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How do I Choose the Best Wireless Camcorder Microphone?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 17, 2024
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Wireless camcorder microphones are becoming more and more popular. This is mostly due to the fact that you can record videos without having to worry about how far the cord can reach. There are three types of wireless camcorder microphones to choose from: shotgun, lapel and handheld. The type of wireless camcorder microphone that you choose is determined by the task you will being using it for most often and how much you are willing to invest.

The shotgun microphone is the most common wireless microphone for use in loud environments, especially ones where the sound is coming from multiple directions. This type of wireless camcorder microphone is mounted on the outside of the camcorder or secured to a long boom pole. Movie recordings, concerts and parties are ideal situations in which to use a shotgun microphone. A typical wireless shotgun microphone will cost the buyer between $200 and $400 US Dollars (USD), with the most expensive microphone costing as much as $2,000 USD.

Lapel camcorder microphones, also known as a lavalier microphones, are attached to the clothing of the speaker. This wireless camcorder microphone will pick up the speaker's voice very clearly. Unfortunately, for some people, less expensive lapel mics will also pick up background noise near the microphone. Situations that warrant the use of a lapel mic are interviews, presentations and weddings. The standard wireless lapel microphone will cost the buyer between $80 to $250 USD, depending on the brand.

Handheld wireless microphones are standard on news programs. They lend a professional look to your performance, drawing attention to the speaker. They are also used when recording audio behind the scenes because they pick up the speakers voice very clearly, omitting a majority of the background noise. This type of wireless camcorder microphone can cost the buyer anywhere between $100 to $300 USD, depending upon the brand.

When choosing a wireless camcorder microphone, take into consideration the range, signal interference and battery power. Range should be considered when you are filming scenes from a large distance. Camcorder microphones will develop a lot of noise when taken to far out of the range for which they were designed. Areas with a large amount of cell towers or other wireless devices will cause signal interference, so consider where you will be filming most often when selecting your wireless mic. Battery power is a very important feature to think about when you will be using the camcorder for an extended period of time.

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Discussion Comments
By geekish — On Aug 01, 2011

My husband, as a musician, was worried about trying out a wireless microphone as he has been using the same microphone for many years, and he is persnickety about his sound.

So far he has found; however, that he has been pleasantly surprised. Finding a quality wireless microphone can be done. I would suggest going into a music store and finding out the person who plays your type of music and seeing what microphones he or she has tried.

Sometimes the employees have been able to try out some of the equipment, so not only are they book knowledgeable about the equipment but have had personal experience with the equipment.

By snickerish — On Jul 31, 2011

I love that there are so many more convenient microphones out there such as the wireless microphones.

One reason is because when are trying to do public speaking it is nice to be able to engage the crowd by walking around versus being stuck behind a podium.

The second reason is because as a speech language pathologist I learned that using a microphone saves your vocal folds, which let's be honest, many of us overuse anyway!

By NathanG — On Jul 31, 2011

@Mammmood - I think it’s important to realize that there is no single microphone that will guarantee you the “best” sound. You’ll get excellent sound with any microphone if you keep it closest to the mouth of the speaker. Obviously this is why lapel microphones are so highly sought after. They are as close as you can get, minus the handheld of course.

The only problem I’ve had with lapel microphones is that they can pick up every ruffle and noise from your shirt as you twist and turn. They’re great for news anchors sitting in one position, but not for actors who must move a lot.

I have a boom microphone, and I notice that the closer I get it to the speaker, the better the sound is. In my opinion, proximity is the real key. A cheap microphone that is close to speaker will sound better than an expensive microphone that is further away.

By Mammmood — On Jul 30, 2011

I got a shotgun boom microphone on Ebay for under $50. At first I thought you couldn’t get good quality for such a cheap microphone, but I was surprised. The sound quality was quite good, much better than my camcorder’s internal microphone.

The boom microphone came with about twenty feet of cable which plugged into the small microphone jack on my microphone, and I was able to get audio from a distance, hanging the microphone above the source’s head, just like the pros do.

One thing that I should point out is that typically with these kinds of microphones you need an XLR cable input, not the typical jack you find on most camcorders. Although I have an XLR input on my microphone, I actually didn’t need to use it. This microphone came with an XLR adapter so that I could just plug it into the regular input jack. It worked great.

By Charred — On Jul 30, 2011

I have a baby shotgun microphone that I bought a few years back. I say baby because it’s smaller than a typical shotgun microphone but it works the same.

It is camera mounted and picks up sound in one direction (in front of the camera) although you can flip a switch so that it picks up sound all around, if that’s what you want. The difference between unidirectional and regular microphones is amazing.

What it does is isolate the sound in front of you, and buffer the sounds all around. It doesn’t eliminate those other sounds, but it softens them. When you listen to the audio on playback the sound in front is crystal clear, while the other sounds are more distant, as if the camera had been set further away from the source.

The only disadvantage of the shotgun microphone is that the resulting audio is mono, not stereo. This means that you will hear it from one speaker. The way that you fix this, if you really need stereo, is post production. You can open up the audio in an editor, and duplicate the channels so that both left and right have the same signal. Presto, you now have stereo.

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