So, with such a huge price differential, what does the Lark M1 give you? What might be missing?
The packaging idea of the Lark M1 is very similar to the DJI Mic – and indeed, just about every pair of wireless earbuds you can buy these days. A container with a flip up lid acts as both a carry case and a charging station. The Lark M1 has a USB-C slot on the base for this purpose. I do prefer the DJI version with the USB slot on the front though.
With the Lark M1 you get two mics and a single receiver, and these are pre-paired at the factory, but if the pairing is lost then they can be re-paired if needed.
The mics have a simple spring-loaded clip to attach to a collar or shirt pocket for example, and controls are minimal with an on/off switch and a multi-function button used to activate pairing and turn on or off noise cancelling.
The mic is located on the front (a piece of translucent blue tape is over it initially and needs to be removed which caught me out initially) and you also get a custom fitted noise reduction fluffy.
The receiver us not much bigger than the mics and has a combination spring loaded clip / cold shoe mount. Again controls are minimal. A pairing button also doubles up as a volume up button and a mode switch backs up as a volume down button. There is a separate on/off button, a 3.5mm interface port and an LED indicator.
The mode button is used to switch the receiver between camera mode and phone mode. In camera mode it can be set to either stereo or mono. The mode button is also used to change the gain on the receiver. Out of the box, this is set to medium but can be switched up or down (high/low).
To connect the receiver to the camera or smartphone, the system comes with all the appropriate cables (3.5mm, USB-C and Lightning).
If you are using a Sony, Canon or Fujitsu camera, the manual also gives you useful information on what settings on the camera to use.
The important specifications you need to know (with the equivalent DJI Mic figures in brackets) are:
- Transmission Range 200 metres (250 metres)
- Weight: RX 17.5g (24.9) TX: 11.8g (30g)
- Runtime: 8 Hours (5.5 Hours)
- Charging case maximum recharges: 2 (1.8)
- Unit Charging Time: TX 90 mins (70 mins) RX 90 mins (70 mins)
- Max Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 110dB (114db)
If I was hard pressed, I would say the DJI system has the better audio. It seems cleaner and crisper to me in a very short test. I’ll do a broader one later and post the results here.
But can I hear $300 worth of difference? Short answer is no.
The Hollyland Lark M1 is, at the price, excellent. In comparison to the DJI (and similarly the RØDE Wireless Go II) it doesn’t have the same feature set such as an LCD control panel, or the party trick of the DJI unit of the transmitters also recording internally, but if all you want is a budget twin wireless kit that works easily and gives great audio recordings, at $195 the Hollyland Lark M1 is quite remarkable.