There has been a popular push to redefine what a wireless lav solution looks like. Brands like Sony, Sennheiser, and Rode have triggered this popularity with new clip-on designs that don’t necessarily require a wired lapel mic to be part of the equation. Since then, companies from all around the world have taken to the same path looking for additional ways to perfect the process. Now, you compact wireless lav solutions that are smaller, lighter, and rechargeable. One of the more recent options is the Hollyland Lark 150 Duo kit.
The Lark 150 takes on one of the most recent revisions by giving everything a rechargeable case. Similar to many of the wireless earbud options out there now that come with their own travel cases. Gone are the days of having to burn through those Duracell Procell batteries in your microphones. Now, you just have to plug them in or keep them within their cases to remain charged, potentially saving you a lot of money.
This lav kit delivers a lot of flexibility in that everything packs nicely, maintains a small profile, provides a long charge to get you through almost any day, doesn’t require you to scan for available frequencies in the area, provides a similar range to UHF solutions, and does all of this while remaining competitively priced.
Both transmitters and the one receiver are smaller than their normal UHF counterparts. The transmitters being about 1/3 (or less) of the size of a normal UHF bodypack. The receiver, about 1/2 (or less) of the size of a normal UHF receiver. They are also a very small fraction of the weight, leading to less distraction for speakers (who distract easily).
The transmitters weigh in at just 21.5 grams, and 51 grams for the receiver. Things don’t actually begin to feel normal until you factor in the weight of everything combined into the carrying case that has it’s own (larger) built-in battery. At this point, it begins to feel similar to two normal UHF bodypacks together. However, it’s still less weight than a full UHF kit (including the receiver) and you aren’t having to lug around additional battery bricks any longer. Therefore, you are saving a lot on weight, overall.
As mentioned, it is a lot like your typical wireless earbuds with a charging travel case. When you slip the units into the case, they immediately disconnect from each other and begin charging. The receiver then acts as a status display for the whole kit, giving you battery life for each unit as well as the case. Quite the clever (and incredibly user-friendly) feature.
The transmitters will last up to 4 hours while the receiver will last up to 7.5 hours. This alone is already doing better than using normal batteries. Then, you get up to 2.5 additional charges using the case. This potentially gives you up to 14hr worth of use overall (if consistently using both transmitters at the same time). This should be good enough for most situations on any given day.
The moment you take them out of the case, they begin to call home to the receiver. It takes around 3-5 seconds in our experience for it to make the connection. When it does, each pack sets to a specific color so you can tell them apart.
If you take one out but there is nothing to connect to, they will automatically power off to save battery (ie, you took the transmitter out but the receiver is still in the dock charging or is turned off).
There is only one button on the transmitter pack for the user to reach for. Holding it down will control the power state of the pack and single presses will trigger the mute function. There is nothing else to adjust on the packs.
If the wired lapel is not plugged in, the built-in microphone (seen between the LED lights and the wired lapel 3.5mm input in the image above) will automatically kick in. If you plug in the wired lapel, the built-in mic will be disabled and it will automatically switch to the wired.
The receiver shares these color values in both the LED light above each dial as well as on the screen. So you always know which mic you are working with. Of course, we will recommend labeling the mics as you can never be too careful when you might find yourself in a rush to get things set up.
It features an OLED screen that helps to make everything very crisp and easy to read. There is no guessing what is on the screen and the backlight does time out after so many seconds to save battery life.
You have a little more functionality but it remains quite user-friendly. Especially, since you do not have to play around with the frequencies (if they work in wireless-heavy environments, this could become a life-saver).
There is a single button on the side for turning the receiver on and off and a headphone jack for connecting a pair of headphones for real-time monitoring of what the receiver is getting from the TX packs.
Spinning it around, you’ll find the line-out port for connecting it to whatever device is receiving the audio for the record. The kit (normally) comes with two cables so that you have plenty of options.
You get the normal TRS to TRS 3.5mm cable for DSLR or video cameras (as well as decks, field recorders, etc) Then you (should) get a TRS to TRRS cable for smartphones and tablets that share the same port for headphones and mic (headset port). We have learned that some versions of this kit may not have the latter, so you simply have to look at the list of contents in the listing to make sure you see both cables (unless you don’t need the smartphone/tablet cable). All kits come with the normal TRS to TRS cable.
Then you have the front side of the receiver where you have two dials, each controlling one of the transmitters. Turning the dial will control the volume of that transmitter and pressing in the dial once (button) will mute or unmute that transmitter.
You can also press and hold the dial down for about 3 seconds to switch between Mono, Stereo, and “Safety Track” modes. Mono (displayed as “Mono” on the OLED screen) means that both mics will overlap onto a single mono channel between left and right. Stereo (displayed as “Stereo”) means that that mics will be separated, with the left mic being on the left channel and the right mic being on the right channel (which makes post-editing easier if you have to play with volume or cleanup of a single mic). Safety Track mode (displayed as “ST”) means that both the left and the right channel will feature both transmitters, only the right channel would be 6dB less than the left.
Both the transmitters and the receiver have built-in clips on the back, allowing you to clip them to your subject or rig. They are not removable like your normal metal wire options you normally find on UHF kits. However, we find that the width and thickness of the clip allow it to perfectly slide into a cold shoe, in case you prefer to mount your receiver to your rig in that fashion. If you don’t have any cold shoes available on your rig, you may find yourself using velcro or similar tricks for mounting.
We find that these do operate around the same distance as most UHF options. They advertise up to 100M (328 ft) between the transmitters and the receiver. This is true in a perfectly open and unobstructed situation (outside). However, your distance will drop indoors and when there are obstacles.
In our testing, thus far, the kit performs exactly how we would have expected and delivers as well as a UHF solution. Some scenarios may result in a better performance and others a relatable performance.
You can find the kit in both black and white color options. Strictly user-preference more than anything. Black blends into most situations if you are want to obey the normal rules of production. However, in some unique situations, you may run into an all-white event (or dressed speaker) where the white kit maybe your best friend for keeping things covert.
In some cases, if the budget allows for it, you may want one of each so that you are always prepared for any given scenario. Either way, both kits come with black wired lapels, so if you find yourself using the attached mic, it wouldn’t really matter which kit you go with. We also still lean toward recommending using the lapel since you’ll get better audio and the flexibility of using other mic brands as well.
The performance that this kit delivers is actually pretty formidable. Beyond entry-level and just less than an (expensive) professional setup. Meaning this kit is quite competitively priced for the performance it offers. This should lead to some pretty successful numbers for Hollyland. Not a surprise since we have tested some of their other products in the past that have also performed quite well (ie, the Hollyland Mars 400 Wireless Dual HDMI Video Transmission System).
The audio is a little bright coming from the mics, which means you will likely soften some of those higher frequencies in post-edit, but it isn’t bad. They may want to tweak it in future firmware updates to make the higher frequencies a tad less aggressive. Just a tad though. There is very little low-end, which you usually spend most of your time filtering out anyway. However, for deeper voices, it does become a lot brighter, taking away from the normal pattern of the voice.
User-friendliness? This kit is absolutely friendly. Perfect for beginners and intermediate users and still very usable for professionals as well (although professionals tend to prefer a little more customization control).
Could we improve on this? Absolutely. It would be nice to have the ability to connect it to the PC and use software to adjust some deeper functionality. Maybe some simple EQ controls (maybe the ability to switch between 3 profiles of sound for example) as some may prefer the bright crisp audio these mics offer and some might prefer it to be a tad less bright or may prefer to bring in a very light amount of lows to help capture those warmer voices with more naturally. Or the ability to adjust things like OELD screen timeout in seconds and other personal preferences one may want. If the units can connect via USB for firmware updates, why not throw in some added flexibility for more professional users while you are at it. The lack of this doesn’t hurt the score of the product though. It simply adds a little light on where the company may or could possibly go in the future with newer generations.
We would be quite fascinated if Hollyland decided to expand on this with a more premium kit in the future for serious professionals.
User Manual: Click here
- TX: 3.5mm Audio Input Port
- Charging/Upgrading Contacts
- RX: 3.5mm TRS Output Interface
- 3.5mm Headset Interface
- Charging/Upgrading Contacts
- Charging Case: USB Type-C Interface
Frequency Bandwidth: 2.4GHz AFH
- Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
Reference Audio Input Level: -65 dBV
Maximum Input Sound Pressure Level: 100d8 SPL (1KHz@1m)
Dynamic Range: 100 dBA
Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
Audio Output Level Change Range: 21-State: 45d8
- TX: 200mAh (0.76Wh)
- RX: 530mAh (1.96Wh)
- Charging Case: 3500mAh (12.7Wh)
- TX: About 4h
- RX: About 7.5h
- Charging Case: About 2.5 times (Charge 2 TX and 1 RX at the Same Time in Full Charged States)
- TX: About 45 minutes
- RX: About 65 minutes
- Charging Case: About 2.5h
Firmware Upgrade Method: PC
- TX: (L*W*H) 37*37*17.5mm
- RX: (L *W*H) 67* 41 *20 .5mm
- Charging Case: (L *W* H) 121 *61 *43.5mm
- TX: 20.5g
- RX: 51g
- Charging Case: 227.5g
Co-Authors: James H.
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