I have previously talked about the Röde SmartLav+ that I purchased a while back to increase the quality of my voice. This little microphone is one that you clip on to your clothes and hide if needed, which might be suitable for vlogging. So, in this post, I would like to give my review of the Rode SmartLav+.
The SmartLav+ is an omnidirectional lapel microphone that is built with flexibility in mind. There is a 3,5mm contact on it, making it easy to connect to almost all smartphones and cameras. While it may not be the best microphone, it is certainly better than the built-in microphone on a smartphone.
Sound Quality & Usage of the SmartLav+
The Rode smartLav+ can be found on Amazon and offers fantastic sound provided you use it properly. Rode is a huge name in the microphone industry and all of their mics perform very well. That said, each microphone model was designed with a specific use in mind, and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all microphone, not even for Rode mics.
When you’re using this product as a lapel mic, you’ll want to clip onto the collar of your shirt. This will provide a position that’s near enough to your mouth to record clear and strong audio while avoiding most of the background noise.
Seeing as this microphone is omnidirectional, it doesn’t matter if you point it upside-down, sideways, etc. provided it’s near enough to your mouth. Since the proximity effect is absent, omnidirectional microphones are also less vulnerable to shock or handling noise.
That said, it will still be audible if you touch the microphone, but it won’t produce the usual rumbling that unidirectional model’s record. If your microphone gently slides against the cloth of your collar, it won’t be too noticeable either.
When you pin the microphone to yourself, you can get some great audio for your vlogs. The microphone will provide total mobility which allows you to walk around and show your surroundings off to the viewers.
You’d even be surprised by the audio quality if you record song covers with it. This microphone ensures that your voice will be heard clearly by the viewers at all times. If you put your phone on a stand, you can even record some product presentations, announcements, and similar videos.
Of course, you can also use it to record your own speech. If you’re speaking in public, perhaps for a speech of some type, all you need to do is put the phone on record, put it in your pocket, and every word will be available for playback later on,
The cable is long enough to have it connected to a phone in your pocket, but if you need to get ever further from the device that will record the sound, Rode has an extension cable on Amazon. This cable is specially made for this microphone and ensure that there is no loss in sound quality during recording.
Limitations for the Microphone
There are some limitations that will hold the Rode SmartLav+ back. The main drawback of it being an omnidirectional model, which means that it will capture sound from all directions.
If you need to make a point-and-shoot video where the audio source is something other than your own speech, it might be hard to capture clearly without finding a way to fix the microphone on the target.
But on the other hand, it’s still a better option than using a built-in microphone. Especially when it comes to the clarity of the sound. That said, you’ll still get pretty low volume if your audio source is far away.
The distance of the audio source might end up being overwhelmed by background noise if you’re not careful. The usual solution to this problem is something called a shotgun microphone, but such models aren’t available for smartphones.
Another drawback of this microphone is the fact that, when pinned to someone’s collar, only that person will be heard in the recording, and other sounds will be pretty faint. This reduces its usability for 1-on-1 interviews.
There is a workaround though. The easiest way to overcome the limitation is by holding the interview on a table and placing the microphone at its center. This will ensure that both audio sources will have equal volume.
That said, this setup isn’t very mobile, and will likely be ineffective in noisy areas. Another option for interviews is either passing the mic around after each person speaks or buying two microphones and then syncing the audio later on.
Of course, you’ll need to do some editing to get the audio to line up, but for basic question and answer interviews, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. It’s worth noting that there are also dual mic models. It’ll cost you more, but the value is well worth it.
Of course, most of these limitations can be solved with another type of microphone. The SmartLav+ is for your voice, and no one else really. But I still wanted to point out that if you are going to do these types of things, the SmartLav+ may not be for you.
When it comes to smartphones mics, I highly doubt you’ll be able to find a better model. To summarize, the Rode smartLav+ is a fantastic microphone that is very well-priced. It’s definitely a treasure for those who understand the basics of sound recording. Understandably, it can’t work perfectly for every application.
That said, regardless of how you plan on using it, this microphone will always beat the stock microphone on your devices. The recordings captured with this microphone is very clear even for audio-heavy recordings like vocal or guitar covers.
This microphone is far from perfect, but no microphone is, and at the price you get it for, it’s a hard model to beat. Just heed the limitations of this — as well as most — lapel mic and try to record in noise-free areas to optimize the audio quality.
You should check pricing for the Rode SmartLav+ on Amazon.