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How to Use a Lavalier Mic

Jan 05, 2021

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Lavalier microphones - also called lapel mics or clip-on mics - are small wired microphones that are widely used in filmmaking and broadcasting.

They are ideal for recording dialogues because they are discreet and unobtrusive and stand close to the mouth when not in sight.

This ensures that you can get clean, clear audio in a variety of recording situations, whether it's vlogging, reporting on camera, or recording an interview.

If your mic is not working properly and you want to test online, then take online mic test.

There are two main things to consider when using a Lavalier microphone: how to position it and how to connect it to your recording device. Let's take a closer look at what we need to know about each.

How to Position a Lavalier Mic


When placing a lavalier mic, it is important to consider the proximity of your sound source (usually to you or your subject's mouth) to get the best sound.

Most lav microphones have omnidirectional capsules, meaning they are picking up sound from all directions and are therefore forgiving when recording.

However, as a general rule, it is recommended that you place the mic on the chest, at a hand-distance (20-30 cm) distance from the mouth. This give's you a natural, uncolored sound.


Attaching Your Lav to Its Clip


All lavs come with a clip that allows you to mount the microphone on a piece of clothing. For first time users, these clips may be a bit confusing but they are very easy to use.

Just slip the windshield over the mic, pinch the spiral clasp, insert your mic into the loop, release the clasp to secure the mic in place. Now you can slip the windshield back.

Mounting Your Lav

When wearing a jacket cover, button-up shirt seam, or the edge of a tie, it is easiest to place a lavalier mic to secure it. Be sure to keep the mic clean from other clothing such as rubbing against it, as this will be audible in your recordings.

If you wear clothes that don’t offer strong seams for mounting, such as a singlet or T-shirt, things can get a little tricky.

You can raise the neck to the neckline - just keep in mind that if the mic is under the neck, the sound can feel colored and weird. You can reduce this by not putting it directly below the chin, or by setting the mic aside.

If you are wearing a singlet, shoulder straps are another great place to mount a lavalier mic. This is probably the best solution if you wear exercise clothes. Or if you want to be creative, putting a mic under the headband also works well. The provided mic is at a distance of 20-30 cm from your mouth and does not have clothing rubbing against it, you will get a great result.


Keeping It Concealed

You may want to consider concealing the cable to keep your video looking clean and professional.  You can simply tuck it out under your jacket or run it inside your shirt.

Pro sound engineers will use drapers' tape to secure the cable against the inside of clothing; you could improvise with gaffer tape or even regular sticky tape if you want to keep things out of sight.

Using what is known as the “broadcast loop” will give you a neat, professional profile. Click here for an in-depth look at how to mount a lavalier mic on yourself or your talent.

Connecting a Lavalier Microphone to a Recording Device

Once you have your lavalier mounted and positioned correctly, the next step is connecting it to your recording device. There are two things to consider here: what kind of device you are plugging it into and whether you need to connect wirelessly or not. This will determine what kind of equipment you need.

Computers and Mobile Devices

If you're connecting your mic to a smartphone or tablet, you'll need a microphone with a compatible connector - the RØDE SmartLav +. It has a TRRS jack, which is the same connector found in most computers and mobile devices, so you can plug it in straight away without the need for an adapter.

Just insert the mic into your device's headphone port, select your input and output device in your audio settings or your recording software and you're ready to record.

This is a great option for vlogging, recording tutorials, or any video you have sitting in front of the camera. If the cable on the SmartLav+ is not long enough to reach your device or you need some extra way to rotate, you can use an RØDE SC1 extension cable.


Cameras

If you're recording in an audio device like a DSLR, mirrorless or compact camera, or portable recorder, you'll need a Lavalier mic with a TRS jack, like the RØDE Lavalier Go.


Going Wireless

If you need space to move around while recording with a Lavalier mic, such as if you're filming a tutorial or presentation, or you can't be tethered to your recording device, using a wireless system is one way. The RØDE range has many options, but Wireless Go is perfect for a compact, affordable, and easy-to-use solution.

The wireless system consists of two main components: a transmitter pack, which is connected to the subject and captures and transmits the audio, and a receiver pack, which plugs into the recording device and receives the audio wirelessly from the transmitter.

The Wireless Go is a unique microphone with a capsule built into the transmitter pack which means you don’t need to use a wired lavalier mic - just clip the transmitter to your chest because you’re a normal lavalier. Of course, there is also an input for this if you prefer to use a standard Lavalier mic. This is TRS input, so you need a lavalier with a TRS jack. Lavalier GO is a great option.  

Once you have installed your Lavalier, simply plug the receiver into your camera using the supplied patch cable, and you are ready to go.


Using TRRS to TRS Adaptors

When considering a mic with a 3.5mm jack like a Lavalier microphone, you should pay special attention to what kind of output your microphone has and what kind of input your recording device has - whether they are TRS or TRRS.

TRS / TRRS incompatibility is a common reason why microphones do not work with certain devices. It looks similar to Jack, but it's easier to identify what kind of connectors are on your microphone, but it's color-coded: all TRRS connectors are gray, so they can be plugged directly into computers and mobile devices; All TRS connectors are black, so they can be plugged into regular audio and camera equipment.

If you already have a microphone, but don't worry if it's not compatible with your recording device - there are several types of RØDE adapters that allow you to use a TRS mic with a TRRS device, and vice versa.

For example, if you have a Wireless Go or Lavalier Go (or any mic with 3.5mnm output, such as an RØDE video mic) and want to use it with a computer with TRRS input or with a mobile device, you can use SC4 or SC7 adapter or you can use DSLR camera, You can use the SC3 adapter if you want to plug the mic with TRRS output like smartLav+ with TRS input like a camera.

This may sound confusing but just remember - there are gray connectors TRRS to plug into a computer or mobile device; Black connectors are TRS for plugging in audio devices and cameras.

FAQ:

 

Are lavalier mics good for gaming?

The Sony ECM-CS10 is an omnidirectional lavalier microphone. This is an advanced version of Zellman ZM-Mick 1 which is amazingly popular among gamers, It can be plugged directly into your PC and clipped directly to your shirt so that it just really catches your voice.

Do lavalier mics need power?

Every condenser microphone (including lava mics) requires phantom power, phantom power, however, this does not mean that 48 V can operate at multiple lava/condenser mics / wide voltage and there are current lava microphones that will operate on battery power.

Is lavalier mic good for singing?

It sounds cool, something like a good stage vocal microphone. DPAs also have better directional headset microphones, but they are more expensive. These microphones are usually designed to run outside the radio system, but you can usually get a converter to run them from a standard phantom-powered XLR input.

Summary

The lavalier mic is a small microphone that you can clip on clothes. You may have seen many TV presenters, vloggers, and filmmakers using them. They deliver a great clear sound as they stand very close to the mouth.

There are two things to consider when using a Lavalier mic: how to keep it and how to connect it to your camera, phone, or laptop. It is important to use a supplied windshield to reduce wind noise or plosives when using a lavalier outdoors or near your mouth.

This is especially good for vloggers who want to record their thrilling stories filled with emotions.