CES 2019: Start Creating with the Shure MV88+ Video Kit


People will forgive slightly soft video and lower resolution. What they will not forgive is terrible audio. Shure recognizes the importance of sound and wants to make life a whole lot easier on today’s creators with the launch of the MV88+ Video Kit for smartphones at CES 2019. This compact microphone builds upon the design of its predecessor to create a more open system, add features, and bundle-in accessories so users can go out and start recording.

The Rundown

There is an obvious audience for this setup: vloggers and YouTubers, as well as podcasters and journalists, or anyone who can benefit from a small smartphone-oriented setup. We even brought one along to try out and help with some of our CES coverage as a nice addition to our writing kit, to supplement our articles when possible. It didn’t take up much space, and the roll-up neoprene case made it easy to travel with.

The mic itself is a stereo condenser, making it possible to record different pickup patterns and select them in the app. As you would expect from Shure, the build quality is top notch, and what Shure likes to describe as “military grade.” You can control stereo width, work as a mono cardioid, use a mono bidirectional, and even set it to raw mid-side, all from within its accompanying app. A couple of preset buttons will help audio novices get started, and help you get set up quickly for speech, singing, flat, acoustic instruments, and loud sources. The app has an awesome set of additional features, including a limiter, compressor with multiple strength settings, a high pass filter for 75 and 150 Hz, a left- and right-channel swap, and a five-band equalizer. You can take some serious control over how your audio sounds using the MOTIV app, now available for iOS and select Android devices. Once you have the settings to your liking, you can use other apps with the mic’s full functionality.

There is another app for videographers, the MOTIV Video, which adds video recording to your sound setup. You can choose from many settings, though this will obviously be guided by your phone’s capabilities, and make sure you are creating footage that is practically ready to publish. This will also be available for iOS and Android, though at launch, the MV88+ is officially compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9 series of smartphones, and the Android Video app is still in a Public Beta stage.

Physically, the MV88+ is very small. It comes with a shoe-mount clip, a smartphone holder, a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod, and USB-C and Lightning cables. This makes it easy to work with the phone and mic as a single unit. Since many phones are now forgoing a dedicated headphone/mic jack in favor of a single port, the MV88+ makes sure you can still monitor audio by including its own headphone jack, as well as the ability to control the monitoring mode.

Going Hands-On

As I wrote above, we happened to have one on hand for our trip to CES, and testing the device at the show made it truly shine. The entire setup is about the size of a camera lens so, for everyday carry, it in no way weighs my pack down. It just works, too, meaning you take it out of the case and plug it in for a seamless operating experience. The phone connection provides the power, so batteries or recharging are two fewer things I need to worry about.

Of course, the real test is how it sounds, and the MV88+ does not disappoint. Shure is a legendary brand for all sorts of audio products, and its previous Lightning-dedicated mic was a high performer. This version is the best yet and adds a bit more polish to the sound, with a completely redesigned DSP. It is one of, if not the, best smartphone microphone I have had the pleasure of using. The added headphone jack is a huge bonus, as well. Monitoring is an extremely important and unfortunately oft forgotten part of a video kit, but levels can’t tell you everything.

The cables are well and simply managed by a small part on the back of the smartphone holder, a nice touch that keeps them out of the way of your camera and the screen. It’s the little things that make me happy. Manfrotto’s tripod is also just right. You can set it up for tabletop shooting, for selfies, and even as just a handheld grip for walking around. Another part of the bundle is a simple windscreen, for those moments where it is helpful.

For our purposes, this was great for capturing some quick handheld video, and we could record high-quality voice-overs separately. On occasion, we could use it for A roll without needing to mic everyone up each time. The shotgun mode was certainly the most helpful, and surprisingly effective, with the loud room noise that overwhelms trade shows. It’s not perfect of course—a dedicated mic or lavalier would be best for isolating audio, but, for such a compact setup, I was impressed.

The MV88+ Video Kit is one of the best ways to get started in video creation, or if you want a secondary or supplementary kit for on-the-go recording.

Is this the type of kit you have wanted to start making your own videos? Make sure to leave a comment below, stay tuned for more coverage of CES 2019, and you may find some video samples created with the help of the MV88+ Video Kit.