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Movies have superb cinematography, but the actual star of the show is the clarity of the sound they deliver. You might be amazed by how clear the audio sounds to your ears.
Forget about watching movies; the videos of your favorite influencers have such crystal-clear audio that you feel you are there with them in real-time.
These are mainly recorded using Shotgun mics. They are the instruments that enable sound artists to record sound with amazing sound clarity, and you could use them to record audio for movies, voiceovers, and sporting events.
These microphones come in handy for YouTubers and Instagrammers who frequently record videos.
Shotgun microphones come in various styles, making it challenging to select the best one for your needs and leaving you in the dark.
As a result, you will be able to learn more about shotgun microphones’ attributes, uses, and other advantages. I have also curated a list of the best shotgun mics that will give you a clear picture of different kinds of shotgun mics that you can purchase and use.
The 8 Best Shotgun Mic
Product Dimensions: 10.08 x 0.79 x 4.02 inches.
Connectivity Technology: Wired.
Positive: Requires No Phantom Power, Flexible For Shoots, Minimize Wind Noises.
Negative: Sounds A Bit Low.
Sennheiser Professional MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone is the perfect addition for any video camera/camcorder to tackle challenging projects. It does a fantastic job at picking up sounds from the direction the camera is pointing while simultaneously blocking out the noise from other sides and the rear of the camera.
In addition, it has a useful switchable “Low Cut” filter feature that eliminates wind noise without using phantom power. It also has a foam windshield and shock mount for protection and uninterrupted sound quality. All in all, this is an excellent microphone ideal for video work.
Customer Review For Sennheiser Professional MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone
Product Dimensions: 0.86 x 0.86 x 10.94 inches.
Connectivity Technology: USB.
Positive: Very Versatile, Offers Dual-power Operation, Bright LED Status Indicators.
Negative: Quality Could Be Better.
The Rode NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone is an impressive piece of kit. It features a wide range of features that make it the ideal choice for professional broadcasters and content creators. Its digital switching technology ensures clear sound quality, and its sensitive condenser capsule allows for broadcast-grade results every time.
The convenient internal rechargeable battery makes it suitable for a variety of uses. At the same time, its high-pass filter, pad, and high-frequency boost options give flexibility in its recording capabilities. The intuitive controls make setup quick and easy. In contrast, the bright LED status indicators make it perfect for any busy shooting environment.
Customer Review For Rode NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone
Product Dimensions: 5.31 x 2.6 x 13.78 inches.
Connectivity Technology: Wired.
Positive: Compact Design, All-metal Body, Best For Adverse Climatic Conditions.
Negative: Very Sensitive.
The Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3 Shotgun Microphone is an outstanding addition to any studio. This compact pressure-gradient microphone has a convenient short interference tube. It contains exceptional features that make it suitable for film, radio, and television production. It offers impressive high directivity to manage sound pressure levels, low self-noise properly, so nothing interferes with audio signals, superior consonant articulation for a sophisticated sound, and effective feedback rejection at small distances.
Moreover, its RF condenser design makes it remarkably resistant to humidity. It uses safely outdoors where other mics cannot endure wet conditions. Finally, the microphone’s matte black body enhances its sleek appearance while also protecting against wear & tear. Its transformerless balanced output preserves quality.
Customer Review For Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3 Shotgun Microphone
Product Dimensions: 9.45 x 5.51 x 3.94 inches.
Connectivity Technology: USB.
Positive: Widely Compatible, Features Shock Absorption Design, Offers Two LCF Modes.
Negative: Some Minor Issue With Mounting Screws.
The Rode VideoMic Pro Shotgun Microphone is an excellent choice for filmmakers recording both primary and reference audio. This microphone has a custom 1/2″ condenser capsule which produces detailed, low-noise audio that you can trust.
Also, its super-cardioid polar pattern helps reduce side noise while focusing directly on the sound in front of the camera. Moreover, adjustability features like a 2-stage high-pass filter and 3-stage gain control give you complete creative freedom to achieve the desired audio effect.
Customer Review For Rode VideoMic Pro Shotgun Microphone
Product Dimensions: 9 x 3 x 5 inches.
Connectivity Technology: Wired.
Positive: Features 2 Stage High-pass Filter, Delivers Low-noise Audio, Super-cardioid Polar Parren.
Negative: Poor Customer Service.
The Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone is for those who want to record high-quality sound with accuracy and minimal background noise. It features a super-cardioid directional pattern that makes it easy to target the desired sound. It also features two unique low-cut filter modes, step-less gain adjustment, and an OLED screen for battery display.
This microphone also has a 3.7v/300mah rechargeable lithium battery that can work up to 60 hours, so you won’t have to worry about running out of power during audio recording. Its compatibility with most devices is provided by the 3.5mm TRS and 3.5mm TRRS adapter cables included with this microphone, making it a great choice no matter what device you use.
Customer Review For Comica CVM-VM20 Shotgun Microphone
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 5 x 2.75 inches.
Connectivity Technology: Wired.
Positive: Professional Design, Minimizes Handling Noise, Narrow Acceptance Angle.
Negative: Poor Quality Control.
The Audio-Technica AT875R Shotgun Condenser Microphone is an excellent tool for video production and broadcast (ENG/EFP) audio recordings. It is specially designed with a short length, making it the perfect companion for compact digital cameras.
In addition, its narrow acceptance angle allows for exceptional sound pickup from far distances. At the same time, its tailored response does an outstanding job of minimizing noise from the camera and any handling or shifting of the microphone in use.
Customer Review For Audio-Technica AT875R Shotgun Condenser Microphone
Product Dimensions: 98.86 x 6.3 x 2.83 inches.
Connectivity Technology: Auxiliary.
Positive: Captures High-quality Audio, Offers 1-year Warranty, Battery Free Design.
Negative: Cable Connection Is Weak.
The Movo VXR10-PRO Microphone is the perfect choice for anyone looking to capture high-quality audio from a smartphone. Its advanced supercardioid design captures sounds in crisp and clear acoustics. It offers excellent directional sensitivity to eliminate background noise. Integration of the Rycote Lyre shock mount also offers up to 1 year of comprehensive protection from any handling noise and vibration that may disrupt your recordings.
The microphone conveniently draws power directly from your phone or recording device, with both 3.5mm TRS and 3.5mm TRRS ports available for compatibility with any relevant device. Aside from its excellent performance, headphone support on third-party apps further complements its superb sound quality as you monitor all your recordings.
Customer Review For Movo VXR10-PRO Microphone
Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 5.43 x 3.23 inches.
Connectivity Technology: XLR.
Positive: Dual Powered, Includes Low Battery Indicator, Offers Low Cut Filter Option.
Negative: Some Working Issues.
The LyxPro CMG-50 Condenser Shotgun Microphone is a handy tool for recording or broadcasting in any situation. Its super-cardioid polar pattern helps to limit unwanted noise from the sides and rear, giving you a more precise sound pick-up of your desired source. An added bonus is a switchable ‘Low Cut’ filter designed to tackle wind noise if needed.
This microphone operates via phantom power or battery, and the included indicator can easily let you know if it needs recharging. The rugged, all-metal housing can withstand a lot of wear and tear while being taken out into the field. Its handy shoe mount, standard mic stand screw and foam windshield ensure continuous recordings even when faced with extreme conditions. A handy storage pouch also comes included, so you have one place to keep all your components together and ready to go when time is of the essence.
Customer Review For LyxPro CMG-50 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
What Is A Shotgun Mic?
A shotgun mic is a flexible device that captures audio at the audio source while rejecting the unwanted noise coming from the back and partially rejecting the sounds from the left and right sides.
The shotgun mic is a versatile microphone that picks up audio in a unidirectional manner, which is the sound being recorded from a single direction.
It filters out the background noises and intensifies the sound or audio that it catches at the origin. Shotgun microphones are the famous microphones that you usually see on movie sets.
It is a narrow-shaped mic attached to the camera that pickup up the audio from the subject in the front while eliminating or canceling out the audio coming from the sides.
How Is A Shotgun Mic Used?
The first thing to keep in mind is the direction where the subject is set to deliver the dialogue or the speech. You should always indicate the microphone as directly at the audio source as possible.
To use a shotgun mic, ensure that the mic’s distance from the audio source is in particular proximity and is not in the way when the audio is picked up.
A shotgun mic could be mounted on boom poles or stands per the requirements. They could be set neither too far away from the source, which could affect the audio quality, nor too close, as it would capture the noise from the surroundings.
Furthermore, when it comes to finding a mic for a horn speaker to announce at an event, using a shotgun mic could be beneficial as it will not take any noise from the back side of the mic and will reject most of the notice of the even at the right and the left side.
Shotgun Mic Pick-Up Pattern
A pick-up pattern of any microphone is the amount of audio signal that is picked up by any microphone from various directions. It is the directionality of any type of microphone.
It is essential to know about the polar pattern of your microphone, as this could help you sidestep any undesirable signal infiltrating your microphone while you are recording.
Hypercardioid pick-up pattern is the collecting of the audio by the mic in a much narrower pattern and is more directional and hypersensitive and it could record more isolating audio.
A supercardioid pick-up pattern is found in shotgun mics but this pattern records some audio coming from the back of the mic that leaves some room for error. This type of pick-up pattern could be angled at about 115 degrees to record audio coming from the subject.
It is the narrowest form of a pick-up pattern that is highly directional. Ultracardiod pick-up pattern collects audio signal while rejecting the off-axis sound. If you are a filmmaker, you could choose shotgun mics that offer such an uninterrupted pickup pattern.
Things To Consider When Looking For Shotgun Mic
Mics have different patterns for collecting sound from the audio sources that decide how you would hear your audio. Shotgun mics work by collecting the audio in the direction in which they’re pointed.
For example, if you are recording a sports event, you would want to hear crisp audio of the proceeding of the soccer field, without capturing the noise of the audience.
Consider that shotgun microphones do not eliminate unwanted noise, but they could record your actor’s dialogues effortlessly.
Frequency response is the range in which the microphone is sensitive within the acceptable range of sound frequencies. This range determines the lowest and the highest level of frequency that any microphone could pick up.
For a vocal mic, this range could be anywhere between 80 Hz and 15kHz. Shotgun mics are meant to capture even the smallest of the audio signal.
The phantom power of 48v or P48 makes the shotgun mic work efficiently. The phantom power is a compact way to provide power to these mics without the need for bulky size external battery support. This type of power could be available from a camera or any other type of recording device.
There may be a situation when you do not have the access to any type of phantom power, where an AA battery comes into play. Keep these rechargeable batteries with you to power up shotgun mics.
One of the most crucial deciding factors is length when selecting the right shotgun mic. Shotgun mics are available in various length ranges.
For example, if you are selecting a shotgun mic that you have to place on your vlogging camera, you will have to go for a short-length shotgun mic; otherwise, it will be cumbersome.
The length will drastically change if you are capturing a sports event; you can look for a bigger mic with a dense pickup pattern, as it could cancel out the crowd’s noise and capture the audio of the action on the basketball court.
Various manufacturers create a variety of shotgun mics at different price points that have a premium audio recording ability.
If you are looking for something basic, you can go for something like Movo VXR10-Pro. This comes under $50, has a Rycote Lyre, and could be a good choice for your camera.
When it comes to a shotgun mic that doesn’t require phantom power support, there are options ranging from $300-$450 that also have a compact design. So if you don’t want anything that looks bulky, you could look for Sennheiser Professional MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone in this price range.
Shooting videos in extreme weather conditions would require a durable shotgun mic. You could look among a premier price range of $900-$1000. For example, something like Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3 Shotgun Microphone could give you options for a complete metal body while also managing high-pressure levels.
Types Of Shotgun Mics
An on-camera shotgun mic is attached to the shoe mount, which could make it easier for you to watch it to the slide-in mount that is usually preferred for attaching strobes and lights on camera. They are smaller, which keeps them hidden from the video frame. They have better pick-up patterns as compared to off-camera shotgun mics.
Off-camera shotgun mics have longer tubes that help eliminate off-axis sound or sound from the surrounding environment and are usually used in video production.
They are attached to the boom poles, enabling them to record sound from a long distance. However, they need a professional to handle it as it’s highly sensitive, and a slight movement disturbs the audio recording.
Cellphone Shotgun mics are compact and compatible with smartphones and tablets. They are simple to use and have a short barrel which could make you carry them around with your smartphone.
If you are a Youtuber or are just starting in the social media world, you now know which type of shotgun mic you could use to begin your creator journey. The only drawback you have with this type of shotgun mic is that it could drain your phone’s battery quickly. Or else you could select a shotgun mic that could work with AA batteries.
Benefits Of Shotgun Mics
Recording premium-quality audio could become a headache when you have to shoot videos. Shotguns mics come with a narrow polar pattern giving them an upper edge over those low-quality built-in mics on camcorders that record poor audio quality.
- Shotgun Mics Sound More Natural: Shotgun mics record focused audio from the subject, even from a distance. They help in rejecting the sound coming from the surrounding by recording more isolated and natural audio.
- Not Discreet: They are more directional and do not require to be attached to the actor for recording audio. Shotgun mics are available at some distance from you and can be operated through a boom operator. They record crisp audio from the audio source without videobombing your shot.
- They do not require batteries to operate: Most shotgun mics work on phantom power provided to them from their recording sources. Whereas, if there is a special situation where you need your shotgun mic to work with AA batteries, then you need to get a specified model for that, and they will also work well with rechargeable batteries.
By now, you might have selected one of the best shotgun mics according to your needs. However, the best part about shopping for a shotgun mic is that there are tons of options to choose from. All you need to do is to select a shotgun mic that satisfies your needs.
I have already included a guide that will help you decide which type of shotgun mic best suits you. If you go through the guide, there are high chances that you will not end up purchasing something that is really high in price and is not required by you.
If you ask me personally, I will always go for something decent. My choices will be Sennheiser MKH 416. I love this mic and especially its build quality. It allows me to use it roughly, and I do not have to worry about damaging it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you could use shotgun mics for live music events with a lot of noise surrounding you. However, to record what a celebrity has to say, you must point out these mics in front of them and record their speech without background noise.
As you might have understood that most shotgun mic works on the feature of a supercardioid polar pattern; they record the sound from the front side of the mic while rejecting the sounds from the surroundings. Hence, they can pick up the sounds from up to 10 feet away when it comes to the front side.
A shotgun mic is mainly for recording the audio from the front section of the mic and rejecting the sound from the surrounding areas.