What are Clip-On Mics Called? Unveiling the Name of a Compact Audio Solution

Clip-on microphones have gained popularity in various settings, such as television production, live performances, public speaking, and podcasting. They are often preferred due to their portability, ease of use, and ability to provide consistent sound quality even when a speaker is moving or speaking at a distance from a stationary microphone.

Clip-on microphones, also known as lavalier (or lapel) microphones, are small, discreet microphones commonly used when hands-free audio recording is desired. They are designed to be clipped onto a speaker’s clothing, usually near the collar, for optimal sound capture while remaining unobtrusive.

Clip-on mics typically come in wired and wireless configurations, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific application. Understanding the various features and options available when choosing a clip-on mic can help users find the ideal solution for their audio recording needs.

Table of Contents

Rode lavalier clip-on mic

Types of Clip-On Mics

Clip-on microphones are compact and easily attachable to clothing. They are available in various types, depending on their purpose and design.

Some common types of clip-on mics include:

  • Wired vs. wireless: Wired lavalier mics connect directly to the recording device via cables, offering a reliable connection. In contrast, wireless models transmit audio signals through radio frequencies or digital technology, allowing for greater mobility.
  • Omnidirectional vs. unidirectional: Omnidirectional mics indiscriminately capture sound from all directions, resulting in natural-sounding audio. Unidirectional mics, usually cardioid or supercardioid, have a more focused pick-up pattern, reducing background noise.
  • Condenser vs. Dynamic: Condenser mics have a lightweight diaphragm that responds quickly to audio frequencies, providing detailed sound. Conversely, dynamic mics are more durable and can handle high sound pressure levels, making them better suited for loud environments.

When selecting a clip-on mic, users should consider the performance requirements, audio environment, and the types of devices to which they plan to connect the microphone. Compatibility with audio interfaces or adapters may also be crucial in serving users’ needs effectively.

Lavalier Mics

Lavalier microphones, often called clip-on or lapel mics, are small, discrete microphones designed to be attached to a speaker’s clothing, usually near the collar or lapel. They are commonly used when hands-free operation is necessary, such as public speaking, interviews, and stage performances.

Wired Lavalier Mics

Wired lavalier mics connect directly to a recording device, such as a camera or audio recorder, via a cable. They are generally more affordable than their wireless counterparts and are known for providing a stable and reliable connection. Some potential drawbacks of wired lavalier mics include limited mobility and the potential for cable interference. However, these issues can usually be managed with proper cable management techniques.

Wireless Lavalier Mics

In contrast, wireless lavalier mics offer increased freedom of movement by utilizing a transmitter and receiver system. The transmitter is connected to the microphone and worn by the speaker, while the receiver is connected to the recording device. This eliminates the need for a direct cable connection between the microphone and the device, allowing for greater mobility during use.

One advantage of wireless lavalier mics is their ability to maintain a clean appearance, as there are no visible cables connecting the microphone to the recording device. However, they can be more expensive than wired models and sometimes require batteries or additional power sources. Additionally, wireless systems can be sensitive to interference from other wireless devices, which might affect audio quality if not properly managed.

When choosing between wired and wireless lavalier mics, it is essential to consider factors such as budget, intended use, and the user’s specific needs. Both types of lavalier mics have advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice often depends on the unique requirements of the situation.

Several popular brands and models stand out when looking for clip-on microphones, also known as lavalier or lapel mics. This section will discuss some of these well-known brands and their notable lavalier microphone models.


Sennheiser is a reputable German brand that produces high-quality microphones. They offer a variety of lavalier mics suitable for different needs and budgets.

  • Sennheiser ME 2-II: A versatile omnidirectional microphone compatible with a wide range of wireless systems.
  • Sennheiser MKE 1: A sub-miniature clip-on mic designed for demanding live performance and broadcast applications.


Rode, an Australian-based company, offers a range of lavalier microphones known for their durability and excellent sound quality.

  • Rode Lavalier: A discreet omnidirectional microphone suitable for various applications, including broadcast and film.
  • Rode SmartLav+: A popular mobile journalism and vlogging choice designed to connect directly to smartphones and tablets.


Audio-Technica, a Japanese brand, offers clip-on microphones with various polar patterns and connectivity options.

  • Audio-Technica AT899: A lightweight, omnidirectional lavalier mic with a low-profile design for discreet use in video production and broadcasts.
  • Audio-Technica ATR3350iS: An affordable lavalier microphone with a smartphone adapter, ideal for budget-conscious users.


Shure is a well-known American brand offering professional-quality clip-on microphones for various applications, from broadcast to live performances.

  • Shure WL93: An omnidirectional lavalier microphone that provides excellent sound quality in a discreet package.
  • Shure MVL: A digital lavalier microphone designed for smartphones and tablets, ideal for mobile journalism and field recording.

Applications of Clip-On Mics

Clip-on mics are utilized in various settings to enhance audio quality and hands-free convenience. They are small, discreet, and easily attachable to clothing, making them a popular choice for different applications.

One significant application of clip-on mics is in the field of broadcasting. News anchors and reporters use them to ensure clear and consistent audio during live broadcasts, interviews, and on-location reporting. Likewise, these mics are a staple in television and film production, where they help capture accurate dialogue from the actors without being obtrusive to the scene.

In live performances, clip-on mics provide a hands-free solution for public speakers, stage actors, and musicians, allowing them to move and express themselves without being tethered to a stationary microphone. Clip-on mics are beneficial for musical performers who must play an instrument while singing.

Another everyday use of clip-on mics is in online content creation. Podcasters, YouTubers, and other digital media creators utilize Lavalier microphones to maintain professional-level audio while keeping the focus on the visuals or the screen. Clip-on mics are ideal for instructional videos, webinars, and video conferences, conveying the speaker’s message clearly and effectively.

Educational and corporate settings also benefit from the use of clip-on mics. Teachers and trainers can deliver lectures and presentations with improved audio quality, making it easier for students and attendees to hear and understand the content. In large conference rooms or auditoriums, clip-on mics can be connected to PA systems to amplify the speaker’s voice throughout the space.

Overall, the versatility and practicality of clip-on mics make them an essential tool in many different industries and applications. By offering users enhanced audio quality, easy handling, and unobtrusiveness, they have become the go-to microphone option for numerous professionals and creators.

Important Features to Consider

When choosing a clip-on microphone, it is crucial to consider several key features affecting the performance and user experience. Some of these factors include:

  • Compatibility: Ensure the clip-on mic is compatible with the device it will use, such as a smartphone, camera, or audio recorder. Look for compatibility information in the product description or specifications.
  • Wireless vs. Wired: Decide whether a wireless or wired mic best suits the intended usage. Wireless mics offer more freedom of movement but may require additional equipment like a receiver. In contrast, wired mics can be simpler to set up and generally have fewer potential interference issues.
  • Form Factor: Clip-on mics come in various sizes and designs, from small, discreet, lavalier microphones to more prominent, visible headset-style models. Consider the form factor most appropriate for the specific use case and desired visual appearance.
  • Audio Quality: Look for mics with good frequency response, sensitivity, and signal-to-noise ratio to ensure clear and accurate audio capture. Product reviews and test recordings can provide valuable insight into a mic’s real-world performance.
  • Build Quality and Durability: Choose a clip-on mic with robust construction to withstand regular use and handling, as well as any possible exposure to moisture, dust, or other challenging environments.
  • Battery Life (for wireless mics): Wireless clip-on mics often use batteries for power. Check the mic’s battery life and whether rechargeable batteries can be used to avoid unexpected downtime.

By considering these factors, users can make an informed decision when selecting the clip-on microphone that best fits their needs and requirements.

Proper Mic Placement

Clip-on microphones, also known as lavalier or lapel microphones, are reliable for ensuring precise and consistent audio in various settings. Proper placement of these microphones is crucial to their effectiveness and can significantly affect the quality of the captured audio.

When attaching a clip-on mic to a speaker or performer, several factors must be considered. These include the fabric and color of the clothing, potential sources of rustling and interference, and the optimal angle and distance from the mouth for clear speech.

  • Fabric and Color: Choosing a discreet attachment location, such as along the shirt’s collar or lapel, is crucial to avoid drawing attention to the mic. Although the clip should blend in with the clothing, it should also be securely fastened to prevent unintended movement during use.
  • Rustling and Interference: To minimize rustling noises or interference, ensure the microphone is not placed too close to other objects or clothing layers. Be mindful of any accessories, such as jewelry or scarves that may contact the microphone.
  • Angle and Distance: Proper angling and positioning are essential for capturing high-quality audio. Aim the microphone’s capsule toward the mouth, typically at a distance of 6-12 inches. Be aware that placing the microphone too close to the mouth may result in plosive sounds while placing it too far away can generate a weak or distant audio quality.

It may also be necessary to reposition the microphone if the speaker frequently turns their head or alters their posture during use. This can help maintain optimal audio capture and prevent any instances of inconsistent sound quality.

Connecting Clip-On Mics to Devices

Clip-on microphones are small and discreet devices that can be easily attached to accessories to capture high-quality audio during interviews, presentations, or performances. Connecting these microphones to various devices such as cameras, smartphones, or audio recorders is crucial to their functionality.

Most clip-on microphones come with a 3.5mm, XLR, or USB connector, depending on the intended use and compatibility with the recording device. When connecting a clip-on mic to a device, ensuring the connector type is compatible with the device’s input is vital.

The 3.5mm connector is the most commonly used for smartphones or tablets. However, many newer smartphones have abandoned the headphone jack, requiring a 3.5mm-to-USB-C or 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter for compatibility.

When connecting to DSLR or mirrorless cameras, a 3.5mm input is the standard. However, ensure the microphone is specifically designed for cameras, as some may require additional adapters or power sources to function correctly.

Digital audio recorders might support 3.5mm and XLR inputs – XLR microphones typically deliver the best audio quality, as they’re balanced and provide a more stable connection. If using an XLR clip-on mic with a recorder, ensure the recorder has phantom power capabilities to power the microphone.

Computers generally support USB and 3.5mm microphones, although USB mics offer superior audio quality and simplicity. These microphones plug into a USB port without needing external power sources or additional adapters.

Maintaining and Troubleshooting

Properly maintaining and troubleshooting clip-on microphones, also known as lavalier microphones, can ensure a longer lifespan and optimal performance. This section will discuss some essential tips to help you get the most out of your clip-on mic.

First and foremost, it is vital to regularly check the connections and cables for any sign of wear, fraying, or damage. A broken cable can lead to poor audio quality or even complete signal loss. To prevent this issue:

  • Inspect connectors and cables before each use
  • Replace damaged cables promptly
  • Gently coil the cables when not in use to avoid tangling

Keeping your clip-on mic clean can also help maintain its functionality. To do this, follow these tips:

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe the microphone’s exterior gently
  • Keep the windscreen clean by removing dust and debris
  • Handle the unit with clean hands to reduce residue and buildup

When troubleshooting a clip-on mic, consider the following common issues and solutions:

Issue Solution No Sound Check connections, test with another device, or replace the battery (if applicable). Distorted Audio Adjust mic placement, reduce background noise, or replace damaged cables. Intermittent Signal Ensure cables are fully connected, check for cable damage, or reduce wireless interference. In conclusion, maintaining and troubleshooting your clip-on microphone can help maximize its performance and lifespan. Following these essential tips and regularly inspecting your equipment, you can enjoy clear, high-quality audio in your recordings and performances.

Final Thoughts on Clip-on Mics

In the world of audio recording, clip-on microphones, also known as lavalier or lapel mics, have become indispensable tools for various professionals. These small, unobtrusive devices provide a hands-free solution for capturing high-quality audio, making them ideal for interviews, presentations, and multimedia content creation.

Choosing the right clip-on microphone depends on the specific needs of the user. Consider factors such as compatibility with recording devices, wireless capabilities, and the intended environment for capturing audio. Additionally, it is essential to be aware of the two main types of clip-on mics: omnidirectional and directional. Omnidirectional mics capture sound from all directions, while directional mics focus on specific sound sources, minimizing background noise.

In conclusion:

  • Clip-on microphones are called lavalier or lapel mics.
  • They are used for various applications due to their convenience and unobtrusive design.
  • Choosing the right mic depends on compatibility, wireless capabilities, intended environment, and microphone type.

By understanding clip-on microphones’ different types and functionalities, users can make informed decisions and select the most suitable option for their specific audio recording requirements.

Juan Louder
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Juan Louder

I started SoundStudioMagic to learn how to record my own audiobook at home, and now I'm addicted to all the latest techniques and gear.

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