An affordable clip-on microphone for good video sound on the DSLR

Anyone who wants to record speech for video productions often has to struggle with audio quality problems: built-in microphones record lens noises, freely positioned audio recorders record ambient noise or produce too loud noise. For interview situations I can recommend a cheap clip-on microphone for less than 25€.

Anyone who moves even slightly in space during a video recording or changes the angle to the camera filming will notice that the quality of the voice recording suffers from any movement. In order to compensate for this, a lot of effort is required when editing the video or already during shooting.

For many of my video recordings I use a gimbal for Smartphone or DSLR. It enables me to have smooth camera movements and the flexible movement of the camera in space. Videos become so much more alive and realistic. The eye of the viewer does not get tired so quickly.

At some point I just got fed up with varying volume levels or a changing sound image just because I wasn’t standing in one place during a video recording, or the camera moved slightly around me.

First attempt: separate audio recording with audio recorder

The first alleviation of these symptoms was achieved by no longer using the audio track of the moving camera, but by recording the audio track with a recorder positioned firmly in the room. For this I used the digital recorder Zoom H2n (Amazon Affiliate Link). The Japanese manufacturer “Zoom” builds excellent components in the audio field. The devices convince by their functionality and a perfect operability via the clearly arranged user interface.

Zoom H2N Handy Recorder
  • Fünf Mikrofonkapseln Mid-Side Stereo, 120° X/Y Stereo, 2-Kanal und 4-Kanal Aufnahmemodi
  • Aufnahme WAV-Format bis 24-Bit/96kHz / MP3 bis 320kbps, Hochpass-Filter (Low-Cut)

This meant that the impairment of the audio quality caused by the movement of the camera in the room was already a thing of the past, but the result was not yet perfect:
Volume fluctuations due to my own movement in the room I still could not prevent. In addition, the recorder sometimes recorded unwanted ambient noise and produced too loud a noise.

Voice recording via clip-on microphone on the lapel

When it comes to the quality of audio recording, there is one rule: “Closer is better”. So I started looking for a suitable microphone to attach to my clothes or lapel. Such “clip-on microphones” are predestined for recording speech. The microphone moves with me in the room, always has the same distance to my mouth, even if I move or turn away from the camera. This is what I was looking for.

The prices for these microphones go up to thousands of Euros for applications in television and sports. I did not want to spend that much. I wanted to spend a maximum of 100€ for one microphone.

I ordered almost 10 microphones on the Internet and finally found one for 25€ (yes, really no joke).

Boya BY-M1 Omnidirektionales Kondensator-Mikrofon, 6 m Audiokabel, für Digitalkameras, Videokameras, Smartphones
  • Super Sound für Präsentationen und Video-Aufzeichnung.
  • Clip on Mikrofon Design für Smartphones, DSLR, Camcorder, etc.

My favorite became the 25€ lavalier microphone BY-M1 from BOYA (Amazon Affiliate Link), which I bought at that time under the brand name “Tonor”.

I discreetly attach the microphone to my shirt collar, connect it to the audio input of the Zoom H2n digital recorder and put the latter in the back pocket of my jeans. Not only does it look professional like TV, but it also produces a surprisingly good and interference-free sound. The recording can begin.

Those who want to do without the use of a digital recorder can of course also plug the BY-M1 from BOYA (Amazon Affiliate Link) directly into the audio input of the camera, even if the freedom of movement is then of course somewhat limited by the cable connection.

You can also get an impression of the microphone and the problems described above in the following video: