Lavalier microphones are also called lapel mics. They are small and clip to your shirt, collar or tie. The great thing about lavalier mics is that they allow you to record hands-free. Once you have it positioned correctly, you won’t even have to think about the microphone. You can just focus on the content you are producing. Because they are small, they are great for video as well and are commonly used with DSLR cameras and iPhones.
Lavalier mics are commonly used by sports anchors, news reporters, conference presenters and more. The make a great option for podcasting on the go or creating YouTube videos as well.
Lav mics come in both wired and wireless options, both having their pros and cons. We will highlight the best lavalier microphones for a variety of budgets in the wired configuration.
Best Wired Lavalier Microphones For 2017
The smartLav+ has great sound and build quality, which is rare for devices of this size. It is an omnidirectional condenser mic, meaning it picks up sound from all angles. It’s built with a windscreen to reduce wind noise and plosives. The cable is kevlar-reinforced and the clip is strong so you don’t have to worry about it falling off.
Rode created their own iPhone app for this mic called the Rode Rec (sorry Android users, but it still works with any recording app). It comes with some standard EQ settings and the ability to export to SoundCloud and DropBox.
If you plan to Snapchat regularly or do Facebook Live’s or Periscopes, get this mic.
The Audio-Technica ATR3350iS is another lav mic that is marketed as “for smartphones” but it will work with a DSLR or audio recorder as well. It comes with an adapter to plug into the headphone jack of smartphones.
The cable is nearly 20-feet long and this a big step up from the built-in phone mic for only $30 or so.
The battery lasts about a month with heavy use and it comes with a windscreen.
Giant Squid Audio Lab
Crazy name, I know. The Giant Squid Audio Lab Omnidirectional Mic gets great reviews and has great sound quality for a sub-$50 mic.
It clip is metal and strong so it will stay in place. It comes with a windscreen, although it doesn’t always stay in place.
This mic uses a standard 3.5 mm microphone jack, so it’s not recommended for smartphones, but works great with laptops, DSLRs and digital recorders.
The Sony ECM-44 is a step up than the previous wired lavalier mics. It uses an XLR connector, which means you’ll need a mixer, analog-to-digital converter or other device (like a Zoom recorder) with an XLR input. These can be used on stage or with a portable Zoom recorder.
It comes with 2 metal clips: one clip for a single mic and one clip for dual lav mics. The wire is thick and sturdy and it has the option to use battery power.
The sound quality is accurate and feels natural – although you should consider this a cross between the above “entry-level” mics and more professional models.
Audio-Technica AT899 Subminiature
Our next wired lavalier mic recommendation is the Audio-Technica AT899 Subminiature. It uses phantom and battery power, has a low profile and has amazing sound quality (don’t be fooled by its small size). This mic, as well as the next few, are a big step up in terms of sound quality – and price.
The microphone is 5 mm in diameter and is easily hidden. It comes with full complement of accessories:
- clothing clip
- viper clip
- magnet clip and lanyard (black models only)
- element covers
- interchangeable single and double mic holders
This mic also uses an XLR connector and comes with a 9.8-foot cable. It is built exceptionally well – as are the accessories.
The Sony ECM77B is another professional-level lav mic. It is an industry standard and has been around a long time. Many people use them in TV studios and for interviews.
The sound quality is excellent – full and natural without buzz or hissing. It also has excellent frequency response ranging from 40Hz – 20kHz. It is powered via phantom power or a AA battery. The ECM77B is extremely durable and meant to be taken on the road and will withstand a beating.
If you’re doing an interview show and you want something small to travel with, this is a great choice.
If you want to step up another notch, the Sennheiser MKE2-PC is your mic. It has a wide 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response, the microphone is only 4 mm wide and is water-resistant.
The sound quality is amazing and it does an excellent job of reducing background noise. This is a great lav mic for both indoor and outdoor use – in nearly any temperature. Stainless cable is made to last.
This mic doesn’t come with a clip, so you’ll definitely need to get the Sennheiser MZ2 Accessory Kit for $40, but it comes with a nice padded carrying case for both the MKE2 and the accessories: