In this article about 15 best lavalier microphones, our editorial team collected all the information about this type of microphones. So we hope that you will gather as much useful information as possible.
Lavalier microphone is mainly used on television, in interviews, for recording a video, at the theater, when you want to record a voice, but you need free hands. It is mounted on a small clip for your garment. Everybody has seen this device: it is a little black thing on newscaster’s clothes in any news release (it is often called a “lapel microphone”). Lavalier microphone has a small size and it should be placed close-up to the mouth of a man. The closer the microphone is to the sound source, the less background noise it gets. So, lavalier microphone can be used at places not very appropriate acoustically. This means if you have bare walls and a large echo, a lavalier microphone reduces the level of unwanted sounds.
Lavalier microphone can be condenser or electret. Both types provide a good sound quality. At the same time, these types of microphones have a disadvantage: they can get extraneous noise. But today, manufacturers have already solved this problem, and all microphones in our list do not have this type of lack. Also, this problem is solved by purchase of optional accessories such as: foam windscreen or rycote windjammer.
Lavalier microphone is basically acquired for high-quality speech transmission. But it is not suitable for recording vocals or recording guitar (or other instrumentы). There are special studio microphones with necessary characteristics. On the other hand, lavalier microphone is comfortable, lightweight and almost unnoticeable on the clothes. The most popular colors of these microphones are black, nude and grey.
Now let’s get to advantages and disadvantages of lavalier microphones:
Types of lavalier microphones:
Wired: it is used when there is no need to move. For example, for work sitting at a computer. This microphone connects directly to a video camera, and transmits sound directly into it, or connects to an audio recorder. If you connect a wired lavalier mic in an audio recorder (for example in TASCAM DR-22WL), then you will have to sync an audio track with a video track. Another feature of wired lapel microphones – they have a moderate cost while wireless lavalier microphones are much more expensive.
Wireless: it is needed when there are many movements. For example, on TV for recording a show or talk show. A wireless lavalier microphone has a radio transmitter that hangs on the back of a waistband, and a radio receiver which is connected to the camcorder. For the opportunity to walk and get a high-quality signal from the microphone, you have to spend a considerable amount of money. A good radio lavalier system cost a sight of money. Wireless lavaliers microphones have a very big disadvantage. A radio signal must not be interrupted even for a second. A radio signal can be interfered with anything: from power lines to powerful tool for woodworking nearby. The signal must be sufficiently powerful and customizable to transmit a good sound. Sometimes one radio frequency can be “jammed” by another device, then you should switch to another frequency. So, the signal must be powerful and customizable.
Lavalier microphone for smartphones: now manufacturers began to produce lavalier microphones for smartphones and create apps for recording audio. The idea is very good: if you need a high quality sound for video, you just need only to pick up the phone, then to connect a lavalier microphone in 3.5mm headphone input and to start recording audio. In this situation your smartphone transforms to a recorder. Then you have to substitute the sound in the right place in a video editor, in other words, to synchronize it with a video track. To date, manufacturers of famous brands have in their line-ups lavalier microphones designed specifically for smartphones, which come with proprietary apps (which you can easily download on apple store or google play). In our list of best lavalier microphones, you will be able to find a few of these microphones. Another distinctive feature of the lapel mic for the smartphone is that you can also to connect it to all other devices with the use of TRRS to TRS adapters (which are very cheap), such as a recorder or a DLSR camera.
Small Tip: buy a cheap wired lavalier in the market + ask a friend to resolder the connector for the phone or do it by yourself (there are 4 pins, 2 of which are for a microphone) and you will have a budget lavalier microphone for smartphone.
How to choose a lavalier microphone and what you should pay attention to:
- Type of Lavalier Microphone. It is most important thing to determine what type of microphone you need. We have described all types of lavalier microphones above and you will easily be able to choose the most convenient type of lavalier microphone for your situation.
- The Quality and Type of Microphone Capsule. To get a good and mellow sound, it is better to use a condenser type of lavalier microphone (although these microphones with an electret capsule are not far behind in quality of sound from a condenser ones). This means that a microphone has a small condenser inside and it is very “sensitive” for changing its capacity during a pressure of sound. For condenser microphones, you need an external power source of 48 Volts. So, it turns out to be a very complicated sensitive microphone, plus a preamplifier must be with extra power. Actually, this is a very complicated option because you need to have a source of phantom power. For example, DSLR camera cannot provide phantom power of 48V. Therefore, for a condenser microphone you have to buy an additional recorder that provides 48V of phantom power. In this article about top 15 best lavalier microphones you will find both types: electret and condenser microphones with recommended accessories to them.
- Energy Efficiency. People should have the opportunity to speak into the microphone for many hours in a row and not to change the battery (or charge it). Major manufacturers are constantly improving technology to lower power consumption which would not affect the signal quality. It is worth noting that not all lavalier microphones are battery-powered and not very demanding to power supply.
- Size of Equipment. The microphone should be compact as well as a transmitter on a belt. A user should simply forget that he has a microphone on, then the conversation will be very vivid and comfortable for a speaker.
- Your Budget. As with any product: the more expensive a lavalier microphone, the better it is. For example, the cheapest Chinese lapel mic for daily needs and fun, you can buy just for $10 (you can find them in our article in the bonus section at the end of the top 15 best lavalier microphones list). A higher-quality lavalier micro, of course, is more expensive. If you need a microphone for normal operation, not just to play around, the cost of such microphones is from 50 to 300$. Wireless lavalier microphones are more expensive, because they are more complicated and more sophisticated. Prices for wireless models start from 500$ and more, depending on a model. In our list of best lavalier microphones you will find a microphone that won’t hit your wallet and will be a perfect solution in your situation. Choose a microphone in terms for what purpose you need it. Do not chase the cheap ones, if a sound quality is important for you. It is better to take a more expensive model, it is justified.
Here are Top 15 Best Lavalier Microphones
All the microphones presented in our list we recommend you to purchase. Before creating this list, we spent a lot of time studying the customer reviews and feedback on the forums. In the list, there are presented lavalier microphones of all types and for any situation to record the audio.
15. Sony ECM-CS3 Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone
- Condenser/Electret type of microphone capsule
- Omnidirectional polar pattern
- Frequency response from 50Hz – 15000Hz
- Sensitivity -38dB (1V / Pa at 1kHz, 0dB)
- A beautiful case in the form of a gray capsule with 1m cable
- Package bundle includes Sony ECM-CS3 with mic clip, user guide
Our top 15 best lavalier microphones list starts with a condenser stereo lavalier microphone Sony ECM-CS3 for high quality speech recording. This compact microphone can work with audio devices having an ordinary 3-pin microphone 3.5mm jack. It has a clip for attaching on clothes: tie, pocket, etc. It is perfect for work with an audio recorder as an external microphone. It is also worth noting an attractive design of this lavalier microphone which is in the form of a symmetric gray capsule. As for the price of this lapel microphone – this is one of the cheapest devices with good price / quality ratio in our list of best lavalier microphones. In all major online stores, buyers leave positive feedback about operating of the device.
14. Audio-Technica ATR3350iS Condenser Lavalier Microphone
- Condenser lavalier microphone with omnidirectional polar pattern
- Frequency response from 50Hz – 18000Hz
- Sensitivity -54dB
- The length of cable is 6m
- Powered via LR44 battery type
- Package bundle includes Audio-Technica ATR3350iS microphone, mic clip, LR44 battery, smartphone adapter, foam windscreen
A wired lapel mic with the index of the model ATR3350iS is a condenser type of microphone, which provides a uniform sound transmission over the entire operating range. The microphone detects sounds at frequencies from 50Hz to 18kHz with a sensitivity of -54dB. These characteristics demonstrate a wide coverage of frequency spectrum and good sensitivity. The device can be placed with a removable clip-retainer on clothes, not directing it to the sound source due to omni-directional polar pattern. A wire of the microphone is 6 meters long, which is enough for most shooting scenarios. In the package, there is also a foam windscreen, securely enclosing the head of the microphone from the extraneous noises during windy weather. When you are recording audio indoors and in the street, the sound is clear and understandable. The audio amplifier is powered from a single accumulator battery LR44, which is enough for a long time. Another great feature is the presence of on/off switch button on the housing. The only minus is that, on its case, there are no indicators for monitoring the residual charge of the battery. In addition, many owners say note a flimsy design of a retaining clip. Among the available compact equipment for recording, the lavalier microphone Audio-Technica ATR3350iS is a very “tasty” option. It can be safely used in a pair with DSLRs and DILs to record a high-quality sound of the video. You can also use it with any smartphone, through the adapter that is included with the microphone. It is important to know: microphones of condenser type have strict requirements for air humidity, ambient temperature and mechanical stress. So it is recommended to use them in dry sunny weather, observing accuracy during transportation.
13. IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav Compact Lapel Microphone for Smartphones and Tablets
Announced in 2016 a lavalier miniature microphone IK Multimedia iRig Mic Lav, designed for use with iOS and Android devices. This model features an omnidirectional condenser capsule that provides “a crystal-clear sound” in a broad frequency range. The novelty can be used for shooting movies, recording interviews, podcasts, etc. The product has a firm construction and a long cable, and its main feature is the ability to connect the second microphone in the circuit and simultaneously recording two audio sources on one mobile device. In addition to the pop filter and clip, the device comes with a zipper pouch and multiple apps: iRig Recorder, VocaLive and EZ Voice.
12. Shure MVL Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone
A miniature condenser lavalier microphone MVL was presented by Shure at the international exhibition NAB Show 2015 and went on sale in 2016. This device is from a new series Motiv and is designed for use with tablets and smartphones on iOS or Android that connects via a headphone jack. This lavalier microphone is a nice choice for recording oral performances, lectures, interviews, and so on. The microphone Shure MVL has a circular diagram pattern and a high signal-to-noise ratio. When using the device with iPhone or iPad, you can use it as a multifunctional branded app ShurePlus Motiv Mobile Recording available for free download, or any other third-party software. We also have a great overview on the Shure MVL microphone where we describe in detail all the functions of this microphone and compare it with the RODE SmartLav+.
11. RODE SmartLav+ Lavalier Microphone
The company RODE Microphones has announced a launch of the lavalier condenser microphone SmartLav+, which is an improved version of the model SmartLav. Like its predecessor, the new product connects directly to the headset jack of your iOS devices: Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The microphone is designed for professional use in film inductry, television and radio broadcasting, as well as where you want a professional quality sound if you can’t use a bulky equipment and cables. The microphone has a circular polar pattern (360 degrees), which ensures a cross fuctionality of the device. A windscreen minimizes wind noise and softens vocal “explosive” sounds (hard “b”, “t” and “p”), the microphone comes with a firm mounting clip with a cable management, and the cable is reinforced with kevlar (a moisture-proof coating is a good solution for recording audio in the rain). SmartLav+ is compatible with any iOS audio application receiving a signal from a headset interface, but works best in tandem with an iOS app RODE Rec. The latter turns the device into a fully featured field recorder with a wide selection of equalizer presets for different situations, as well as professional editing functions and the ability to publish to SoundCloud and Dropbox directly from the app.
10. Movo WMIC50 Wireless Lavalier Microphone System
Movo WMIC502.4 GHz is a wireless lavalier microphone designed for portable wireless operation, such as film work, podcasting, performances and other audio and video applications. The system includes a transmitter with belt clip, receiver with mounting to the camera or for mounting on a tripod, the lavalier microphone has a foam windscreen and 2 headphone jacks. Movo WMIC50 is a wireless system of 2.4 GHz with an internal antenna and a working range of up to 164 feet (50 meters). A transmitter and receiver (each) powered by two AAA batteries (not included) which provide 3.5-4 hours of operating.
9. Audio-Technica PRO 70 Cardioid Condenser Lavalier Microphone
Audio-Technica Pro 70 is a miniature condenser cardioid lavalier microphone that is equally applicable for recording speech, vocals, and backgrounding of instruments. The hallmarks of this model are its impressive sound quality, build quality and reliability. It is supplied with a clip and mount for guitar, Audio-Technica Pro 70 guarantees a natural and expressive display of vocals when used as a lavalier microphone, as well as, for example, as a pickup for acoustic guitar. The basic idea of Audio-Technica Pro 70 was a concept device that put a distinct sound which did not attract attention. It should be noted a switch for cutoff of low frequencies to reduce the influence of external noise. Its cardioid polar pattern provides suppression of sounds behind and to the sides of the head, improving the sound of a main power supply. Audio-Technica Pro 70 works with a battery or phantom power. Audio-Technica Pro 70 is a compact and cross-functional choice which is able to solve a number of your “sound” requirements – which is why this microphone deserves your attention.
8. AKG CK99 L Condenser Lavalier Microphone
The company AKG offers a new model of a lavalier microphone AKG CK99L. The biggest advantage of this system is that you always have your hands free, which is important at presentations, interviews, conferences, talk shows and other similar events. All AKG microphones, in particular the model AKG CK99L, has always been famous for low noise threshold and the ability to suppress extraneous radio waves through high-tech materials used in producing membranes and microphone case and capsule. It should also be noted that the microphone has a very attractive and ergonomic appearance and high quality sound transmission without excessive distortion of audio frequencies. If you are a frequent visitor of presentation business meetings, or you are a successful journalist, a cardioid directivity of the lavalier microphone AKG CK99L is your best and promising choice.
7. Sennheiser ME 2 Omni-Directional Lavalier Microphone
The device Sennheiser ME 2 is a professional small lavalier microphone that is equally effective for voice-overs and recording of the human voice and musical instruments. This model of the microphone has a circle polar pattern that is almost entirely prevents noise from feedback and significantly improves clarity. The microphone is very reliable and cross-functional. It gives a great result with any voice timbre and in any possible situation. Sennheiser ME 2 can be called a standard of TV industry. The product is popular among journalists and leading TV shows of many TV channels and is used for studio recording and field work. The microphone is small in size and has a light weight. Through a convenient fastening the device can be easily fixed on clothes and hardly stands out on its background. On top it is put a small effective windscreen. A high sound quality allows you to use the device during television shows, concerts, presentations and other events. This lavalier microphone is compatible with the vast majority of digital devices to record audio and video. Here are the main advantages of microphone Sennheiser ME 2: good sensitivity, which means a high speech detailing; crystal-clear sound reproduction; wide frequency range (30-20000 Hz); easy to attach to clothing.
6. Shure SM93 / WL93 Lavalier Microphones
Shure SM93 is a miniature lavalier electret omnidirectional condenser microphone. It is designed for speech broadcast and fixation on the breast of the speaker: it can be used at the theater, for television broadcasting; video, film production, and sound reinforcement. Despite its small size, the microphone provides full, clear sound comparable to the “senior” studio microphones. Its frequency response is optimized for wearable use with the LF filter that reduces noise from friction on clothing. A wide frequency range from 80 Hz to 20 kHz will help to capture and transmit more sounds. The dynamic range of the microphone is 98 dB. Shure SM93 receives phantom power from an external source, or sound and recording equipment. The microphone works in an extremely wide range of DC voltages from 11 to 52 V. It comes with a pouch attachment, a tie-clip and windscreen on the latch, which provides a protection of resonances. All the SM microphones are compatible with wearable transmitters Shure for wireless broadcast: their high level of sensitivity and wide frequency response guarantee great sound at any time. The type of connector is TA4M. So if you want to look at these two microphones in more detailed way here is our full review on Shure SM93 and WL93.
5. Sennheiser ClipMic Digital Lavalier Microphone for iOS Devices
Not so long ago appeared in the sale a digital lavalier microphone ClipMic digital, which is a joint development of the companies, Sennheiser and Apogee Electronics. Among all lapel mics for smartphones from our list pf best lavalier microphones, Sennheiser ClipMic Digital is the best option with perfect sound quality. This device, like the older model MKE 2 digital, refers to the range of Mobile Recording and is designed to work with iOS devices that connect the microphone via the Lightning connector. The new product is designed for recording podcasts, lectures, seminars, presentations and interviews. In addition, it can be used when recording video for YouTube and reports for television.
4. Tascam DR-10L Portable Studio Recorder with Lavalier Microphone
The company Tascam announced the release of DR-10L – a portable solid-state recorder, supplied with a professional lavalier microphone. This budget model is designed specifically for video operators and will be especially useful for shooting weddings or documentaries, recording interviews and videos. The main advantages of Tascam DR-10L are an extremely compact size, simplicity, reliability and high quality of the recorded sound.
3. Sony ECM-77B Industry Standard Lavalier Microphone
The third place in our list of the best lavalier microphones was assigned to industry standard Sony ECM 77B microphone. Sony ECM 77B is a circular, lavalier condenser microphone. It is perfect for use on television and radio. It has a small size and light weight and good acoustic characteristics: wide frequency range, high sensitivity, low self-noise. Sony ECM 77B can run on phantom power (48V) and with ordinary AA batteries, which lasts for 5000 hours of operation. The microphone is available in two colors. The microphone ECM-77 is the smallest in the world (the diameter of the capsule is 5.6 mm) among the microphones with a frequency range 40-20000 Hz and a dynamic range of 90 dB. It has omni-directional characteristics and sensitivity of -52.0 dB with a flatness of ±2dB. Maximum sound pressure is 120 dB SPL, the ratio signal-to-noise is > 64 dB. Power source for ECM-77 can serve a battery or an external source of phantom power 12-48V. Structurally, the microphone head is removed from the case with the batteries and mounting card, they are connected by a cable with a length of about 3m.
2. RODELink Filmmaker Kit Wireless Microphone System
We put RODELink Filmmaker Kit wireless system on the silver position in our list of the best lavalier microphones. The company RODE recently has introduced a digital on-camera radio system RODELink Filmmaker Kit. The new product represents the next generation of digital wireless systems. The model is designed for wireless transmission of the audio signal from the microphone to the camera. The field for using RODELink Filmmaker Kit is high – quality film and video production. A set of radio includes on-camera receiver RX-CAM, handheld transmitter TX-BELT and a miniature lavalier microphone Lavalier. The device works at 2.4 GHz frequency range and uses a 128-bit encryption. The radio system has a high signal/noise ratio and provides audio resolution of 24-bit/44.1 kHz at a distance of 100 m. The receiver is set to the standard “shoe” of the camera, threaded mount 3/8” or belt, while the transmitter can be mounted on belt or garment.
1. Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-A Wireless Microphone System
The honest first place in our list of the top 15 best lavalier microphones we have appropriated to Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3 microphone model, which has became benchmark lavalier microphone system in professional production for several years already. Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-A is a portable on-camera wireless system with lavalier microphone ME 2. This kit will be a good acquisition for the organization of the sound channel during an interview or video. The kit can be used not only indoors but also outside. Plug-in transmitter SKP 100 G3 is equipped with a XLR connector which allows you to turn a standard wired microphone and mixer wireless device. On-camera receiver EK 100 G3 created using True Diversity technology for the most reliable reception. The radio system has an expanded diagram of the frequency banks containing 12 frequencies in each. On the transmitter, there is a button to mute a signal (Mute) which can be reprogrammed for other modes. A synchronization of the transmitter with the receiver is possible with a single push of a button, using the IR interface. A frequency bandwidth is up to 42 MHz (custom frequencies is 1680). An automatic scanning helps you quickly find and save free channels to use. The transmitter and receiver have a 4-segmentindicator for battery. The body of the receiver and transmitter is made of steel that provides safety under the most intensive use.
+Bonus (Lavalier microphones which were not included in our list, but deserve your attention)
Countryman B6 (Only for Professional Production)
No concert cannot take place without this small but very important element like microphone. The model SHURE WCB6B Countryman B6 is a popular, convenient and practical thing with a very high performance at a very low cost relatively to an expensive professional lavalier microphones. Unfortunately, we did not include this model in our main list of best lavalier microphones since Countryman B6 is very expensive relative to the microphones from the top 15 list and is suitable only for professional solutions. There are plenty of varieties of microphones, from very big and you could even say “vintage” to very tiny ones. Each of them is used in a particular way.
The microphone has a size of 0.1 inch, or 2.5 millimeters. This microphone provides excellent quality and has a frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz (comparable to studio condenser microphones), despite its size and apparent fragility. It is cross-functional, firm and has special connectors (TA4F, LEMO3), which are very common. The microphone cable has a kevlar coating that allows you to use the microphone in bad weather conditions. The package includes: a special wind protection, three protective covers, set of two clips for garment, plus there is also a special case for transportation.
Many TV stations and TV companies use these microphones during interviews. This is a very handy thing that does not require special care or treatment. It can be easily attached to clothing and it is not abating even while running. Everything is made conveniently and reliably, for a full due. The microphone is sold in four colors: it is available in black (B), cocoa (C), tan (T), light tan (LT), and white (W), in order to match the color of human skin.
Neewer 3.5mm (Low Budget Lavalier Microphone)
We have not included a Neweer 3.5mm microphone in our top 15 of best lavalier microphones as it is too cheap and it costs less than ten dollars. But among all very budget lavalier microphones, this device is perhaps the most quality and has an excellent ratio Price / Quality. Newwer 3.5 mm will allow you to comfortably communicate via Skype, VOIP, to use it in-game voice chat, during video conferences or for recording audio notes. The length of microphone cable is 200cm. The microphone connects via 3.5 mm jack connector and is compatible with any device which has a 3.5 mm microphone input. We also want to mention that Neewer 3.5 mm has a lot of positive reviews on Amazon store and has a 4 stars rating. Once again, we want to warn you that this microphone is a low budget option and it is not intended to solve professional issues as the microphones from our list above.
Pyle Pro PDWM96 (Super Budget Wireless Lavalier Microphone)
Pyle Pro PDWM96 wasn’t included in our main list of best lavalier microphones as it is one of the cheapest wireless systems and the sound quality is not so good for our main list. The model Pyle Pro PDWM96 destroys all the stereotypes about high cost of wireless lavalier systems. Pyle Pro PDWM96 is in the price range of ten to fifteen dollars, and is a great choice for those who cannot afford expensive wireless microphones. But do not forget that almost all microphones “sound” exactly as the price that they cost. On Amazon, this wireless system and its average rating is about 1,200 reviews, mainly two camps of users: those who did not like it and the people who were pleased with the purchase. All the technical parameters of this device you can find above.
BOYA BY-M1 (A Very Popular Lavalier Microphone)
A lavalier microphone from the Chinese company Boya is a cheaper alternative version of Audio-Technica ATR3350. We did not include Boya BY-M1 in our main list of best lavalier microphones since there already exists Audio-Technica ATR3350iS mic model. Both devices are similar in both appearance and performance. The package includes a microphone and a separate power unit, situated on the 6-meter wire, as well as a number of accessories (clip for clothes, foam capsule for protection from wind and adapter “minijack—jack”). In the power unit, there is a place for batteries of type LR44 that provide power to the microphone on the cameras that do not support power supplying via a standard connector. But for some reason there is no indicator of the remaining battery charge. Therefore, before recording, you should always double-check the battery. Technical characteristics of the microphone give it a strong representative of a budget segment. The device detects sounds in the range of 65-18000 Hz and has a high sensitivity level of -30 dB that allows you to better hear faint sounds. In terms of quality of sound, the microphone is not behind other contemporary models and gives a decent sound track with a good level of noise reduction. The main advantage of the lavalier microphone is its price. For the least money you will get a good “workhorse” that provides qualitative result. The model is regarded as a device for beginners and enthusiasts of shooting unpacking of goods, replenishing the database with their videos.
We hope that you liked our Top 15 list of best lavalier microphones and this will help you make the right choice. If we forget to mention some lavalier mic models that deserves to be on our list or you have any questions – leave them in the comments section. We’ll answer on each of them.