 or 349 pounds. You can buy the receiver on its own to go with one of these options for $199 or spend $499 or 499 pounds to get the MoveMic Two and the receiver together, along with a carry case and a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable for a camera connection.

The Shure MoveMic system uses Bluetooth to connect and does not need a license to use, unlike some professional-grade wireless microphone systems.

The Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone.
The Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

How does this compare with the competition? The Joby Wavo Air is $250 and is designed to work with mobile devices, plus it’s compact and comes with two microphones as standard, but the receiver does not have a screen or any of the fancy tuning features of the Shure system. The $400 Rode Wireless Pro is a closer alternative and doesn’t use Bluetooth, giving it a slightly longer range, but it’s designed for the more serious creator who has already started out. Sennheiser’s MKE 400 Mobile Kit is $230 and may suit you better if you plan to vlog.

Should you buy the Shure MoveMic?

A person wearing a Shure MoveMic microphone.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The concept of the Shure MoveMic is great. Two compact, Bluetooth microphones that connect to either a receiver or directly to your phone, ready to record video and audio on the move, quickly and simply. There’s an obvious quality bump when recording audio, especially when using the noise reduction feature, and having such freedom of movement when recording great-sounding audio has the potential to give you a creativity boost, make your videos sound better than ever, and appear more professional. It’s great for the beginner just starting out, with plenty of scope for the future.

In reality, it’s a little more complicated than that, and the necessity to use Shure’s apps if you don’t buy the receiver is unfortunate. It’s like a pair of Bluetooth headphones only working with Spotify and refusing to play music from another source unless you buy a special dongle. I hesitate to fully recommend buying the MoveMic with the receiver due to being unable to upgrade the firmware and the unreliability I’ve also encountered at this stage.

A firmware update may cure the issues, and I’ll reiterate that I’m using the MoveMic ahead of release and with a beta app, but I have to review what I am given and this is the current situation. Using Shure’s apps doesn’t seem to affect quality in any way, and I’ve not come across any unreliability using them, but they will frustrate due to the user interface differences and overall speed. The Shure MoveMic’s hardware and sound quality impress, but the apps and restrictions hobble what is otherwise a good wireless microphone system for your smartphone.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
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