Just like "shotgun" microphones, there are many useful accessories to help lavaliere microphones perform their best. In this lesson you'll learn about the essentials to keep in your kit. Let's take a look at some of the accessories that come with this type of microphone:
Our example is an Audio Technica 899W, and there are a few different versions of this microphone. This particular example is sold and designed to go with an Audio Technica wireless transmitter. There's another version, for about $100 USD more, with an XLR power module. The cool thing about this microphone is that it comes with a bunch of really nice accessories, and the accessories that comes with your microphone can be an important thing when it comes to choosing your microphone.
You'll see that some microphones come with a really basic clip and maybe a wind screen, and others come with a really healthy accessory package.
The Microphone Clip
Not all microphone clips are the same. The 899W has a nice metal clip that comes with a good stout spring. It even comes with a rubber boot that goes over the alligator teeth if you are clamping on to delicate clothing. It has an extra clamp so that you can get the mic oriented in the right way, and the actual microphone mount is modular, so it actually comes off and can be replaced with different variations. Having all these options can prove to be very useful.
One of the other useful things about a mounting system is that you can use the mount (without the clip) in a shirt buttonhole with a piece of tape to secure it, for a low profile mounting option.
This microphone also comes with an element cover, which is a protective screen that is designed to over the end of the microphone. This is not designed to affect the overall frequency response or the sensitivity of the microphone though other microphone manufactures, like Countryman, do have different interchangeable caps that drastically change the frequency response. Like most microphones, this one came with a very basic wind screen.
You don't have to buy the specific windscreen that goes with your microphone, although some microphones are a specific shape, like the Tram TR50 or Shure SM93 — more of a square or rectangle shape so some of the smaller windscreens don't fit. But most of the lavaliere microphones that you'll see out there are in fact round, so you can find a bunch of third party windscreens out there.
Now, speaking of wind, you can get larger windscreens with fury covers. If you're going to mount the microphone to the outside of your clothing and actually be outside, this is the kind of protection you want.
Other Mic Mounting Options
There are a few more mic mounting options. For example, there is a two-part magnetic system where you put a little metal disc under the clothes, and the microphone snaps right to it. This can be really helpful for clothing where you can't clip the fabric.
Even if you are using just the basic mic clip for a lavaliere microphone, usually you'll use a piece of fabric tape to make and secure a little loop to act as a strain relief. I like to use another piece of tape somewhere close to where I'm mounting the microphone to help hold the wire up and get it pinned down underneath the shirt so it's not visible or moving around and altering the placement of the microphone. Gaff tape and double sided tape are great tool to have and can be used for all sorts of creative mounting, they are essentially must haves when working with lav mics, but for taping clothing a great alternative is fabric medical tape, which doesn't leave residues and is meant to adhere to fabric.
Coming up on the next lesson, you're going to learn about another microphone alternative, "pencil condensers."
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