RØDE’s PinMic takes lavalier microphones to a new esthetic level

The RØDE PinMic is the least obtrusive body mic short of hiding a conventional lav inside clothing.

In addition to offering the wonderful RØDE REC application for iOS which I recently reviewed (link ahead), RØDE is primarily known as a renowned microphone manufacturer from Australia. One of its unique designs is the PinMic, the least obtrusive body mic I’ve ever seen, short of hiding a conventional lav inside clothing. With the PinMic, absolutely all components and cabling stay inside the clothes, except the microphone element itself, which connects to the rest via three tiny pins, which perforate the shirt or dress non-destructively.

Review of the RØDE Rec app

Here is my January 2014 RØDE Rec app review article for those who may have missed it.

The PinMic’s esthetic advantage is also practical

The “right” way to place a lav mic on a speaker

Esthetically speaking (short of hiding a conventional lav inside clothing, as has been customary with dramatic production when a boom is not desired, or for redundcancy), with a conventional, modern lavalier microphone, there is a single accepted professional way to place it on the speaker (i.e. “mic-ing” the person), and that is to have all of the cable tucked inside the clothing except a tiny piece of it that quite neatly and elegantly loops back around and is held by the mic clip. I am one of those people who absolutely cringe when I see a lavalier mic placed sloppily on a person on TV or Internet video clip, i.e. with the cable visible as it runs down or across the speaker’s clothing.

Bashful producers or sound operators

For some reason, the process of professionally “mic-ing” an interviewee or other speaker makes some producers or sound operators become bashful with regards to the process of hiding a lavalier mic’s cable in the person’s clothing. Unfortunately, that bashfulness translates into a bad impression on screen.

PinMic to the rescue

As explained earlier, the design of the PinMic is not only less visible (almost invisible) when placed on a speaker’s clothing: The design also makes it quite clear that the only way is the proper way, so that should both cure the bashfulness mentioned earlier, and create an even more discreet appearance.

The PinMic’s versatility in connectivity

Like some other microphones sold by RØDE, the PinMic terminates in a proprietary MiCon connector, which is then connected (quite securely, via screw-on threads) to one of several different types of plugs sold separately by RØDE. These currently include :


MiCon-1, for select Sennheiser devices


MiCon-2, for 3.5 mm TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) devices which expect an unbalanced stereo mic level source. It places the connected mic simultaneously to the left and right channels.


MiCon-3, for select Shure devices


MiCon-4, for select Audio Technica devices


MiCon-5, for balanced 3-pin XLR devices


MiCon-6, for select AKG and Audix devices


MiCon-7, for select Lectrosonic devices


MiCon-8, for select Sony devices


MiCon-9, for select Sennheiser Lemo devices


MiCon-10, for select MIPRO devices


MiCon-11, for unbalanced TRRS (Tip/Ring/Ring/Sleeve) 4-conductor 3.5mm devices, like iPads, iPhones, iPod touches and many Android phones and tablets.

To clarify, the PinMic doesn’t include any of the MiCon mentioned terminations. You must pick what you need, and order them accordingly. Ahead you’ll see which of these terminations I used for the test recordings for this review.

What comes included with the PinMic

All of the following come with the PinMic:

The PinMic (1.5mm standard pins or Long Pin 3.5mm), theCLIP1, the MiCon Cable Management Clip, the Unpainted Mesh Head, the Anti-Trauma Case, the Tool Kit, and the so-called DeadMouse-Pin, which is a windshield.

Two audio test recordings I made

Long term readers of my reviews know that (at least whenever possible), I do audio test recordings for ProVideo Coalition magazine at 48 kHz, because 48 kHz is the absolute standard for digital audio for digital video, and I emphasize the importance of making the recording correctly from the beginning, rather than wasting time and resources to resample it later, let alone reducing the quality during the resampling process. The two following recordings are both done at 48 kHz, thanks to María Kowalski’s help with her iPad, which we used with these recordings, together with other recordings we made the same day with other professional audio devices to be reviewed in upcoming articles. As with prior reviews, you can hear the streaming MP3 directly in the SoundCloud player, or you can download the original uncompressed WAVE file from SoundCloud.

The first recording was done “directly”, i.e. without any electronics between the PinMic and the iPad, using the RØDE’s optional MICON–11 termination (illustrated earlier in this article), which goes directly to TRRS (Tip/Ring/Ring/Sleeve), which is the 4-conductor unbalanced connector found on iPads, iPhones, iPod touches and many Android devices. These devices are known for their relatively poor inboard preamp and A-to-D (analog-to-digital) converters, and that is specifically why I chose to make two separate recordings. The iPad supplied bias voltage for the PinMic. When seen superficially, bias voltage seems similar to phantom power, but is not the same. (Phantom power fans: Hold on! We’ll see that with the second test!)

The second recording was done using an external preamp and A-to-D converter (the IK Multimedia iRig Pro, which I’ll review in a separate article soon, not to be confused with the earlier iRig Pre, which I reviewed back in 2012). So for the second recording, I used the balanced mic-level signal from the PinMic with the MiCon–5 termination to feed the iRig Pro. The iRig Pro fed a digital signal to the iPad’s Lightning connector, thereby completely bypassing the iPad’s preamp and A-to-D converter. The iRig Pro also fed phantom power to the PinMic, thanks to an internal 9-volt battery inside of the iRig Pro.

Both recordings were made in mono 48 kHz WAVE with the RØDE Rec app. No equalization, compression, or filtering was applied; only normalization.

Interview with Ric Creaser, inventor of the RØDE PinMic

The above interview was supplied by RØDE.



The PinMic from RØDE is clearly the Ferrari of lavalier microphones, due to it esthetics and flexibility in connectivity. The current model is omnidirectional.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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