Lavalier vs. Headworn Microphones for Speakers: What’s Best?

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Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Muisc Pro Editorial Team

Lavalier and headworn microphones are both exceptional choices for ensuring clear audio while allowing speakers the freedom to move around. Their portability and hands-free operation have made them favorites in various settings such as broadcast journalism, theaters, and places of worship. If you prioritize mobility and hands-free functionality in your microphone selection, both lavalier microphone and headset mics offer great benefits. The decision between the two ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Lavalier Microphones


Lavalier microphones, often referred to as lapel mics, are small, discreet devices designed to capture natural sound invisibly. They typically clip onto a lapel or a piece of clothing close to the speaker’s mouth, allowing the wearer to move freely without holding a handheld microphone. This type of microphone first appeared in the 1950s and has evolved to become more compact and less noticeable over time.


Lavaliers are celebrated for their discreet appearance and cost-effectiveness. Their design allows for easy sharing among users without compromising the microphone’s performance or longevity. However, placement is crucial; incorrect positioning can lead to feedback, room noise, or inadequate audio capture. S Sound levels may vary with the speaker’s movements, making omnidirectional microphones a popular choice for their pickup pattern that captures sound pressure evenly from all directions, reducing issues with wind noise and popping sounds. Lavalier microphones are recommended for professionals in broadcast journalism and for use in traditional settings like houses of worship and theater productions, particularly in educational and community environments.

Wearing Lavalier Microphones

The most common method for wearing a lavalier mic is clipping it to the lapel, ensuring that the congregation hears the speaker clearly, without the distraction of background noise or environmental noise. Alternatively, for applications in film, television, and theater, hiding the lav in the hairline can be effective, ensuring it is discreet yet secure. For those looking for versatility, some lavalier microphones can be converted into headset microphones with specific accessories, offering a cost-effective solution for sound techs facing audio challenges.


  • Small Size: Nearly invisible, making them ideal for aesthetic considerations.
  • Freedom of Movement: Allows the speaker to move freely without being tied to a podium or stand.
  • Variety of Models: Available in dynamic and condenser types, with condenser models often preferred for their sensitivity and clarity.
  • Polar Patterns: Offered in omnidirectional and unidirectional (cardioid or supercardioid) options.
  • Affordability: Professional entry-level models start at around $60.
  • Durability: Known for their long-lasting build.
  • Shareability: Can be easily shared among multiple users.

Headworn Microphones


Headset microphones, also known as headsets, prioritize hands-free operation and flexibility just like lavalier mics but are designed to rest close to the mouth. This placement ensures more consistent and accurate sound capture, making headset mics a popular choice in environments from live performances to television studios. Popularized in the 1980s by performers like pop singer Janet Jackson, headworn mics have become sleeker and less intrusive over time.


Headset mics offer several benefits, including easier setup and management for sound techs and consistent sound levels as the speaker moves. These features make them ideal for active speakers and performers, underscoring the personal preference of many professionals for headset microphones over other mics due to their ability to deliver a much more robust signal. However, they are generally more expensive and are designed for individual use, which means they may not be the best choice for situations requiring shared equipment. Despite these considerations, headworn mic is highly recommended for live sound applications and for those who need to maintain high mobility while speaking or performing.

Wearing Headworn Microphones

One of the advantages of headset mics is the simplicity of their use. Unlike lavalier mics, where placement can vary, headset mics are designed to be worn on the speaker’s head, ensuring optimal positioning near the mouth every time. This right microphone placement, possibly using a single ear design for some models, can lead to markedly less feedback compared to other microphone types. This ease of use, combined with their performance benefits, makes headworn microphones a strong choice for many professional and performance settings. Headset mics have evolved to offer omnidirectional microphone options and those with the right polar pattern to suit the user’s environment and needs. The robust signal provided by headset mics, combined with their stability and comfort on the speaker’s head, makes them a highly versatile and preferred choice in dynamic and demanding audio environments.


  • Consistent High-Quality Sound: Delivers superior audio quality.
  • Close to Mouth Positioning: Offers superior gain before feedback and maintains consistent sound levels.
  • Variety of Models: Available in unidirectional and omnidirectional models.
  • Color Options: Comes in various colors to better match skin tones and enhance discreteness.
  • Solves Lavalier Challenges: Addresses most issues associated with lavalier mics, such as inconsistent sound quality and feedback.
  • Recommended for Individual Use: To ensure hygiene and performance consistency, it’s advised to reserve a specific headset for individual speakers.


In conclusion, both lavalier and headworn mics offer unique advantages for speakers and performers seeking quality audio with the freedom to move. Lavalier mics are prized for their invisibility and flexibility, suitable for a variety of settings and easily shared among multiple users. Headworn microphones, on the other hand, provide consistent, high-quality sound capture and are especially beneficial for dynamic presentations or performances. Your choice between a lavalier and a headworn microphone should be guided by your specific needs, preferences, and the nature of your speaking or performance environment. By considering the characteristics, advantages, and practical applications of each type, you can make an informed decision that enhances your audio experience and meets your requirements.


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