Best Lavalier Microphones For Interviews, News, And Presentations

Lavalier microphones (also known as lapel mics or body mics) are well known in the film and audio worlds. You’ve likely seen them clipped to the ties or jackets of news reporters, to the clothing of interviewers/interviewees on television, and on the garments of live speakers during “hands free” presentations.

Lavalier or “lav” mics are small, inconspicuous microphones that yield excellent results when positioned correctly. They’re my go-to microphone when doing video interviews, hands-free presentations that require sound reinforcement, and I’ve even used lavs to record podcast episodes during more intimate presentations that did not require reinforcement. Though I do not cover the news, the microphones that work well for interviews and presentations will also work well for the news.

So what are the best lavalier microphones for interviews, news, and presentations? Here are my top two recommendations:

In this article, we’ll look at each of these microphones through the lens of the above criteria.


What Factors Make An Ideal Lavalier Microphone?

When looking for an optimal lav microphone for interviews/news/presentations, there are a few things worth considering:

  • Omnidirectional Polar Pattern: Selecting an omnidirectional lavalier will yield consistent results throughout a single presentation and across the many presentations of the microphone’s career. If the mic is to shift during a talk or if it’s positioned differently in the next session, the pickup will sound pretty much the same.
  • High-Frequency Roll-Off: A roll-off of high frequencies help reduce the potential for feedback and harshness in the microphone signal.
    Low-Frequency Roll-Off: A roll-off of low frequencies reduces handling noise, vocal plosives, and low-end rumble in the microphone signal.
  • Presence Boost: A boost in sensitivity between 3-6 kHz helps improve speech intelligibility.
  • Durability: Pick a lav mic and mic clip that are durable, there will be a lot of clipping and unclipping during the mic’s life and it’s important to have a strong clip.
  • Size: Choosing a slender, small lav microphone is ideal. A thin mic won’t draw as much attention to itself if it is clipped on the outside of the speaker’s clothing.
  • Grille/Pop Filter: A grille/pop filter is critical is protecting the microphone diaphragm from foreign objects and from vocal plosives. Given the small size of lavalier microphones, the grille may also be a determining factor in the microphone’s overall frequency response and polar pattern.
  • Price: Whether you’re making money from live speaking engagements or not, budgeting should be considered when purchasing a lavalier microphone.

Related reading:
How And Where To Attach A Lavalier/Lapel Microphone.
Best Lavalier Microphones For Actors

Let’s now discuss the above factors in both the Sennheiser ME2 and the Sony ECM77B.


The Sennheiser ME2

Sennheiser ME2

The Sennheiser ME2 is an excellent little lavalier microphone that sees use in filmed interviews, news, and hands-free presentations. The mic has high speech intelligibility and fits nicely on nearly any garb in any position. The ME2 works really well with the EW 100 G4 wireless system and its compact transmitter.

Polar Pattern Of The Sennheiser ME2

The Sennheiser ME2 is an omnidirectional microphone. Unfortunately, the ME2 specification sheet does not include a representative diagram of the omnidirectional polar pattern. However, it’s pretty easy to conceptualize the omni graph. Because the microphone is so small, the omni pattern is quite true and consistent.

Omnidirectional lavs, as mentioned, sound much more natural and are more consistent than their cardioid counterparts, which is what we want in a lavalier microphone.

Omnis exhibit no proximity effect, meaning no excessive bass boost as the mic gets closer to the speaker’s mouth and no bass boost in potential clothing noise and the sound coming from the speaker’s chest. By the same token, no proximity effect also mean no loss of bass responsiveness as the mic is moved further from the speaker’s mouth.

For more information on microphone proximity effect, check out my article In-Depth Guide To Microphone Proximity Effect.

The arguments to be made against omnidirectional microphones is that they pick up more extraneous sound and provide less gain before feedback (in sound reinforcement situations) than their cardioid counterparts.

For more information on microphone frequency response, check out my article Complete Guide To Microphone Frequency Response (With Mic Examples).

I’d argue that if the lav is clipped to a person speaking, it will essentially pick up that person’s voice and not so much of the extraneous noise.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cardioid patterns do tend to become spherical when positioned against someone’s chest, making them more omnidirectional but less natural-sounding. The bit of extra gain before feedback may be critical in some instances but likely not. The trade-off in consistency, in my opinion, is not worth it when considering cardioid lavs over omnidirectional lavs.

For more information on the omnidirectional microphone polar pattern, check out my article What Is An Omnidirectional Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples).

Another understated benefit of omnidirectional mics is their resilience toward vocal plosives. Although we don’t often speak directly into lav mics, it’s worth noting.

For more information on microphone plosives, check out my article Top 10 Tips For Eliminating Microphone Pops And Plosives.

Frequency Response Of The Sennheiser ME2

The ME2 has a frequency response range from 50 Hz – 18,000 Hz. Once again, it’s unfortunate that the ME2 spec sheet does not provide a graph for mic’s frequency response.

Due in part to the omnidirectional pattern, the ME2 has a consistent and accurate bass frequency response (up until its roll-off, which happens above 50 Hz).

The low-end response is important in capturing a full-sounding voice, which is often enhanced by having the ME2 positioned near the chest cavity of the speaker.

The low-end roll-off helps in filtering out low-end rumble, and extraneous noise from clothing and the speaker’s body. It also gives us more gain before feedback in sound reinforcement situations.

The high-end roll-off helps to remove the largely unnecessary high-frequencies from the vocal signal.

Because the ME2 has such high speech intelligibility, I’d suspect the frequency response has boosts in the presence and upper frequency range.

For more information on microphone frequency response, check out my article Complete Guide To Microphone Frequency Response (With Mic Examples).

Durability Of The Sennheiser ME2

The sennheiser ME2 is fairly durable and will live a long life if not subjected to damage. The clip of the ME2 is also durable but easily replaceable if it does happen to break.

Size Of The Sennheiser ME2

The ME2 has a diameter of 10.5cm and will not draw attention to itself when positioned correctly on a speaker.

Grille/Pop Filter Of The Sennheiser ME2

In tiny microphones like ME2, the grille is mostly to protect the capsule and isn’t all that effective at reducing vocal pops in the mic signal. The ME2 features a thin metal mesh grille to protect the capsule from foreign objects and from rubbing directly against the clothing of the speaker.

Luckily the ME2 is an omnidirectional microphone and is insensitive to vocal plosives. It also helps that when positioned correctly, we do not speak directly into the lav mic.

For more information on microphone grilles, check out my article What Are Microphone Grilles And Why Are They Important?

Price Of The Sennheiser ME2

We’re looking at roughly $200 USD for the ME2 microphone or $600 USD for the EW 100 G4-ME2 wireless system. For the price, these options provide great value. A solid lavalier mic and wireless system is a great investment to make if you’re be capturing audio for filmed interviews, news, and presentations.


The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77 series have become industry standards. The 77B in particular has risen to fame in televised newsrooms around the world.

Sony ECM77B

This lav mic features a 3m (10 ft.) cable with an XLR output for directly connecting to a mic preamp. This balanced signal is of great benefit in reducing signal noise and giving us a high-quality mic signal. If you’re looking for a less bulky or wireless option, check out Sony’s ECM77BMP with your choice of wireless system.

Polar Pattern Of The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77B is an omnidirectional lavalier mic with the following polar pattern:

Image from Sony ECM77B Operating Instructions Sheet

As we can see, the microphone truly is omnidirectional with very little off-axis colouration.

It’s a personal and subjective choice to go with an omni lav over a cardioid lav for interviews, news, and presentations in general. As we’ve discussed earlier, I’d recommend choosing an omnidirectional mic for the following reasons:

  • More natural sounding.
  • Consistent sound in varying positions.
  • Resistant to plosives.
  • No proximity effect.
  • Loss in gain before feedback is not a huge issue, generally.
  • Increased sensitivity to extraneous noise is negligible when positioned correctly.

Frequency Response Of The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77B has a frequency response range from 40 Hz – 20,000 Hz. Here is the 77B’s frequency response graph:

Image from Sony ECM77B Operating Instructions Sheet

Looking at the graph, we see that the response is nearly unchanging from 0-degrees though 90 and 180-degrees. This tells us once again, the true omnidirectional pattern of the microphone.

There is a gentle low-frequency roll-off from about 150 Hz downward. This helps reduce the amount of low-end noise in the mic signal without negatively impacting and thinning out the sound of the speaker’s voice.

The little boost in the upper frequencies (peaking around 10 kHz) helps to increase speech intelligibility without sounding overly bright. The ensuing roll-off of high frequencies also aids in reducing the potential harshness of the mic signal.

Durability Of The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77B has a very small capsule and mic body. The microphone is well-built, but will not withstand a great about of abuse without breaking. For longevity, do not drop the 77B or subject it to excessive shock.

Size Of The Sony ECM77B

The ECM77B lavalier mic is known for its extremely compact size. The body of the microphone measure 5.6mm (1/4) in diameter and 12.5mm (½ in.) in height. This microphone is barely noticeably even when positioned on the outside of a speaker’s clothing.

Grille/Pop Filter Of The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77B doesn’t necessarily even have a “grille” by the way we’d envision a grille. Rather, it has a perforated capsule housing that allows sound to enter. If extra protection is needed or the mic is being used outdoors, use the provided windscreen that comes with each ECM77B.

Because the ECM77B is an omnidirectional microphone, the need for a pop-filter is nullified.

Price Of The Sony ECM77B

The Sony ECM77B goes for less that $400 USD as of the writing of this article. I believe the high-quality sound and design of this microphone warrant the price tag. It’s well worth the investment to have an excellent lavalier mic for interviews, news, and presentations.


The Recap

As a quick recap, the Sennheiser ME2 and Sony ECM77B are both amazing lavalier microphones and get my recommendations as interview/news/presentation lav mics.

I have much more experience working with the ME2. The Sennheiser mic is also “simpler” to use with a typical lavalier mic wireless transmitter. These are the two reason why it came first on my personal list.

Honourable Mentions

  • Movo WMIC50
  • Shure MVL

For all the My New Microphone mic/gear recommendations, please check out my page Recommended Microphones And Accessories.