If you’ve been researching around the net, you’re probably here because you’ve learned how powerful and important shotgun microphones can be. They’re a great supplement for those looking to record some on-camera dialog or other human voice-specific audio. They aren’t too expensive either: ranging from $20 – $300. We’ve chosen our top pick for best shotgun microphone as well as provide some you may want to take into consideration if you have the money.
What is a shotgun microphone?
A shotgun mic is a cylindrical, long microphone best for isolating sounds in front of it, while cancelling sources of external sound from the sides and rear. They’re designed to have a more narrow focus than typical mics and do an excellent job at picking up human voice frequencies.
Ideal for on-camera dialog, their voice-capturing capabilities make it a fimmakers choice for scenes which require this. Many do not recommend using a shotgun microphone for recording dyanmic sounds, such as musical instruments, although if you decide to implement it for recording vocals you can, but it isn’t recommended. If you want some more information on what exactly shotgun microphones are, we like B&H Photo and Video’s article about shotgun microphones.
You also must realize that these powerful microphones take some technique to use. We like HDVideoPro’s article on how to use shotgun mics. Shotgun mics are normally used in video and film, live sound, theater, and sound effect creation. Whatever the reason which may pertain to you, if you’re here, you’re looking for the best. We’ve found our choice and also provide you with some other choices if your budget allows.
Users typically attach their shotgun mics to their camera. Some accessories you need may include a boom pole, which we recommend the Rode Micro Boom Pole Telescopic Microphone Extension (~$50).
Our choice for best shotgun microphone
The Audio-Technica ATR-6550 (~$60 retail)
We went with the ATR-6550 because of the solid price, overall features, consensus of users around the net, and most importantly, the sound quality it provides. If you have the money to spend more, we’d go with the Rode models we mention a little later on in this article. However, in terms of quality and price package, the ATR-6550 is the best shotgun microphone.
Reviews on the Audio-Technica ATR-6550 around the net
It’s been stated to have been used on many different types of shoots with great performance. You can’t necessarily compare it to a $1k+ condensor microphone, but for the price and audio quality it is worth it.
The build is of decent quality and isn’t flimsy or plastic as some may assume because of it’s price. It is AA battery operated and it comes with a mic stand mount, hoe-shoe and foam windscreen (a plus since most you have to buy separately)
One of the cons is that the ATR-6550 doesn’t have an indicator light to show you which mode it’s in. This is something you can work around, but if you’re picky about this type of thing you should take it into consideration.
Main features of the AT-6550
- Two range settings: normal (cardioid) for close and medium range and tele (supercardioid) for long distance
- 3.5 mm connector plug into your video camera
- Frequency response is 70 Hz to 18,000 Hz
- Condenser microphone
- Weights only 4 ounces
- Permanently attached cable with 3.5mm mini-plug
- Comes with mounts, clamp, foam windscreen and a AA battery
Other shotgun mics to look at and their starting prices
- Pyle PDMIC35: $25
- Azden SMX-10: $80
- Vidpro XM-55 with 13-Piece Kit: $100
- Rode Videomic with Rycote Lyre Mount: $150
- Sennheiser MKE 400: $200
- Rode NTG1, 2 & 3: $250 | $270 | $700