Best mics and cameras for yoga videosOct 25, 2022
NOTE: This post is all about audio and lavalier microphones for yoga teachers. If you're looking for the best camera for teaching yoga online, read this post instead
Every day a yoga teacher asks me what microphone I use for making yoga videos and for teaching yoga online. Here are my suggestions for audio, microphones and lavalier mics. I've tried out several microphones and cameras since I started making yoga videos, and this is a roundup of the audio choices I've tested.
Whether you're just getting started teaching yoga online via Zoom, or you're ready to up-level to a professional setup for your YouTube yoga channel or your own website, you'll find valuable gear suggestions here from a yoga teacher who's somewhat obsessed with experimentation and testing.
When I started producing yoga videos, I had a background as a singer and a recording musician, so I knew a bit about audio gear. I didn't know much about cameras, but I was fortunate to marry a photographer and a gear geek! Konrad and I both spend lots of time watching YouTube reviews about lavalier mics and camera gear. (We've spent way too much money as well!) Konrad has helped me select my preferred camera, which is the Sony ZV-1.
What's more important, audio or video? People usually want to start their gear setup with the camera, but for yoga teachers who want to teach online, audio must come first. If you're accustomed to using the onboard microphone on your computer or phone during Zoom meetings, you may hav noticed that the audio quality degrades when you move away from the computer. Since yoga teachers usually need to be at least 8 feet away from the computer, this means you absolutely must invest in some type of wireless on-body mic.
Here are the choices:
Here's an example of the Airpods Pro on a yoga teacher (my friend Victoria):
As you can hear, the audio quality on the Airpods Pro is acceptable and is vastly better than your onboard mic for teaching yoga ten feet away from your camera. However, the quality is still rather low. Both Airpods and Airpods Pro are designed more for listening than for speaking. Also, Airpods are prone to dislodging the your ears during some movements, which can cause them to automatically disconnect from Zoom or whatever other recording or livestreaming app you're using – increasing the dreaded situation where your students can't hear you anymore, but you don't know it. Airpods Pro are better at staying in the ears than Airpods because of the soft insertion layer, an upgrade that makes the Pro both more comfortable and harder to dislodge. However, the microphone quality is no better in the Pro than the regular Airpods, so they won't make you sound any better to your students.
Rode Wireless Go Lavalier Mic
Sometimes called a lapel mic or a clip-on mic, a lavalier microphone is the best quality available for those wanting to teach yoga while talking several feet away from the yoga mat.
My highest recommendation goes to the Rode Wireless Go II ($187 USD). The receiver plugs directly into the audio jack on your phone, camera or laptop. The clip-on mic can be easily clipped onto your shirt or sports bra. If you want to conceal it on a bra below your tank top, it's designed so that it doesn't create clothing sound when you move, which is awesome.
Here's an example of the sound quality of the Rode Wireless Go on a yoga teacher (me)
To use the Rode Wireless Go with an iPhone: You'll need this adapter, and if you have an iPhone with lightning-only (no microphone jack), you'll also need this adapter. Keep in mind that if you're using your iPhone to teach a live online session on Zoom, Facetime or Google Chat, the Rode will occupy the audio jack and the phone may think you've plugged earphones in. If you want to hear your students, the only way around this is to use a wireless bluetooth speaker such as this great little speaker by Anker ($24).
Sennheiser G4 Lavalier Mic
Next choice: My more expensive mic is the Sennheiser G4 Lavalier ($649), which is what I use when I want the highest quality professional sound. It's the lavalier mic of choice for all the big YouTube yoga teachers including Yoga with Adriene.* The receiver plugs directly into a camera's audio input jack, but to use it with your computer you'll need a USB audio interface such as the Scarlett Solo ($119) and this adapter.
The Sennheiser won't plug directly into your iPhone, either. That requires two adapters: this one and this one. And lastly, if you're using your phone to meet with a live student on Zoom, Facetime or Google chat, you'll also need to connect to a bluetooth speaker, otherwise you won't be able to hear your students.
Wondering which lavalier microphone Yoga with Adriene uses? With over 11 million YouTube subscribers, she achieves a natural, easy look with a completely concealed mic and no wires showing, ever. In his blog, her producer Chris Sharpe says he uses the Sennheiser G4 Lavalier and attaches the mic is attached to Adriene's cleavage with Rycote undercovers. (Update April 2022: His twitter, Sharpe mentioned that he now prefers the Rode Wireless Go II.)
The lavalier mic used by Yoga with Kassandra and Brett Larkin Yoga is the Sennheiser G3 lavalier mic, which is very similar to the G4, it's just an older version.
Wired mic for yoga voiceover videos: A lavalier mic is essential for any serious online teacher who wants to talk while moving on the mat. However, the sound quality of a $650 lavalier mic is still a step down from a decent $100 wired microphone. This means you can spend less and get better by quality video-recording your sequence silently, and then doing a voiceover later using a wired mic. Here's an example of one of my yoga videos with voiceover using the Shure SM58 ($99) which you can buy as a bundle with the required cable plus a mic stand and mic clip. I connect it to my Macbook Pro using the Scarlett Solo audio interface ($119).
As I mentioned, audio is king – if you're on a limited budget, don't spend it on the camera – spend it on the audio.
Looking for a video camera for teaching yoga? Here's my blog on that:
Cameras and mics used by Adriene Mishler
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