a man in a denim shirt with a Hollyland Lark Max lav mic

LARK MAX Wireless Microphone Review

If you need a high quality wireless lavalier mic for your mobile film making exploits, the LARK MAX is a great option. Here's my real-world review.

Getting crystal clear audio on your videos usually means hauling around lots of extra gear or spending tons of money on unprofessional audio equipment.

The Hollyland LARK MAX is a new wireless lav system that gives you near-professional audio at a consumer-friendly price.

I’ve been looking for a good wireless lav system that I can use when I’m filming on my iPhone or my mirrorless camera that doesn’t make me feel like I’m compromising either on build quality or sound quality.

The LARK MAX might just be the mic that I’ve been looking for.

I’m going to walk you through the brand new Hollyland LARK MAX so you can see if this is the right wireless lavalier microphone system for your videography.

What is the LARK MAX?

a close up of a lav mic on a shirt collar

All mic’ed up and ready to go!

  • Solid build quality
  • Magnetic attachment points allow for flexible placement
  • Transmitters have onboard recording and available safety tracks
  • Records at 48kHz in 24-bit WAV format
  • No interference during my tests
  • Clear audio even when recording outdoors in busy city environments
  • Battery life is suitable for all-day shooting
  • Easy to use
  • Transmitter lav mics are a bit heavy
  • Hot/Cold shoe mount fit is tight on some devices

The Hollyland LARK MAX is a wireless lavalier microphone system.

This means that you get a transmitter that can send audio from your subject to the receiver that is connected to your camera.

If you’ve ever had to sync audio from separate devices to your video and post-production, you’ll know how much of a hassle that can be. Getting clean audio recorded with your video is a great way to speed up your production.

The LARK MAX is also an upgrade to previous wireless lav systems from Hollyland. The Hollyand Lark M1 still has plenty of utility as a budget model, but the LARK MAX is the new contender for their best wireless lav.

So, who is this for?

The Lake MAX is squarely aimed at the prosumer and creator crowds. This mic system is a great choice for YouTube videos, filmmaking, and any project that doesn’t have the $1,000 for a professional Sony wireless lav.

Let’s take a look at the specs before I get too deep into the review.

Technical Specifications

What’s under the hood of the Hollyland LARK MAX? Here’s a peek at what’s going on in this mic and receiver combo.

LARK MAX Transmitter Dimensions Approx. 48.5mm x 30.3mm x 19.37mm

(1.9″ x 1.2″ x 0.76″)

LARK MAX Receiver Dimensions Approx. 58mm x 40.83mm x 23.17mm

(2.3″ x 1.6″ x 0.9″)

LARK MAX Charging Case Dimensions Approx. 115mm x 46mm x 63mm

(4.5″ x 1.8″ x 2.5″)

Transmission Range Max of 250 m depending on conditions and settings
Operating Frequency 2400MHz–2483.5MHz
Transmitter Operating Time Approx. 7.5 hours
Receiver Operating Time Approx. 9 hours
Transmitter onboard recording time Approx. 14 hours
Recorded Audio Format 48 kHz/24-bit WAV
Mic Polar Pattern Omnidirectional

Design and Build Quality

a close up of a protective case for a lav microphone

Did I go overboard with the testing? Maybe. Did the case survive? Yes.

The overall design and build quality of the Hollyland LARK MAX was very impressive.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the LARK MAX to feel this sturdy at this price point. This definitely doesn’t feel like a flimsy, budget lav microphone. There’s some real substance to this design.

Everything from the exterior protective case through to the individual transmitters and the receiver all feels like they were thoughtfully designed.

It’s the little details that make this so successful like the protective case having an interior pocket that can hold the Hollyland Lav Mic Pro, windscreens, and all of the cables you’ll need to run this system.

Overall, I’m very happy with the build quality on this mic. It’s a big step up from the Lark M1.

Performance and Sound Quality

a person holding a camera in front of a brick wall.

My go-to filming setup has a new mic!

Build quality is nice, but sound quality is the name of the game when it comes to microphones. If it doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t matter how clever the design was.

This is definitely not a problem for the LARK MAX.

there’s really no comparing the sound quality of the Hollyland LARK MAX with the sound quality of your cameras onboard microphone. It’s night and day in favor of the LARK MAX.

The sound quality of the Hollyland LARK MAX was honestly very close to what I can get in my home recording studio with dedicated voice-over equipment.

You can definitely use the LARK MAX to capture outstanding audio for a wide range of projects.

This microphone system was able to hold up whether I was shooting indoors or downtown. I found myself not having to rely on built-in features like noise cancellation because the quality of the audio was just that good, to begin with.

Wireless Connectivity and Range

a close up of an electronic device in a case.

Not going to lie, I’m digging the aesthetics of this mic.

The LARK MAX connects over 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. This gives you a strong connection that can handle transmitting high-quality audio.

Just to be clear, the LARK MAX does not need Wi-Fi to function, but rather it transmits its own 2.4 GHz signal between the receiver and the transmitters.

Just like the Lark M1, this is advertised to transmit up to hundreds of feet. I can’t imagine too many shooting situations where you’d need that much distance, but it’s good to have it just in case.

I tested this mic up to about 200 feet with no trouble, but after that, I honestly ran out of walking distance even though the mics showed no sign of connectivity troubles.

I also tested the distance in a city environment with plenty of physical and signal interference to get in the way of my clean audio. The Hollyland LARK MAX was able to transmit audio clearly even without a totally clear path between transmitter and receiver.

Battery Life and Power Options

a close up of a black box on the ground.

The charging case is essentially a giant AirPod case, but with more features and it doesn’t randomly eject your headphones across the room!

Battery life is another make-or-break feature when it comes to these wireless lav mic systems. If you have to stop shooting to recharge all the time, then you might as well be just using wired mics.

In all of my testing of the Hollyland LARK MAX, I was pretty much unable to run out the battery under any real test.

Let’s take the transmitter for example. It has roughly 7 hours of battery life and can be charged twice with the charging case.

This means you get about 25 hours of use out of a fully charged kit—counting the two-hour charge time in between uses. If you’re shooting for more than 24 hours straight, then you might need more help than any one lav mic can deliver.

Even if you’re going all night on a budget-conscious set, then you can just keep the charging case plugged in and keep the juice flowing.

The Hollyland LARK MAX is going to have more than enough power for almost every shoot.

Ease of Use and Setup

a person holding a camera with a brick wall in the background.

Just plug the receiver in and you should be good to go!

If you’ve ever worked with professional recording equipment, you’ll understand why sound technicians should be so respected. There’s a lot that goes into running Hollywood-level audio gear, but today I’m talking about something much more friendly for entry-level filmmakers.

The Hollyland LARK MAX is as close to plug-and-play as you can get while still maintaining this level of audio quality.

All you really need to do is plug the receiver into your camera and things should start running themselves.

I did have to manually pair the lav transmitters to the receiver on a few occasions, but that was always after juggling them in and out of the charging case throughout a shoot. No big problem in the long run.

That’s just the basics though. The Hollyland LARK MAX also has a touch-screen menu system full of options.

The settings menu is easy to navigate even if you want to start playing with the more advanced features.

Price and Value for Money

a close up of two black lav microphones on a brick wall.

The price of the Hollyland LARK MAX is reasonably priced at around $299 for the LARK MAX duo and around $199 for the LARK MAX solo. This puts the Hollyland LARK MAX right next to the Rode Go II in terms of price.

This lav mic is definitely positioned to appeal to anyone looking to make an upgrade to their audio without having to take out a loan for professional audio equipment.

The upgraded price unlocks a few features like better build quality, more recording options, and the ability to use a wired lav mic with the wireless transmitters.

After my tests, the Hollyland LARK MAX feels like a solid value for that price.

How I Tested the Lark M1

a close up of a person with a lav mic on their collar

I wanted to put the Hollyland LARK MAX through some demanding testing, so I’ve been shooting video using this mic system for my audio since it arrived in the mail.

Here’s what I’ve noticed while shooting with the LARK MAX.

a close up of a camera phone with a brick wall in the background.

The LARK MAX worked out of the box on my iPhone.

The first thing I wanted to do was test out the LARK MAX on my iPhone. Since I do a lot of video designed for social media, making sure the same would work on a smartphone seems like a good first choice.

It was about as straightforward as I experienced with the Lark M1. All I did was plug it into my lightning port and attach the receiver to the cold shoe of my Moment filmmaker cage and I was good to go.

No settings, no configuration, just filmmaking with better audio.

a person holding a camera with a brick wall in the background.

You do have to adjust one setting to make the most of this mic on your camera, but that’s just an excuse to finally get to know your camera’s video settings.

I also shoot video on my Sony, so I wanted to test the Hollyland LARK MAX there too.

This was just about as straightforward as attaching the LARK MAX to my iPhone, but there was one setting that I needed to change.

You do need to lower the mic sensitivity in the Sony camera menu in order to get the most out of the Hollyland LARK MAX. According to the manual, this is true for all brands of digital camera whether you’re shooting Sony, Canon, or Nikon.

Adjusting one setting to get better audio didn’t seem like too bad of a trade-off to me.

a man in a denim shirt is wearing a lav mic on his shirt

Magnets—How do they work? As another way to affix your lav mic, that’s how!

The Hollyland LARK MAX also comes with a little magnetic clasp that you can connect to just about anything.

I got the most use out of the magnet by connecting this lav mic to my shirt or jacket using the magnet rather than the clasp itself. It just gives you more options for connecting this microphone.

I was also able to use the magnets whenever I wanted to connect this microphone to a prop or a piece of set dressing. It’s not a common situation, but it’s great to know that I have the extra utility for when I need it.

You can also use the magnet to connect this lav to a pendant necklace if your subject doesn’t have a shirt and you need a quick fix that doesn’t involve tape!

a man with a lav mic is looking at his cell phone.

The Lav Mic Pro is an available accessory from Hollyland that’s well worth the purchase.

The Lav Pro is a wired extension of the transmitter. These are available from Hollyland and I think they’re an overall valuable part of the kit.

The wired extension of the lav mic gives you plenty of extra options for your mic placement. I kept the cord on the outside of my shirt for this picture so you can see it, but if I ran that cord underneath my shirt you’d hardly know I had a lav mic on at all.

It’s great to know that I can connect one of these wired lav mics to the transmitter. I’m always trying to hide my lav mic while I’m shooting and this makes it so much easier.

I did notice that the audio quality was a bit quieter when using the Lav Mic Pro, but that’s pretty easy to fix in post.

a man holding a glowing pumpkin in his hands.

The trick is where I’ve hidden the mic.

I wouldn’t be doing a lot of mic review if I didn’t try to hide it somewhere in an unconventional shot. There are times where you’re going to need to conceal your lav mic either in the set or on a prop.

This is even more important if you’re shooting on a budget and you can’t afford to mic up everyone that the audience is going to need to hear.

I decided to make some extra use of the included magnet to connect the lav mic to a Halloween trick-or-treating pale.

a person holding a glowing pumpkin in their hands.

The treat is that the audio quality was still great even when recording off of a jack-o-lantern!

No tape, no strings, and only a few tricks. All I had to do was place the magnet on the inside of this prop and the lav mic on the outside.

I was able to get great audio quality even with a variety of odd mic placements.

The Hollyland LARK MAX is definitely a great choice if you’re going to be shooting in unique circumstances and you need something that can hold up to a subject that’s moving around.

Alternatives to the LARK MAX

The Hollyland LARK MAX isn’t your only option when it comes to a wireless lavalier microphone. In fact, there are more options than ever in this price range.

Here are a few alternatives that might want to consider.

  • Rode Wireless Go II—The biggest competition for the LARK MAX. The Go II doesn’t have the convenient charging case, but this one is going to come down to what you need as an artist.
  • Joby Wavo Air—A good budget alternative that has a much shorter battery life and no charging case.
  • DJI Wireless Mic Kit—More expensive and with shorter battery life, but some might enjoy the DJI branding and different take on design philosophy.
  • Sarmonic UwMic9—Designed to look and feel like the wireless lavs you see on a Hollywood set. The price is similar, but they are much bulkier and harder to use.

LARK MAX vs M1 Comparison

The LARK MAX is easily the better of the two. The audio quality is superior, the batteries last longer, and it gives you more options as a creative.

So, does the Lark M1 have any points in its favor?

Honestly, it’s lighter and the cost is noticeably lower. If you want to maximize your dollar and weight savings, go with the M1.

The audio quality isn’t that far off and it’s still a major upgrade over that built-in mic sound.

If you’re really curious, check out my review of the Hollyland Lark M1.


Does the LARK MAX Work With Smartphones?

The LARK MAX works with Android and iOS devices. You will need to connect your LARK MAX to either the lightning, USB-C, or microphone aux port depending on the type of device that you won.

Will the LARK MAX Work With My Camera?

The LARK MAX should work with nearly any digital video camera. If your camera can take an audio input, the LARK MAX should be able to connect to your device.

How do I access the LARK MAX onboard Storage?

You can access the onboard audio storage for the LARK MAX transmitters by plugging them into your computer through their USB-C port. The audio is stored as a WAV file on the transmitter. It works just like a USB drive.

LARK MAX Review | Conclusion

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the Hollyland LARK MAX. It’s definitely going to replace the Lark M1 as the go-to microphone in my mobile shooting kit.

I’d love to hear your experiences with this microphone or if you have any questions about it down in the comments below.

I’m always here to answer your questions about audio, video, and the wide world of photography and film making.

Ashley is a photographer, writer, and film critic. When Ashley’s not writing essays on photography, cinema, and theory, he’s out taking pictures with retro film cameras.



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