Looking for the best shotgun mic? This guide will help you choose the best shotgun microphone for your setup and budget, and help you get the best deal.

So you’ve come home from filming a few things outdoors only to find the visuals are great but the sound is muffled and distant. It might sound like they’re in a goldfish bowl, or maybe it’s so windy you can’t hear anything. This is a common problem when shooting video with built-in microphones. Fortunately, there is a kit that can help you – the shotgun microphone.

A shotgun microphone is a highly directional microphone that is ultra-sensitive and has a small recording angle in order to isolate subjects from ambient noise. They are useful in a variety of settings, from taking audio while mounted on a camera to recording a subject speaking on camera, capturing distant audio in a busy environment, to a music stand while someone is giving a speech, or even for solo musicians. play in a group or in an orchestra.

Vastly superior to onboard camera microphones, shotgun microphones are often used by filmmakers who want better audio quality when shooting video. They are often mounted on the camera’s hot shoe, but can also be placed on the end of a boom pole, camera stand, or even on a mic stand or tripod.

If you’re new to shotgun microphones, you’ll quickly realize that they all sound the same. A long cylinder (usually metal) with slatted grooves flanking the sides and a cable connector. However, there are many hidden features that make a huge difference in the quality of recorded sound. Most, if not all, shotgun microphones operate on phantom power (+48V) and therefore require power via the camera, a compatible external power source, or a battery, and this varies from model to model. ‘other.

Sound sensitivity is measured in sound pressure levels (SPL) and mics have an upper limit called maximum SPL. Higher SPLs can capture louder sounds, or possibly, microphones can be placed farther away with the same sound level results (useful if you can’t get close to a sound source, like a soloist in an orchestra) . Frequency response determines how much sound the mic can pick up, from bass to treble, and generally the wider the better, but sensitivity over bandwidth is also important. Size and weight also make a big difference for travel and portability.

So let’s take a look at some of the best shotgun mics available…

The best shotgun microphones in 2022

(Image credit: Rode)

1: Run-in NTG4+

Best shotgun mic for avid filmmakers who need a rechargeable model

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Supercardioid

Type: Directional condenser

Response frequency: 20 – 20,000Hz

Max SPL: 135dB

Weight: 176g

Dimensions: 278×22mm

Reasons to buy
+

Microphone control buttons are easily accessible

+

High pass, low cut and pad options

+

High max SPL for clearer recordings of loud subjects

Reasons to avoid

Fleece pattern is not as tight as others

One of the leading microphone brands for entry-level equipment, Rode has created an excellent shotgun mic in the NTG4+. Although it is a supercardioid polar pattern which is not as narrowly focused as others in this roundup, it has a high maximum sound pressure level of 135dB, is one of lightest at 176g and shortest at 278mm.

Three control buttons on the top of the microphone body easily switch between a -10dB pad to attenuate loud subjects, a 75Hz low-cut filter to reduce low-frequency rumble such as traffic or wind , and high-frequency boost to keep speech crisp. It also houses an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery that only takes two hours to fully charge via USB-C.

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

2: Audio-Technica AT897

An ideal shotgun mic for beginners or home filmmakers

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Line and gradient

Type: Fixed load backplate, permanently biased condenser

Response frequency: 20 – 20,000Hz

Max SPL: 129dB

Weight: 145g

Dimensions: 279×21.0mm

Reasons to buy
+

Short length fits in any kit bag

+

Excellent frequency response captures audio clearly

+

High quality audio for its class

Reasons to avoid

No on/off switch for battery power

It’s one of the best shotgun microphones in its class because it’s compact and awfully sensitive. It can detect sounds well within the human hearing range of 20Hz to 20kHz for crisp, clear sound. On the underside of the microphone body there is a low-cut switch which reduces low frequencies below 80Hz by applying a -12dB octave slope. This low-cut switch works particularly well for cutting out wind noise that often affects these types of microphones, even when a windscreen is in place.

Compact and lightweight, the Audio-Technica AT897 can easily be mounted on a digital camera or boom arm for audio recording while filming and has a narrow acceptance angle that eliminates distracting ambient sounds and focuses on the subject who speaks.

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3: Sennheiser MKE600

Incredible sound quality for the price powered by a sensitive condenser capsule

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Supercardioid, Lobar

Type: Condenser

Response frequency: 40 – 20,000Hz

Max SPL: 132dB

Weight: 128g

Dimensions: 256×20mm

Reasons to buy
+

Sturdy all-metal construction

+

Low-cut filter switch on mic body

+

Battery on/off switch and LED

Reasons to avoid

Lacks any type of pad control

The MKE600 is known as one of the best shotgun microphones in its range. Constructed from metal throughout, it has a sturdy and durable finish yet remains lightweight at just 128g. It can be powered either by phantom power on the recording device or via a single AA battery and can be powered by in-camera preamps without issue.

There is a battery on/off switch to save power and extend battery life if you change one. It even comes with a low battery level indicator that flashes when you’re low on juice so you’re not caught off guard. A low-cut switch dampens handling and wind noise, and the mic is designed to resist interference.

(Image credit: Shure)

4: Shure VP89S

A no-frills shotgun microphone with an interchangeable capsule

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Hypercardioid/lobar

Type: Electret condenser

Response frequency: 65 – 20,000Hz

Max SPL: 132dB

Weight: 116g

Dimensions: 240×22mm

Reasons to buy
+

Can swap between S, M and L capsules

+

Wide range high pass filter

Reasons to avoid

Premium price too high for beginners

Large acceptance angle not ideal for some applications

A premium shotgun microphone, Shure has made sure this mic is worth the price. To achieve this, they constructed the body from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy to minimize weight and maximize strength. Also unique to the VP89 series, the interchangeable capsule design allows users to switch between S, M, and L capsules (70, 50, and 30 degree acceptance angle respectively) without having to purchase the preamp multiple times. This saves money and space and is a welcome feature.

For the price, one would expect a little more control over the sound, as it only has a switchable low-cut filter that kicks in at 200Hz. However, Shure has developed this microphone with additional shielding to reduce electronic interference, mobile devices and other hum-prone sources.

Best shotgun microphone: Neumann KMR 81 i

(Image credit: Neumann)

5: Neumann KMR 81i

Premium micro shotgun quality from one of the best names in the industry

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Supercardioid/lobe

Type: Pressure gradient interference sensor

Response frequency: 20 – 20,000Hz

Max SPL: 138dB

Weight: 145g

Dimensions: 213×21mm

Reasons to buy
+

90 degree recording angle is responsive

+

– Low sensitivity to wind and handling noise

+

– Low self-noise generation at only 12dB-A

Reasons to avoid

Cost prohibitive for the amateur

Neumann doesn’t make cheap microphones, and there’s a reason for that. They are renowned for producing some of the finest and most accurate mics in the world and this shotgun mic is no exception. The KMR 81 i was designed for film and television and has limited off-axis coloration to prevent sound dropouts as subjects move.

Discreetly placed switches control a 200Hz low-cut filter and -10dB pad to reduce low-end rumble from traffic and wind, and lower sensitivity to capture louder subjects more clearly. Self-noise can be a problem in microphones and this is one of the quietest creating just 12dB-A. A slight boost in frequency response around 2kHz helps improve subjects that often lack top end when recording from a distance.

(Image credit: AKG)

6: AKG C747 V11

A small, flexible shotgun microphone suitable for on-camera pieces and orchestras

Characteristics

Polar diagram: Hypercardioid

Type: Condenser

Response frequency: 30 – 18,000Hz

Max SPL: 133dB

Weight: 25g

Dimensions: 137×9mm

Reasons to buy
+

Ultra-small microphone with multiple accessories

+

Switchable low-cut filter

Reasons to avoid

Slightly restricted frequency response

Not a cheap shotgun mic

AKG’s approach to the C747 V11 shotgun mic seems a bit unorthodox at first, but if you take into account that it’s the smallest and lightest mic in our tour horizon and it is more than capable in terms of performance, you will understand why it is there. Just 137mm long and weighing just 25g, it comes complete with adapters for mounting on all sorts of surfaces, such as music stands, poles, cameras, and more.

Armed with a low-cut filter that kicks in at 150Hz, it also features RFi shielding technology to prevent pick-up of cellphone interference and other radio frequency anomalies. Small and powerful then, but certainly not cheap. This is perhaps one for intermediate users and those hoping to move into full-time filmmaking/sound recording.

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