The JOBY Wavo Pod provides rich and warm sound, with an eye-catching design
- Manufacturer: JOBY
- Model: Wavo Pod
- Type: USB-C Condenser microphone
- Platforms: PC and compatible USB-C devices
- Price: £89.99 MSRP
- Reviewed on: Windows PC
- Supplied by: JOBY
JOBY Wavo Pod Review
JOBY are a recognisable and respected brand in the content creation scene, manufacturing a wide range of microphones and accessories (if you haven’t seen them before, check out the awesome GorillaPod range). Their new microphone, the Wavo Pod, is designed to simplify and enhance your creative workflow with plug-and-play connectivity, and it comes with several quality-of-life improving features.
The Wavo Pod is priced competitively at £89.99, and the sound quality is comparable with its peers, which is where the Wavo Pod’s differentiating features come into play. First off, the included pop filter is a very welcome addition that you don’t normally get with entry-level devices, and the bold colouring helps the Wavo Pod stand out.
Another unique feature of the Wavo Pod is the attachment points built into the stand, which can be used with a variety of JOBY accessories. If you use a mobile device as your camera, you can get an add-on phone mount, for example, and the universal mounting of the Pod itself means you could use JOBY’s extensive range of ring lights and tripods.
The Wavo Pod doesn’t differ too much from the competition (and it goes up against the likes of the excellent Blue Yeti Nano), but it’s a very competent microphone with excellent sound quality, so if you want an easy-to-use microphone and appreciate its added features, this is a solid choice.
Design and build
The JOBY Wavo Pod is a pill-shaped side-address microphone, meaning that you speak (or play, if you’re a musician) into the front of it, or the rear if you’re using the omnidirectional pickup pattern. It’s a tried and tested design, but the bright red pop filter helps it stand out from the crowd.
Build quality is decent – there’s a lot of plastic in use, but it feels high quality and the metallic mesh at the top should resist minor knocks and bumps.
On the front of the microphone is a simple button to switch between cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns, and above that is a dial for muting the microphone and adjusting the gain and monitoring volume for headphones. When the dial is illuminated blue, you’re controlling the headphone volume level – press and hold the dial and it will turn purple, indicating you’re now changing the gain.
The dial isn’t limited to 360° 0-100 rotation, though, it continually rotates. I’m a little disappointed with this, as there is no visual indicator of the gain or volume levels, meaning that making adjustments becomes a trial and error affair. It only took me a couple of minutes to balance the gain, but I’d have preferred some tangible indicator of the changes being made.
At the base of the microphone, you’ll find a USB type C connector, and the Wavo Pod comes with both a 3m USB-A to USB-C cable and a 2m USB-C to USB-C cable for connecting to your devices. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a screw-in universal 5/8” mount which can be removed leaving a 3/8” mount in its place.
At the rear is the screw mounting for the pop filter, which can be easily removed. A nice touch is the integrated attachment point for a second pop filter, which can be picked up for £9.95.
The majority of the stand is made of sturdy plastic but the base itself is made of solid and weighty metal making it very stable. On the bottom is a spongy pad to protect your desk, though it doesn’t do much to attenuate noise if you bump or tap on your desk. There’s plenty of space between the base of the stand and the bottom of the microphone, which is helpful if your headphones have a chunky connector.
You can remove the Wavo Pod from its stand if you’re going to be using a boom arm, but the stand has additional 1/4” mounting points for adding extra JOBY accessories. It’s a unique feature that I haven’t seen on a mic in this price range before, and it could be a key factor if you’re deciding between a few microphones.
Connectivity and setup
It really doesn’t get any easier than the Wavo Pod; you simply plug the USB-C connector into the microphone and either the USB-A or USB-C connector into your device where it will be automatically detected. On Windows, it will automatically route the system sound through the Wavo Pod’s headphone jack, so you may need to manually change your sound output back to your preferred speakers or headphones. This is generally a one-time setup option that will be remembered by your computer or device.
During the initial setup, it can help if you plug your headphones so you can get real-time monitoring and set your levels, but once this is done you won’t need to always monitor the output if you’d rather focus on your gaming or conversations.
You don’t get any control software for the Wavo Pod, so any sound enhancements and noise filtering will need to be handled by your software of choice. Similarly, if you plan on recording podcasts or voice-overs you’ll need third-party software such as Audacity or Reaper, which are both powerful and, best of all, free.
Straight away I was impressed by the warmth and clarity of the Wavo Pod. Condenser microphones can sometimes deliver a very neutral and flat sound, which isn’t a bad thing, as the amount of detail they capture makes them ideal if you plan to alter the sound in post-production. However, the JOBY Wavo Pod is designed to be a simple to use live-streaming microphone, so having a well-tuned vocal pickup out of the box is desirable, especially for those new to the medium.
The integrated audio converter works very well, and although you can hear the difference between the Wavo Pod and a professional XLR setup, for example, it’s still of very high quality. The Wavo Pod records 48kHz 24bit audio with 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, like many competing USB microphones, and it draws power from your device, which again adds to the simplicity of use.
Audio quality is excellent considering the price point, and as mentioned, rather than a plain, flat sound, the Wavo Pod sounds very warm and rich, and it’s very pleasing to the ear. Out of the box, the gain setup was way too high, and this adds a lot of reverberation, making the Pod sound boomy. Dialling back the gain brings the reverb in check, but it’s possible to balance the output volume and gain to create some cool effects if you’re making ASMR content, for example.
Once I had configured the Wavo Pod to my taste, I checked out the pickup at a variety of ranges. At the recommended 30cm/12” range, the quality is superb. The pop filter works very well at limiting plosives, and you can eliminate a lot of background noise by running lower gain. Moving back to around 60cm/2ft from the microphone you can still get an impressively clear vocal pickup, though I did find the Wavo Pod picked up quite a bit of background sound. The further away you go, with a corresponding increase in gain, the more background noise is picked up. There was no interference from the microphone itself though (often heard as static crackling or hissing in the background), which I have noticed on other similar microphones.
The Wavo Pod features cardioid (unidirectional) and omnidirectional (all around) polar patterns. The cardioid pattern mode does well at eliminating noise from behind the microphone, but it has weaker side rejection than more expensive products. That’s not necessarily a negative, as it can be advantageous if you tend to move around a lot in front of your microphone, but it makes the Wavo Pod more sensitive to sounds you may not necessarily want in your recording.
The omnidirectional pattern is designed for face-to-face recordings, where you are capturing a conversation and don’t have separate microphones. The balance at the front and rear is excellent, with the Wavo Pod capturing voices at the same volume and with equal richness whichever side the speaker is on. Addressing from the side is still clear, but the Pod notably loses some warmth. In comparison with other microphones I’ve tested, where the omnidirectional mode sounded hollow, the Wavo Pod turns in an excellent performance. Given the difference when addressing the Pod from the side, I’m inclined to think this should more accurately be described as a bi-directional pattern, but for its intended purpose, it works very well.
If you’re going to be using this while streaming gameplay, then a shock mount and possibly a boom arm would be a worthwhile investment, as the Wavo Pod can pick up a lot of noise from your desk. Additionally, you should be aware that any sound from touching the mic is clearly passed into the output, such as when you reposition or mute the microphone – there’s nothing worse than ruining a perfect take with rustling and knocking noises!
Who is the JOBY Wavo Pod suited to?
Obviously, the Wavo Pod is ideal for those looking to elevate the quality of their streams or podcasts beyond basic headset microphones, but it’s also a great addition if you do a lot of video conferencing or video chat with friends and family. I don’t stream or make much video content myself, but I’ve been using separate microphones for years now and could never go back. The audio quality is magnitudes better than headset mics, and you’ll never hear anyone complain about you breathing down the mic again.
There’s a lot of competition in this price range – the Blue Yeti Nano is a worthy candidate, and the Thronmax Mdrill One Pro is a cheaper and equally good alternative at £75.99, but there’s a strong case for choosing the JOBY Wavo Plus; the sound is excellent for the price, and it doesn’t rely on post-processing to get the best out of it, which is invaluable for newcomers. It’s also compatible with a wide range of accessories, and it comes with a pop filter, which none of its competitors has.
The JOBY Wavo Pod is an appealing entry point for anyone looking for competent broadcast-quality sound without the fuss. It’s simple to set up and use, as well as incredibly versatile. Fine-tuning the gain takes a bit of fiddling without any physical or visual indicator, but that’s a minor issue that only affects the initial setup process.
It’s up against a lot of competition, but the Wavo Pod has enough going for it to earn its place on your desk. I may not outright recommend it as the best in its class, but if you’ll appreciate the additional features it could be just the microphone you’re looking for.