Using Rode Wireless Go II on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Question

Rode Wireless Go II doesn’t work with Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Is there any way to fix this?

Answer

I’m assuming that you have Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, since you mentioned it.

I don’t have a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, I have not used Rode Wireless Go II, and I presently do not have any plan or need to use a wireless mic; however, since online content marketing (audiovisual production and publication) is one of my long-term commitments, I have decided to look into your matter—for the sake of increasing my own sound-recording knowledge and my documentation skills.

If I were having the same problem, I would use the following approach to address and hopefully resolve the problem.

Factors in recording sound on a smartphone via an external mic

Do not trust any claim that says, ‘this microphone works with any smartphone.’ While researching a way to connect an external microphone to Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, I came across too many user comments on Amazon.com and Android forums that mentioned an external microphone not working on a smartphone properly, even though the microphone producer promoted the microphone as suitable for every smartphone. A microphone producer cannot possibly test their microphone products on all smartphones, especially future smartphones. Some smartphones probably have their own input sound signal requirements; apparently, external microphones do not meet the input sound signal requirement for every smartphone.

Rode claims that Rode Wireless Go II works with every smartphone.

“The Wireless GO II features a digital audio output via USB-C, which allows you to record directly into any smartphone, tablet, or computer without the need for adaptors or other audio interfaces.” (https://www.rode.com/faq/how-do-i-connect-the-wireless-go-ii-to-a-smartphone-tablet-or-computer)

Since your Rode Wireless GO II doesn’t work on your smartphone properly, and since Rode admitted that Rode Wireless GO II doesn’t work on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, I consider the above claim (unsurprisingly) false.

I sense that the reply that Rode gave you might be dishonest. USB-C signal is digital, meaning so long as it conforms to the signal specification or requirement, it should work. However, since Samsung Galaxy S21 is a latest model released on 29 January 2021, it is entirely possible that it uses a latest USB-C input signal requirement that is not compatible with older external devices. In any case, it looks like the output signal produced by your Rode Wireless GO II does not (entirely) satisfy the input signal specification or requirement of your Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone.

While researching a way to connect an external microphone to Samsung Galaxy Note 10+, I found out that around the time when Samsung launched Galaxy Note 10+, Samsung changed external audio (mic input included) processing mechanism in some or all of their phones. Namely, as mentioned in the Android forum thread, Samsung took out analog-to-digital processing capability in some or all of their phones. As a result, the microphones that are claimed to work on all smartphones do not work on Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (and later models). I don’t know whether this design change affected external microphones with a USB-C connector, but it seems like it has.

My understanding is that in order to properly feed an external mic sound to a Samsung smartphone, the official external mic adapter or dongle from Samsung for that smartphone should be used.

Determine if your Rode Wireless Go II unit is defective or not

Connect your Rode Wireless Go II receiver to your computer via USB, and record the incoming sound using an app such as Audacity. If the sound you record on PC has “clipping, distortion, and terrible sound”, just like on your Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, then in all likely chance, your Rode Wireless Go II unit is either defective, or every Rode Wireless Go II unit produces “clipping, distortion, and terrible sound”. However, since Rode is a high-end microphone producer with a global brand reputation to protect, I don’t think Rode willingly or knowingly produces microphones that produce “clipping, distortion, and terrible sound”.

If you have another smartphone, other than Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, connect your Rode Wireless Go II receiver to the other smartphone. Record the sound and see if the recorded sound quality is ok.

If the Rode Wireless Go II sound recordings on PC and optionally on another smartphone are problematic, then your Rode Wireless Go II unit is definitely defective. Contact Rode and have it replaced.

Connect your Rode Wireless Go II analog output to your smartphone using the Samsung external mic adapter

In my view, if you are connecting an external mic to a Samsung smartphone, you should let the official Samsung external mic adapter for that phone to process or convert the incoming sound signal from the external mic.

According to the Rode Wireless Go II Quick Start Guide, the Rode Wireless Go II receiver has an analog audio socket that you can use to connect the Rode Wireless Go II receiver sound output to a sound recording device such as a video camera. According to the Rode Wireless Go II spec and datasheet, Rode Wireless Go II has a 3.5mm TRS analog output.

According to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra manual, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has an USB charger/Audio port, and no other port. The manual does not mention anything about connecting an external audio input for sound recording.

The official Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra product webpage and accessories webpage do not mention any USB-C adapter either.

Searching “adapter” at Samsung.com shows USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter.

It says on the USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter product webpage, “The Samsung USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter lets you connect devices that use a standard 3.5 mm audio plug to your USB-C devices.”

However, the Samsung USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter product compatibility webpage does not list Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra as a compatible device. As such, this adapter is not guaranteed to work on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

If your Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra came with an adapter for connecting an external analog audio output to the smartphone, I would use that. If not, I would contact Samsung to find out if there is a way to connect an analog external mic to Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra; I would specifically ask if USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter works on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, even though it is not listed in the USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter product compatibility webpage.

If you must record your videos on Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, I would get a USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter from Samsung anyway and try recording Rode Wireless Go II analog output via the USB-C Headphone Jack Adapter. If you don’t have to use Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, I would use another smartphone to record the Rode Wireless Go II output, be it USB-C or analog.

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