Advice finding the right microphone

Hello everyone,

I apologize if my question has been asked elsewhere, I searched the forum but was unable to locate anything that would apply to my situation. If I missed it, feel free to refer me to that thread and I’ll review accordingly.

A last minute opportunity came up and I am going to be a journalist for a prestige Music festival in Europe. Since this is rather last minute I am in a bit of a time crunch and understand whatever I am going to get needs to be overnighted. I am looking for a microphone that I can use for my camcorder. My main responsibility will be to interview artists as well as fans and composers. I need to be as mobile as possible as I’ll be walking around with my camera and the microphone quite a bit. It has to be a handheld microphone but I’m also considering getting a lapel microphone if it’s within my financial means. Since I am travelling from the US to Europe I am trying to keep things on the lighter side. Same goes for the financial aspect, My hope was to stay around $200 or less but if you have an amazing suggestion that is slightly above my budget then I’m open to that as well, I’m just watching what I am spending.


  • I’ll be doing a lot of interviews with people
  • need to be as mobile as possible
  • the interviews will be done mostly indoors but some outdoor activity is also possible
  • there will be background noise as it’s a huge press center
  • $200 preferred, open to suggestions
  • handheld a must, possibly thinking about lapel as well
  • due to overseas travel I need to keep it as light as possible

I should add I’m no Tech expert so something overly sophisticated may be over my head but I’m no dummy either :slight_smile:

I hope this gives you somewhat of an idea but please do not hesitate to ask me any questions. I truly appreciate all of your input. While this is something I’m really excited about, the time crunch affects my decision making significantly.

I may help if I tell you what camcorder I’m using. It’s a Sony Handycam HDR-XR 260

The camera is no longer made, so that’s not a plus.

At the risk of starting down a two week design path for a 24-hour deadline, somebody is making a shotgun microphone that will plug into a “computer” soundcard. I don’t remember who. I think the camcorder will supply 5 volts at the Mic-In connection, but it’s rough to know. Sony likes to drift away from mainstream and the Mic-In could only work with one of Sony’s special “stereo microphone” assemblies.

“This American Life” is the grand master at field interviews and they use a hand-held shotgun microphone with windscreen shoved into the guest’s face. They rarely miss a shot and they don’t have to run wires to the guest’s chest.

You will not be able to run radio microphones. If you were in one country, you could research the frequencies, but you’re not and you don’t have time.

There it is.

That should plug right into the side (back??) of your camcorder and then all you have to do is figure out a way to hold the mic and the camera at once.

This might work for the lavalier:


For either microphone, take fresh batteries.

Find out if the camcorder has a natural microphone accessory. I couldn’t find one.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by natural microphone accessory. Do you mean this?

I mean when you buy the camcorder, they offer you an external microphone that naturally likes the connection in the camera and does a better job than the built-in. That’s merchandising “trade-up.”

“Surely you’re going to want the snow tires with your new car.”

Not in Southern California, no. Built-in microphones are always a trade-off and external ones are almost always better – if you know how to use them. Does the instruction book mention such a microphone? That Plug-In-Power thing worries me.

Let us know how it goes. I’m building this from bits and pieces of other people’s experience and my own experiences trying to capture live sound. Going into this with zero live sound experience is always very interesting.

For one silly example: Do you know where to place a tie-tack microphone on a guest? Just above half-way between belly-button and chin, with the guest looking directly at you. If the guest is looking down, you’ll get it in the wrong place. I found the 3013 tie-tack microphone works best with no windscreen. The latest version may not even come with one any more.