The Comica CVM-V30 Pro adds a welcome low-cost addition to the line up of lightweight shotgun mics designed for use by vloggers. The likes of RØDE and Sennheiser fill a big chunk of this space, but Comica has a few offerings too.
IN THE BOX
The mic is well presented in a sturdy professional retail box, clearly showing the mic through the packaging. You get the mic (3.5mm cable is attached) and a dead-cat windshield. The mic is permanently attached to its shock mount. Batteries are not included.
At the time of writing, the Comica V30 Pro sells for £60. The package is on a par with the RØDE VideoMicPro which sells for £129 on Amazon. However, if you want a dead-cat with your RØDE, you can add another £22 onto that. That puts the Comica £90 cheaper than the RØDE!
Low cost is meaningless if the Comica sounds terrible. It doesn’t. It’s not a Sennheiser MKH-416 or RØDE NTG3, but it sits happily alongside the competition. The audio is a little thin (a common problem for low-cost mics including the VideoMic range), but the output is clear, bright and low noise (unlike many camera pre-amps). It is perfectly suitable for vlogging, YouTube content on the move or even news-gathering work.
Here are a few of the main audio tech specs. You’re better off listening to a mic though so search online for an audio test.
• Frequency Range – 40Hz – 20,000Hz
• Dynamic Range – 100dB
• Max SPL – 114dB
• SNR – 78dB
Power is good news. 2 x AAA batteries last ages (quoted as 200 hours). Thankfully this is not another mic using a 9V battery. I’ve nothing against the old smoke alarm batteries, but they seem outdated, are not as common as AAA and are more expensive.
Feature-wise, the CVM-V30 Pro is relatively straightforward.
i. It has a 3-way power switch with a 10dB boost on the first position. The audio level boost solves the noisy pre-amp issue that unbelievably is still with us in 2019! In short, a louder signal from the Comica allows you to lower your mic level on-camera and reduce the hiss produced onboard.
ii. Unfortunately, the power switch is manual. It’s not automatically kicked into life by plug-in power and does not automatically turn off. I find this a problem, and I’ve left it on by mistake every time I’ve used it.
iii. The only other switch is the high-pass filter. Having this on the mic is very useful to reduce low-frequency rumble and wind noise. Standard stuff and it works well.
iv. The cable is coiled and fits neatly to most setups. It’s thin, so it doesn’t pull things around and gives way for other fittings on your camera. The bad news for me was that it’s fitted to the mic. You can’t remove it or replace it. If it breaks, your mic is useless.
v. The box claims ‘super anti-interference’, but out of all the mics I’ve used in recent years, interference has never been a problem. I’m not sure this is anything special.
vi. The shock mount looks initially like it doesn’t have enough clearance around it, but it’s quite an intelligent design and works as well as any other shock mount I’ve used (except for gear from Rycote) and is more compact than most others.
vii. The hot shoe fitting is plastic and seems a little fragile. It doesn’t need to be tough though, as the weight of the mic is so low (114g) so there’s not much force applied here. I’m glad to see it includes a 1/4″ thread to allow more flexible mounting options.
viii. The whole microphone fitting is not mounted very high. With the foam only, this is not a problem, but when using the dead-cat, you might need more clearance to avoid fur in your shot! I was using a traditional style AX53 camcorder when testing, and I had to fit an additional 2-3cm of height to get the clearance I needed. Something like a Sony a7iii would be no problem, but I reckon a Sony a6600 would have issues with compact prime lenses.
As mentioned, you also get a dead-cat windshield which fits very tightly and neatly over the permanently installed foam protection leaving only the controls and cable accessible. The dead-cat is an excellent addition as most people buying a mic of this type need this. Having a custom-made design like this is a real bonus. It’s snug and tight and blocks wind from more angles than an ill-fitting third-party product.
Windshields are generally not about no wind noise. They aim to achieve an x decibel reduction over your vocal level, so the wind noise is not destructive or distracting. That said, I found the Comica protection to work well enough without the dead-cat. The addition of the extra protection almost cleaned it up entirely.
As mentioned above, the only problem is that the hair on the dead-cat is very long and loose and can hang down into your shot. It needs regular stroking :-)
If this mic sat slightly higher off the camera (a problem for my AX53 setup where I would most likely use this mic but not my PXW-Z90 or 5DIII) and had a soft power on/off feature, it would be a perfect mic for recording out and about. I spent £200 on a VideoMicPro+ and, on the whole, this performs equally well. I’m sure there are technically small differences between them which may give RØDE the right to charge over three times the price, but when you consider the environment you’re likely to use this in, it’s perfectly adequate.
In short, if portability, weight and decent audio are essential to you and you’re on a budget, the Comica CVM-V30 Pro is certainly worth a look.