The world of microphones includes many different options, many of which tend to be very similar in performance to the untrained ear.
An option that you see pretty often is the lavalier microphone. It is a common choice for recording interviews, videos, and podcasts, which might make you think they’re also suitable for singing.
A lavalier microphone is good enough for singing but not ideal. The Lavalier is more prone to feedback than other microphones. It also stands far from the sound source, making it more likely to catch background noise. It is best to use a dedicated microphone for singing and recording vocals.
In this article, we’ll look at lavalier microphones and whether you can use them for singing and recording vocals. Read on to learn will to make the right choice for your vocal performances and recording.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Lavalier Microphone?
- Can You Use a Lavalier Microphone for Singing?
- Can You Use a Lavalier Microphone for Recording Vocals?
- Final Thoughts on a Lavalier Mic
What Is a Lavalier Microphone?
A lavalier microphone is a tiny microphone that you attach to your lapel or hide in your hair or clothes. People typically use the lavalier microphone for recording interviews, chat shows, videos, and podcasts. It is usually not used for singing.
If you’ve seen a tiny microphone attached to the lapel of an in-studio talk show guest, TV presenter, or youtube, you’ve seen a lavalier microphone. They’re also commonly used for giving presentations and lectures.
Lavalier microphones (or lav, for short) are a great tool because they allow the presenter to use their hands while talking, which comes in handy if they need to point to figures on their PowerPoint presentation or whiteboard.
These are also sometimes called lapel mics. A lapel mic is also a good choice if you’re the kind of person who gesticulates a lot to get their point across.
Lav microphones can be both dynamic mics and condenser mics, so it is possible to pick the option you prefer while retaining the benefits of having your hands free while talking.
A lavalier microphone is typically powered by a tiny battery and attached to a wireless transmitter which sends signals to a mixing desk for further processing.
Can You Use a Lavalier Microphone for Singing?
You can use a lavalier microphone for singing. It will do the job, but probably not in the best way. Performers seldom use this type of mic in live performances because headset mics are a better choice due to their proximity effect.
Very strictly speaking, you can use any microphone that successfully captures the sound of your voice for singing. While this amplifies and records your voice, it will not do the best possible job.
Therefore, the real question is whether a lapel mic is optimal.
Is Lavalier Microphone Good for Singing
It is safe to say that using lavalier mics for singing is suboptimal, even when considering the best lavalier microphone.
The reason is that lapel mics can easily pick up the background noise and wind noise and don’t always handle loud sounds very well.
A lav mic can do a great job handling noise in TV studios where technicians can control the sound and there is very little room noise, and the guests and presenters speak conversationally. However, you wouldn’t get such great results recording audio in a concert or band rehearsal.
You’ve probably noticed distortion when, for example, a Youtuber shouts or screams into their lav microphone, the sound quality often gets distorted.
You can only imagine what the distortion would sound like if you were singing into it with full force.
However, there are instances where performers use lavaliers in live performances. For example, Broadway musicals sometimes use these lav mics, such as Les Miserables, which recorded their music with lavaliers.
However, you’d have to get expensive lavaliers to pull that off, so it’s probably not worth it for an amateur musician.
That is why it is more common to see live performers using headset mics. These microphones stand closer to the performer’s mouths, so they pick up their voice better and add to the depth.
Can You Use a Lavalier Microphone for Recording Vocals?
You can use a lavalier microphone for recording vocals. However, you probably won’t achieve results as good as the ones you might achieve with a standard vocal mic. Additionally, these microphones are usually cheaper than high-end lavs.
This question boils down to what’s optimal and what is not when recording audio. Technically speaking, it could work fine recording vocals using a lav mic. Sometimes, you can even achieve decent results.
You can check out this Youtube video to hear what outcome you can expect at best:
As you can hear, the recording is relatively sound, and in its defense, it would probably be better with an audio interface.
However, you’d need very expensive, high-end lavalier mics to achieve such good results. Without recording experience and cash to burn, most people using even the best lavalier microphones will probably not achieve crystal clear audio.
For the average person, it is best to pick up a reliable, affordable microphone such as the Shure SM58 (available on Amazon.com) and stick with it. This model comes with a brightened midrange and a bass roll-off to counter the proximity effect.
Or, you can pick up any other microphone for recording vocals, couple it with a pop filter and an isolation shield, and get better results more cheaply and easily that sounds great.
If you get a good microphone optimized for recording vocals, you will naturally achieve much better results than with a microphone designed for recording interviews and vlogs. You’ll also get a much clearer sound since you can use it with a pop filter.
Another critical factor is that you get the benefits of the proximity effect. The proximity effect means the sound gets more bass-heavy and deeper the closer you stand to the microphone. This feature adds color and depth to your voice, preventing it from sounding flat.
Therefore, it’s highly advisable to record vocals with a dedicated microphone. You’ll get better results at a lower price. If you only have access to a lav mic, you can use it, but if you’re getting into recording, don’t get one.
Final Thoughts on a Lavalier Mic
While it is possible to use a lavalier microphone for singing and recording vocals, even the best lavalier microphone is not advisable.
They easily pick up background noise, and at best, you get decent results when used for recording vocals. Using the best microphone for vocals will get you much better results and be cheaper.
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