A 99p lapel microphone sounds too good to be true! And they often say that if something is too good to be true, then there is likely to be some catch to it.
Fortunately, this is not the case with this 99p lapel microphone I came across on eBay. I initially thought, there has to be some catch. There has to be something wrong with this mic.
Despite my doubts, I took the plunge and ordered one to see if it really worked. After all, 99p is not a great loss. I could afford a 99p loss without breaking the bank. We probably waste more money on a daily basis buying one thing or another that we want but don’t actually need.
I had to wait a few weeks as usual for my parcel to arrive. And when it did, there were no surprises. It came in a plastic envelope and wrapped in a strip of foam. It was not accompanied by any accessories such as a pouch or a booklet with instructions on how to use it, not that it is necessary, but, we consumers today are a spoilt bunch who expect so much from every purchase we make.
Despite the lack of surprises, the lapel microphone performed pretty well in the tests I did with it. It does what a good microphone should do.
I was pleasantly surprised in that department. The 99p lapel microphone is actually good value for money. Yes, I said that. You can’t beat that kind of price; especially, in an industry where you pay premium prices for photography or video production gear.
99p is dirt cheap in an industry where a piece of glass [filters] will cost you tens of pounds and lenses can cost you several thousands pounds.
This mic is very basic as you can see in the picture below. It comes with a 3.5mm jack, a one metre cable and a wind shield. That is all there is to it unless you consider the little clip that you use to fasten it to your clothes. It’s almost threadbare but gets the job done.
It improves the sound quality of your video recording whether you use a DSLR, mirrorless camera or a camcorder.
It improves the production value of your videos and gives you way superior sound that you could never get for that kind of price.
The great thing is that because it is almost threadbare, it is easy to carry around and won’t take up space in your bag. It won’t add any additional weight to your bag or gear.
In addition, you merely plug it into the external microphone port of your camera and it is ready to work. You just have to set your microphone levels in camera. The lack of problems setting up makes it an excellent running gun accessory.
The 99p lapel mic is an extremely adaptable and versatile piece of gear. You can use it while vlogging on the street or wherever you are and you will get way better audio than your camera’s in-built mic.
I have not done a comparative test with other mics, but I have a hunch that it will punch way above it’s weight in comparison to more expensive microphones; especially, the ones that you have to mount on top of your camera because they will pick up more of the ambient sound while the lapel mic due its proximity will cut a lot out, cut out interference and give you a richer and more fuller sound.
This mic can also be used in an interview scenario where you are interviewing someone and they are talking straight to camera or looking just off it. You can use an extension cable to increase it’s reach if you need to get more of the subject into frame and if you are going for a headshot then it works as it is.
The 99p lapel mic is not the best solution to your audio challenges. It is not the best on the market and there are microphones that will probably do a much better job but as usual you will pay the price for it.
However, what it provides is a quick fix solution or an alternative to many scenarios where even more expensive microphones might not perform so well. Every mic has its strengths and weaknesses and applications. The same applies to the 99p mic.
It is not a cure all for all your audio challenges but is a perfect fit for some scenarios such as vlogging and you don’t want a huge microphone sitting on top of your camera drawing attention to you. Check out my video test of this mic here.
The 99p lapel mic is a subtle and a not so in your face solution in such scenarios; especially, if you are a self conscious blogger or you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself on the street.
Although my focus on this piece was on video production, the 99p microphone can be used with other devices such as your laptop, computer, dictaphone, smart phone, iPad, etc. This is the beauty of this little piece of kit. It’s uses are endless. It is versatile. The uses of this mic can only be limited by your imagination.
I am not sure it was initially made with video production in mind but more for smart phones, but any piece of gear can be adapted to work anywhere else. Such is creativity and a keen eye on the pocket. We, creatives, can stretch the uses of anything we come across and adapt it to suit our creative needs.
Although I started off as a sceptic of the 99p lapel microphone, I must say that I am a convert to it. It works as I expect it to do and meets certain needs, video production that is.
I have other microphones that serve other purposes, but this is one I am adding to my bag because it has its use: I can always carry it around and use when I need it without worrying about additional weight, space or batteries I need to carry or accessories like shock mounts or mini amplifiers. This 99p lapel microphone is definitely a keeper.