Best Lavalier Microphone in 2022

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The best lavalier microphones deliver high quality sound and speech, just clip them onto your subject’s lapel or clothing and they’re completely unobtrusive when in use.

When it comes to recording audio for videos or more general applications like podcasts or audiobooks, having a good microphone can mean the difference between a polished production and something that sounds amateurish.

Often, large studio or USB-powered microphones are the best options for capturing high-quality audio at home or in the studio due to their sensitivity and wide frequency response. However, they are often big, bulky and expensive.

Instead, some are opting for lapel (otherwise known as lapel) microphones – known as such because they are often clipped onto jacket lapels. These are small, unobtrusive microphones that clip onto the subject and record sound directly into a wireless transmitter or audio recording device. They are useful for interviews where team members want to mute a subject and remove background audio.

Typically, most lapel mics are condenser types, which means they are very sensitive to sound, but they come in a range of mic designs. Omnidirectional mics pick up sound from everywhere, in all directions. It’s good when subjects are moving and can move or knock the microphone out of place, causing audio to drop out when a subject isn’t speaking directly into the mic, but it also picks up external noise more easily. The cardioid pickup patterns act as a focused beam that, when directed at the audio source, can more easily eliminate unwanted background noise.

The prices of lavalier microphones vary wildly, either because they only come with a cheap capsule and cable, or because they may have more complex additional hardware such as inline batteries, switches or universal adapters to fit a range of recording devices. The quality of the microphones themselves also varies a lot, with inexpensive models costing between $10 and $20 and professional models in the hundreds. We’ve rounded up the best lapel mics, from budget options to pro-grade and broadcast-quality items, so take a look below.

Best Lavalier Microphones in 2022

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

1. Sennheiser MKE 40-4

One of the best lapel mics in the world!

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Cardioid

Login: Universal 3 pin and 3.5 mm jack

Operating frequency: 40 – 20,000Hz

Dimensions: 12mm x 26mm

Weight: 15g

Reasons to buy
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Crystals and Clears for Vocals

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Interchangeable connection for more flexibility

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State-of-the-art audio performance

Reasons to avoid

Probably too expensive for beginners

One of the leading lapel microphones in the field, Sennheiser’s MKE40-4 is used by professional productions around the world. It has an excellent frequency response, making it ideal for a range of applications, but stands out from the crowd by executing speech particularly well at low frequencies.

It is capable of registering high gain before hitting feedback levels, making it a good option for those using the mic in loud environments or during live performances. It has a flexible three-pin connector and comes with a 3.5mm jack to connect to wireless transmitters or directly to a mobile recorder.

(Image credit: Shure)

2.Shure MVL

A great option for filmmakers who want a quality mic

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Omnidirectional

Login: 3.5mm

Operating frequency: 20 – 20,000Hz

Dimensions: 5.5×5.5×15.2mm

Weight: 8g

Reasons to buy
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High signal-to-noise ratio

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Built-in interference protection

+

Comes with windshield

Reasons to avoid

Only 3.5mm jack available

The Shure MVL is a condenser lapel microphone, which means improved audio sensitivity over cheaper dynamic microphones. Of course, the price is a bit higher, but fair, and for that you get a premium product.

Equipped with a fixed 3.5mm jack, some users will need adapters for some recording equipment. But a high signal-to-noise ratio and built-in interference protection deliver clear sound without unwanted noise. It also comes with a clip to attach to clothing and a windscreen that dampens wind noise when recording outdoors.

(Photo credit: Sony)

3. Sony ECM-LV1

An omnidirectional stereo lavalier microphone to avoid sound dropouts

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Omnidirectional (stereo)

Login: 3.5mm jack

Operating frequency: 50 – 15,000Hz

Dimensions: 11×32mm

Weight: 12g

Reasons to buy
+

Stereo capture avoids audio loss

+

Slim and discreet design

Reasons to avoid

Limited frequency response

Wider than single-mic capsule rivals

While directional pick-up patterns can be good for isolating a subject in a busy environment, there are often issues with sound dropping if the microphone or subject moves. Sony’s ECM-LV1 attempts to solve this problem by using two mic capsules for stereo image recording, providing high-gain input regardless of the amount of subject movement.

A bit wider than most other single capsule lapel mics, it may not appeal to everyone, but it’s still small and discreet enough to clip onto clothing quite easily with the 360 ​​degree rotating clip. There is also a bespoke windshield to reduce wind noise when recording outdoors.

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

4. Audio-Technica ATR3350xiS

A lavalier microphone with an on/off switch and a headset port

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Omnidirectional

Login: 3.5mm

Operating frequency: 50 – 18,000Hz

Dimensions: Not quoted

Weight: 6g

Reasons to buy
+

Newscaster style on/off switch control

+

Dual mono output

Reasons to avoid

A little bulky online battery

Long cables get tangled easily

For those who simply need to plug and play straight into a DSLR or mirrorless camera, this lavalier mic from Audio-Technica is ready to go. A sensitive condenser mic, the ATR3350xiS is omnidirectional, eliminating issues such as sound loss when a speaker/performer inadvertently moves.

It has an in-line battery with an on/off switch which is useful for muting the microphone but means it’s a bit bulkier than the competition, and the extra long (3m) cable tangles easily. That said, it’s solidly built and relatively inexpensive considering it’s from a renowned microphone manufacturer. There is also a mic/headset adapter for use with tablets/smartphones/computers with 3.5mm input connections.

(Image credit: RODE)

5. Mounted smartLav+

A neat, responsive mic that’s visually thorough

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Omnidirectional

Connection: 3.5mm

Operating frequency: 20 – 20,000Hz

Dimensions: 46 x 46mm

Weight: 6g

Reasons to buy
+

Small and unobtrusive microphone

+

Strong Kevlar reinforced cable

Reasons to avoid

Max SPL not as high as others

TRRS connection may require an adapter

One of the smallest lapel mics on offer, Rode’s smartLav+ is a low-profile option for anyone who wants the best visual aesthetics when recording video and audio simultaneously. It has a TRRS connection which works great on all TRRS compatible devices such as smartphones, tablets and many computers, but will require the TRRS to TRS adapter SC3 for use on TRS devices only.

Rugged construction sees this mic’s 1.2m cable reinforced with Kevlar, and its omnidirectional pickup helps keep a subject’s pickup volume at maximum regardless of orientation while attached. It doesn’t have the highest maximum SPL (sound pressure level) at just 110dB, but will work well for almost all but the loudest applications.

(Photo credit: Sony)

6.Sony ECM-44B

Sony’s ECM-44B is geared towards speech and voice use

Characteristics

Type: Condenser

Pickup model: Omnidirectional

Connection: XLR (B-type)

Operating frequency: 40 – 15,000Hz

Dimensions: 8.5 x 14.5 mm (mic only)

Weight: 121g (with power supply)

Reasons to buy
+

Good vocal/speech clarity

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Sensitive condenser microphone capsule

Reasons to avoid

XLR Type B connector requires an adapter

Restrictive limited frequency response

Designed as a lavalier microphone for general use and speech, with mid-frequency boost, but it has a limited frequency response (40Hz – 15kHz) which may not be ideal for use on musical instruments or instruments. other audio sources. However, for the average movie user or podcaster, this mic is a treat thanks to its omnidirectional pick-up pattern.

One thing to note for those who want to plug it directly into a smartphone, DSLR or mirrorless camera, or computer is that it comes with an XLR type B connector which is a microphone connector standard for professional use but which will require an adapter for use. on 3.5 mm jack.


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