Body mic, collar mic, lavalier mic, lapel mic, lav mic – no matter what you call it, these little mics are incredibly useful and we’re going to help you find the best lav mic for podcasting
When it comes to buying microphones for podcasting, Lavalier microphones have become more and more popular for good reason.
If you find yourself recording on the go and just don’t want to hold a regular microphone, lav mics are great. They’re really useful for recording interviews on location and provide better visuals if you’re also recording video.
Lav mics are small in size and can be attached to your collar, tie, or anywhere that’s near enough your mouth to pick up sound. Once you have a lav mic clipped on your clothing in a proper place to pick up voices, then you don’t have to even think about it. Doesn’t get any easier.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know what the best lav mic is, it’s the Shure MVL Wired Lav Mic.
Let’s get into the overview of the 5 best podcast lav mics and more details of each, including pros and cons. We’ll also take a look at key factors to consider on how to choose the best lavalier microphone.
Audio-Technica PRO 70
GREAT FOR VOCAL
Side note: I’m not going to recommend any top-end professional lav mics for filming. Those are priced at $700-1000+ and are overkill for podcasting. I’ve used ones like the Sennheiser AVX-MKE2 Set and while they’re amazing quality, it’s too expensive for the value you’re getting in a podcast. They’re recording sound for large movie theaters, while podcasts are for headphones and earbuds like AirPods.
Table of Contents
5 Best Lav Mics for Podcasting
1. Shure MVL Lavalier Mic – Best Overall
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Sound professionals know the Shure name and how it’s one of the best microphone brands that produce quality microphones. When you’re looking to make a microphone purchase, a Shure mic will pop up in your research.
If you’re looking for a high quality wired mic to record audio with your smartphone, then the Shure MVL is the right one for you.
The MVL has great signal-to-noise ratio, headroom, and maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level).
The MVL is an omnidirectional condenser mic that comes with a 3.5mm (1/8″) TRRS jack. The jack lets you easily connect the mic with your tablet or mobile phone.
This is a smartphone lavalier microphone, but it also works great with a digital recorder or camera. You’ll need to use a 3.5mm TRRS to TRS adapter though to plug it into the recorder or camera’s mic input. It also comes with a long 52” cord to provide you the flexibility to move a bit when recording.
Check out this video where the reviewer uses an adapter to plug it into a Zoom H1 portable digital audio recorder:
Most podcasters love this microphone because of its plug and play feature – no battery needed! It’s perfect when out and about. Overall it’s an awesome mic to record sound anywhere.
- Great noise-canceling feature
- Very easy to use
- Solid durability
- No battery required
- The clip is a bit large which can’t be hidden easily
- Some reports of USB-C to 3.5mm adapters not working
2. PowerDeWise Professional Grade Lavalier Mic – Best Value
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The best bang for your buck PowerDeWise Lav Mic comes with amazing sound quality. Don’t be fooled by its lower price tag, it still packs a punch, delivering professional-grade quality.
It will give you the flexibility of mic placement when recording as it features an omnidirectional pick-up pattern. You’ll get a clear and crisp sound with its fantastic signal to noise ratio. It does well with various sound levels, including picking up whispers without a problem.
The best feature of this mic is that it comes with an extra extension cable around 78” that will provide you good versatility. Many users who use it on video shoots say they like that they can stand up to 10 feet away from the camera.
One drawback according to some users is it will pick up the wire rustling if you’re walking around and the cable is constantly moving, rubbing against your shirt. The flip side of that is traffic noise and wind doesn’t affect the recording of your voice.
So, it might be best to not to use it while walking and talking, as well as not wearing shirts that make ruffling sounds. If you’re indoors and recording an interview, this mic is great.
- Best bang for the buck
- Clear and crisp sound
- Unobtrusive clip that rotates and is easy to use
- May pick up ambient noise when moving
3. RODE smarLav+ Lavalier Mic – Best Lav Mic for Experienced Podcasters
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Many of you out there who has worked with any audio equipment probably knows the name RODE. It is one of the most popular and renowned audio equipment brands. Their high-quality equipment is widely used on video productions, live performances, and of course, podcasting.
The RODE smartLav is a great lavalier mic for podcasting on the go with its balance of features and broadcast quality audio. It’s a lavalier microphone that comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack that can be connected to any devices with a 3.5mm port for connection.
The feature that makes it different from other mics is its sturdy build quality. Durability with lavalier mics can sometimes be a problem due to the small size and how delicate they can be. The RODE smartLav+ is great with its sturdiness.
The smartLav features an omnidirectional condenser microphone. You will also get plosive and noise-free when recording thanks to its built-in windscreen that acts as a pop filter. It does a good job of isolating your voice, while reducing the background noise around you.
In case you want to use it on a camera or digital recorder you’ll need a 3.5mm TRRS to TRS converter. Some phones will need this also. If you see that your phone, tablet, or computer picks up the mic as a headset and audio output, you’ll need to change that in your device’s settings, so it’ll record.
- Incredibly durable
- Built-in windscreen for noise-free sound
- Own RODE Rec iOS app to turn your phone into a portable recorder
- Higher price point than other wired lav mics
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A list of best lav mics wouldn’t be complete without an Audio-Technica microphone. So, after a lot of research, I’m including the Audio-Technica PRO 70, a high-end semi-pro lavalier mic that’s great for podcasting.
Like most lavalier microphones, the PRO 70 is a cardioid polar pattern (omnidirectional) condenser microphone that will deliver great sound quality to help create high-quality podcast audio.
An additional plus with the PRO 70 is the ability to pick up acoustic guitars better than other lav mics when recording. It comes with a clip-on to attach to the guitar’s sound hole. If you’re a musician and podcaster, this coiuld be a 2-in-1 for you.
Audio-Technica mics are known for their performance and durability. The Pro 70 is also one of the rare lavalier mics that can be powered by a battery or phantom power. If you have a nice-sized budget for a podcasting lavalier microphone, then I’d recommend this one.
One of the drawbacks is if you want to record directly to your phone. You’ll need to get a XLR to 3.5mm (1/8″) jack connection for smartphones, like the iPhone. The XLR input is common for higher-end mics, because it offers better audio. The Pro 70’s XLR connector is gold-plated, so it’ll last longer and be corrosion resistant.
- Fantastic sound quality
- Solid build quality
- Great audio recording versatility
- No battery life indicator
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The Movo WMIC50 is for those who don’t want the hassle with wired lavalier microphones – its a wireless microphone. With a wireless lavalier microphone, you can easily move around and record your voice from up to 164 feet (50 meters) away.
It uses a 2.4 GHz wireless system for interference-free audio recording. You’ll need two AAA size batteries for both the receiver and transmitter. How does the Movo work when recording and transmitting audio?
The transmitter with the lav mic will capture the analog audio and convert it into digital audio, that is then sent as a digital signal (the 1s and 0s like computer code) to the receiver. The receiver will then convert it back into analog audio to your computer or other recording device.
Some users have said that the mic can be sensitive to louder background noises, so you can try the volume buttons to try and fix that.
If you want to connect this to a smartphone, you’ll need to get the TRS to TRRS Adapter. Otherwise, the TRS plug should be able be plugged into most digital recorders and cameras.
- Wireless system offers you great flexibility
- Great coverage between the receiver and the transmitter
- Good audio quality
- Changing batteries can be a hassle
What to Look for When Buying a Lavalier Microphone
To get the right lavalier microphone for you, you’ll need to consider a number of factors based on your recording habits. Everyone is a little different and what’s great for one podcaster will not be great for another podcaster.
Do You Need a Lavalier Microphone?
That’s the first question to ask yourself based on how you record and personal preference.
For me, I like a tangible podcast microphone that I can hold in my hand. I also feel safe that I’m recording clear audio because there’s a large USB mic in front of me.
But when I’m recording video or outside, I do prefer a lavalier microphone. I don’t need to hold a large microphone and I’m more able to move around freely.
Audio quality is the most important thing to check when choosing out of all the lavalier microphones out there. If you’ve purchased a lav mic that isn’t delivering quality audio, then the time, energy, and money you’ll spend recording might go to waste.
A good lavalier microphone will have good frequency response and pick up a high-frequency audio signal (the person speaking), rather than background noise.
Wired vs Wireless Lavalier Microphones
Lavalier microphones are either wired or wireless, so you’ll need to make a choice. Let’s go through some of the differences.
But first, I want to be clear that both versions still have wires. There’s no full wireless version because a wireless mic still connects to a transmitter via wires. The transmitter sends the audio to a receiver that’s connected to a recording device (eg., sound recorder or computer). So the lavalier microphone is still connected to a transmitter via wires.
Why get a wireless microphone if there’re still wires then?
A wireless transmitter weighs much less than any recording device you’d normally connect your microphone to. For a wired lapel mic, you’ll be limited by the length of the mic cable.
If you want to be able to move around easily, the best lavalier mic will be a wireless one.
You pay for what you get. When it comes to audio equipment, especially with lavalier mics, the higher price points will offer better quality sound. If you’re not an audio professional though, you probably don’t need to worry about getting ones that are over $100 for a wired microphone.
Wired lavalier microphones are generally cheaper compared to wireless. Wireless lavalier microphones will allow for recording from a distance, so that will come in higher. You’ll also be paying for a transmitter and receiver combination.
Shooting Video With Podcast
If you’re recording video too, a wireless microphone will be a great addition, because you’re able to record by connecting the receiver directly into the video camera. You’re now recording directly into the camera. That’s my favorite setup.
There is a disadvantage with the chance that you lose audio quality or signals when transmitting wirelessly. I’ve never had experienced audio issues before, but it’s possible.
You’ll want to make sure your batteries are always fresh. Rechargeable batteries are a great idea because you can always keep the battery power charged up. You can save some money by not always buying new batteries.
Conclusion: Best Lav Mic
I hope that this has helped with your research into lavalier microphones.
If you’re just starting your podcast and not trying to setup a mobile recording studio, you won’t need a lav mic yet.
I know it can feel overwhelming with all the options out there when choosing podcast microphones. All the different features like USB mics, XLR mics, polar patterns, dynamic vs condenser microphone, pop filter, shock mount, phantom power, frequency response, etc.