Motovlogging is taking your motorcycle rides, and turning them into stories you can share with friends, family, the hot girl in your history class, or even a global audience. But nothing kills a good video quite like bad audio. That’s why the microphone you use can make or break your motovlog videos.
As the maker of many excellent videos, ruined by bad audio, let me go over three motovlog microphone options, and what I discovered about each one. Together we can determine what the best motorcycle vlogging microphone is to stick in your helmet. You want clean sound but you don’t want to buy a handful of different mics trying to decide which one’s best. Don’t worry, I’ve done the work (and spent the money) for you.
In this video we’ll be going over three microphones used in a motovlogging setting. The first will be a cheap generic no-name brand Amazon $8 microphone. The second microphone will be the very popular Purple Panda microphone recommended by ChaseOnTwoWheels and other motovloggers. The final microphone for our best motovlog mic comparison will be the AudioTechnica ATR3350 mic which should be the most professional of the bunch… but how does it hold up for motovlogging use?
Best motovlogging microphone: a three mic comparison
Let’s get started. For our test we’ll be riding a 650cc single cylinder adventure bike. It has a touring windscreen that would protect air from directly hitting the lower part of the helmet where the microphones will be located.
Generic Cheap Amazon Lav Mic for Motovlogging
At slower speeds and inner city riding, the generic cheap $9 Amazon lavalier microphone works just fine for motovlogging. My voice is strong and clear, with a decent amount of exhaust sound, and not too much background noise. Unfortunately, upon listening to the footage a problem became immediately obvious. With headphones on it you can tell that the mic was only recording in mono, not in stereo. There was no sound all all on one side. This was a big disappointment.
At higher speeds and highway riding, the generic cheap Amazon lav mic showed that it truly wasn’t fit for motovlogging duty. As soon as this microphone goes over about 55 mph or 90 km/hr it becomes plagued by a huge amount of crackling and popping. This happens whether or not I’m speaking and makes the entire footage unpleasant to listen to.
AudioTechnica ATR3350 Lav Mic for Motovlogging
At slower speeds and inner city riding, the AudioTechnica ATR3350 gives very clear audio, though not as loud as the cheap mic, audio needs to be bumped up a lot in a video editor. In terms of quality however, the AudioTechnica does shine. The audio quality it picks up is crisp, but watching the footage it feels like something is lacking.
At higher speeds and highway riding, we can finally put our finger on what’s different about the AudioTechnica as a motovlogging microphone. The ATR3350 does a fantastic job of blocking out background noise including wind noise. There is no popping or hissing and wind noise is significantly subdued. However it also silences exhaust sound, so it really doesn’t register your motorcycle’s sound as well.
Purple Panda Lav Mic for Motovlogging
At slower speeds and inner city riding, the Purple Panda microphone has a nice blend of voice clarity and a bit of motorcycle exhaust sound. This microphone does the job without standing out in any way whether good or bad.
At higher speeds and highway riding, the Purple Panda doesn’t crackle at all, but it does pick up a significant amount of wind noise. The exhaust tone is audible especially when the motorcycle is accelerating, and the microphone still does a good job of registering the rider’s voice while motovlogging. All of the background noise does make this mic sound very loud, although it isn’t irritating.
Which motovlog mic should you buy?
Money is short so is life. And yes you can make money motovlogging, but you don’t want to waste time and money buying three different microphones to figure out which one will work best for your videos. Let me save you a lot of hassle.
The generic cheap $9 Amazon lav mic is suitable for city riding, or for off-road riding where speed won’t play a factor. However, you’ll have to be willing to accept that this microphone may quickly break and only work in mono. This won’t be a great listening experience for your audience. I’ve recorded an hour’s worth of footage that I won’t ever use because of how bad this mic sounds at highway speeds.
Ultimately, I make my motovlogs to try to help motorcyclists out, to show them how to do things, to share information with videos like this. I don’t make them for myself. I make my motovlogs for other motorcyclists. If the audio is bad, I feel like I’m doing you all a disservice. If $9 is all you have to spend and you won’t be riding at highway speeds anyway, the generic cheap Amazon mic is still an option. But if you can spend another $20-30, you should probably go with one of the other options.
The AudioTechnica ATR3350 could be the go-to motovlog microphone for some motovloggers. It’s great at blocking out background noise. If you don’t like wind or motorcycle exhaust sounds, you’ll appreciate this microphone.
However the AudioTechnica also uses it’s own battery and has it’s own On/Off switch. If you do want to go with this microphone for your motovlogs, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got spare batteries and that you aren’t forgetting to turn it on before you start your ride.
The Purple Panda seems to invoke a feeling that the grass is always greener on the other side. The Purple Panda’s noise has me longing for my AudioTechnica. But the ATR3350’s quietness is almost too quiet and makes me want the exhaust tone of my Purple Panda. The Purple Panda’s combination of wind and exhaust pipe can add to an overall more immersive motorcycle riding experience. It’s very different from the AudioTechnica videos, which sounds like voiceover footage.
Personally, I’ll be leaning towards the Purple Panda. It doesn’t take a battery or have an On/Off switch for me to have to worry about. It comes with additional attachments that allow me to use it with other devices like my cell phone, laptop, and older generation GoPros.
Ultimately, this decision will come down to your own preference. If you prefer a quieter more quality sound, the Audio Technica might work well for you. If you want a more complete motorcycle experience recording the Purple Panda might work for you.
Comments: Please leave a comment and let me know what microphone you recommend that I use moving forward!
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