The Lavalier microphone, sometimes also known as a lapel mic or a clip mic is mainly used for public speaking, conferences, TV and sometimes other applications like theatre or rock concerts.
Their advantage, of course, is that it leaves the user hands free, but there are also one or two drawbacks to their use. They mostly rely on battery power, the frequency ranges are sometimes poor, location problems, interference from other electrical appliances, etc. It is a long list.
They are not particularly new, having been around since the 1930s but with the advance in technology, they are hardly recognizable to the originals. Today they are an essential part of broadcasting, and it is fair to say that some of the work they undertake could only be taken on by a Lavalier microphone.
They are even used with our smartphones and other devices. Lavalier microphones for the iPhone. Who would have thought it?
There are quite a few on the market, and it can be difficult and time consuming to plow through them all so let’s take a look and find the best Lavalier microphones around…
Top 10 Best Lavalier Microphones of 2023
1 Rode smartLav+ Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone
This microphone is designed to give you high-quality recording to your iPhone or Android device. It has a reinforced Kevlar cable, and it uses a sleeved TRRS connection to your tablet or phone. And is a high-quality condenser that is omnidirectional.
To soften the amount of inevitable external noise when used in outdoor locations, it is fitted with a pop shield. Made of foam, it will reduce vocal plosives and wind noise. There is a sturdy clip for attaching the mic with cable management to ensure stability in use. And it comes with a pouch for storage.
There are a number of extras you can buy to facilitate editing and publishing which are not included but are worth considering.
The question, though, once the basic operational facilities are covered is what does it sound like?
If you are in the business of recording podcasts or voice-overs, then it produces excellent results. The sound is clear and crisp and with hardly noticeable background noise. Similar results are gained if you give tutorials. The sound is excellent.
A big plus point that this microphone has is that being so omnidirectional any head movements you make while using it will not affect the sound pickup, and it will produce stable results.
If you are considering this unit, please do check the compatibility listings as the phone companies do like to bring out a new model every thirty minutes and you need to make sure that it will work with any device you have.
You will also have to download the Rode App, which is free.
Overall, it is a good product by a reputable microphone company.
2 Giant Squid Omnidirectional Mono Microphone
Giant Squid Audio Labs are well-known for producing quality at affordable prices, and this mic is a good example.
It is a simple design with nothing that would make it stand out, but it looks and is of a sturdy build which is important for this kind of microphone. Placed alongside other Lavalier microphones, this looks rather large, but in terms of its stability and its need to be robust, that is a good thing.
Unlike some manufacturers who install plastic clips for attachment, the clip here is metal and very robust. Again, an important point to consider. The clip itself has a decent amount of pressure, so it is unlikely to become accidentally detached.
It has a 3.5mm jack which will be compatible with most devices on the market and will fit laptops, cameras, etc. This is a right angle plug which in our view is far more convenient and stable.
It will be advisable to check in advance if you are planning to use it with a smartphone if it does need an extra adapter. Depending on your device’s fitting it may need a 4 pin 3.5mm adapter.
However, the cable is hardwired, and that will cause a problem if it ever needs to be replaced.
Sound wise it is very good and handles voice recording well. The sound is crisp and clear, and background noise is at a minimum.
At the price, it is exceptional value despite the one or two potential problem areas.
3 Rode Lavalier Lapel Omni-Directional Condenser Microphone
Rode have produced a condenser microphone that moves into the higher performance levels of lapel microphones.
This is an omnidirectional lavalier microphone that will give you broadcast quality audio. It is low-noise and designed to have a minimal appearance which will make it suitable for theater, video, film or TV.
The four feet connecting cable is detachable and made from Kevlar and has been tested for strength and durability of performance. Cable management efficiency is ensured by clips to make the operation discreet and hidden from view while also giving the user the freedom to move around.
There is a mini-furry included in the package to give protection from high winds and poor weather conditions during the recording process. And, the microphone itself is fitted with a pop filter to reduce unwanted plosive noise.
A tough and rugged travel case is provided that stores the microphone, cables, and operational accessories for protection.
This is a quality piece of equipment and produces audio to a high quality. Objectively it is very well made but just feels a bit vulnerable. Maybe that is a good thing so that users will be careful with it because it is not the cheapest.
One other issue was the length of the cable. Four feet is really not very long at all, though there are twenty feet extensions available as an extra.
It is a quality performer, though, as we mentioned not the cheapest, but the accessories provided will help in producing a quality audio production.
4 Sony ECM-44 Omni-Directional Electret Condenser Wired Lavalier Microphone
Sony, of course, know quite a bit about sound and recording it. They seem to operate in the low to mid price range appealing to the masses with not much at the top end of that scale. The next place you find them is where the serious stuff is, way out of the ordinary buyer’s price range and for the Pro’s only.
This lavalier microphone falls very clearly into the former bracket.
It is built quite well with a three-meter lead that is unfortunately not detachable. The microphone itself does not give the impression of being particularly high quality. Made from plastic, it serves a purpose though may not be the most durable on the market.
It is an omnidirectional condenser mic that runs on an AA battery and has an XLR connector.
The clips, though are made from metal and sturdy and robust. There are actually two different clips, one for use when it is single use and one for double, which is a good touch.
Sound wise it produces a nice balanced sound. The lows are rolled off when necessary so it won’t give a muddy sound and the highs get up to a 5dB boost. This makes them quite toppy but also very bright in their character.
The mic comes with a preamp also powered by the battery, but it isn’t of the best quality.
It is possible to use this mic in any situation. But, it will not perform well in an environment where there is a lot of external noise. It will do very well though in closed environments not subject to the elements.
In the right place, this will do a good job, though, the sound is crisp and clear, but there can be some background noise.
5 Tascam DR-10L Portable Digital Audio Recorder with Lavalier Microphone
Tascam makes quality equipment. A part of the TEAC group based in California, we know Tascam well and have used a lot of their kit in the past. They pretty much invented the portable recording studio early on, and we had one for a while.
So, even before we start, we know this Lavalier is going to be good with some interesting features.
The DR-10L is more than just a Lavalier microphone; it is a micro-sized digital audio recorder that allows you to do away with wires and wireless mic systems. And the entire unit is small enough to be hidden away discreetly which allows it many more sound recording options.
If you have a level problem, high or low, the volume will be increased by an automatic gain control. And there is a limiter to stop sudden input overload causing distortion.
One alkaline battery will give you about 10 hours of record time. But it will also work with rechargeable batteries or through a USB connection. Monitoring battery level is important, and there is an LED display. While the batteries can be changed without removing the unit from the belt clip.
To prevent any live recording problems with distortion and other basic sound issues, the unit will automatically create a safety track recorded at a lower level.
There is a 3.5mm jack socket for headphones to monitor the recording or playback. And it has a very stable and secure mic clip.
The omnidirectional polar pattern will pick up the sound from all directions, thus removing the problem of loss of sound due to the subject changing position. And, in the case of a sudden loss of power, the unit will automatically save. Any work to a file, so it is not lost.
That is just a brief outline — a professional piece of kit at a very competitive price.
For the sake of balance, though we must draw attention to one disappointing failure of the DR-10L. It doesn’t make the tea. That’s no good, is it!
Comes with a belt clip, windscreen, USB cable, and case,
A great piece of kit for any environment and worth every penny.
6 Shure MVL Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone
Shure microphones. Of course, they will have a Lavalier mic. There aren’t too many manufacturers that know more about microphones than Shure so let’s see what they have come up with.
True to form and reputation, no excesses just rugged functionality. The microphone is an omnidirectional digital condenser Lavalier. It looks small, but it is built with Shure’s reputation for stability.
It has a 3.5mm TRRS connector and is compatible with any phone or tablet that has a microphone jack socket. Although it has been designed principally to work with phones and tablets, it is also good with cameras or direct to a laptop.
External interference and unwanted noises are canceled out by Shure’s RF/GSM system which leaves a clear signal. And the mic will clip onto clothing with a strong and stable clip. This clip is actually quite large and might be a bit of a problem to hide away.
It works well in a number of environments. Its suitability extends to interviews and speeches and lectures where the quality of the audio is of importance. Because the sound quality is so good, it is also excellent for recording voice-overs.
You will need to download the MOTIV App for IOS software from the App Store. Sharing the recording through email or text is then possible.
It is supplied with a windscreen, pouch, and clip.
We can safely say Shure have produced a quality product as you would expect that they would. It’s well made and has a great sound and is easy to use. It will also fit most applications for use, and all at a very competitive price.
Looks like a good example of what you might call the Best Lavalier microphone to us.
7 Audio-Technica ATR-3350IS Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Mic
Audio Technica, is another company renowned for the quality of its products and for the competitive prices they often offer.
The ATR 33501S is a condenser microphone with an omnidirectional coverage, thus picking up sounds from all angles. And, it’s designed to produce quality and accurate voice reproduction and can be used in a variety of situations.
It has a comfortable size and profile, which makes it easy to use and operate. But, it must be remembered when considering these products that manufacturers make them often with a particular market in mind. In this case, the market is people looking for a Lavalier on a budget.
You cannot, therefore, expect it to sound like a mic that is twenty times the price. That’s simply not going to happen. You must, therefore, expect its performance usually to be in line with its cost.
This mic is a good example of that. It is well made, and in some environments produces decent audio. But, it probably isn’t a mic for use on a windy mountain top doing a news report, but it is fine inside maybe doing an interview or presenting.
For a microphone at this price, it is fine and delivers decent results. There is a little background noise, you might expect that, but generally speaking, it will produce a decent result.
For the cost, it is good value as an entry level mic, just be careful where and how you use it to get the best results.
8 Audio-Technica AT899 Condenser Microphone
Another offering from Audio-Technica and a product at the other end of the scale to the one we just reviewed. The AT899 though has all the bells and whistles and is designed to work in a variety of situations producing high-quality results.
The design is small and is just 5mm wide, making it easy to conceal on the subject. It may be used as a Lavalier, and its small size gives it a big advantage. It operates from a battery or phantom power.
Its big feature though is its sound quality. A clean and crisp reproduction makes it suitable for environments where clarity is vital. It will excel at lectures, presentations, and seminars where you do not want your audience to struggle to understand what is being said.
It will also be good for stage work and possibly even some vocal singing situations. The signal to noise ratio is very low, and so that extends its options for use in a variety of environments.
It comes with a good selection of accessories including a variety of clips giving you options as to how you want to attach the mic to the subject or yourself, windscreens and element covers and a decent length of cable.
We have only touched on the technical specs of this product because there are far too many to go into. Suffice to say it produces quality audio, and that is the bottom line.
It doesn’t come cheap, but as we have said many times before, usually you get what you pay for.
9 Sony ECM77B Electret Condenser Lavalier Microphone
Sony’s ECM77B is a lavalier that’s most important design feature is to be inconspicuous. It is a condenser microphone with omnidirectional facility. This is in every sense of the word a miniature mic that will easily clip on a tie or similar without impinging upon the wearer.
It comes with an XLR connector and will run on either an AA battery or phantom power.
The big advantage to lavalier microphones, of course, is that they are hands-free, which means no handheld mics with all the problems that can accrue. They do, however, have certain issues, and one of those is external noise. The dynamics of this mic are very good, and the windscreen provided all but removes any external interference.
It has good frequency responses and great tonal quality, which is why it is well-known around TV studios. The build is high quality and true to Sony’s reputation; it is not going to fall apart with use.
If you are looking for top grade quality at a price that is affordable, then this Sony is something you should certainly be on your list. It has been around for quite a few years now, which in itself is an indicator. When a product is good, then you can usually tell by its shelf life, and this one just goes on and on.
It has become a bit of an industry standard because of its high-quality sound and construction.
Made in Japan.
10 Sennheiser MKE2-P-C MKE2 Omni Lavalier Microphone
I suppose in the world of lavalier microphones it now gets serious. In fact, in the world of any mics, as soon as you hear the word Sennheiser, you know you will be confronted with some serious quality.
This Sennheiser is state of the art, and that is why it has become a favorite amongst audio and broadcast engineers and film crews. This isn’t surprising as its superior sound quality and miniature size mean that it has everything needed to provide great sound with no limitations regarding visibility.
It can, therefore, be used on camera or on stage whilst remaining completely hidden. In short, it is designed for live theater use and broadcasting and therefore has to be at the top end to deliver the performance required.
It has an omnidirectional polar pattern that ensures a balanced frequency response. And great reproduction of voice is possible because of the wide linear frequency response.
A higher SPL and low levels of distortion are achieved through a reduced sensitivity, and any problems with sweat and mild perspiration are removed by its dual diaphragm design.
The fact that this product is popular and used by industry professionals speaks volumes of its performance and capabilities. It is a high-quality product that will consistently deliver excellent results.
One thing that we should mention that we find a little surprising, is that no clip accessories are included with this product.
It’s not cheap, it really isn’t, but if it falls within your budget you are buying absolute quality.
Made in Germany.
Best Lavalier Microphones Buyers Guide
We have been fortunate to review products from right across the price range available. There have been some quite amazing microphones, and it is not going to be easy to pick the best Lavalier Microphone.
We have also covered some entry level mics and some what we might term mid-range. There has also been a visit to the world of the professional user.
As always though the criteria for buying needs to be established before you consider the options.
What Will You Use It For?
Always the critical question with products like this. What will you use it for, and where will you use it.
If you are working in TV or film or need the very best results from outside broadcasting, then there are a couple of options, one of which is a serious player in the market, but both are good.
However, if it is to be a very basic entry level mic, because you are not sure if they are for you, or will operate in the environment you plan, then there is also a choice.
If like most of us, you would like a fairly basic mic with a decent sound reproduction that will allow some options for use then there are a few to choose from.
Your decision on its usage must take certain other factors into consideration.
Does it need to have a tough, rugged build for outside use? Does it need pop filters and windshields, how much cable length would you need?
What about the signal to noise ratio, how important is that? In some cases, it is more important than others.
What about fittings and sockets, are you going to use it with another device and will it be compatible with it? Not all are.
What about your intended audience. Will it be a one-off conference type use where it has to be right with good sound first time or will you use it to record and maybe edit after.
So many options, but all of which are available in this review.
Setting Your Budget
It is advisable to always do this, plus maybe ten percent above. It is easy to get carried away unless you have some guidelines to follow, and there is quite a range of prices we have looked at. Make your decisions and choose wisely. These little pieces of kit can make a real difference if you pick the right mic for the right job.
So, What’s The Best Lavalier Microphones?
This is an area where we see the need for an entry level mic. We wouldn’t need pro quality for TV or outside broadcasting, but it is desirable to have a decent reproduction from a mic that is easy to use and is built well.
We, therefore, would choose the…
Priced a little towards the higher end, it is a great product with so many options for use. It is small enough to be discreet and comes with accessories that make it easy to set up and operate.
And of course, it is Tascam quality.
A great piece of kit and considering its price, and easily the best lavalier microphone. Our environment is suffering more and more and gets unhealthier every day, hence the importance of breathing the purest air we can whenever possible.