- Clear and crisp audio in almost any scenario
- Magnetic attachments allow more freedom where to use the transmitters
- Eye-catching touch screens allow for showing brand logos in addition to recording information
- Supports both real-time streaming and on-board recording
- Extra strong magnets can easily pinch the skin if not careful
With plenty of focus being lavished on cameras, optics, and image sensors, you’d almost think that all we have on our heads are eyes. While the visual quality of content is definitely important, it’s also easy to demonstrate how poor or even no audio can completely ruin an experience. Audio recording equipment, particularly microphones, sometimes comes as an afterthought, a decision that filmmakers and creators often immediately regret. Finding the right mic can be a daunting experience, especially when you’re forced to choose between small lavaliers with discrete designs but barely passable recording and large mics with studio quality but distracting sizes. The Saramonic BlinkMe B2 promises to save you from that dilemma with the promise of a small yet distinctive design and unbeatable audio recording, so we naturally had to put it through the test to see how it measures up to real-world use.
If you were expecting a small clip or some small rectangular box, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it isn’t the case at all. The entire Saramonic BlinkMe B2 system comes in a rather unique package that is closer to some hi-tech gadget than what you’d normally see in wireless microphones. When joined together, the three parts look like a short square box with two smaller discs at the top and the bottom. You’ll probably be too focused on production to actually appreciate how distinctive the BlinkMe B2 looks, but it definitely puts the product a level higher than its peers.
The wireless mic’s personality, however, really shines the moment you use it, particularly when you separate these three pieces. You’ll immediately discover that they aren’t held down by flimsy locking mechanisms that get in the way but only by the sheer power of very strong magnets. These make it easy to remove the transmitters from the receiver base while still holding them securely when not in use or when charging. Once you pull off the transmitters, however, you immediately see the most visible feature that makes the BlinkMe B2 extra special.
Both transmitters have circular touch screens covering their faces, making them look like smartwatches without straps. In fact, you operate them exactly like smartwatches, swiping and tapping through controls and options. There are, of course, also physical buttons on the side that, unsurprisingly, might also remind you of smartwatch buttons. This is more than just an embellishment, though. While it’s definitely dandy to see the mic’s gain levels from a distance as you record an interview, its real value shines when you realize that you can actually customize what’s shown on the screen.
In essence, you can upload your studio’s logo or any other graphic (that fits a circle area) from the Saramonic mobile app to the transmitters and have it always on display while shooting. Considering how conspicuous this disc-shaped mic will be on your chest, it’s a great opportunity to do some subtle advertising. Conversely, that also means that the BlinkMe B2 transmitter will always be visible, though not everyone will actually realize that it’s a mic and presume it’s just some sort of fancy LCD badge.
Saramonic’s use of magnets and touch screens isn’t just for show. They actually make the BlinkMe B2 one of the easiest wireless microphones to use. Need to start recording almost immediately? Simply pop off the transmitters. Need to charge one of the little pucks? Just have them snap back onto the top of the receiver. And since the transmitters can record audio on their own, you don’t even have to worry if you accidentally left the cables that would connect the receiver to a camera. It’s as simple as that.
Operating the three pieces themselves is a piece of cake thanks to the touch screens, though there are also physical buttons for the most important actions you need to have quick access to. What actions would those be? Actually, you get to decide that since you can customize what each button does through the Saramonic mobile app. The distinctive yellow button on the transmitters, however, has a single function, and that’s to toggle Noise Reduction on or off. That color might seem garish, but you won’t miss it even in a dark environment.
The magnets on the transmitters aren’t just a one-trick pony. Thanks to this design, you can easily stick the transmitters anywhere on a shirt, not just the edges. The package comes with four magnetic attachments that let you sandwich clothing between these two discs, though there’s also a magnetic clip in case you do need to go old school. You can even stick it to doors, posts, and any other metallic surface if you want to keep it out of the way. One word of caution, though. The magnets are so strong that you risk pinching the skin of your finger or, worse, certain body parts if you’re not careful how you connect two pieces together.
For all its ease of use, this magnet-based design does have one drawback. To charge the transmitters, you have to attach them to the receiver, which functions as the charging station. You can’t charge them independently using some accessory, so you’ll probably want to keep tabs on their battery levels. Given how the receiver is usually mounted on top of a camera, it also means you can charge only one transmitter at a time. Then again, if you do need to charge both, you’ve probably stopped recording anyway.
If we stopped at the BlinkMe B2’s unique aesthetic, people would simply pass it off as a pretty face. Fortunately, that is definitely not the case, because Saramonic’s smartest wireless definitely punches above its weight. You get clear and usable audio recordings even when there’s some busy activity around you, as we ourselves experienced on the hectic CES 2024 floor.
Even more impressive is that neither the signal nor the quality actually drops from a distance, even with some obstacle between the transmitter and the receiver, making it an excellent tool for sports or action footage. With the transmitter’s built-in recording functionality and 8GB of storage each, you don’t even have to worry when the stream does get cut off. As a bonus, the transmitter also has a “Safety Track” that’s recording at -6dB that’s meant to buffer against clipping and distortion, ensuring you will always have usable audio no matter the condition.
With wireless mics, battery life becomes just as important as audio quality, and fortunately, the BlinkMe B2 doesn’t skimp in that area either. Of course, Saramonic’s advertised 24 hours for the receiver and 8 hours for the transmitter are a tad too generous, but even hitting 22 hours and 6 hours, respectively is already quite an accomplishment. They charge fast, too, so you can be up and running for an additional hour with just a few minutes charge.
As mentioned earlier, controlling all the pieces of the BlinkMe B2 system is as easy as pie thanks to the sensitive touch screen. The transmitters, in particular, operate almost like smartwatches, with a swipe from the top revealing quick toggles and a swipe from the bottom going back to the main screen. The only slight complication is the smaller screen on the receiver, which is better used for displaying information rather than controlling the device. All in all, the BlinkMe B2 offers an unbeatable experience, not just in the quality of audio it produces but especially in the unique features it offers.
Saramonic introduced many features in the BlinkMe B2 that you won’t find in other wireless microphone systems, and thankfully, they’re all useful and essential to delivering an excellent audio recording experience. Unfortunately, that also makes the design of the device a little bit more complicated, which also means that repairs are going to require more specialized skills and components.
Although a wireless mic such as this is expected to be able to weather different environments, the presence of screens actually puts their durability at more risk. And the use of plastics and less eco-friendly materials are present all around, though not surprising considering it’s still the status quo in consumer electronics. Hopefully, the day will come when Saramonic puts sustainability as a major bullet point on its marketing material, allowing creators to make great content while also feeling good about their positive impact on the planet’s future.
The Saramonic BlinkMe B2 is hardly a cheap kit, setting you back at about $249. There are definitely more accessible streaming mics in the market right now, with some of the popular ones just under $200. That said, those also have plenty of flaws of their own, like taking the form of a traditional mic that you need to place on a table. If you need something that can go the distance, literally, there are few that can outdo the BlinkMe B2.
The audio clarity and volume are just impressive, especially considering how crazy it always is at CES in Las Vegas. The fact that it can deliver more than just decent recordings at great distances is a huge boon for those who want to record more dramatic footage from a safe distance. Magnets make using and placing the transmitter easier and more hassle-free, and the ability to turn these recording devices into advertisements is definitely a great help for creators and studios. Even better, that price includes an entire kit, from four magnetic attachments to two magnetic clips to even a handy carrying case that lets you bring your precious equipment with security and convenience.
It’s almost too easy to take the importance of quality audio for granted until that dreaded moment when you realize you barely recorded anything intelligible. Reliable audio that you can use is even more critical for those moments that will never come to pass again, including interviews you might not be able to retake. It’s in those moments that you’ll wish you had an audio recorder you could also rely on, just like your camera or smartphone.
The Saramonic BlinkMe B2 smart wireless microphone system is definitely ready to step up to the challenge. It breaks away from mic design conventions to deliver a product that has just enough tech to deliver convenience and a unique aesthetic without overburdening the user with inessential details and options. It’s powerful, a little bit quirky, and, most importantly, reliable, delivering quality audio recordings even in the most trying conditions. Yes, it’s also a bit pricey, but it’s an investment that will pay for itself throughout the coming years of creating high-quality audiovisual content.