Starting a podcast or livestream seems easy enough but finding the right equipment can be a daunting task. There's an endless array of choices available these days for microphones, audio mixers, and accessories. Developer of consumer-grade A/V gear, Movo, is preparing to launch a new Mobile Podcasting Kit designed to provide everything needed to get started in entry-level content creation or audio recording on the road. I've put everything offered through its paces after receiving the kit for review, let's take a look at what Movo is bundling together and how much bang you can get for your buck.
What's in the box?
So what exactly do you get with the Movo Mobile Podcasting Kit? For the suggested retail price of $249.95, available for pre-order directly from Movo's website, it comes with two XLR condenser microphones, two metal extendable tabletop stands, a SmartRig+ XLR to 3.5mm or USB-C audio mixer, two 6 ft. XLR cables, two 6 ft. XLR to 3.5mm cables, two pop filters, two foam windscreen covers, two microphone shock mounts, and a headphone splitter for monitoring purposes, all packed in a protective foam-lined plastic carrying case.
Basically the kit comes with every bit and bob required to set up a dual-microphone recording session at home or on the road through XLR, 3.5mm, and USB-C connection on the included Saramonic brand audio mixer (a $129 value). If a burgeoning podcaster or livestreamer were to purchase all the included microphones, accessories, and the mixer separately, quick estimates on Amazon easily hit $300 or more.
Not only is the Movo Mobile Podcasting Kit a decent value proposition over trying to set up a dual-microphone podcast or recording session piecemeal, it also provides very adequate performance for the price. The case is probably the least impressive part of the entire package but it serves its function well, to keep your gear together and hold it safely. The heavy foam lining on the inside has cut-outs to seat all the equipment snugly and the tight fit ensures that there won't be anything rattling around inside.
The equipment itself has a very solid build quality with all metal components used for the microphones and tablestands. These feel very hefty and substantial in the hand, quite robust and sturdy which is reassuring. The two sets of cables, XLR and XLR to 3.5mm, are thick and shielded, made from high-grade low-noise material.
Prosumer value at consumer pricing
The included audio mixer was initially designed for guitar and microphone mixing to record play sessions on the go. The good thing is that you can still use this $129 mixer for its originally marketed purpose or for mixing any two 3.5mm or XLR audio sources, like the included microphones. It's a powered audio mixer requiring one 9V battery to provide an extra boost to your connected microphones if needed.
Armed with an Android phone and an HD Voice Recorder application, I plugged the audio mixer into the phone with the attached USB-C cable. It was instantly recognized as a headset or microphone device but needed a little tweaking to get leveled properly. At first I couldn't get any sound to register through the microphones but it was just a matter of flicking a switch. After changing to the +48V phantom power setting, the microphones went red hot and it was only a matter of using the mixing dials to bring each microphone down to the desired gain.
These microphones are extremely sensitive when used with a powered audio mixer and I only needed the slightest turn of each knob up from their lowest setting to get a good decibel level in my recording application. After that initial two minute adjustment and dialing-in phase, the microphones performed flawlessly, picking up the "hosts" with clean sound and little background noise. For a podcasting kit designed to take your show on the road or anywhere you need to record, this Movo kit does exactly what it advertises at a prosumer level with a consumer price tag.
Not exactly a daily driver
I have also been using one of the microphones as my daily driver for general voice chat and streaming and while it works for my needs, I don't know if it would suit everyone as a general purpose microphone. Using it via the XLR to 3.5mm cable on my computer's microphone input is as easy as any other microphone, but it is limited to your software and hardware capabilities. Using the microphone in applications like OBS or Discord is acceptable, with only minimal sound improvement over my old no-name brand USB condenser microphone I bought for $15.
It also needs the user to keep their mouth near the front of the microphone in order to sound crisp and clear. Any noise coming from outside the cardioid pattern of the condenser will sound distant or 'roomy'. These weren't exactly designed to be everyday streamer or gaming microphones however, and understanding that will help inform a decision to purchase. If you're trying to replace a single microphone in front of your computer, you can spend far less than $249.95 and get a better solution. Shacknews has a look at another option from Movo with our review of the UM700 USB Desktop Studio Microphone.
For anyone looking to start a podcast or livestream that will feature more than one speaker or needing to mix the audio from two sources for their content, the Movo Mobile Podcasting Kit offers a bundle with value that is tough to beat. Considering everything included and the savings afforded versus purchasing all the equipment separately, this kit should be on the list for those seeking an affordable and portable entry-level setup for podcasts, co-op livestreams, interviews, or even music recording that punches above its weight class.
This review is based on a sample product provided by the manufacturer. The Movo Mobile Podcasting Kit is available for pre-order for $249.95 direct from Movo’s website.
Movo Mobile Podcasting Kit
- Includes everything needed for dual-microphone podcasting or streaming
- Solid, sturdy build quality and materials
- Professional grade cabling
- $249.95 retail price for over $300 value in equipment
- Audio mixer has multiple options for audio capture
- Plastic case feels like the cheapest part of the package
- Audio mixer requires one 9V battery with no external power available