What Type Of Microphone Is Usually Best For Recording Dialogue?

There are different microphones available on the market today that all have their own unique application. For example, dynamic microphones are used as stage microphones and condenser microphones are known for their use in music recording studios for capturing vocals etc.

But have you ever wondered what kind of microphone is used in movies to pick up speech?

We’ve all at one point or another what microphone would be the best to record and capture dialogue. In this post, I’m therefore going to discuss this to give you a better idea.

With that said, let’s get right into it.

What type of microphone is usually best for recording dialogue?

Lavalier microphones are what are considered the gold standard for capturing and recording dialogue.

However, shotgun microphones are another type of microphone that is also used to record and capture dialogue on set because they have the ability to accept audio directly on axis while cancelling sound on the sides.

Lavaliers microphones are great, in that, you can use more than one of these mics for dialogue because they’re discrete, provide excellent recording and can be used along side each other on multiple people.

A rule for dialogue

When recording dialogue, it’s often key and important that you completely avoid handheld microphones and camera mics.

 They’re not really meant for recording dialogue, at least not to a professional standard often required for dialogue in traditional film setups or other professional settings.

Shot gun mics

I included shotgun mics as one of the go to for most dialogue recording because they’re meant for on axis recording or capturing.

Of course, as you record dialogue one of the most important things you’ll have to look toward is the ability to work optimally.

This often means using a specific microphone for specific kinds of dialogue.

For example, in film recording, where the engineer may be working with a tightly framed shot… a good shotgun mic can get the job done when aimed accurately at the sound source.

The good part of working with shot gun mics is that they come in different shapes and sizes which means they can be used to record dialogue in unusual shots.

Furthermore, these mics are highly directional.

Of course other variations of these mics exist but even they usually have tight polar patterns allowing for recording on-axis sounds.

If you’re especially looking to capture dialogue without any background interference, shot gun mics can be utilized.

Lavalier

Lavalier microphones are the choice for most video makers that especially record outdoors.

One key thing that makes lavalier microphones the best for dialogue is that they’re omnidirectional in nature which means they make it easy to capture a sound source even when it slightly moves.

For example, in recording dialogue for film, it’s not all about the audio but the visual as well.

Which means when a subject turns away from the microphone like maybe when they turn their head, the mic has to still capture their speech.

Lavalier mics are able to do this due to their omnidirectional nature.

Designs

There are a number of different lavalier mic designs.

In dealing with dialogue it’s important to go for the more durable and moisture resistant.

These will help you capture dialogue a lot easier because durability will eliminate your fear of damaging the mic while recording in unusual set ups.

Moisture resistance is just as important because dialogue is not only recorded indoors but outdoors as well.

For example, a scene being recorded in snow will work best with a moisture resistant lav mic that can properly withstand the excess and deliberate moisture it’s being exposed to.

Some lavalier microphones are highly directional with cardioid polar patterns. These are helpful in situations where a narrow pick up pattern is needed in order to avoid the impact of noisy environments.

Open Spaces

In movie and film setups that require open spaces for scenes lavalier mics are perfectly outfitted for this.

Sometimes it’s also important to use multiple lavaliers when recording multiple people.

Alternatives

In situations where you don’t have lavalier microphones available you can opt to go for a pair of stereo microphones.

They can be an ideal way to capture your set and environment as a whole.

You can also use a wired set of either full size or pencil condensers on good shock mounts.

Usually, these will offer a richer, warmer sound and isolation from ambient vibrations.

Final Thoughts

Lavalier microphones are basically the gold standard for capturing and recording dialogue.

Shotgun microphones are another type of microphone that can also be used to record and capture dialogue on set because they have the ability to accept sound on axis while cancelling sound on the sides.