The best lavalier microphones in the market [Wired and wireless]
Choosing a lavalier mic can be a little tricky if you aren’t sure what it is that the different models offer and where to use them best. Whether you need one for recording videos, using your phone, podcasts or conferences, here is all you need to know about lavalier microphones and how to choose them.
Lavalier microphones have always been an invaluable tool in the arsenal of every filmmaker, sound technician, studio or live performance where conventional recording techniques are no longer feasible. They come with small clips that are used to attach them to collars, ties or other clothing. Their cord can be concealed in the clothes while they run to a transmitter or a recording device clipped to the belt.
Lavalier microphones come in two forms; wired and wireless. Wired lavalier microphones are the simplest answer to any situation as they’re basically a mic on a cable. Since they do not have complicated transmitters, batteries and interference issues like their wireless counterparts, they’re the simplest first choice especially when you are looking for the best budget lavalier mic.
1. PowerDeWise Omnidirectional Lavalier Lapel Mic
This lavalier lapel mic from PowerDeWise is a good professional level solution for many types of recording scenarios from conferences, to interviews and even outdoor recordings. It is small and compact with an omnidirectional pickup pattern allowing it a good range of placement without having to worry too much about the directionality of recorded sounds. It has good sensitivity to a wide range of sounds and the transmission is clear with less signal to noise ratio. The mic features a strong clip-on system that can be rotated to position it comfortably making it one of the best lapel mic available for interviews.
A 3.5mm jack allows it to be easily connected to a range of devices from phones, cameras, computers to sound equipment. It can also be quickly connected to the newer Apple smartphones with a 3.5mm adapter from Apple. For additional length, it also comes with a 78-inch long extensible cable which is smooth and anti-friction greatly extending the operating range of the mic.
- Excellent build quality
- Low profile design which blends in well at the placement
- Omni-directional mic ideal for use in multiple recording situations
- Plug and play and simple to use
- Some static can be experienced in recording situations
2. Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Mic
Robustly built, this omnidirectional mic by Rode ranks among the premium grade microphones available in the market. It is exceptionally engineered to provide clear signals essential in industries such as television, studio broadcasts, and filmmaking. It is also easy to use by anyone as it features a 3.5mm TRRS jack that goes with most devices such as Smartphones, cameras, and computers. Users of Apple devices can also enjoy the benefits of the RODE Rec app which offers a range of equalizer settings suited for all kinds of recording situations.
The mic is also rugged in construction and can take rough use of outdoor filming and recording events thanks to its tough reinforced Kevlar cord. It also has a sensate condenser capsule capable of full-range response and a foam shield to eliminate wind and movement noises.
- Premium grade build quality matched only by a few
- Excellent response
- Tough Kevlar chord suited for rough outdoor use
- Custom app for iOS devices
- Rode app can sometimes slow down or freeze
3. Audio-Technica ATR-3350IS Onmi-directional Lavalier Mic
Made by a brand famous for its premium range audio gear, the ATR-3350IS is designed for accurate voice reproduction and to be used by anyone with a smartphone or any other recording device. It features a low-profile design with a 1/8” output that plugs into video cameras, handheld audio recorders, and DSLR to record audio on both the left and right channels.
The mic has great compatibility with all smartphones thanks to its adapter making it good for vloggers who are shooting with their phones. It comes with a 20-feet long cable giving its extensive range and combined with its low sensitivity to background noise it is perfect for sports/dance or aerobics instructors.
- A premium quality mic that is highly durable
- Compatible with smartphones, tablets and Apple devices
- Omnidirectional with foam windscreen for noise reduction
- Requires an additional LR44 button cell
4.Shure MVL Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Mic
The low profile Shure MVL is an omnidirectional mic that’s easy to use with a variety of devices and features and RF/GSM interference protection making it one of the best clip-on microphones out there for professional quality recording. Its miniature housing gives it a discreet appearance for onscreen performances or interviews while offering a great signal to noise ratio.
The mic has a great dynamic range and a full frequency response while requiring no batteries for its operation. The chord is an impressive 52 inches long and features a 3.5mm input making it compatible with smartphones, cameras, DSLR and computers. The microphone with its high-quality audio and premium quality build is an overall bargain for its price!
- Compatible with all types of devices starting from phones to audio equipment
- Sleek build that blends in with the clothes
- Great signal to noise ratio
- RF/GSM interference protection
- The cord is a bit on the fragile side
5. MAONO XLR 10 omnidirectional lapel mic
The XLT 10 is a professional quality omnidirectional microphone designed specifically for use in the video recording settings with camcorders and video cameras of different brands. It has a flat frequency response and highly sensitive allowing it to pick up sounds in high detail even when the source is constantly moving. Its low-profile design and metal clips are durable and attach the mic securely to different clothing without the need for constant adjustment during the filming sessions. Its 3 pin XLR connector is perfect for use in situations with high radio interference as it can effectively filter out disturbances to give clear audio.
The mic is also compatible with a wide range of video cameras and recorders. It also comes with different foam tips to reduce ambient noise from wind and clothes.
- Highly versatile microphone compatible with a range of video cameras
- XLR 3-pin cable gives clear audio while filtering out noise
- Does not require any batteries to operate
- Ergonomic design helps it to blend well with the surroundings
- It is not compatible with smartphones
6. Alvoxcon Dual Wireless Lapel Mic
If you’re looking for one of the best wireless lavalier mics, then this Alvoxcon has it all. It features a durable metal belt pack that securely clips the transmitter to your belt while you move around. It sounds transmission is great for distances up to 40 ft with noise cancellation for clear and crisp sound. The device is plug and play and you can have it set up and running in no time. All you need to do plug the headset of the microphone to the transmitter and connect the mini receiver to your video camera and you are good to go.
The headset offers excellent concealment and audio quality for vocal performances in both closed room and lives concert settings. The transmitter also offers a selection of frequency for the best audio clarity and transmission.
- Simple to use and highly versatile wireless lavalier microphone
- Long-range transmission working with a lower frequency range
- Compatible with all video cameras, audio and PA systems, amplifiers, smartphones and computers
- Susceptible to electronic noise in crowded conditions with other transmitter systems
7. PoP Voice Dual-Head Lavalier Microphone
The PoP dual-head microphone has some cool features such as a long 16 feet cord giving it extensive range and compatibility with a lot of devices. It also enables two people to plug into the same device and record audio at the same time making it perfect for interviews and conversations. The mic connects with a 3.5mm jack making it compatible with Apple devices, Sony, Blackberry, LG and any other phone running on Android.
The package comes with a silver connector to make it compatible with all devices in case the jack fails with the first attempt. The mic is omnidirectional with a noise-canceling sponge to reduce background noise from wind and movement. A high-quality metal clip firmly holds the mic in place without needing too much adjustment while usage.
- It’s simple and robust design is suited for all kinds of applications
- Compatible with almost all devices
- Long cable length with Omnidirectional pick up
- Excellent clip design that is firm
- It can be a bit sensitive to electrical interference
8. AUFGELD Small Mini Lavalier Lapel Omnidirectional Mic
AUFGELD’s Omnidirectional mic is designed specifically for professional results when used by most people for applications such as vlogging, interviews, dictations, video conferences and more. It is compatible with all smartphones and Apple devices. Since it uses a 3.mm jack it has to be paired with a lightning connector to work with Apple devices. Amateurs working to produce great videos with clear sound can benefit greatly from the mic as it picks up sounds from all directions even when the source is moving, therefore the mic is good to go whether it is being used indoors or outdoors! This lapel mic can also be connected to a dual-mic adapter to use two microphones at the same time. On the downside, the mic is not compatible with a few android devices and phone brands such as Motorola, Google Pixel, Nexus, and Samsung Galaxy
- Plug and play easy to use by anyone
- Noise-canceling foam muffs
- Highly durable metal clips for a firm grip
- The mic is not compatible with some android devices
9. Sony ECMCS3 Clip Style Omnidirectional Stereo Mic
The ECMCS3 clip style mic by Sony is a basic Omnidirectional lavalier mic that’s suited for most general use. It features a strong clip which holds the mic in place and keeps it firmly attached to the clothing piece. It is good for basic hands-free recording and amateurish video making for beginners looking to start with some basic equipment before upgrading to expensive gear. It can conveniently record to DVR or PC and comes with plug and play feature not needing a driver to be preinstalled. The mic also rotates for better sound clarity and a firm fix in its place. It is compact and light-weight with a 1m cord length making it good for personal use.
- Simple to use plug and play microphone
- Inexpensive and great for beginners
- Compact, light-weight and easy to carry
- Firm clip design featuring a 360-degree rotation
- It does not cancel out wind noise and noise from brushing against clothes
10. FIFINE Wireless Microphone System
The FIFINE K037B is designed for professionals working in teaching, preaching, public speaking and related applications where they would need headsets, lapel mics and a transmitter with great range and clarity. It can be set to operate on 20 different frequencies to avoid noise and interference with all the parameters conveniently displayed on an LCD screen. Setting up the mic is as easy as plugging in the mic on the transmitter and plugging the receiver to the output system.
- Professional quality wireless lavalier microphones
- Extended range of transmitter up to 60 ft
- Noise-free operation with strong signal transmission
- It is not compatible with PC
Keep these in mind while picking a wired lavalier
- XLR connectors are the most reliable as they are balanced and shielded against picking up radio interference or buzzes.
- Mics with a mini-jack work well with phones and cameras however since they’re unbalanced, they are not as reliable as XLR connectors.
- An omnidirectional mic is ideal for most general microphone usage and is good for interviews, recordings, conferences and more. It has low sensitivity to noise from cloth rustles, wind and cable movements.
- A cardioid lavalier is better for live events where the directional sound is amplified by the system.
Things to consider while BUYING a wireless lavalier
Wireless Lavalier mics use a wireless transmitter and receiver which would free you up from the constraints of a cable. However, they are susceptible to noise and interference.
Wireless Lavalier Microphones are ideal in situations when :
- The framing of a shot is too wide to use a boom microphone and there is no other way to get a decent sound. It’s also great for filming in confined spaces such as tunnel or caves where there isn’t enough room for a boom mic.
- The mic location needs to be discrete such as filming in locations without a permit or you need to record audio in a setting while remaining inconspicuous.
- You are out vlogging on your own without a sound guy. You can stray as far away from the camera as you need while still recording good audio.
Keep these in mind while choosing a wireless Lavalier :
- The dynamic range of human hearing is about 120db and any mic picking up close to this level will perform well.
- The frequency of the transmitters can be in both Lower frequency (MHz) and higher frequency (GHz). High-frequency transmitters can transmit more data but struggle with some interference and range. Lower frequency transmitters have a greater range and higher reliability.
- Channel scanning is a useful feature that enables you to find a clear channel without audio interference.
- Wireless lavalieres come with either removable batteries or inbuilt rechargeable ones. If you are shooting for long periods it’s best to choose models with removable AA/AAA batteries.
While lavalier mic is not superior to boom mics when it comes to audio quality, they are the best option when a boom cannot be placed in the shot or you are filming in a place where it’s impossible to use boom microphones. Lavalieres are perfect however in situations such as concerts, public speaking, interviews and other places where great sound is needed while the equipment needs to be discreet.
Choosing the best lavalier boils down to what it is that you intend to use it for. Wired lavalieres are simpler and ideal for usage in indoor interviews, conferences and even talks where the speaker doesn’t move too far from the podium. They are also great for basic vlogging and video making. Wireless lavalieres have the advantage of great range at the cost of a little bit of interference. The mics described above have their own pros and cons while the best lavalier microphone in any situation depends on the place where it is being used.
The trade-offs for mobility with clarity can be easily justified in situations such as outdoor filming where it’s impossible to use a wired mic. On the other hand, A wired mic can give great clarity for vocal performances on stage.