How Does a Lapel Microphone Work? And Should You Get One?

Have you ever wondered how people on-screen sound so good without any mic in sight while they are also a long way away from the camera? 

The answer to that is they use a Lavalier microphone, also known as a “lav” or “lapel” microphone. So what exactly is it? And how does a lapel microphone work? 

We’ll be discussing all that today with a few bonus tips on how you can creatively hide a lapel microphone while you use it to get great sounds for your video recordings, conference calls, and live streams. 

What is a “Lavalier” or “Lapel” microphone? 

Hearing is the primary gateway for student learning and as we all know students spend most of their days in listening activities guided by their teachers. 

That’s why proper video audio is essential for both students and teachers as it can lead to better outcomes in students’ learning success and also save a teacher’s health from voice fatigue and other illnesses. 

A lavalier or lapel microphone is a great tool that teachers can utilize for their online classes, conference calls, and voiceovers for video lectures. 

It’s generally a small microphone that’s about 1-inch in size and has a relatively long cord making it possible for it to be hidden in plain sight while being used. It can be clipped into the clothing of the person speaking or it can also be attached anywhere you would prefer by using a form of tape. 

Ideally, it should be placed in areas near that mouth so that they’ll be able to capture great and clear sounds to drastically improve the quality of your recordings.

Another benefit for teachers when using a lavalier mic is that they are completely unobtrusive giving you the free use of your hands making multitasking possible while you talk or do something else while recording.

It also comes in different colors to match any color of clothing giving it a camouflage effect when on camera.

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How Does a Lapel Microphone Work?

Now onto the good part, let’s venture into how lapel microphones work and how teachers can greatly benefit from them. 

It’s important to know that there are two types of Lavalier microphones which are the omnidirectional and the directional models. Omnidirectional models can pick up sounds equally from a 360° angle while directional versions on the other hand can only pick up a transmission from a single direction ignoring all kinds of background noises. 

Depending on the type of recording that you want to execute, you can choose from either of the two as both of them will have the same positioning of the mic which is about a hand-span from the mouth for it to capture a natural and clear sound.

Moreover, you can also opt for a wireless Lapel microphone for complete freedom of movement and easy set-up. Lapel microphones can also be connected to a kind of transmitter that is worn like a belt by the person speaking. 

When you purchase a Lapel microphone, in the kit you will usually get the Lapel clip, the foam screen, and the microphone cord that you can use to connect it to the device that you want to record from and or a transmitter. 

Steps on how to set it up for first use

Step 1: After you’ve unboxed and checked all the parts that you’ll be using to put together your Lapel mic, get the clip and attach the mic to it. Please take note that you need to take off the foam screen first if it’s on so that you’ll be able to attach the mic to the clip. 

After you’ve successfully attached the mic to the clip, that will be the time where you’ll attach the screen foam. 

Step 2: Now that you’ve put together all the parts, your next step would be is to discreetly place the Lapel microphone into your clothing. You can do this by simply running the cable under your clothing or jacket and clipping the mic into your collar or at an edge of your clothing near your mouth. 

Alternatively, you can also use tape to secure the mic onto your chest area making it possible for you to conceal it while still getting a good range from your mouth to the mic itself. 

This is to keep your video neat and professional that is if you are recording a video of yourself while using the Lapel microphone.

There are many ways to position your lapel mic, but a general rule to follow is for it to be a hand-span away from the proximity of your mouth for it to be able to capture a clear sound. 

Also, make sure that the lapel mic is not in any way touching or brushing off any parts of your clothing as this can create a distracting sound in your recording. 

Connecting it to your device

Most models of Lapel microphones are universal with a headphone jack-like connector which means you’ll be able to use them for most of your devices, you can easily connect them to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and other devices with a headphone jack.

A cabled Lapel microphone can be directly plugged in into your device if the adapter is already compatible. 

If connected to a smartphone it will automatically be detected as an external microphone but for computers, you might need to modify its external microphone settings for it to be set as your microphone. 

If your lapel mic’s cable is not long enough to reach your device, you can opt for an extender cable or better yet choose to get a wireless lapel mic. 

For filming equipment cameras, you might need to choose a lapel mic with a standard audio connector so that you’ll be able to connect it to your camera easily. 

Benefits Of A Lapel microphone For Teachers

Convenience

Lapel mics can let you record and produce great-sounding audio seamlessly and effortlessly.

Setting up a big external microphone can be a bit of a hassle— it takes up some of your desk space and it can also potentially distract you while you’re teaching or while you’re recording. 

Whereas Lapel microphones can be hidden or discreetly placed onto your clothing giving you the free space and movement you need while you work. 

Using Lapel mics can also reduce cable entanglements that can be annoying at times especially when you’re super busy and you need to get a lot of things done, plus it can be embarrassing for others to see you fixing your cable problems while you’re in a middle of a class or conference. 

Portable

Another great thing about Lapel microphones is that since they are incredibly small and inconspicuous it makes them extremely portable. You can easily slip them into your pocket or inside your bag and bring them anywhere with you when you’re on the go. 

Compared to external microphones that can take up space in your bag, Lapel microphones are just like the size of earphones making it easy for you to carry them around. 

Freedom of movement

Multitasking is a must for teachers, that’s why the freedom of movement is crucial especially when there are loads of tasks ahead of you. 

While teaching, there may be times where you’ll need to do two things at the same time while talking. Lavalier mics can let you do just that while not comprising the sound of your audio input. 

In conclusion

Since we’re still teaching and learning online at the moment it’s important to gear yourself up with reliable gadgets that you can use for your teaching escapades, and one of them is a Lapel microphone as it lets you be hands-free while capturing your voice loud and clear. 

It can greatly aid you in conference calls, live streams, recorded lectures, and online classes. You just need to choose a Lapel mic that will be able to adapt to your working environment and whether it’s a cabled or wireless one, it will surely be helpful for you.

I hope this helped explain how a Lapel microphone works and how it can greatly benefit you as a teacher. Have you tried using it yet? If not, are you planning to? 

Let me know down at the comment section and share some tips on how you use them for your teaching journey! 

Until our next one, farewell for now!

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