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What is a lavalier microphone, and why does a content creator need one?

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Lavalier microphones are a must-have for content creators

A lavalier microphone is a tiny, lightweight mic that easily clips to a person’s clothing to capture audio in situations where a standard microphone would be too cumbersome. It’s a must-have for content creators who do interviewing, field production, live streaming — basically, any situation where you need to record audio and be heard while still being able to move around. The wires of these mics can be easily concealed under clothing, so they don’t get in the way of your hands. Many lav mic kits come with wireless mics as well, offering more versatility and easier setup.

In this video, we’re diving deep into the Boya and Saramonic Lavalier microphones. Both models are popular among YouTube creators, but we cover their features, price, and performance to determine which is the best microphone.

What is a lavalier microphone?

Lav mics offer greater transportability and flexibility than more traditional microphones. You don’t need to set the mics on any heavy stand, and you don’t have a large amount of wires and connectors to worry about. Most lav mics are omnidirectional, meaning they don’t have to face a certain way to pick up your voice. They are able to connect to many different devices, including Androids, iPhones, computers, tablets and video cameras.

Technical specs can vary based on the different brands. For example, the Saramonic Blink500 T2 has a frequency response of 2.4 gigahertz and weighs 1.19 ounces. Compare that to the DJI Mic, which has a frequency response of 48 kilohertz and weighs 1.05 ounces. You also get a large transmission range, allowing you to move hundreds of feet from your receiver without a loss of audio quality, something that is not possible with traditional mics. Lav mics come with at least one transmitter and one receiver (you can often find kits with two transmitters), windscreens, carrying cases and a variety of connector cables.

Lavalier microphone pros

  • They are very lightweight.
  • They are easy to transport to different locations.
  • Many are ready to go right out of the box with very little learning curve.
  • You can move around while recording.

Lavalier microphone cons

  • Audio quality can suffer when not in controlled environments or sound booths.
  • They lack a large number of special features, settings and customizability, especially those that are more budget-friendly.
  • Due to their compact, streamlined design, it can be difficult to adjust settings and understand messages if there’s no LED display.

Why are lavalier microphones important for content creators?

If you are a content creator, a lav mic can greatly enhance your capabilities. No longer tied to your desk, you can choose to move to different locations and even outdoors to record. Lav mic kits are a far superior alternative to relying on the internal microphone of your phone or computer for recording your voice. 

They produce a much better audio quality and some are able to actively cancel background noise. Some lav-mic kits come with two transmitters, so you can have two people hooked up to their own mic and be recorded by the same receiver. This is much better than two people needing to hover around a traditional microphone on a stand.

How to use a lavalier microphone

Most lav mics are ready to go right out of the box. After you turn them on, the receiver and transmitters are already paired and ready to start recording. Most brands don’t have a companion app that you need to install and navigate, though some, like the Rode Wireless Go II, do. Instead, they will either have a touch screen that you can use to adjust settings or have a series of buttons indicated by LED lights.

Clipping a lav mic onto your shirt collar is ideal for recording. But be careful not to get it too close to your chin as that can muffle your voice. For the easiest clipping option, a magnetic clip, like the one featured on the DJI Mic, makes it simple to place the mic anywhere on your clothes. 

One thing to double-check is that the mic you are purchasing has the right connector for the device you want to record on. For example, if you like to live stream videos from your phone, you should choose a mic that can connect its receiver to your Android or iPhone. Most phones, computers and cameras are supported, but finding a lav mic that comes with a connection for iPads is less likely. Those connectors or adapters will need to be purchased separately.

Wired vs. wireless lav mics

It’s common to find lav mic kits that offer both a wired and wireless version; however, some, like the Hollyland Lark M1, are only wireless. Wireless mics save you setup time, give you more freedom of movement when you record and typically cost less. Ideally, a kit that features both types would allow you to adjust to any recording situation on the fly.

However, sometimes there can be a marked difference between a brand’s wireless and wired offerings. For example, the BOYA BY-XM6-S2 has both a wired and wireless mic in its kit, but its wired mic has much better audio quality, especially when recording outdoors. 

Omnidirectional vs. unidirectional lav mics

The vast majority of lav mic products on the market today are omnidirectional. It doesn’t matter where you are around the mic, it is designed to record your voice well. This is very different than unidirectional lav mics, which must be directly facing the source of your voice to properly record. 

Best lavalier microphones

There is no shortage of choices when it comes to lav mics. Each has varying features and specializations and, of course, price is a big factor when considering if it’s worth the purchase. The BestReviews Testing Lab researched and evaluated numerous lav mic kits; these are our top picks in order from least to most expensive.     

Hollyland Lark M1

During our testing, the Hollyland Lark M1 proved itself to be as good as its competitors at a much more affordable price. Its audio quality is fantastic in both indoor and outdoor environments. It weighs barely anything at 0.42 ounces, is omnidirectional and has a frequency response of 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. It boasts 20-hour battery life and a wireless range of up to 650 feet. All of this is very impressive for its $129 price tag. 

However, it only offers a wireless option, not a wired one, and you need to memorize the colors of its indicator lights in order to adjust the settings. While its active noise cancellation (ANC) feature can be very aggressive, removing almost too much ambient noise for our taste, we found that it does a good job minimizing background noise with ANC switched off. Overall, it’s a simple, straightforward lav mic that’s great for beginners.


The BOYA BY-XMG-S2 is another strong contender that costs just a bit more at $170. It comes with both a wired and wireless option, weighs 1.13 ounces and has a 328-foot range. This mic is especially designed to work with cameras, including smartphones, iPhones, standard cameras, video cameras and expensive DSLR cameras. 

It stands out among similarly priced lav mic kits for its OLED display, which allows you to easily read and adjust the settings (no indicator lights to memorize here). Because it’s designed with cameras in mind, the audio is superior when directly facing your camera source. However, the wireless mic does not perform as well as the wired mic, especially when used outdoors.

DJI Mic 

A top-of-the-line option for those who want the very best, the DJI Mic comes with two transmitters, a receiver, a number of accessories and a sleek, portable charging case that ensures your equipment is always ready to go (it’s $159 for just one transmitter and no charging case). However, you get great quality for the price. 

It has an 820-foot range and 14 hours of internal recording storage. The wireless mic has a magnetic clip option, which is much easier to wear on your clothes, and the modular cable-free smartphone connectors make it more versatile. The audio quality is good no matter the environment, and audio settings are adjusted through an OLED screen.

Rode Wireless Go II 

The Rode Wireless Go II comes in at the most expensive of this group, costing $289. What you get for that price is solid and dependable audio quality, a 656-foot range and a frequency response of 50 hertz to 20 kilohertz. One of its most impressive features is the 40 hours of internal storage, making it stand out among other lav mics. 

However, we found that the Rode mic can get complicated because it requires a companion app where most of its critical features and settings are located. The app is very difficult to navigate, and the user manual is of little help because it features only images and no text.  

If you like the Rode Wireless mic but want to save on costs, they offer a single-channel version, rather than the dual channel. This is much more affordable at only $192, and it still boasts a 656-foot range and 40 hours of internal memory. 

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Talia Ravenwod writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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