Hidden mics are no longer just for the secret detectives we see in movies straight from the Hollywood Hills. They’re for the everyday person who needs a mysterious device to capture long chunks of clear audio. In fact, they are useful to people from all walks of life for many different reasons. This has caused them to become increasingly popular. Whether you’re an intern struggling to follow the company’s weekly instructions, a college student who would rather play Tetris than listen to your professor, or just someone trying to get to the bottom of an unsolved mystery, the best spy microphone might be for you.
Their use is beyond what we can come up with as people choose to equip themselves with them for all sorts of weird and wonderful reasons. As the demand for these discrete products grows, many more of them are appearing on the market. That’s not always good news, as increasing choice usually means an increase in companies trying to get a piece of the pie with junk designs that falter easily. It also means there’s more junk to sift through before you find exactly what you’re looking for. This can take up a lot of time and prevent you from getting something that could really help.
Here is our list of Best Spy Microphones
Best Spy Microphone of 2023
Sony ICDUX560 BLK Spy Microphone
Lgsixe Flash Drive Microphone
Ballpoint Pen Audio Recorder
Sony ECMCS3 Clip-on Mic
Olympus Noise Cancelling Spy Microphone
The first hidden audio recorder that we would like to show you has a voice activation feature as well as many other advanced performance modes that place it among the best in its class. It’s the complete package of high-performance microphones and recorders that will fit conveniently in a pocket or on your belt.
A decent microphone’s body means it’s one of the larger devices in our guide. It measures 6.1 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches, which is by no means large but might put some off. The larger size also means it comes with a detailed LCD screen. The backlit screen gives instant feedback on the current recording settings, battery, and recording quality. Having this information at your fingertips takes the guesswork out of audio recording quality.
It also doesn’t mean you have to look at the screen for it to work. The voice activation feature means it can be controlled from anywhere in the room without having to touch it. This offers endless possibilities when shooting. So you can save memory in quiet moments and reduce long silent passages. The sound can be played through the built-in speaker or through the headphone jack.
The headphone option is obviously a lot more private, but adding a speaker is very rare on these devices. It’s a really handy feature.
There is a microphone input next to the headphone jack. While the built-in mic is excellent and has focus and wide-angle modes for large rooms or more intimate moments, it’s always nice to have the option to adapt to any situation.
This Sony recorder, for example, is happy to accommodate a lapel microphone. We found the built-in mic worked really well even in the pocket, but it’s great to have recording options.
A USB output folds out from the bottom of the unit, meaning it’s ready to connect to a PC or Mac to upload the audio. It can record directly in MP3 format for easy listening and saving, but it can also record LPCM lossless audio.
It has 4GB of internal storage, but it can be expanded with a MicroSD card. It’s up to you which size (in-store) you choose. The storage space can be saved by recording in lower quality, but it really depends on your purpose of use.
The second spy audio recorder in our showcase is this simple and elegant Lgsixe USB flash drive model. It’s quite similar to the first mystery recorder we showed you in that it doubles as a USB device and keychain. You can buy these in a black and silver design that stands out more for their cool aesthetic than their recording capability.
To keep the internal recorder function well under wraps, it was designed to keep the flashing USB light inactive while recording. This means it won’t draw the attention of your professor, team leader, or your interviewer. The control buttons have been reduced to a simple record and power off button for ease of use and not to reveal the secret – compared to a multitude of buttons that might reveal the game!
Once you’ve got what you need, all you have to do is plug the USB into a laptop or PC and a list of your audio recordings will appear in WAV files. These flashy, half-bitten Apple guys have to do a little extra to keep things running smoothly, but it’s not too much of an inconvenience. As we mentioned about the other USB spy audio recorder, Mac owners need to download a free VLC player to access their recordings.
These USB designs make transferring files completely hassle-free. They can record for 15 hours each, they come with 8GB of storage, and our nods are in agreement. They also come in handy when it comes to charging your device. Unlike other spy microphones that require you to charge in time, these chargers will automatically start charging when plugged into your computer, even while you are listening to your files.
If you’re sitting on the fence right now, then something like the price of this spy bugging device. This hidden voice recorder is priced in the mid-market and we think this is a solid value for money.
It has a lot to offer in terms of its understated design and is easier to hide than the next two cheaper models *spoiler alert*, but we think it falls short of the first product because it doesn’t support as many file types. However, this will not be too much of a problem for some people.
If Judy Dench hasn’t provided you with some spy-like gadgets lately, then don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. Obscure movie references aside weren’t kidding. Living a secret recording life, this lightweight ballpoint pen is as practical as it is ingenious. From the outside, you can see a normal black ballpoint pen, but underneath is a really cool voice recorder.
This makes it perfect for fooling your boss into believing that you are actually taking notes and recording what is being said. In reality, you think about dinner knowing that you can catch up on your workload in your own time. It’s also a handy little study buddy for students sitting on complicated lectures.
It records at a stunning standard of 192 Kbps audio quality and features noise reduction technology so only the focus of your recordings is captured. Operating this pen/recorder is super easy as there is a button to start recording and another to save your audio.
What makes it even more seamless and Bond-like to use, we’ve only given away our movie reference if you’ve come up empty-hand before, is that it has a voice-activation feature. That’s right – just say any of four commands and you’ll operate it hands-free.
You might look a little crazy talking to a pen, but deep down you’ll know that you’re secretly really cool! One thing we weren’t too sure about is the automatic recording feature. This means that when the device is off it will respond to and record sound and then save the sound when the sound stops. This can be very useful in many scenarios, but a bit impractical in others.
However, we should give him a standing ovation for his phenomenal memory skills. As you’ll see, most other small recorders offer between 4 and 8GB of storage, while this recorder offers a whopping 16GB, which is around 180 hours of recording. That’s a full semester for some students, and probably a full year for students who have trouble lecturing at 9 am.
It also has a rechargeable battery and acts as an MP3 player, so you can transcribe any recordings or just listen to your audio with ease. This spy audio recorder is the most expensive we can show you. Is it because it has a unique design or because it has outstanding features? It’s probably a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. In fact, you can’t beat the amount of storage you get from this nimble and compact product.
The fact that it disguises itself under a stylus without getting gimmicky and still offers quality recordings puts it in a higher price bracket. Still, it’s truly one-of-a-kind and we think it’s worth every penny! Agree?
Next up is this lapel mic from the boys and gals at Sony. Sony is a household name and a brand you can trust. So why did they invent such a sneaky little recording device? Because it’s bloody awesome, that’s why! This cool-looking mic is branded with the Sony logo and clips so you can capture some unsuspecting recordings while keeping your hands completely free.
Unlike the others, this one seems to be playing the detective card. It’s something we’ve seen in the movies where the vulnerable non-detective goes up against the bad guys to get evidence of their crimes or to get them to admit to the murder. If for some reason you need to play the undercover cop, hopefully not as serious as murder, then this could be your quality option! What makes this one stand out from the crowd?
Well, one of the best features is that the microphone can be rotated for omnidirectional recording. Just point the microphone in the direction of your target audio and let this excellent device do the rest. This feature allows you to adapt to the environment if necessary. A quick scratch under the chin and some dexterity and you’ve regained the direction you want to shoot without anyone noticing.
There’s also the option that this would be a great mic in general without having to hide it. If you have an upcoming event or a specific task where you want to record your thoughts or speech, then this would also be a perfect non-spy microphone. Maybe you’re a gamer commenting on your gameplay to vlog later, or maybe you’re preparing a wedding speech? Just our 2 cents! The cord is about the same length as your standard headphone cord, so it’s long enough to clip to your collar and reach into your pocket.
This keeps it out of sight. The microphone works with both Android and Apple smartphones to cover both sides of the Which is better? argument included. Likewise, it can be connected to laptops as long as you plug it into a 3.5mm microphone jack. Another thing you need to know is that this product does not require batteries as it is fueled at line level.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, then look no further than this Sony creation. It’s a little surprising that such a reputable company would offer their work at the lower end of the price range, but nobody tells them. Keep that between us. It’s a bit different than what happened before and isn’t that easy to hide. One could even argue that its conventional design isn’t very innovative or as cool as the others, but at this price point, that’s no reason to turn up your nose at it.
Last but not least, we don’t think it’s a Sony-Esque design anyway. However, there are a few differences between the two. This Olympus model looks fantastic and is made from lightweight plastic. Its sleek black color is complemented by compact dimensions that help it stay hidden and go unnoticed.
With a height of only 3 cm and a width of 5 cm, the Olympus microphone surpasses the Sony design in this respect. At around 25 cm, the cable connected to it is also slightly longer than that of Sony. But size doesn’t always matter, read on! When it comes to compatibility, Sony trumps Olympus. It is reported that Sony’s hidden audio recorder can be paired with other devices and brands without many obstacles or head scratches.
On the other hand, our researchers found that pairing this Olympus spy microphone with competing products can be a bit more complicated. It can even make you have to buy intermediate items to make it work and sometimes not use it to its full potential. It’s really designed for use with Olympus digital recorders and possibly some MP3 players.
There are still many reasons why this is an exceptional hidden voice recorder to look forward to. It’s been praised for guaranteeing great sound quality, and that likely has something to do with its noise-canceling abilities. It drowns out all background noise so you can focus on the audio that matters most to you.
Other little perks to know about are the screen to keep it clean and protected and a tie clip so you can always use it hands-free. This is another cheaper alternative and is priced close to its main competitor. We’ve already compared this quite a bit to the similar Sony model, but let’s step back and make a fair comparison to the other models.
It has some excellent specs when it comes to reducing background noise that other quirky designs can’t match. For that reason, we give it a big thumbs up! You should give it two because it’s hands-free after all!
Factors to Consider When Buying a Spy Microphone
Spy microphones are the type of product where you cannot compromise on the efficiency of their features, overall performance, and reliability. Therefore, when buying a spy microphone, you should pay attention to some features that must be present in the selected product.
Any spy microphone that cannot record for long is useless. Take meetings, calls on a computer, and conversations, for example. All of this can potentially stretch for hours, and when your mic stops mid-record, either due to lack of disk space or because it’s hitting the hourly limit, it can be extremely frustrating as another opportunity like this may not come around again where you can take it so up. Therefore, when buying a spy microphone, always make sure to check its recording ability. Some very good ones can record over 600 hours in total.
Voice Activation System
There’s no point in having a spy microphone that requires you to click multiple buttons before it can turn on and start recording. Anyone who identifies such a microphone might be so curious to understand what’s inside, which might contain some thorny details, that they might not stop until they find out the truth. Choosing to purchase a voice-activated, password-protected microphone can save you embarrassment and protect your coverage.
There are numerous microphones on the market to choose from, however, it is imperative to choose one that is user-friendly and easy to use. You also need to make sure you know and understand the security system of your chosen microphone like the backs of your fingers so you are not locked out of your recorder and its contents.
If you want to record conversations, meetings, lectures, and so on, everything that can be tedious and needs to be done discreetly requires a large storage capacity. In some cases, you might even want to set up the microphone somewhere and leave it there for hours so that everything can be recorded during the entire duration. Again, you need at least 16 gigabytes of storage capacity and a significant recording hour limit to make this possible.
On the other hand, if you just use the microphone for pranking purposes or want to record your fleeting thoughts without letting anyone know, then you might not need a large memory. In this case, any storage will work for you as you won’t keep the files in the mic forever as they can be moved to your computer and that will free up space too. However, if you are not sure how you are going to use the microphone then you should just go with the one with the maximum storage capacity. Plus, you can use the extra space for other purposes in the future, so the money spent won’t go to waste.
Shape and Size
The size and shape of your spy microphone can have a significant impact on how successful you are at hiding it and how easy it is to use in general. Carrying a large mic in your pocket and hiding it like a bulging smartphone will defeat the purpose of hiding it. So small recorders are the way to go as they are less likely to be spotted, easy to move around without anyone noticing, and can be placed somewhere to record all the audio and noise there.
The shape of the voice recorder should also be kept in mind. Spy voice recorders built into everyday objects are hard to spot. Take for example a bracelet, pin, ring, etc. In sensitive meetings where recorders may be prohibited, a secure pen equipped with voice recording technology can be useful beyond measure.
Whether you want to record your professor’s lectures or secretly record the course of your interviews, the spy microphones mentioned in our guide will be of tremendous help to you. From mimicking everyday objects to extremely small recorders, we’ve personally tested, verified their performance, and included the top 5 best products in our list to save you days and weeks of research.