Today I was pleased to find the Comica CVM-WM100 Plus 48 Channel UHF Wireless Dual Lav Mic System sitting on my desk. We use these kinds of kits every year while running around the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show and other similar conventions and I’m really looking forward to putting it through the paces! Let’s take a deeper look:
The retail box for the Comica CVM-WM100 Lav kit is about the size of a laptop computer. On the front panel you’ll see a great photo of the included transmitters and single receiver on the front and the usual specifications chart on the back panel along with a clear description of the main features. Inside you will find a very well apportioned grey tweed carrying case. The Case has a larger foam filled compartment which holds the two Comica CVM-WM100 Transmitters and the single receiver. Inside a smaller zipped front pocket you’ll find two good-sized mesh pockets containing two lavalier microphones on cables with wind screens, 3 belt clips, 1 camera mount, a 3.5 mm – XLR audio output cable, a 3.5mm – 3.5mm audio output cable, a USB power cable for external power sources, the very necessary instruction manual, a contact card, and the warranty card. The nice people at Comica also included two very puffy wind muffs which while they might be very effective in windy conditions outdoors, they are very large and fluffy and look a bit silly when attached to the microphones on a subject. Think: stuffed animal. Attach each belt clip to the Transmitters, and the camera mount to the receiver for most purposes. The CVM-WM100 Lav kit is intended to be used with a video camera, DSLR, or even your smartphone if you are using it for remote shoots or video interviews. The 3.5mm-3.5mm cable is intended to connect from the receiver directly to your camera device and is perfect for smartphone or DSLR purposes. If you are using a Video camera, many of the higher level professional hand-held cameras use the XLR input. All of the connections are gold-plated except the XLR. All of the jacks have threaded collars where they connect to the Comica transmitters and receiver including the microphones, and the audio output jacks. The single camera mount allows you to connect the Comica CVM-WM100 Lav kit directly to the “shoe” on top of your camera and used two threaded screw plates to ensure the connection is tight at the receiver side and the camera side. Let’s dig deeper:
The Comica CVM-WM100 Lav kit is intended to be used in busy heavy RF environments. Each transmitter and receiver has a 48 channel UHF capability. This is an entry-level set with a lot of sophistication at an entry-level price. Other similar sets that we have used like Saramonic can use up to 96 channels which allows more flexibility in busy RF environments like a convention floor or press conference. Comica claims a 100m working range between transmitters and receivers and the dual channel receiver has a 3.5mm jack for real-time monitoring using headphones or earbuds. There are 16 levels of adjusted gain control, a mute mode, and a low-cut filter available on each Transmitter. All 3 devices in the Comica CVM-WM100 lav kit take 2 AA batteries to operate or can be used with an external USB power supply if desired. Each device has a brightly lit easy to read LCD display screen and the controls are simple and easy to operate on the fly. The system operates in the 568-592 MHz range so they won’t be affected by the recent FCC wireless microphone frequency rules. The effective operation time using Procell AA batteries or equivalent should be around 6 hours. The included lavalier microphones are easy to attach to any person or even a musical instrument if desired and include foam wind screens as well and the previously mentioned fuzzy wind muffs. It took only a few seconds to slide in some AA batteries and set up the system for testing. Let’s dig deeper:
Testing, 1, 2, 3
I started the setup process by attaching the Camera mount to the receiver, then using the 3.5mm audio output cable I connected the Comica WM-100 Plus lav kit output to my DSLR audio input. Note: some camera bodies have terrible sounding audio input pre-amps and you might need to add an audio interface of some sort between the receiver and your DSLR. I tested the CVM-WM100 Plus Lav Kit using my Canon SL1 knowing that the audio input pre-amps are clean and good sounding on that particular camera. I also connected a pair of flat response headphones into the Monitor jack on the Comica -WM100 Plus receiver so I could hear in real time what was being sent and recorded on the camera. The two 48 channel transmitters have dual inputs using 3.5mm jacks. One is for the microphone, and the other is line level for broadcasting anything from Mp3 players, musical instruments, or even a small portable mixing board to the Comica WM-100 Plus receiver. That’s a great feature which allows for great flexibility while out on a shoot and can really help make an interview work out. Using the + – controls on the transmitters and receiver to operate and use the nested menus. Then use the Set button to adjust settings. One Transmitter is factory assigned to channel A and the other is channel B but that can be changed in the group settings. You can quickly scroll through the major settings of Group, Low cut filter, RF power level, Muting, backlight, and factory reset to adjust as needed. The power button on these Comica transmitters is also assignable as the mute button during use, and that’s also a factory default setting. The Set button is also used to access the frequency and channels for the radios: If you use one transmitter the signal is automatically mono, when using two you can switch between a mono combined signal or L/R stereo with each Comica WM-100 Plus transmitter on the left or right channel. There is an IR Sync function so one can easily pair the transmitter with the receiver if you have to manually adjust the Frequency on one of the transmitters on the fly because of RF interference in the environment. I took my time to understand all of the menu functions and the abilities of these entry-level units and compare them to similar lav kits we’ve used in the past. To adjust input volume range on the transmitters you use the menu on the receiver by group A or group B settings. The Comica Plus lav kit has 16 different input ranges so it’s really easy to dial in a powerful signal without noticeable distortion. If your video camera or DSLR doesn’t have onboard line in level control, you will have to adjust on the device and play with levels, or use an audio interface for fine control of audio. The instruction booklet is clearly written and well illustrated allowing one to easily adjust any of the settings for either the Comica WM-100 Plus transmitters or receiver.
Bang for the Buck
I spent a lot of time recording and playing back video files using the Comica WM-100 Plus Lav Kit with my Canon SL-1. I found the system to be flexible and powerful for such an affordable set of wireless transmitter/receiver and the included lavalier microphones worked well and sounded good. The 568- 591 MHz frequency range won’t leave you hurting with the upcoming FCC rules, and they worked well within the stated 100 m range. The other packs we have used professionally have similar controls, with only a few detail differences: 96 channels versus 48 channels of operation, plastic bodies instead of metal bodies for the WM-100 transmitters and receiver. That being said, the ability to not only use the included microphone but to also be able to transmit from mixing boards, mp3 players, smartphones is a great feature on an entry-level lav kit. The Battery life is approximately that 6 hours as claimed using Procell AA batteries. The Comica WM-100 Plus lav kit is a great entry-level set for the beginning broadcast service, as well as useful for remote shoots for the seasoned professional. 9 out of 10, thanks Comica for making my weekend!
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Wireless Frequency: 568~592MHz
- Endurance time: 6H
- Signal / Noise: >65dB
- Antenna: 1/4 Wavelength Wire Antenna
- External Power : Micro USB 5V/1A
- Audio Input Socket: 3.5mm Socket
- Battery: AA batteries×2pcs
- Sound Delay: <20ms
- Audio Distortion : <0.5%
Packing List :
- 3.5mm Mic Audio Input Cable
- 3.5mm-3.5mm Audio Output Cable ×1
- 3.5mm-XLR Audio Output Cable ×1
- Belt Clip ×3
- Camera mount ×1
- Wind Muff ×2
- USB power input cable ×1
- Portable Bag ×1
- User Manual ×1
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How does recording in one receiver works ? Does two microphone’s are separated on left and right channels on the recorder/camera ?
Cheers and good review
GORAZD, it can do both. You can switch between stereo separation or mono blend.