Rode-lav microphone for outdoor use

Which microphone to use for filming YouTube videos outdoor? As large part of my life is outdoor, it has been one of my first questions … it even came before thinking about how to upload from phone to YouTube.

There are so many professional microphones and equipment that one can use, but for me personally, I needed a handy tool that I can take along in my pockets and plug into the phone as the opportunity for filming is there. Also as an analphabetic in this field, I only wanted to buy a mic on basis of the direct experience of others.

That´s why I asked around in the SFM-online community. The suggestions from experienced online entrepreneurs that record YouTube ads outdoor, came to use the Rode-smartlav microphone/RØDE smartlav microphone. This small mic is economical and also serving well for outdoor recording, especially with a CAT (windshield) for windy days.

Can you imagine, just starting for the first time online activities and considering YouTube flogging and then buy a microphone of over 50 euros? And that while realizing that the fragile electronic equipment in my hands or bags brakes in no time… It was a bit difficult to just buy that for my explorations.

Anyways, I explored a bit and first hit the microphones of Rode that were for iPhone use…and I had a Samsung. Digital-analphabetic me got a bit blocked there and didn´t want to risk buying something that my phone wouldn’t recognize. I waited some months in looking further (don´t worry: got to the solution also for the Samsung).

As I tried to make any sensible recording outside the first challenge was to get the camera focused on the subject, next was to get the right message to the film, but soon I had to recognize that with only a slight bit of wind the direct recording with the phone gave a lot of annoying noises. So I wanted to get the simple microphone to plug into my phone.

A few months later nature photographer and filmer Max Kessberger came along during a survey for the last surviving moorfrogs in Baden Württemberg. As he obviously has experience with outdoor filming under a wide variety of conditions, I asked his opinion. He suggested also that the Rode-lav would be perfect for me to use for basic outdoor recording. Himself he uses a much higher quality microphone (about 15 times the price of the Rode lav), but no need for that for starting with vlogging-like videos.

I then got to the cable version of Rode-lav, because I can plug it into my SAMSUNG galaxy phone. The wireless version is more expensive but has the benefit that you can use it at a larger distance without the cable hanging around. Anyways, the RODE-lav is a really handy small microphone that fits into nearly any pocket and came with a nice bag.

I have put a small plastic cub inside the bag to protect the fragile wires and iron support (see image above). Now, after about a year it traveled with me 10.000´s of kilometers, and even while I destroyed in that time two selfie-sticks the microphone serves perfectly fine.

I ordered online of course, but after a day or two got the message that the CAT (microphone windshield) was out of stock and it would take much longer. That´s why I started to use the microphone without the CAT. And….I am really enthusiastic about that.

The results are amazing (when I find the video I made ones in windy conditions, I will put it here), because even under windy conditions the recording is good without the blowing noises. Wind with moving twigs gives a lot of disturbance when you record on the phone without the external microphone, but even without the CAT the Rode-lav recordings are great.

Of course, I still want to get the CAT for more extreme conditions, but in one year haven´t really needed it.

A microphone without cable seems easier to handle. Max suggested that I could use the Sennheiser MZA 900P to amplify and get to the wire-less version like that.