Recording clean audio is extremely important but can also be infuriating. Finally, after seven years, we've found a system that seems to work... most of the time.
The Affordable Option
Possibly the best deal in audio today is the Rodelink Wireless Kit. For just $400 you can get a wireless lav system that actually sounds great. This system isn't going to be as reliable as the setup that we actually use below, but for the price, nothing else that I've seen comes close. Plus, we believe that Rode makes the absolute best lav mic accessories.
The Problem With The Affordable Option
Although we haven't personally used the Rodelink system, we have used the Rode lav mic and we've read mixed reviews of the system. The main problem seems to be occasional connection interference between the transmitter and receiver. We can say from personal experience that the Rode lav mic sounds great, but it's extremely fragile. Our cables and connectors were shorting out all of the time causing popping, static, and sometimes they would drop out completely. We needed a more reliable system.
Our Favorite Lav System
Our Wireless System Sennheiser G3
We currently own four sets of Sennheiser G3s. They aren't cheap, but they are way cheaper than some other units in the market. This kit is built like a tank and no matter how much abuse we put the transmitter, receiver, and included lav mic through, they keep on working. The problem is that the included mic is pretty big and the accessories available for it are horrible. If your only shooting in the studio with a single mic, this mic will be fine, but we're always using two mics on our talent and filming outside in incredibly windy environments. Because of that, the accessories that can hold the lav mic in place or cut wind noise are extremely important to us.
Best Lav Mic Sennheiser MKE2
This Mic is the best sounding lav mic we have tested but that's not why we like it. We like this lav because it's almost the same size as the Rode Lav which means that it can accept all of the Rode Lav accessories that we love but the superior build quality means that it won't break every other time we use it. We've been using these mics exclusively for the last year and haven't had a single issue with them.
Best Lav Mic Clip Sennheiser MZQ 22
Lav mic clips can be infuriating to work with. I'm so thrilled I found the MZQ 22. It can hold one or two mics, it keeps them away from clothes, and it has a clip on the opposite side that can direct excess wires. This keeps the noise down and it keeps the lavs sitting flat on your talent's clothes. This clip will not work with the Rode lav as it's cable is too thin.
Best Pop Filter Rode WS-LAV
Finally, a pop filter that doesn't fall off! If our subject is going to be moving around we'll keep this on the lav throughout shooting.
Best Windshield Rode MINIFUR-LAV
This thing is big but if you're in heavy winds, there's really no other option. The rubberized gasket keeps this thing in place
Best Underclothing Mount Rode invisiLav
We don't use this often, and the included double sided tape doesn't work at all for us. But, if you're looking for a way to mount a lav under someone's clothes without hearing their clothes rustling, this may be your best option.
Obviously, this system still isn't flawless and we occasionally still get crackles and pops from unknown sources, but this new system finally has brought me peace of mind. I finally feel confident going into a video production knowing that we have reliable gear and the necessary accessories to capture clean audio in almost any situation. If you've got any other gear you love or tips for capturing clean audio, let us know in the comments below. We are always looking for a better, more reliable way.