The “Hat Mic”

This is a trick I learned from NPR’s Tony Kahn.

Microphones scare people and are hard to use properly. Anyone who has ever tried to get someone to talk into one knows this first hand.

The “Hat Mic” is a novel solution to both of these problems. To construct one, take a small, high quality microphone (anything from a Giant Squid Audio Lab Podcasting Omni Stereo Microphone to a Neumann miniature microphone) and clip it to the brim of a baseball cap. Small binder clips work well with my Giant Squids.

That’s it.

Why would you want to clip a microphone to a hat? For a number of reasons:

  1. While almost nobody knows how to use a microphone, everyone know how to wear a hat.
  2. The microphone will stay in position as the person moves their head. This is both easier and more natural, meaning that you’ll get a more consistent, genuine-sounding recording.
  3. The microphone will be out of the way of most unwanted sounds (“popping P” and “hissing S”). You may have a bit of a problem with F sounds if you don’t get the placement quite right.
  4. The brim of the hat forms a bit of a mini sound booth, blocking some outside sounds and enhancing the voice a bit.

All of this, wrapped up in one funny hat!
Hat Mics

Listen here for how it sounds:







8 responses to “The “Hat Mic””

  1. DPeach Avatar

    I have used this trick a few times since I saw it. But just this week I recorded the whole of my most recent podcast using this idea.

    I was using a $2.55 microphone that I bought at Wal-Mart and recorded into my iRiver digital recorder. I am waiting for a better mic to come in the mail, but until then, this mic is working fine for me.

    Thanks for the tips Adam. I look forward to many more.

  2. Adam Avatar

    That sounds pretty good! $2.55 for quality many people with $1000+ equipment can’t manage sometimes. Assuming that your equipment isn’t terrible, it’s all about the placement and the technique.

  3. Justin Avatar

    How do you decide whether to use the hat mic setup or your handheld iRiver / Giant Squid Mini Omni Mic setup for interviews?

  4. Adam Avatar

    Justin: I usually use the handheld for out-and-about interviews because it gives me more control over the situation and takes less time to set up. If I know the person I’m interviewing and want to have more of a conversation with them, I’ll use the hat mics.

  5. Tom Gosse Avatar

    It’s hard for me to tell from the photo which way the mic is facing. Is it towards you (your forehead), down, or forwards (towards the interviewee)?

    Tom Gosse

  6. Adam Avatar


    The mic is facing toward the the forehead of the hat-wearer. I guess rigging it up to point a little lower could be slightly better, but the quality from this configuration is great.


  7. Jack Avatar

    Hello Adam,

    That sounds GREAT! I want to do the same thing for genealogical interviews with my family however I’m wondering if you have a more complete description of which microphone you find works best for you in this way and exactly how you attached it to the cap.

    Thanks and thanks for the idea!