If you’ve worked in television broadcasting or live events, you know how important a quality lapel microphone can be. These small, discreet devices are essential for capturing up-close audio, and their mobility makes them a vital part of any broadcaster’s arsenal. 

But lapel mics are also notoriously finicky—without proper accessories and planning, outdoor sounds like wind, as well as rustling clothing, can ruin your chances of capturing the audio you want. 

If you’re shopping for your next lapel mic, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind to make sure you make the right purchase and get the best sound quality possible. 

1. Choose the right spot, and do a proper soundcheck 

The location of your shoot has a big impact on the quality of sound you’ll be able to capture with a lapel mic. You want to choose the most sheltered location possible—if you have to be outdoors, look for alcoves or covered spaces that will protect the mic from the wind. 

You’ll also want to check the surrounding area for ambient noise that may be problematic. Shooting at the beach might sound like a good idea until you realise the squawking seagulls are going to drown out the audio you want. 

Keep an eye out for things like external fan exhausts, busy roads, pedestrian noise, or construction work that may interfere with the sound you want. Sometimes, shooting earlier in the morning or later at night (if you dont need natural light) makes it easier to find quiet spaces. 

2. Think carefully about wardrobe choices 

In addition to eliminating external sounds, you’ll also need to think carefully about the wardrobe selections for your on-screen talent. Because lapel microphones are worn close to the body, it’s easy for them to pick up the sound of rustling clothing. 

Before you go to the shoot, it’s a good idea to speak to wardrobe manager (or the talent directly if they are choosing their own wardrobe) to make sure they eliminate the chances of clothing interference. Advise them against wearing: 

  • Jewellery that clicks or jangles
  • Loud fabrics, like those with sequins or tulle 
  • Light and thin fabrics like silk that will fold under a lapel mic’s weight
  • Form-fitting clothing that will show a bulge from the wires/pack of the mic 
  • High or beaded/jewelled necklines that will cause the mic to sit at an awkward angle 

3. Use a protective cover to reduce sound interference 

Even with a well-chosen spot and the right wardrobe, you may still encounter problems with sound quality, unless you have some accessories to better protect your lapel mic. 

Fortunately, there are many options available to best suit your needs. It just depends on how you plan to use the microphone, and what size mic you are using. 

If you are using a smaller lapel mic like the Sanken COS11D, anything from the DPA 6000 range, or the Sennheiser MKE 2, we highly recommend a Rycote Overcover. These covers are excellent options when you need to protect your lapel mic from external noise and clothing contact, while also keeping it hidden from camera. 

If you have a slightly larger microphone, you can look at the bigger lapel mic overcovers from Rycote. And if you aren’t too concerned about the microphones being visible on camera, then the fluffier covers like the Rycote Windjammers are a great choice. These come in multiple colours, so you can camouflage them against different wardrobe pieces for maximum discretion and protection.  

You may also want to consider a PSC Hush Lav. These are conical foam pieces, with a pre-cut centre that allows you to push the microphone up inside. Once the sleeve is on, the mic capsule will appear just outside the foam to capture high-quality audio, while reducing any unwanted noise from wind or clothing. 

4. Consider how you mount the lapel microphone

How and where you mount your lapel microphone can also have a big impact on the quality of audio you are able to capture. 

Typically, you have two options when attaching lapel mics: You can attach them to a piece of clothing, like a collar, lapel, or tie; or you can attach them directly to the skin using tape or other safe adhesives. 

If you want to attach the mic to clothing, we recommend checking out the range of Viviana beetle mounts. These clips are designed to attach lapel microphones to clothing, while reducing visibility on camera and the amount of unwanted noise picked up. 

The Rycote overcovers we mentioned earlier are an excellent option if you plan to attach the microphones directly to skin. They come with stickies, which are safe to place onto skin directly, and they’ll keep the microphone in place while protecting it from rusling clothes and other sounds. 

5. Have multiple options so you are always ready to go

If you are frequently in charge of audio equipment on film or television shoots, then our best piece of advice is to make sure you have lots of options on hand for lapel mics and lapel mic accessories. 

If you have a number of different sizes and colours, as well as a variety of lapel wind protection devices, you can rest easy on set knowing you’ll have what you need to capture the best audio quality possible. 

John Barry Sales is always here to help you with any of your video and audio equipment. Browse our full range of lapel microphones and lapel microphone accessories today, and find the option that’s best for you.