Recently, I was testing out a new configuration for my vlogging setup. I’m trying to reduce the number of battery powered devices that I have to deal with in an effort to make managing the entire thing simpler. The change that prompted this post was that I was trying to power my Rode Wireless Go receiver from an external battery pack though the USB port.
As I said, I was trying this purely to see if I could remove one more battery that I needed to manage charging. What I was trying out was to use the USB power output option of my SmallHD DP4 monitor to power Rode Wireless Go. The idea being that I’d have one fewer batteries in my stack of gear (5D mark 4, DP4, Zoom F6, and Wireless Go receiver), that I’d have to make sure was charged before I started shooting a vlog.
For the sake of completeness, my Wireless Go set is 8 months old, and I’ve used it fairly regularly, at least weekly but certainly not daily over that period. Under normal use — that is running off the internal batteries — there is no noise or other problems with the audio signal. Moreover, as far as I can tell battery life is still the advertised 7 hours, or near enough that I’ve not noticed a difference.
In fact, the good battery life of the Wireless Go system is, in part, what prompted this test. Under my use case, at least when shooting vlogs, I don’t charge the transmitters or receivers at the end of a day’s shooting. I get enough battery life, that I’ll go for a week or two of recording before the battery meters get low enough that I felt I need to top off the charge.
With all that said, what I found was that while the Wireless Go receiver was charging it produced a high pitch pulsating whine in the audio output.
Some things I tried:
- Powering the receiver from my DP4’s USB output
- Powering both the F6 and the Wireless go receiver from the same USB power supply (my computer).
- Changing the output pad (dB button) on the Wireless Go receiver.
None of these changed the result. While the Wireless Go receiver was receiving power, the whine persisted.
Moreover, it didn’t matter whether the transmitter was on and transmitting or not.
One big caveat here is that I only have one pair of Wireless Gos, so my testing of this is limited. It’s entirely possible that my units are defective, or that there have been changes in parts or something internally that eliminate the issue I’m seeing in either newer or other units.
Tl;dr: If you use Rode Wireless Go mics, you may not want to try and power them externally while you’re recording, even though they will turn on and function, due to the potential of introducing noise in the output.