The 8 Best Lavalier Microphones
The 8 Best Lavalier Microphones
Often, the lavalier mic is worn on the lapel, or the collar, of its user. A cord is then securely hidden beneath the shirt and wound around to the back of the speaker’s pants, where there might sit a “transmitter.” This transmitter is many times wireless and sends an electrical frequency to either a computer or an app, a camera or a speaker.
Other times, depending upon the intended purpose of the audio recording, the lavalier microphone will be corded, in which case the mic is attached at the collar, fastened beneath the clothes, and hidden behind furniture and other items until the other end reaches its final destination in a camera, a smart device, or another such speaker or recording device.
You’ve seen them worn on newscasters and reality TV stars. But with the emergence of so many individuals into the field of “influencing,” on YouTube videos and Instagram, vlogging, the widespread ability to shoot video film–and the flourishing demand–there is a booming market for these marvels of “lapel” ingenuity.
Best Lavalier Microphones
If you’re looking to hide the fact that you are wearing any gear, this is one of the best out there in terms of how discreet the Countryman is. It comes with protective caps in a few different colors and is–no joke–as small as a hairpin. It can be hidden in clothing, in layers of hair, or glued to an actor’s face for theater or film and still produce high-quality sound. The diameter of the cable is only .1 inch, so this thing really is tiny.
The Countryman boasts a +0dB standard gain and comes with a windscreen in case there is a need for it. One of the best features of this mic is that, unlike may other lavalier microphones, it is omnidirectional. This means it can be maneuvered to function in any position you place it in. Others often have a shape the mic is set into, or an upward-facing, 180º mic.
This handy little piece of riggin’ is formatted to be used with Sennheiser transmitter models Evolution Series EW100 (G2/G3), EW300 (G2/G3), EW500 (G2/G3), and SK 1093, and you can also purchase them to go with the Lectrosonic transmitters. It comes with three of the protective caps, the windscreen, and a 3.5 mm locking connector. This can also be used with a wireless pack if that’s what suits your needs.
Sennheiser ME 2 Omni-directional Lavalier EW Microphone
Quality, quality, quality. The Sennheiser ME 2 is top-notch among techies for its versatility, its ability to glean sound from any and all directions, and it’s high-range frequency. Sennheiser as a brand is revered among The Greats, and this mic holds true to its name. Discreet, functional, and as stated above: high quality.
This mic is what is packaged with the wireless Sennheiser system, but can be purchased solo as well. With a frequency range at 30 to 20kHz and condenser capsule, the Sennheiser lavalier microphone is going to be picking up all of that bass sound with excellent clarity and a strong signal.
The 3.5 mm jack has a locking mechanism to keep everything in place and has a standalone operating voltage of 7.5 V. If you’re looking for a high-end mic that will pick up all the details your old microphone left behind, you’ve found it here with this Sennheiser lavalier.
Movo Professional Lavalier Lapel Clip-on Interview Podcast Microphone
This product doesn’t take expensive camera equipment, transmitters, or a production team to get rolling. It’s on the list for those of you who are proud users of iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Android Smartphones, Tablets, and are looking to produce a podcast or a YouTube channel–maybe you’re writing a book and recording interviews? There are many uses for this equipment, so don’t shy away if I didn’t list your specific specialty here.
Movo knocked it out of the park when they went for the universal smart-device aspect on this lavalier. It comes with two lav mics, a headphone jack for monitoring audio in live time on your device, a carrying pouch, four foam windscreens, and eight feet of cable.
- Sensitivity: -30 dB +/- 3 dB (0 dB = 1 V/Pa @ 1 kHz)
- Impedance: 1 kΩ +/-30% @ 1 kHz
- Signal/Noise Ratio: 74dB SPL
There aren’t many people on the planet who couldn’t operate this system, and for that, the Movo slides onto this list as one of the top 8 lavalier microphones.
A step up in the quality department, RØDE is a brand we know and trust. The SmartLav+ is a professional-grade lavalier microphone you can carry into battle with you! The cord is reinforced with Kevlar so you don’t fray or snap, and the foam pop shield is going to both block the nasty wind noise and those pesky vocal plosives you get when recording with lavs–you know, the hard ‘p,’ ‘b,’ or ‘t’ sounds.
The SmartLav+ is designed to work in conjunction with your iPhone or other smartphones with the RØDE Rec app–available for iOS (don’t worry if you’re an Android user, you can use this microphone with any recording app you’d like). That being said, you definitely are not restricted to smartphone usage with this mic, so for versatility, the SmartLav+ gets an A+. Check out the specs below, as they speak for themselves:
- Frequency Range: 60Hz – 18kHz
- Output Impedance: 3Ω
- Maximum SPL: 110dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
- Maximum Output Level: 189.0mV
- Sensitivity: -35.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (17.80mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
Audio Technica AT829CW Lavalier Microphone for AT UniPak
Clear. Crisp. Sensitive. Audio Technica stepped up their game with this model lavalier microphone, which has a clip that is set in place and is specially tailored for those who will be wearing it on their shirt collars. Excellent for speeches, clergy, theater performances, and presentations, this mic is as accurate in the details as it is easy to look at–that is, if you can see it at all.
Audio Technica’s 829CW mic comes equipped with a windscreen and has a cardioid polar pattern, which is going to serve you better if you’re in a large room with a lot of background noise. It picks up more of the desired sounds towards the front of the mic and fewer sounds towards the back of it, meaning it will reduce the amount of ambient noise it picks up compared to the omnidirectional mics.
Condenser mic, windscreen, and lapel clip are all connected to a permanently-fixed 55-inch cable intended for use with the Audio-Technica UniPak body-pack transmitters. This is a wireless system, which is ideal for these types of functions–the talent speaks into the microphone, sound travels to the transmitter, is sent to speakers, recording devices, etc.
If you’re talking electronics with a techie, you can’t ever skip over the Sony variations, am I right? The ECM-44 is Sony’s wired, omnidirectional lavalier electret condenser microphone crafted with interviews and vlogging in mind. Did I say wired? Yes, it’s wired, so don’t choose this if your aim is to be extra-mobile; however, a 10-foot cord does allow for a lot of wiggle room, as well as the ability to hide your lines beneath clothes, behind chairs, and out of sight.
What is also nice about this lavalier microphone is that you can plug-and-go, just pop it right into a camera equipped with an XLR input and you’re good to go. Additionally, the ECM-44 is powered with simple AA batteries, so no need to buy multiple batteries at an extravagant price that die repeatedly anyways. Just keep a few extras on-hand if you think you’ll need them, and you’re always on the up-and-up!
This bad boy comes with two clips, 10-foot cable, XLR capsule, windscreen, and hours of recording ahead!
Movo LV-6 Pro Grade Omnidirectional and Cardioid XLR Lavalier Condenser Microphone Set
Movo-over, Sony, Movo is back! This mean machine is included as a set, because, well, it’s the best of all things. Not only is this a two-for-one deal, but it packs the variety and versatility that every professional needs.
Not every audio situation is created equal: loud bystanders, galeforce winds, hoots, hollers, applause, silence save for the fricatives and plosives of the talent’s own lips and tongue. This set includes two top-notch Movo lavalier mics: one omnidirectional polar pattern, which is optimal for low distortion situations and boasts a wide dynamic range; and one cardioid polar pattern which comes in handy with those rowdy folks in the background that just won’t “hush.”
The set features an XLR connector with the standard 3 pins and throw away your batteries altogether, folks! She operates on +48V Phantom Power and comes with a 6-foot cord. It also includes lapel clips for added security and two foam windscreens to enhance the integrity of the sound the mic captures.
- Frequency Response: 35-18KHz +/-3dB
- Max SPL: 120 dB
- Sensitivity: -38dB +/-3dB / 0dB=1V/Pa, 1kHz
- Output Impedance: 2000 ohms
Saramonic Dual Wireless VHF Lavalier Microphone Bundle with 2 Transmitters, 2 Receivers and Audio Mixer for DSLR Cameras
If your medium is a DSLR Camera, do I have a goody for you! Saramonic is an excellent choice in lav mic, particular if you don’t want to go all-in for a Sennheiser. Plus, these are ultra-lightweight and easy to use.
The bundle includes two of everything: two lav mics, two receivers, and two bodypack transmitters. The 190-foot range is almost unbeatable anywhere on the market, and sound guys are fist-pumping about the headphone monitoring jack that is equipped with this set. They exist on others, as well, but not across the board, so if you like to listen in real-time, this is an absolute plus.
Having a physical audio mixer is a treat when you like to adjust your sound live for optimum editing efficiency. If you are looking to shoot movies, look no further than the Saramonic Dual Wireless VHF Lav Mic Bundle (pssst, it is also covered top-to-bottom by a 1-Year Warranty).
We have come a long way from the days when movies came across the silver screen soundless, when our only hope for sound during an event was a set of piping lungs on a leading lady or a live orchestra cranking out tunes for the crowd. Today, sound is all around us. It radiates through our walls where we live in the cities and infiltrates our sleep.
This is not always a good thing when we are looking for a good microphone. If a person’s mind has a hard time blocking out the noises it wants to hear from those it doesn’t, how on earth should we expect an inanimate object to be able to subjectively choose between pitches and sounds, rejecting those which may be offensive to human ears?
With companies like Sennheiser, Movo, Sony, Saramonic, and so many others, we are moving ever-closer to attaining this goal of eliminating the cacophony. Windscreens are now standard additions to any mic set. We’ve moved from huge microphones which pick up the sweeping expanse of sound in the room to tiny lavalier mics, close enough to our talents’ faces to pick up the sound of their breath while cutting out the fly zooming past their head.
To be sure, you can’t go wrong with any of the above lav mics. They are truly on this list for a reason: they have beaten out their competitors in terms of performance, presentation, and reliability. The question is which is best-suited to fulfill your individual needs in a lav mic.