The 8 Best Lavalier Microphones

Updated September 27, 2017 by Steven John

8 Best Lavalier Microphones
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Offering clip-on convenience, these lavalier microphones are designed to capture, record and/or broadcast audio in a discreet manner. They are particularly well suited for news reporters in the field, presenters in a studio and even actors on a stage in a large theater. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best lavalier microphone on Amazon.

8. BOYA BY-WM8 UHF Dual

This BOYA BY-WM8 UHF Dual set was made specifically for the video production professionals who use a DSLR as their camera of choice. Its receiver easily mounts to most DSLR camera frames, and the signal transmits clear for 300 feet in good conditions.
  • programmable mute function
  • great for live news as well
  • very expensive option
Brand BOYA & AriMic
Model BY-WM8
Weight pending
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Royal Voice Lapel Mic

The Royal Voice Lapel Mic works with all major smartphones as well as various other types of hardware, including computers. It captures sound with impressive fidelity given its small price tag, making it a great choice for anyone on a budget.
  • comes with protective pouch
  • omnidirectional pickup pattern
  • breaks rather easily
Brand Royal Voice
Model pending
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Movo WMIC50 Microphone System

The Movo WMIC50 Microphone System is a good choice for use in television production. It comes with a reliable microphone and transmitter and a receiver that can be easily mounted onto a tripod, perfect for directing audio right into a camera.
  • runs on 2 aaa batteries
  • 2 earphone sets come included
  • mic can be quite noisy
Brand Movo
Model WMIC50
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Audio-Technica ATR3350iS Condenser

The Audio-Technica ATR3350iS Condenser mic is compact, yet capable. It can be connected to a transmitter, which must be purchased separately, or plugged into a smartphone, and it features a handy on/off switch right on the cable.
  • batteries last well with heavy use
  • also connects directly to camera
  • flimsy clip prone to failure
Brand Audio-Technica
Model ATR3350IS
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Pyle-Pro PDWM96 Lavalier System

The Pyle-Pro PDWM96 Lavalier System is fantastically inexpensive because it is an essentially outdated technology. That said, with the purchase of an also-cheap 1/4-inch adapter, you can use this microphone and transmitter with most modern hardware.
  • includes a volume control
  • batteries come with it
  • rather modest 60-foot range
Brand PylePro
Model PDWM96
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Sony ECMCS3 Clip-On

This diminutive Sony ECMCS3 Clip-On is compact and lightweight enough to be worn for hours without it impacting any of your activities. It's a fine choice for extended dictation of notes or for use while conducting long interview sessions.
  • generates a stereo signal
  • subtle and discreet
  • included cord a bit short
Brand Sony ECMCS3 Clip-On
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. Pop Voice Omnidirectional Lapel Mic

The Pop Voice Omnidirectional Lapel Mic captures crystal clear audio, which it sends directly to your smartphone or to another device ready to capture the signal. Its included windscreen helps to reject unwanted interference from ambient noises.
  • good reviews from users
  • long 59-inch cable
  • backed by 1-year warranty
Brand Pop Voice
Model Car-0733
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. PylePro PDWM3400 Premier Series

This PylePro PDWM3400 Premier Series system is suitable for use in a professional setting, whether you use it to capture the voice of a speaker giving a presentation or for an actor on a stage. The microphones can operate while more than 150 feet from the receiver.
  • eight operational channels
  • power indicator lights
  • clear digital displays
Brand PylePro
Model PDWM3400
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Why Use A Lavaliere Microphone?

There’s a wonderfully funny scene in the classic film Singin’ in the Rain, that pokes fun at the early days of talkies — that is, movies with sound. In it, a film director tries desperately to get his actress to speak in the direction of an enormous microphone that’s hidden away in a bush on set. It only picks her voice up if she speaks directly into it, and she spends the scene swaying her head back and forth, creating an unlistenable rush of poorly delivered lines.

It’s a funny scene, to be sure, but it also highlights a significant problem in film production that the advent of talkies initiated back in 1927. Simply put: bad sound is unforgivable. A wealth of picture issues, on the other hand (including lackluster special effects), often fail to register as significant faults with viewers. This most likely has to do with our willing suspension of disbelief. For some reason, though, we don’t extend filmmakers and documentarians the same length of rope when it comes to sound.

Bad sound in a beautifully shot film will pull you out of the experience. Think about those cheap overdub jobs that production houses in the 1970s applied to so many martial arts films. The image of those human mouths moving completely out of sync with the words on the soundtrack is so ubiquitous in the genre that it has since become an indelible comedy touchstone.

Most productions rely heavily on boom microphones to capture their audio. A shotgun microphone attached to the far end of a long boom pole allows sound mixers access to the spaces just outside of an image’s frame. From there, they can usually pick up enough high-quality audio to give the scene a professional sound level. The problem with these microphones is that they are susceptible to high winds, and they can pick up too much ambient noise if they’re positioned too far from a talking subject.

If that wind is too high, or if the framing of the shot necessitates that the boom operator bring his microphone too far from the actors to capture problem-free audio, the lavaliere microphone will save the day. It can also be tremendously useful if you only have enough in your budget to work with a smaller crew, as a set of well-placed lavs may negate the need for a boom operator entirely, freeing your actors or interviewees to move about the space as they see fit.

Only The Sounds You Desire

Of course, with motion comes the one big drawback from lavaliere microphones: clothing rustle. By necessity, these little mics have to be very sensitive. They’re designed to capture high-quality audio, often from beneath one of more layers of clothing. If your subject is relatively motionless, that audio should record very cleanly. Small amounts of motion, however, will often create audio tracks in which the sound of clothing rubbing against the microphone far outshines the dialogue you hope to capture. Even if the dialogue rises above the level of the rustle, the mere presence of the rustle will likely render your audio useless.

In documentary cases, the easiest solution is to mount the lav mic somewhere above the clothing, often clipped to a tie or the edge of a jacket. Documentary is unique in this case, as there’s little attempt on the part of a director to obscure the line between fact and fiction; the presence of a visible microphone may actually cause viewers to believe your story more deeply, even if you use other, more dramatized methods to put it all together.

A visible microphone won’t go over as well with film audiences who expect you to whisk them away to another place. Websites like IMDb and others often trade in “gotcha” moments where you can see evidence of a production, such as the visible microphone pack on Walter White’s back in the Breaking Bad pilot episode, or the hanging figure in the Wizard of Oz that may or may not be a munchkin suicide.

To save yourself a lot of such trouble, you’ll want to hide your actors’ mics somewhere on their bodies. This might create a lot of clothing noise, but there are a few tricks you can use to get around it. For starters, there are some products out there that are specifically designed for this purpose. The same companies that produce the microphones make many of them, and these will often provide you with the best fit. You may also want to look into some DIY methods, however, as these can mimic a lot of what the on-brand solutions do to cut down on rustle, but at a fraction of the cost.

Also, keeping these mics in place is vital to reducing unwanted noises, and you can’t simply clip them to clothing if you want them to remain hidden. Invest in a little medical tape — the kind you would use to secure gauze to skin — as this will hold your lavs in place against any bare flesh that might prove a convenient staging ground.

Which Lav Will You Love?

Your selection of a lavaliere microphone system will hinge on your intended uses for the device. As evidenced above, necessities of size and placement will have a lot to do with your decision, and a documentarian will have different needs than a fiction filmmaker.

If you’re a documentarian, or you work in any other field where a visible microphone won’t detract from your production, you can afford to focus less on how small a given model is, or on how easy it otherwise may be to conceal, and more on its overall fidelity or wireless range.

For fiction filmmakers, the ability to conceal whatever option you choose is paramount. In addition to the mic itself, however, you also need to concern yourself with the transmitter pack that runs to a wireless receiver. If you can’t stand the idea of a pack showing up on a character that needs to move around a lot in a frame, take a good look at some of the smartphone-compatible models out there. These plug directly into any cell phone with a 3.5mm jack, and allow your actors to merely appear as though they have their phone in a pocket, providing a naturalistic solution to your audio problem.



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Last updated on September 27, 2017 by Steven John

When not writing or spending time with his family, Steven tries to squeeze in some mountain climbing. In addition to writing for several websites and journals, Steven has published multiple novels.


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