Crappy audio can lead all your creative content down the drain. Be it a short clipping or a one-hour long movie. Imagine uploading a YouTube video that forces the viewer to turn on the subtitles, only because the accompanying sound is too poor and mushy to listen. It’s disturbing and incomprehensible.
Eventually, the viewer will leave midway because your video demands too much attention and effort. Your views decrease, and such potent content does not make it to the trending panel.
Pure waste. Isn’t it?
Well, that’s the kind of an impact that the absence of a good shotgun mic can cause. Despite deserving all the praise and glory, you will achieve little.
But you don’t want that. Do you? Why keep yourself in the neglected lane when, with the right equipment, you can become the center of attention? It’s certainly worth a thought, and unquestionably, worth all the necessary effort.
So, here’s the ultimate list of all the top-notch quality shotgun mics, where you can find the one that best falls into your budget range. Compiling the guide and reviews only after rigorous testing and analysis, we do not only aim to help you find the best shotgun mic. But we also wish to help you better understand your needs. For that, you will find an all-embracing shotgun mic buying guide below. So, let’s get straight to it.
- Top 10 Best Shotgun Mics
- 1. TAKSTAR SGC-598 Microphone – Top Rated
- 2. Sennheiser MKH416 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone – Premium Pick
- 3. Audio-Technica AT875R Line – Budget Buy
- 4. Rode NTG3 RF Shotgun Microphone
- 5. Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Microphone
- 6. SYNCO Hyper-Cardioid Directional Condenser Mic
- 7. Shure VP83F LensHopper Camera-Mounted Condenser Microphone
- 8. Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone
- 9. Audio-Technica ATR-6550
- 10. Canon XA30 Camcorder External Microphone
- How to Choose the Best Shotgun Mic?
- Things to Consider
- Benefits of Using a Shotgun Mic
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words!
Top 10 Best Shotgun Mics
1. TAKSTAR SGC-598 Microphone – Top Rated
When it comes to professional use, the TAKSTAR SGC-598 Microphone is the best Shotgun mic for film, interviews, podcasts, YouTube, and practically any audio recording. If you’re looking for a high-quality and exceptional Shotgun microphone, then this one is idealistic!
The TAKSTAR SGC-598 Microphone excels at recording the best quality audio from any distance. It doesn’t matter whether the audio source is nearby or far away. If this Shotgun mic has its tip pointed at a subject, it will record the best audio possible.
It is a high-sensitivity condenser microphone. Hence, its sound pickup is quite efficient and vivid. Also, it has a heart-shaped, single-point pickup feature that greatly reduces unwanted noises. Upon listening to the recorded audio, you will get amazed at the richness, details, and clarity.
As for its design, the engineers at TAKSTAR have constructed it to be shock-resistant. So, it will reduce mechanical noise and vibrations to further refine audio. Plus, it will also protect the microphone’s body.
The SGC-598 Shotgun microphone comprises high-grade alloy materials, which makes it quite sturdy. So, even if it falls from your hands, it will survive the damage. But, we recommend avoiding it as much as possible.
Its sturdiness is quite beneficial for outdoor video makers and audio recorders. With this mic, they can feel more confident about their gear’s safety. Moreover, the microphone operates on batteries that last up to 100-hours!
Now, you won’t have to stress about arranging extras batteries when you can shoot incredibly long videos using this microphone. In case the battery lowers, there is a low power indicator. So, you can replace them before having to stop the shoot for recharging. However, the product does not arrive with batteries, which means you would have to purchase them separately.
For easy usage, the microphone utilizes standard connectors. These are compatible with all camera types, including Canon, Nikon, and Lumix.
2. Sennheiser MKH416 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone – Premium Pick
Sennheiser MK416 has a class of its own. Possessing a robust structure and phenomenal recording capabilities, it is an exquisite and elite addition to this list. MKH-416 picks crisp and rich vocals. By doing so, it helps record the highest-quality audio.
Moreover, it rejects all ambient noise except that which falls into its direction and range of operation. Plus, this professional-grade mic has almost no self-noise at all. Its moisture-resistant design gives it a longer lifespan and makes it usable for both indoor and outdoor shoots.
However, for those who do not have large-scale projects and cannot afford to arrange an electrical circuit outdoors, this may only serve inside a studio as it comes with a corded design.
We recommend this to professional musicians, film-makers, videographers, and all sorts of media artists requiring a proficient and reliable shotgun mic. Fixed in its position in your studio, it will take your recordings to the next level by picking up every single sound from the front with immense clarity.
Featuring the super-cardioid polar pattern, it is sensitive to sounds produced directly at the rear end of the mic. In case you’re conducting a host-and-audience show, this will best meet your needs.
3. Audio-Technica AT875R Line – Budget Buy
Audio Technica has been releasing new and innovative products into the market, especially when it comes to audio equipment. Regarding the AT875R Line, you will get stunned at its exceptional performance and build. Continue reading to find out why!
The Audio Technica AT875R Line is a high-quality Shotgun microphone designed specifically for broadcast and video production. It has a sturdy built to endure the rough usage at the video recording sites. This particular microphone can even withstand a steep fall or two. (As a microphone, it won’t resist continuous falls as the complex, internal structure will get damaged.)
Plus, the AT875R Line microphone has an extremely short length of below 7-inches. Hence, you can easily use it along with compact digital cameras. The small and short design also increases the portability of this microphone. You can store as well as carry it with ease for outdoor shoots.
The Audio Technica AT875R microphone features a narrow acceptance range, which makes it ideal for long-distance audio recording. Its narrow range allows the microphone to pick up sounds with immense clarity and details. Plus, its integrated build is efficient in rejecting unwanted noises from the sides and the rear.
After recording audio from this microphone, you will notice a remarkable uplift in voice richness and vividness. Its sound rejection makes the audio smooth and natural. However, some users have complained against the slight hint of the boom in the audio.
Furthermore, this microphone operates on phantom power only. So, you do need to stress about battery availability. Undeniably, the Audio Technica AT875R Line mic is the best shotgun mic under 200.
Rode NTG3 is one of the most popular shotgun mics. You’ll see everyone from beginners to professionals, talking about it. And mostly, admiring it for all the right reasons.
To begin with, Rode NTG3 is one of the sturdiest microphones you’ll find. Built with solid brass, it’s incredibly lightweight and robust.
Drop it a hundred times & it will still work as fresh as new. And this particular attribute makes it perfect for beginner film-makers, videographers, and even vloggers who do not yet have a firm grip on handling the filming equipment properly.
Moreover, it comes with a sturdy and compact aluminum storage box that you can easily carry around. Its external RF-bias quality makes it resistant to moisture. And hence, suitable for use in humid and moist conditions. Say, you want to shoot a short clipping in light rain, or perhaps, other challenging environmental conditions, this is your best bet! Unlike others, it will not rust, malfunction, or stop working when exposed to rain or extreme heat.
This, in turn, makes the hefty amount spent on it all the more worth it. It’s going to last for years after all! The manufacturer also offers a complete 10-year warranty to make your purchase safer!
What’s more, it has a flat frequency response, which makes the recordings sound brighter and more expressive. The only part that may feel a bit annoying to get used to is the fact that it does not come with a turn-off switch for the battery. For those who are sensitive about equipment care and handling, this may be a little disturbing initially.
Even when it comes to looks, Rode NTG3 will have you around as a proud owner. Its slim profile and premium build give it a professional-grade look. Plus, it comes in two different colors, namely black and silver. So, you can opt for one that falls in harmony with the rest of your filming gear.
The Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Mic is undeniably the best Shotgun microphone that features an exceptional audio recording, extensive compatibility, and versatility!
Upon arrival, you will find that the microphone comes with the Shotgun Capsule and a Hairy windscreen. The purpose of the Hairy windscreen is to block the wind from disrupting your audio recordings. Hence, you can use the Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Mic both indoors and outdoors with ease.
On the microphone, there are also tiny hooks on which you can attach the Hairy windscreen securely. Thus, in outdoor recordings, you can rest assured that your windscreen won’t get displaced or blown away.
Plus, the Zoom H5 & H6 quickly snap into place. You don’t have to invest much time setting up the audio equipment when in a hurry to record. It greatly reduces the hustle, making it easy to use.
There is also a separate volume dial on the front of the Shotgun capsule that offers convenience. You can easily increase or decrease the volumes without getting contact sounds captured.
Perhaps, the highlight of the Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Mic is its innovative build. The microphone is not only super-directional but has a mid-side feature too. It means that the microphone works as an effective stereo too. You can also add in 3D elements from the ambiance into your audio recordings!
Moreover, you can record the sounds in a RAW format. So, the recordings using a directional mic and stereo get saved separately in the storage. You can edit and post-process these easily.
The Zoom Shotgun microphone features several inputs and outputs too. Hence, you can connect the microphone with other gadgets and edit your recordings.
On the whole, the Zoom microphone is the best Shotgun mic for field recording. However, the mic does not come with a shock mount. So, if you’ll move quite a lot when recording, there will be some unwanted noises in the final audio.
If you’re seeking something that doesn’t cost you much but still provides you with that flagship-level clarity and accuracy, then Synco D2 is what you need! The latter is practically the best when it comes to recording crystal clear audio.
With a frequency range of about 20Hz – 20kHz, this mic picks even the slightest of sounds. If you’re shooting at the beach, it will be able to record the sound of the waves and deliver them as if the listener is standing just right there. Even if it’s the sound of swaying trees, this mic can pick it all.
Featuring a hyper-cardioid polar pattern, it picks the sounds coming directly from in front of the mic only and block all the ambient noise coming from the sides and the back. The accompanying mic shield also helps to cancel out the environmental sound.
The heavyweight of this mic may reduce its portability to some extent. But if you have a studio set up and will only be needing it to move around occasionally, it wouldn’t feel much of a drawback.
Besides, it has a heavyweight only because of the top-notch quality metallic components used inside. They equip the mic to perform well and add to its durability.
The use of brass on the outside makes it immune to any fractures and cracks upon falls. It also gives this black-colored shotgun mic a premium feel!
It mounts easily on tripod stands and boom poles. Plus, you can rotate at about 180° to adjust the angle and begin recording accordingly. In this way, you need not change your position or move from one spot to another while the actual recording is going on. Just adjust the mic from your very spot.
When searching for the best boom mics, you’re likely to find the name of Shure VP83F LensHopper Camera Mounted Condenser Microphone amongst the top ones. This short and small microphone has some outstanding features. Let’s unravel them!
The Shure VP83F Microphone has a compact structure and a lightweight body. Hence, you can store the microphone easily with the rest of your shoot gear. And, you can also carry it anywhere for outdoor audio recordings without getting burdened by the weight.
Plus, it has an all-metal body that makes it sturdy. It can survive intensive use. However, some users have complained about the durability of the battery slot. The small battery door can get damaged upon sudden pressure applications.
Well, it is not the best budget Shotgun microphone, so one should have such high expectations. Be vigilant while handling the microphone, and you’ll be fine. Plus, there are several other amazing features to consider, especially the audio quality.
The Shure microphone offers an ultra-clean and high-definition audio recording. As it is highly directional, the microphone rejects any off-axis sound. So, you get an audio recording free from unwanted background voices.
It also has an integrated shock mounting feature that reduces mechanical sounds and vibrations. Thus, making the audio crystal clear. Furthermore, the mic has a massive 10-hours long battery that makes it possible to record audios without interruptions.
Sennheiser’s MKE 400 happens to be one of the most hyped-up variants in the top shotgun microphones of all time. It offers a lobar polar pattern, meaning that it best picks the sound coming from the front of the mic and directly from behind the mic.
It is also sensitive to its adjacent sides and at 45-degree angles, meaning that it will be picking sounds clearly from the immediate surroundings. However, to meet your specific needs, MKE 400 allows customization. You can use the minus button on the mic for recording loud sounds near you and the plus button to record the distant sounds. Adjusting these controls also helps reduce the wind noise, making the mic suited to outdoor usage.
Moreover, it has a compact size. So, the long-length mic doesn’t get in the way. And so, it pairs best with DSLRs and professional-grade camcorders. You can record things up close without making things awkward. Cool! Isn’t it?
Moreover, to get the mic working, you will have to equip it with one AAA battery. At the mention of this, we’re sure your brain’s already calculating the number of batteries that you will need per shoot. But guess what? You need not replace the battery for like 12.5 days, i.e., 300 hours, given that you shoot without a second’s break. So, to put in practical terms, it may last for about 60 shoots if each lasts for 5 hours. Its battery-efficient operation is super-impressive! Plus, it’s convenient too, especially for those who travel a lot. You don’t need an electrical circuit around if the battery runs out. Instead, you can carry a couple of extra batteries.
With that said, there’s a handling concern that you should consider before purchasing; it does come with the clearest of control labels. And that may make handling a bit confusing for those who don’t use it frequently.
The Audio Technica ATR-6550 gets considered one of the best Shotgun microphones for interviews globally. It combines a high-quality sound pickup, unwanted noise rejection, and good compatibility with other devices!
At a glance, the Audio Technica ATR-6550 looks like any other Shotgun microphone. It has a long, tubular structure with slits along the surface. However, what makes this microphone different from others is its feature-rich profile. Let’s evaluate in detail!
When you open the package, you will find a lot of other accessories than the Shotgun microphone. These include a camera mount, batteries, foam windscreen, and a stand clamp. At this price, the product package certainly offers more value than its competitors.
Upon holding, you’ll realize that the microphone has quite a lightweight body. Hence, you can easily carry it while interviewing people or recording audio on a film set. Also, when attached to the camera, it does not burden it’s body too. So, you can rest assured about your equipment’s safety.
Moreover, the engineers at Audio Technica designed the ATR-6550 specifically for using it with video cameras. There are 3.5mm connector plugs in the microphone that are compatible with any video camera. Thus, you can use it with all the video cameras that you possess.
As for its performance, the ATR-6550 is capable of picking up crisp sounds from any distance. It has two range settings, including the Tele and Normal. While the Tele is for long-distance sound pickup, the Normal mode focuses on close to medium distance.
The Tele setting is particularly useful as you can record clear and high-quality audio from even a long distance. Plus, the cardioid condenser in the microphone allows it to bypass unwanted ambient noises. You can record clear audio, despite the traffic noises and vibrations in the background.
Canon XA30 is perhaps the best cheap shotgun mic on this list. It costs under 100 and offers reasonable performance in compensation.
With a frequency of about 100 Hz – 16kHz, it manages to pick all the sounds that you will hear practically on-set while shooting. However, just like you’ll miss out on the background low-frequency sounds while you focus on something, this mic will exhibit similar behavior. Plus, it has a decent pickup range. It will cover every audible sound in the immediate surroundings. Moreover, it’s lightweight and operates on 1 AA battery, and hence it’s portable.
Despite being an under 100 microphone, this is good enough for commercial shoots as well as YouTube or social media interviews. You may notice a bit of self-noise while you process the recording, but it’s always editable. The low price kind of increases your input required in editing. But if you’re only starting out or too tight on budget, this is an excellent low-priced model to try.
How to Choose the Best Shotgun Mic?
Selecting a shotgun mic is not as easy it seems. For a shotgun mic to meet your needs accurately, you need to know your needs first. And then, choose a microphone accordingly.
In the same regard, you will find a few things to consider before buying the best shotgun mic. Each aspect covers all possible options that exist in the market currently. Read and determine which of the options or specifications addresses your issue in the best way possible.
Things to Consider
With a long and tubular build and a simplistic design on the outside, shotgun microphones are rather complex audio equipment. Consequently, shopping for a shotgun mic involves some technicalities too.
At a shop, a seller might convince you of the charming benefits of the microphone that yields the best profits for him. But we are here to utilize the encyclopedic benefits of the internet and make the technical shopping simpler for you. Read on to unravel the complete breakdown of a shotgun mic’s specs as well as our recommendations for each.
Sensitivity refers to the highs and lows that a shotgun mic can capture. If a shotgun mic has low sensitivity, it may only be able to pick your sound if you speak loud enough. If it has a high sensitivity, it will record your sound even if you are whispering. So, naturally, opt for the one that has higher sensitivity.
Self Noise refers to the hissing sound that a low-grade shotgun microphone may produce by itself. It disturbs the audio quality and nullifies the actual purpose of a shotgun microphone. However, some budget variants may have a tolerable degree of self-noise, which lowers the price and delivers doable sound quality. For the very reason, we recommend rejecting a microphone based on its self-noise only after evaluating the impact of it.
Since all manufacturers wish to market their product, this is a feature that you can learn about only from experienced users. And that is yet another factor why we formulated this guide. Our reviews will deliver all that you need to know about the degree of self-noise in all.
Directionality is also known as the polar pattern, frequency response, or polar response. So, if you read these terms in the reviews or anywhere while you search for your best shotgun mic, don’t panic. It only refers to the direction or place from where the shotgun mic picks the sound. It can either be only from the front & back direction or from all around it.
Based on that, the three most commonly used types of microphones are:
- Omni-directional shotgun microphones
1. Omni-directional shotgun microphones
Omni-directional shotgun microphones are those that pick up all the sounds from the surroundings. Imagine an omnidirectional microphone to be the central point of a circle. Now, everything within its radius (to make a complete circle) gets recorded accurately. This type works best for natural settings, such as a behind-the-scenes shoot or perhaps, recording the ambiance of a crowded restaurant.
2. Bi-directional shotgun microphones
Bi-directional shotgun microphones pick sound coming from directly in front of the microphone and the sound coming from the back. These microphones are best suited for those who want to cover the voices of both host and audience. Say, you’re a motivational speaker who interacts a lot with the audience. Now, to professionally record your sessions, you will require a bi-directional shotgun microphone. The same applies to mini-concerts, press conferences, live cooking shows, etc.
3. Cardioid shotgun microphone
Now, here comes the one most Vloggers and Youtubers use these days, i.e., the Cardioid shotgun microphone. They pick up sound from the front direction only. So, whatever you speak into comes off clear and crystal.
Without the right directionality, you may not be able to record clear and crisp sounds. The microphone may not be able to capture high-quality audio that most professional video makers crave.
Compatibility is a minor aspect to consider. But it is still not entirely ignorable.
Most shotgun microphones are compatible with almost all devices, including iPhones, professional camcorders, DSLRs, android devices, etc. However, some of these may not be compatible with all. Usually, manufacturers do mention if a shotgun microphone has specific compatibility. But if they only advertise a shotgun microphone with states like; best shotgun mic for cameras, it’s safe to assume that it may not be compatible with other devices. Or, it may only perform its best with cameras.
When you begin to surf through your options for the best shotgun mics, you will most likely notice drastic variations in prices. Even in the list above, we have the best shotgun mic under 100, as well as the ones under 1000. So, naturally, it’s going to get a bit confusing.
For that very reason, we suggest you set out a budget for yourself first. If you’re only beginning, choose a mid-range or low-priced model, so that the experience with the first one guides your next buy. But if you’re upgrading your existing equipment, we suggest you keep your budget at least $300 or above.
Also, keep in mind that higher price tags mean that the shotgun will cover more distance. For example, premium models cover sound within the range of 6-10 feet. On the contrary, less expensive alternatives cover the sound between 3-5 feet.
Similarly, when it comes to brands, you’ll encounter the same problem. Several brands have introduced their proprietary technology when it comes to a shotgun condenser microphone. But their market reputation speaks volumes about the effectiveness of their independent research and solutions. For the very reason, we have included shotgun mics manufactured by internationally-trusted brands only. These include Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Rode, Shure, Canon, Synco, Zoom, etc.
Benefits of Using a Shotgun Mic
Ever since their invention, the Shotgun mics have remained the standard high-quality microphones in the audio industry. Producers, music directors, videographers, and even Youtubers use Shotgun mics.
Although a diverse variety of microphones exists in the market, people tend to prefer Shotgun mics. But why? Well, let’s evaluate the details!
When compared to other mics, the Shotgun mic sound more natural. The combination of distance, air, and electronics makes the recorded audio sound as if listening to it in reality. Therefore, allowing users to produce clear and smooth audio.
Plus, unlike other mics, the Shotgun microphones do not have to get hidden on the user’s clothes. Normally, actors and video creators hid their microphones do make it seem natural. However, the Shotgun microphone gets attached to a stand or boom pole.
Boom operators have to handle it separately. As these microphones have extended range and a narrow polar pattern, these can sound amazing even from a long distance. Moreover, a majority of Shotgun mics do not experience RF hits because they have cables. While cables can limit portability, these Shotgun microphones with cables sound outstanding.
In case the portability is quite important to you, then there are also wireless versions available. However, you’ll have to hunt down the ones that excel in both sound performance and portability. Hopefully, the articulation above would have been helpful in this regard.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between a boom microphone and a shotgun microphone?
By definition, a boom microphone refers to any mic at the end of the boom pole. You can typically put any microphone on the boom stand. And, as the usual microphone reference for a boom stand is a shotgun mic, it won’t be inaccurate to use boom mics and shotgun mic synonymous. The mere difference between both is the presence of a boom stand.
2. What is the difference between a shotgun microphone and a lavalier microphone?
The Shotgun microphones have a precise pick-up pattern, which enables them to excel at sound recording. Meanwhile, the Lavalier microphone is likely to produce interrupted audio due to its wireless connection. Unlike Shotgun microphones, the Lavalier microphones do not perform well for sound recording.
3. How does a Shotgun microphone work?
The Shotgun microphone refers to a highly directional microphone. It must have a pointed directly towards the audio source for efficient performance. These Shotgun microphones have phase interference slots along its axis. It rejects any sound that is off-axis.
Hence, when you’re talking into the microphone, Shotgun mic will pick up only your sound with clarity. By rejecting unwanted voices, it works like the noise cancellation feature in the headphones and other audio equipment.
Audio is an equally important factor in all aspects, whether it be video production, interviews, film making, podcasts, or Vlogging. Hence, professionals and passion-driven people in these fields should invest in high-quality Shotgun microphones.
However, over the years, a massive variety of products has bloomed into the market. Regardless of the accessibility, it makes finding the best possible match a challenging task. A majority of first-time buyers end up purchasing the wrong product for their needs
Well, we have articulated the best Shotgun Mic review and guide 2020 in an attempt to resolve this concern for buyers. But, if you are still skeptical, then we strongly recommend trying the TAKSTAR SGC-598 mic. It is undeniably the one in a million. Do let us know your experience below!