How to Use a Lavalier Microphone to Record Audio

Lavalier Microphone, also known as lav mic or lapel mic, is a small clip-on microphone that can be attached to a tie or collar. It is positioned close to the speaker's mouth for greater freedom of movement and virtually hands-free operation. Lavalier microphone is best used as external mics for DSLRs, television, theater, public speaking, newscasting, interviews, and more. 

 

There are two type of Lavalier Microphones:

Wired Lavalier Microphone

A wired lavalier microphone is more affordable and easier to use than a wireless lavalier microphone. Simply attach the microphone to the desired position on the speaker's clothing and plug the microphone cable into the camera or recording equipment to start recording.  If the microphone cable is too short to accommodate the distance between the speaker and the recording equipment, there are extension cables available to solve this problem.

Wireless Lavalier Microphone

For a wireless lavalier microphone, the microphone cable is plugged into a small transmitter, and the transmitter can be stored inside the speaker's pocket or attached to a belt. The transmitter sends the audio to a small receiver which is connected to the recording equipment.The biggest advantage of the wireless lavalier microphone is that it allows greater freedom of movement and hand-free operation. However, the sound quality of the wireless lavalier microphones is usually inferior to wired lavalier mics. The transmitter of wireless lavalier mics may pick up radio signals or other outside interferences that distort the recording.

 

Proper microphone placement is critically important for achieving best sound quality. The following is a list of guideline for lavalier microphone placement.

  1. Position the lavalier microphone about six to eight inches from the center of the speaker's A spot on the speaker’s chest usually works best.
  1. Do not place the lavalier microphone too close to the speaker's mouth to prevent plosives and breathing noises from being captured.
  1. Attach the mic clip to an article of clothing, and make sure that the mic has an unblocked, clear path to the speaker’s mouth.
  1. Check the audio level by having the speaker speak normally while you’re listening with
  1. Readjust the lavalier microphone’s position if necessary.

 

Proper Attire

When recording with a lavalier microphone, you need to choose proper clothing to wear.

The best thing to wear is a button-down shirt as the lavalier microphone can be attached onto the gaps in between the buttons. Besides that, a jacket or blazer with lapels will work well too. Avoid wearing round-necked t-shirts, jumpers, and any other tops that don’t have somewhere low enough for the mic to attach on.Choose natural fabrics such as cotton or silk instead of synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon as synthetic fabrics may rustle or create unwanted noise. To test whether your clothe is suitable for recording with a lavalier microphone, rub two sections of the clothes together, the less noise it creates, the better.

Cable Management

Proper cable care and placement is just as important as microphone placement. Never stretch or pull the cable during recording as it may mess up the recorded audio and eventually breaking the microphone. Do not dangle the cable, to prevent unwanted noise being recorded during the speaker’s movements, tape the cable to the speaker's body or clothes.

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