I bought a lav mic – here’s what happened to my Audio

I wanted to write about buying a lavalier mic. Why did I do it? and why you should too.

Lavalier microphones – also known as lapel mics or clip-on mics – are small wired microphones that are widely used in filmmaking and broadcasting. They are ideal for recording dialogue as they are discreet and unobtrusive and can be positioned close to the mouth while remaining out of sight.

I recently wrote about my 2022 goals and my third goal was to get better at producing video content.

This one is a goal I have for producing better video content. I do a lot of Zoom’s and quite frankly my setup sucks. My videos suck.

It’s not just my video. My audio sucked too. Check out my heavily edited video below

The audio on the above video is:-

  • Lifted to 400%
  • Background noise 100% reduced

It’s still not great. The problem was I was sitting too far away from my desk mic (I have a rode NT-USB) and I foolishly thought it would be able to capture my audio.

I have a lot of low-key white noise in my office.

  • I’m next to the central heating so it whirs
  • I’m in the basement so there’s moisture fans (the bathroom one whirs)
  • The macbook itself can whir at times

So, the mic was picking up all this noise, and not my voice that well.

Enter the lavalier mic

This wasn’t without initial setup issues. The lav mic is actually built for this which I might upgrade to. My initial issues were:-

  1. The wire for the mic isn’t very long – so I couldn’t sit far enough away from the camera
  2. There’s no input for a mic like this in a macbook

I solved both by getting a TRS to TRRS connector (with a mic split) and an extension lead for the mic wire. There’s still wires knocking around and I may well upgrade to the Rode Wireless GO in future.

How does the sound compare?

Here’s two sets of audio, I’ve not used my desk mic & sitting too far away as that’s just a general mistake in my audio setup. What using the lav mic enables is me to be able to move around and keep the exact same audio quality (whereas if I moved around, recording on the macbook mic, the quality would drop).

Lav Mic

Macbook Mic

OK, I can’t move around that much, since I only have a 3m extension wire – but if I do upgrade to the Wireless GO I’ll do another couple of audio clips showing the difference.

Personally, I can’t tell the difference when sitting right next to my macbook – however when setting up my camera shots I can clip my lav mic on, and the cable directly into my phone and produce great sounding audio, no matter how far away from my desk mic I am.

Should you get one too?

Yes, yes 100x yes. You can conceal the mic and it means you don’t have to be stuck a certain distance away from your desk microphone to keep good audio. They range in price from £20 to £100+ just for the lav mic. I went mid-range with Rode, just because I love my desk mic so much.

What are your thoughts? What do you use for your audio?

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