Intro

Are you limited to filming videos and live streams while seated in front of your computer because the only microphone you have is a USB mic that hooks up to your PC? Do you want to film interviews, go outdoors, or stand in front of a green screen while you film? Then your needs might be better served with a lavalier microphone.

In this guide, we’ll cover what lavalier microphones are, when to use them, and how to choose the best one for you. We’ll also review the most popular lav mics at entry-level, intermediate, and high-end price points.

What is a lavalier microphone?

A lavalier microphone, sometimes called a lapel microphone, clip-on microphone, or lav mic, is a small microphone you can attach to your clothing, near your face. Its portability allows the speaker wearing it to move or walk around while still capturing sound.

How lavalier microphones look like

Lav mics are easily hidden, so they’re great for television – you’ve probably seen a news reporter wearing a lavalier microphone on their lapel. They’re also used for public speeches, vlogging, webinars, and stage performances.

Lavalier microphones work well for YouTube videos and live streams filmed on the go and those that feature interviews. They’re a must for talking-head explainer videos as well. The biggest selling point for lav mics is that they can produce excellent sound quality while still being portable. Even if you stream seated at your desk, you can use a clip-on microphone to get your larger, bulkier microphone out of the shot.

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Factors to consider when choosing a lavalier microphone

Lavalier mics come in different types, at different price points. If you want to use a lavalier microphone for your video or live stream, you’ll need one that fits your style. There are four factors to consider when choosing a lav mic:

1. Budget

Most lavalier microphones are pretty affordable. You can find a decent one without dropping too much cash. If you do go with a higher-priced lav mic, you’ll definitely notice better quality. Choose whatever your budget allows, but know that, with lav mics, you almost always get what you pay for.

2. Type

When we talk about the type of lavalier microphone, we’re referring to how it captures sound. In this sense, there are two types of lapel mics. The first is omnidirectional and the second is cardioid. Omnidirectional lav mics detect sound from any direction, meaning you can attach them to your shirt, stick them in your hair, or use them anywhere else close to your mouth.

Type of lavalier microphone

Cardioid lav mics, also known as directional mics, capture sound specifically from the direction they’re facing. If you plan to move around a lot, choose omnidirectional over cardioid.

3. Connection

Lavalier mics come as wired or wireless. The best choice for you will depend on your set-up and what you’re using the microphone for. A wireless lavalier microphone always gives you more flexibility to move around or rearrange your set-up. But wireless lapel microphones tend to be more expensive, and you have to contend with battery life and frequency selection.

4. Compatibility

Compatibility is a measure of what the lavalier microphone plugs into. You’ll want to figure out what you’re recording with first before choosing a lav mic. Lapel microphones can plug directly into DSLR cameras, portable audio recorders, PCs, mixers, and even smartphones.

Compatibility of lavalier microphone

Recording audio on a smartphone is becoming more common as the technology for it improves. Phones are portable and accessible, and the quality is good if you choose the right app to capture the audio. For recording on a smartphone, you’ll want a lav mic with a TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) plug. A TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) plug won’t work because it can’t capture input. A TRRS plug has three rings; a TRS plug has two.

The best lavalier microphones for every skill level and budget

Now that you know how to choose a lav mic, you can read our reviews of some of the best lapel microphones available. We’ve categorized them by entry-level, intermediate, and high-end.

Entry-level

Best entry-level lavalier microphones

Entry-level lavalier mics are for beginners who have simple filmmaking needs and a small budget.

👉 Boya BY-M1

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wired, 6m (236 in) cable included
  • Compatibility: smartphone, audio recorder, camcorder, PC, DSLR, etc.
  • Price: $20

The Boya BY-M1 is one of the most cost-effective lavalier microphones out there. It uses its own battery, which makes the signal stronger. You can also plug it into a smartphone, camcorder, audio recorder, PC, and most cameras. If you’re using it as a smartphone lav, it’s best to pair it with other Boya BY-M1s to ensure consistency in sound levels.

👉 Movo WMIC50

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wireless
  • Compatibility: camcorders, DSLR
  • Price: $79.95

The Movo WMIC50 is an ideal lavalier microphone for those just starting out. The quality is decent, without any static. It runs on batteries and should last between three and four hours. The Movo’s range for capturing audio is 50m (164 ft). All in all, this Movo mic is the best budget lavalier mic available.

Intermediate

Best intermediate lavalier microphones

Intermediate lapel mics are for film and video makers who have a bit more money to spend. They also offer superior sound quality over the beginner mics.

👉 Rode Lavalier GO

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wired, with 1.2m (4 ft) cable
  • Compatibility: portable digital recorder, PC
  • Price: varies $115 - $130

The Rode Lavalier GO was built for portability. It’s a middle-of-the-road lav mic, with sound quality that stays consistent no matter how much you move around. If you have the budget, the Rode Lavalier GO is the best intermediate choice.

👉 Sennheiser ME 2

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wireless
  • Compatibility: Sennheiser wireless systems; may need an adapter for other digital recorders
  • Price: $129.95

Sennheiser has a strong brand reputation, and the Sennheiser ME 2 is no exception. The jump in quality with the Sennhesier ME 2 over the beginner-level mics is noticeable. It’s designed to work with Sennheiser’s wireless systems, though, so you might have trouble connecting it to other digital recorders, camcorders, or PCs.

High-end

Best high-end lavalier microphones

High-end lav mics made by well-known brands offer professional sound quality and are the most expensive choices.

👉 Sony ECM-AW4

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wireless
  • Compatibility: camcorder, DSLR, etc.
  • Price: $229.99

The Sony ECM-AW4 is a Bluetooth mic kit with a built-in microphone. You can also plug another external lav mic into it, as long as it has a 3.5mm TRS plug. The kit also comes with two earpieces for two-way communication up to 150 feet from the camcorder. These microphones are also easy to set up and lightweight, which makes them great for traveling.

👉 Audio-Technica AT899

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wireless
  • Compatibility: camera, PC, smartphone
  • Price: $159

The Audio-Technica 899 has stellar sound quality, and you can mount the lavalier mic at any angle and still get good clarity. It also comes with several accessories, including clothing clips and windscreens. This professional-quality microphone is suitable for just about any type of filming, including interviews and live broadcasts.

👉 Shure SM93

  • Type: omnidirectional
  • Connection: wired/wireless
  • Compatibility: digital audio recorder
  • Price: $199.95

This subminiature lavalier microphone is unobtrusive and provides professional-grade sound quality. Like most lapel mics, the Shure can connect to a laptop or PC with an XLR adapter. It also comes with a preamplifier, windscreen to minimize outdoor noise, and dual mounting block with an attached tie bar. The Shure SM93 is designed for Shure’s wireless transmitters, but the preamplifier comes with a balanced XLR output for wired use too.

Let’s wrap everything up

Lavalier microphones are a must when you don’t want to hold or sit in front of a bulky microphone. Interviews, webinars, live-streamed stage performances, and any video that requires you or your on-screen talent to move around are the best situations for lapel microphones.

Once you have your perfect body microphone, you’re ready to record or go live. The Restream Events allows you to record your videos and schedule their upload, so you can keep to your live streaming schedule no matter how busy you get.

You’ve already got superior sound quality with a great lav mic, so make sure the rest of your live stream’s components are up to snuff too! With the Restream Studio, you can go live directly from your browser, across multiple platforms, simultaneously. You can also add graphics overlays, centralize chat features, and bring guests or co-hosts live onto your stream with you.A lavalier mic can help you produce the best possible video or live stream. When choosing a lavalier mic, always consider your unique filming needs, along with type, connection, compatibility, and budget. If you stick to these guidelines, you’re sure to find the best lavalier mic for you.

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