Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big clip-on microphone test 2021. Here we present all the clip-on microphones we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. In this way, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best clip-on microphones for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a microphone.




Summary

  • Clip-on microphones are ideal for recording speech. They can simply be "plugged in" to the collar, blouse or a camera or smartphone.
  • Clip-on microphones improve the voice quality of the recording enormously, while the speaker's freedom of movement is not restricted and he or she has both hands free.
  • The basic construction of clip-on microphones is usually always the same and you can choose between the type of microphone with cable or without cable.

The Best Lapel Microphone: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a clip-on microphone

What is a lapel microphone?

Lavalier is just the technical term for clip-on microphone. The name lavalier comes from the jewellery industry and actually refers to a piece of jewellery worn around the neck. The term comes from the French language. A lavalier in French is a piece of jewellery worn around the neck. In the music world, it is a lapel microphone. Lavalier microphones are small and compact recording devices that can be attached to clothing. Because of this "pinning" to the clothing, they are also called clip-on microphones.

With a lapel microphone, you have both hands free for other things when speaking. (Image source: unsplash.com/ Liam Martens)

Lavalier microphones or clip-on microphones are also known by many other names. The best known are: "lav", "label mic" and "body mic".

What do I need a clip-on microphone for?

Basically, a clip-on microphone is always useful when you need or want freedom of movement. For example, you don't have to stay near the microphone stand or you have both hands free for other things. Lapel microphones are usually attached to collars, ties or other items of clothing with a small clip. Any necessary cabling to a high-frequency transmitter, which is attached to a bag or belt, can easily be hidden under clothing. Lapel microphones are used in TV, theatre, concerts, videos, vlogs, podcasts or public speaking.

How much does a lapel microphone cost?

There is a suitable clip-on microphone for everyone, whether for the first microphone purchase, the hobby filmmaker or the professional. We divide the prices into three different classes. Low, medium and high-end price range. Lavs or clip-on microphones can be found for as little as 5 euros. However, these are probably intended more as toys for children. But for as little as 10 euros, you can find microphones that significantly improve the quality of sound recording compared to many built-in microphones.

The middle price range starts at about 50 euros. Here you will find brand names such as Rode, and these mics also meet higher demands. This class goes up to about 200 Euros. The quality of the mics here also reaches into the professional range. From 200 Euros, usually around 350 Euros, you find the high-end range. Here there are subtleties in the microphones that make the heart of professionals beat faster. Of course, there are models that cost well over 350 euros. In fact, we did not find any clip-on microphones that cost more than a thousand euros. But you can certainly find that too.

price range price
low price range from approx. 10 €
medium price range from 50-200 €
high-end from 200 €

What alternatives are there to clip-on microphones?

Can you spare your freedom of movement or one of your hands? Then there are a number of alternative mics you can use. A very good compromise is wireless microphones. On the one hand, you can move freely in the room thanks to the radio and only need one hand to hold the microphone. On the other hand, you can also put the radio microphone in a microphone stand so that you have both hands free. Are you interested in wireless microphones? Then we have linked our test of the best wireless microphones for you here. One disadvantage that the alternatives have is that they are larger. The advantage of the larger design is that the recording quality is better for the same price.

Decision: What types of lapel microphones/lavaliers are there and which one is right for me?

Basically, you can decide between the following types of clip-on microphones:

  • Clip-on microphone with condenser microphone
  • Clip-on microphone with omnidirectional characteristic

Which lapel microphone you choose depends mainly on what you want to use the microphone for and how much money you want to invest. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each in detail below.

The condenser design

The typical clip-on microphone is a condenser microphone. The advantage is the high sensitivity, which promises a precise and detailed sound. Unfortunately, the sensitivity also applies to background noise, which again is not intentional.

Clip-on microphones are usually condenser microphones. Their sensitivity enables them to produce a clear sound in the recording. (Image source: unsplash.com / Gritte)

The sensitivity to noise can be effectively counteracted with the help of a windscreen or pop shield. That is why lavaliers are often equipped with them. Another small disadvantage is that, unlike dynamic microphones, condenser microphones need an external power supply. This can come directly from the recording/end device (e.g. smartphone or camera) or from a rechargeable battery or batteries.

Advantages
  • Precise, detailed sound
Disadvantages
  • External power source

The omnidirectional pattern

There are different directional patterns for microphones. In simple terms, the polar pattern indicates the angle from which the sound is picked up by the microphone. There are different polar patterns. The most common are the omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-of-eight patterns. Clip-on microphones usually have an omnidirectional pattern. This means they are omnidirectional and can pick up sound from all directions. Omnidirectional microphones pick up sound from all directions.

This has the advantage that, for example, the microphone does not necessarily have to face the speaker. In addition, it can be mounted at any angle and picks up sound even if it is twisted. Unfortunately, omnidirectional mics are prone to feedback, making them more complicated to use on stage.

Advantages
  • Sound is picked up from all directions
Disadvantages
  • Mic prone to feedback

The right lapel microphone for you

In a nutshell, you really only have to decide between a wireless or a clip-on microphone with a cable. The basic construction of the microphones is usually the same as described above. If you need the freedom of movement and can spare a little more money, wireless microphones are the best choice. With a little less freedom of movement, but also cheaper to buy, are wired clip-on microphones.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate clip-on microphones

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate clip-on microphones. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular clip-on microphone is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Connectors
  • Size
  • With or without cable
  • On/off switch
  • External power source
  • Design and colour

The following is a brief explanation of what is important in each of the criteria.

Connections

You will usually find a 3.5 mm jack plug on clip-on microphones. Professional equipment also has an XLR connector. Of course, there are also the above-mentioned options for connecting the microphone via Bluetooth or radio. The connections are located on the receiver device to which the microphone is connected. If it is a microphone with wireless technology, they are located on a transmitter and on the receiver unit.

Size

The size is a few centimetres, which is of course the main characteristic of a clip-on microphone. The lavalier becomes a little larger if a pop shield is used, or more noticeable if a fur windscreen, also called a dead-cat, is used. The receivers or transmitters are usually not much bigger than a packet of cigarettes.

Microphone with or without cable

Microphone with cable

The first thing to consider is how the microphone should be connected. A distinction can be made between wireless clip-on microphones and clip-on microphones with a cable. The advantage of the cable version is that it is easy to use. Since this variant is also the most common, it is also one of the cheaper ones due to the high demand.

Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • Low-priced
Disadvantages
  • Wiring
  • Often no direct connection to the end device (e.g. smartphone)

Tripping hazards on stage due to unnecessary cables can be avoided with wireless microphones. (Image source: unsplash.com / Jordan McDonald)

Cable length

Cable lengths range from 5 cm to 10 metres. However, a length of 1 to 1.5 metres is common.

Length classification cm / metre
short 5 - 90 cm
medium 1 - 3 metres
long 2 - 10 metres

If the built-in cable is not sufficient, extension cables are also available.

Microphone without cable

The wireless version usually consists of three components: Microphone, transmitter and receiver. The audio signal is also transmitted in this order. Among the wireless lavaliers, you can choose between wireless devices, i.e. WLAN, and Bluetooth. WLAN has the better transmission rates and can therefore meet higher quality requirements than Bluetooth connections. The big advantage is that you can connect the microphone directly to your recording device, e.g. a camera or smartphone.

Advantages
  • Less cable clutter
  • direct connection to end device (e.g. smartphone)
Disadvantages
  • Transmission worse (Bluetooth)
  • More expensive

On/off switch

A small on/off switch is only a small feature, but can often be very useful. A switch is helpful, for example, if you want to talk to someone but do not want it to be recorded or played back over a stereo system.

External power source

Many clip-on microphones can actually be supplied with sufficient power via the jack plug. However, there are also versions that require an external power source. This is supplied via the transmitter or receiver. Batteries are still often used, but more and more rechargeable battery versions are being offered that can be charged quickly and easily.

Design and colour

The various manufacturers differ only marginally in design. On the one hand, this has to do with the small construction, but also with the fact that the microphones often disappear under a pop shield or windscreen. The same applies to the colour. As is often the case in the music sector, the colour is black. However, colourful gimmicks can be implemented with coloured pop or fur windscreens

Facts worth knowing about lapel microphones

How do I attach a lavalier correctly?

It is best to clip the lavalier microphone at chest level in order to achieve optimum speech intelligibility. If it is too high, pop noises will be heard more on the recording. If it is too low, you have to increase the sensitivity, which means that other noises in the room will also be picked up. If you are in a discussion group, each participant needs a lavalier to avoid hand-held microphones being passed around. The best way to do this is to see how someone else attaches a lapel microphone. Just watch the following video we have picked out for you.

How do I use a lapel microphone?

There are some subtleties that you have to take into account when using a clip-on microphone. Regardless of whether it is used outdoors or indoors for the next vlog entry or other projects, points such as the correct volume or the connection to the PC are important.

Image source: 123rf.com / lightfieldstudios

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