The Best Lavalier Microphones for Video Production 2023

In need of an upgrade from your boom arm and microphone setup to a lav system? Here are the best Lavalier Microphones on the market for Video Production.

Video production relies not only on producing well-executed visuals but also presenting good audio. Most people will start out with a standard condenser microphone attached to a boom arm. While functional, this approach has its downsides, like maneuvering the boom arm — especially in scenarios that involve a lot of movement.

Instead, why not opt for a lavalier microphone? It’s as simple as attaching the transmitter to the camera, the microphone to your clothes, and voila, a seamless set-up!

What Is a Lavalier Microphone?

Lavalier microphones (also known as lapel microphones) are small microphones that were designed for theatre and television for hands-free operation. The microphone has a clip, which is used to attach it to the subject’s clothing, typically the lapels.

Lavalier microphones can either be wired or wireless. Wired would just consist of the lavalier microphone attached to a cable that would run to your camera using a 3.5mm jack. Wireless lavalier microphones consist of two parts: the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter is connected to the camera or sound system and is usually mounted on top of the camera. The receiver is connected to the lavalier microphone, which can be tucked away in your pocket with the wire hidden in your clothing.

Using a lavalier microphone is ideal for those looking for something discreet and easy to operate with better isolation of the human voice. From interviews to vlogging, any production can benefit from a lavalier microphone.

Benefits of Using a Lavalier Microphone

Video producers will eventually opt into using lavalier microphones, especially those who are interviewing subjects for any number of reasons. The primary factors are that lavalier microphones are discreet and hassle-free.

Lavalier Microphones are very small and compact and won’t hinder the appearance of your shot. You may think “Well, shotgun microphones are also out of sight and out of mind,” but using a boom arm setup requires an additional crew member, as well as more accuracy in picking up the sound source due to their narrow directionality. This also makes lavalier microphones super ideal for solo content creators.

Boom mic
Boom mics are a tried-and-true production tool, but sometimes they’re more trouble than they’re worth. (Image via Freepik.)

Shotgun microphones have a high directional pickup pattern, which is great for rejecting sound from either side. However, if your subject is standing in front of an environment that’s rather loud, then the background sound will be picked up due to the increased sensitivity and directionality. A lavalier microphone, since it’s closer to the face, tends to pick up the human voice with much more clarity. For those conducting interviews or social media content outside where it’s windy, you can also purchase a windshield to minimize the wind noise.

Whether you are on a budget or would like to invest in a professional standard lavalier system, here are the best lavalier microphones available in 2023.

Affordable Lavalier Microphones

Boya microphone
Boya BY-M1 micrphone. (Image via Boya.)

For those starting out in video production on an extreme budget, these affordable options won’t break the bank. They are a great choice if you’re shooting some content for social media either on your smartphone or a camera. These options are a great alternative to the microphone that’s built into your video recording devices.

The ones listed below are all under $30 and are wired. As they are cheaper in price, it’s best to purchase a few for backup purposes in case your main lav mic stops working. It’s also good to take advantage of these cheaper options to learn the ropes and experiment with your setup.

Wired Lavalier Microphones

RODE smartLav+
RODE smartLav+. (Image via RODE)

If you have some more money to spare and want to purchase a mic that will hold up better, here are some good-quality wired lavalier microphones.

You can use most wired options with a standard wireless transmitter. It’s also important to note that lavalier microphones that have an omnidirectional polar pattern can pick up exceptional audio because it’s much more forgiving than a shotgun pattern. When on a subject’s lapel at closer proximity, you don’t have to worry about getting the angle correct. It will still pick up the sound of the talent’s voice effortlessly.

These wired options range from around $50 up to $170. Furthermore, some of these are also compatible with mobile devices, which is perfect for content creators!

Wireless Lavalier Microphones

Sennheiser G4
Sennheiser G4. (Image via Sennheiser.)

To conclude this list, if you want to create professional-quality video content and are willing to invest, opting for a wireless lavalier microphone will probably be one of the greatest investments you will make.

In most cases, wireless equals efficiency. In video production, having a wireless lavalier system will take away that hassle while still maintaining high-quality audio.

Some of the prices on this list are eyewatering. However, the Tascam, the cheapest on this list, will still provide you with decent results. But remember: the higher the price, the higher the quality. With wireless lavalier systems, the price is also determined by the bandwidth between the transmitter to the receiver. The bigger the bandwidth, the more it costs.

The Sennheiser G4 is a renowned lavalier system that also offers different bandwidth lengths. It’s known for its exceptional quality and ease of use. However, as someone who may be just starting, go for something more affordable, learn how the system works, and then proceed to invest in professional standard gear down the road.

Depending on the type of content you’re creating and the budget you have, these are all viable options to get you started. Jumping in with the cheaper options is a great way to learn how they operate and what scenarios they best suit. Furthermore, having a lavalier microphone set in your arsenal is always a wise idea. Your line of work may vary, thus requiring a lavalier microphone for efficiency as well as crystal-clear audio.

Cover image via Freepik.

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Zoe Sones

Zoe Sones is a UK-based composer who focuses on acoustic contemporary classical and ambient electronic composition. In her works, she explores an array of textures and timbres of both instruments and nature’s very own sounds. She enjoys creating haunting electronic drones, writing harmonically rich and serene chords, while also being a bedroom DJ.

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