At my first CES, I carried a huge backpack with a mirrorless camera and tons of gear. It was a lot. Thanks to the Shure MV88+ Video Kit, my iPhone is now a powerful tool for capturing video on the go. It is light, relatively affordable and, in combination with my iPhone and Shure’s free apps, it gets the job done!
I’ve tried numerous microphones with my iPhone; most did a decent job but had limitations. Shotgun mics worked but were bulky. Shure’s MOTIV MV88, which I previously reviewed, was excellent, but it had several drawbacks. Yes, it was a compact microphone that did a great job of capturing audio, but the short Lightning connector built into it meant I couldn’t use a case when recording video. Moreover, the fixed connector meant I could only use the microphone with devices sporting a Lighting connector. That means my Android phones were out and, once I upgraded to the current iPad Pro, the microphone became incompatible.
Shure’s new MV88+ builds on everything I liked about the MOTIV MV88 and solves the few complaints I had with its predecessor. Most notably, the microphone works with both Lightning and USB-C-enabled devices but, since it uses a cable rather than a fixed connector, it is future-proof from the perspective of connectivity.
The birth of a new portable audio and video recording kit is here, giving you all the tools you need, right out of the box. The kit includes a Manfrotto PIXI tripod, phone clamp, and mount, as well as iOS and USB-C cables for next-level compatibility and connectivity. Just add your phone and you’ll be capturing professional quality content wherever you are.
Inside the box you get the Shure MV88+, a Manfrotto mini-tripod, a cold shoe mount for the microphone, a phone holder that works with the tripod and the cold shoe mount, a lightning cable, a USB-C cable, a windscreen for the microphone and a soft case to hold and protect everything when you are on the go. Sure, the kit runs $249, but for the price, you get a complete kit. That means you won’t need to go out and purchase a variety of accessories to get up and running. Shure explains:
The MV88+ offers you a whole host of creative set-up options to cover your every requirement. So, whether you want to record a vlog, capture some sounds on your safari trip, interview another creator, or even connect the MV88+ rig to your own tripod, we’ve got you covered.
We’ll get to the microphone shortly but, before we do, it is worth taking a closer look at some of the accessories included with the kit.
The Manfrotto Pixi tripod is a small tripod that offers a stable platform for shooting video.
It is small enough to take anywhere but large enough that, so long as you have a table or some other flat surface upon which to place it, you’ll have great, stable video.
Rather than a thumbscrew for loosening and tightening the ball head of the tripod, with the push of a button, you can adjust the angle of the phone once it is connected to the tripod.
I love the push button system and find it far quicker and easier to use than the traditional thumbscrews that are common to most tripods.
Also, the legs of the tripod are closed they become a comfortable handgrip so you can take video on-the-go.
The phone mount is a simple affair that extends to hold even the largest of phones. Rubber at both locations where the mount comes into contact with the phone provides a solid grip on your mobile device and protects it from damaging your prices phone. Also, I expect the rubber also provides a bit of shock mount protection when filming.
A thumbscrew lets you loosen the mount and then, once your phone is placed inside, and the mount closes around it; tightening the thumb grip locks everything into place. It is a fairly rudimentary approach, but it gets the job done. The phone mount attaches to the Manfrotto tripod using a standard 1/4” size screw. The universal size used for the screw mount means you can, if you prefer, mount your phone on a full size tripod or selfie stick.
At the top of the phone mount, there is a cold shoe into which the MV88+ mount can be affixed. The single cold shoe mount does, however, mean there is no way to attach a light to the rig. To do that you’ll need a different phone mount such as the one offered by Padcaster Verse.
The microphone itself has an all-metal construction; this is no toy!
At the rear, there is a micro USB input that works with either the micro USB-to-Lighting or micro USB-to-USB-C cable included with the kit.
The cables are long enough to work with any phone but short enough that you won’t have to struggle with a cable mess while trying to record on the go.
It’s the use of cables that makes this microphone far more flexible than its predecessor.
And, if you have a USB-A cable and Apple’S USB3 camera adapter, you can even charge your phone while the microphone is in use. If you have ever had your phone run out in the middle of a recording session, you will understand why this is such a great feature.
Monitoring made easy: To ensure real-time audio assessment, a headphone jack on the MV88+ lets you record with confidence.
Next to the micro USB input is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack so you can monitor audio as you record.
The microphone takes all of Shure’s many years of experience and packs it into a device that is small enough to take anywhere. It offers detailed stereo capture and five DSP preset modes. Using the free Shure MOTIVE Audio app makes capturing great audio a few screen taps away. Using the free Shure MOTIVE Video App yields the same for video capture. This brief promotional video from Shure explains it all:
- FREE Apps to create, record, edit, and share in seconds: The Shure MOTIV Audio and Video Apps couldn’t be easier to use. Select how you want the mic to behave, set your gain levels…and press record.
- The audio you’ve wanted: When it matters most to you, rely on Shure and the MV88+ to deliver amazing sound performance, whatever your stage or setting.
- Your everything mic: The MV88+ accentuates the power of flexibility, enabling you to transform your smartphone device into a professional-level mobile audio and video rig.
- Monitoring made easy: To ensure real-time audio assessment, a headphone jack on the MV88+ lets you record with confidence.
I was initially thrilled when I got the Shure MV88 microphone; it significantly improved the audio I could capture using my phone. As previously noted, however, there were some significant limitations that resulted in my not using as much as I expected. The fixed, short Lightning connector was not compatible with most of my phone cases and, once I upgraded to the iPad Pro and its USB-C connector, I could no longer use it with my iPad. By employing a removable cable to connect the microphone to the capture device, the MV88+ solves both those issues. Add in the fact that it comes as part of a complete kit, and the Shure MV88+ should be the choice of any prosumer looking to capture better audio and video with their mobile device. The MV88+ is likely a good solution for professionals, too.
So while the $249 price tag might give some people pause, what you get for your money is significant. The microphone works well — the apps leveraging its audio prowess, and the inclusion of so many worthwhile accessories makes it a one-stop audio and video capture system. Get the Shure MV88+ for $249; add your mobile device, and you are ready to go. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Shure MV88+ Video Kit
What I Like: Turnkey solution. Just add your capture device and get recording; Removable cables make it as close to universally compatible as you will find; Includes Lightning and USB-C cables so iOS users are completely covered; 3.5mm input lets you monitor your audio as you record; Solid metal construction; Includes Manfrotto mini-tripod; Includes phone mount
What Needs Improvement: Phone mount has just one cold shoe so you can’t mount a light along with the microphone