5 Best External Microphones for Camcorder in 2024

In the age of content creation, capturing crystal-clear audio is just as crucial as recording high-definition video. Whether you’re a budding filmmaker, a video blogger, or you simply love documenting life’s moments with your camcorder, an external microphone can significantly improve the sound quality of your footage. Say goodbye to muffled voices and bothersome background noise with a dedicated microphone that suits your needs. In this listicle, we’ll take a look at the top external microphones for camcorders that cater to various recording situations and budgets, ensuring that your audio is as sharp as your visuals.

When it comes to selecting the best external microphone for a camcorder, there are several key criteria to keep in mind to ensure that you get clear, high-quality audio to match your video:

  1. Compatibility: The microphone should be compatible with your camcorder’s microphone input. Common connections are 3.5mm jacks, XLR, or even wireless connections.
  2. Sound Quality: Look for microphones that offer clear, crisp sound with minimal noise. A high-quality microphone will capture the full range of audio without distortion.
  3. Directionality: Determine if you need a microphone that picks up sound from all directions (omnidirectional) or one that focuses on sound from one direction (unidirectional or cardioid). Your choice depends on whether you’re recording a wide scene or focusing on a single source.
  4. Durability: Consider a microphone that is robust enough to handle outdoor conditions if you’re likely to shoot in various environments.
  5. Battery Life: If the microphone is battery-powered, long battery life is essential so that it doesn’t run out of power in the middle of a shoot.
  6. Convenience: Look for microphones that are easy to set up and use, particularly if you’re frequently on the move.
  7. Size and Weight: A compact and lightweight design might be critical for mobility and ease of use, especially during long shooting sessions.

By factoring in these criteria, you can narrow down the choices and select the best external microphone for your camcorder needs.

Here’s a simplified comparison table:

FeatureRode VideoMic Pro+Shure MV88+ Video KitSennheiser MKE 400Audio-Technica AT875RTascam TM-2X
Price (approx.)$299$249$199.95$169$99
TypeShotgunDigital Stereo CondenserShotgunLine + Gradient ShotgunStereo X-Y
Polar PatternSupercardioidAdjustable/ConfigurableSupercardioidLine + GradientCardioid X-Y Pair
Frequency Range20Hz – 20kHz20Hz – 20kHz50Hz – 20kHz90Hz – 20kHz50Hz – 20kHz
Power SourceRechargeable battery/Phantom powerPowered by connected deviceAAA batteryPhantom powerPlug-in power
Connection3.5mm TRSUSB, Lightning3.5mm TRSXLR3.5mm TRS
Special FeaturesAutomatic power on/off, high-pass filterMultiple polar patterns, Multiple DSP modesIntegral shock mount, selectable sensitivityDesigned for video production and broadcast (ENG/EFP), Phantom power onlySwitchable low-cut filter, noise isolation

Keep in mind that prices are subject to change, and the actual price point can vary depending on the retailer, current promotions, and changes over time. Additionally, each of these mics may come with different additional features, like windshields, cases, or mounting options, which can also influence your choice.

Once you have your table, you can analyze which microphone best fits your requirements based on the mixture of price and technical specifications.

Rode VideoMic Pro+

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The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a high-end shotgun microphone that’s designed specifically to enhance the audio quality of video content captured with camcorders, DSLRs, and portable audio recorders. Tailored for video producers and vloggers, this microphone packs a punch when it comes to delivering clear, directional audio while minimizing background noise.

Within its compact design, the VideoMic Pro+ hosts a range of features that make it incredibly user-friendly. One standout feature is its automatic power function — the mic turns on with your camera and off when disconnected, saving battery life. Additionally, the Digital Switching capabilities allow you to manipulate the on-board settings for better control over the sound captured.

The Rode VideoMic Pro+ not only boasts quality audio capture but is also robust and suitable for mobile journalists and creators who need reliable equipment that withstands demanding shooting environments.

Specs

  • Acoustic Principle: Line Gradient
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz (selected HPF @75Hz/150Hz)
  • Output: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack (dual mono)
  • Integrated Battery Door for the built-in rechargeable battery
  • Digital Switching with audio level adjustments
  • High-Frequency Boost and Safety Channel features
  • Automatic Power Function with plug-in power availability

Pros:

  • Superior sound quality with excellent directional focus
  • Very user-friendly with an automatic power function
  • Flexible audio controls and high-frequency boost for improved clarity
  • Rechargeable battery reduces long-term costs and is eco-friendlier
  • Sturdy build quality ideal for outdoor and on-the-go shooting

Cons:

  • Pricier than some other options, which might not suit all budgets
  • May require a furry windshield (sold separately) for wind noise in outdoor environments
  • The size of the microphone might be slightly bulky for ultra-compact camera setups

Price

As a premium product, the Rode VideoMic Pro+ comes at a price that reflects its top-tier status. Prices can fluctuate based on retailers and regional taxes, but you can expect to invest a sum that’s on the higher end for external camcorder microphones. However, for serious videographers looking to upgrade their audio game, the investment is often deemed justifiable given the significant boost in audio quality and the professional features it brings to the table.

In my opinion, the Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a powerhouse of a microphone that doesn’t just add better audio to your videos — it elevates your content to a professional standard. The combination of sound quality, user-friendly features, and build quality make it a top contender for anyone serious about video production. The cost is certainly a factor to consider, but for those who prioritize audio, it should be a top pick.

Shure MV88+ Video Kit

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The Shure MV88+ Video Kit is a stellar choice for videographers looking for a robust and versatile external microphone solution. What really stands out is its plug-and-play simplicity and adaptability, making it highly suitable for a variety of recording situations. The microphone itself boasts a striking design that signals quality and the Shure brand backs this up with its reputation for durable, professional audio gear.

In my experience with the MV88+, the audio capture is impressively clear, and it really enhances the quality of the video content without requiring extensive audio know-how. This is a great boon for content creators who want to focus on their work without getting bogged down in technical details. The inclusion of multiple microphone capsule configurations provides flexibility—whether you’re conducting an interview in a noisy environment or recording a live music session, the MV88+ does more than just the job.

Specs

  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Adjustable (Stereo, Cardioid, Bidirectional, Raw Mid-Side)
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Adjustable Gain: Yes
  • Connectivity: Lightning connector and USB-C
  • Software: ShurePlus MOTIV Video and Audio apps for recording and editing

Pros:

  • Multi-directional sound capture provides excellent flexibility.
  • The build quality is top-notch, it feels sturdy and reliable.
  • It offers both Lightning and USB-C connectivity, which expands the range of compatible devices.
  • The accompanying ShurePlus MOTIV apps are intuitive and handy for on-the-fly adjustments and post-recording edits.

Cons:

  • It’s definitely on the pricier side, which might be a consideration for amateur videographers.
  • The focus on mobile devices means it’s not the best choice for traditional camcorder users without the appropriate adapter.
  • There’s a bit of a learning curve to fully exploit its features effectively.

Price

The Shure MV88+ Video Kit is generally priced around $249. While this may seem steep for a small microphone, what you’re paying for is a combination of convenience, quality, and the Shure brand’s dependability. It’s an investment in your audio quality that your viewers’ ears will appreciate.

Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone

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The Sennheiser MKE 400 is an immensely compact shotgun microphone designed specifically for those videographers and content creators who need high-quality audio without the bulkiness of traditional shotgun mics. It’s sleek, unassuming, and attaches conveniently to a camcorder’s shoe mount.

After extensively using the MKE 400, I can say it’s a solid performer. It shines outdoors, where it effectively isolates the subject’s voice from annoying background noises. Indoors, it gives a warm, clear voice recording that can take an interview or vlog to a professional level.

One unique aspect I appreciate about the MKE 400 is its integrated shock mount. Even when I was moving around, it did a fantastic job of dampening handling noise, which is a common problem with less thoughtfully designed on-camera microphones.

Specs:

  • Operating on a pair of AAA batteries, it offers up to 300 hours of operation, which is remarkable.
  • It has a switchable sensitivity for short and long distances, apt for flexible shooting situations.
  • The robust all-metal housing ensures durability, making you feel secure when you’re out on rigorous shoots.

Pros:

  • The MKE 400’s compact size is a major advantage. It’s perfect for travel and won’t weigh down your setup.
  • The sound quality is impressive for its size, capturing crisp and clear audio with a focused pickup pattern.
  • Battery life is another significant plus. Not having to worry about power during extended shoots is a huge relief.
  • It’s super user-friendly; you can just plug it in and start recording without a lengthy setup process.

Cons:

  • It lacks some of the advanced features found in larger, more expensive shotgun microphones – like the ability to adjust pick-up patterns or more nuanced gain control.
  • In extremely noisy environments, it may still pick up some background sound, though less than other on-camera mics I’ve tried.

Price:

The MKE 400 sits comfortably in the mid-range price bracket for external camcorder microphones. It’s not the cheapest out there, but for the quality and convenience, it is a worthy investment for budding videographers looking to improve their audio significantly without breaking the bank. Given the build and sound quality, I find it to be priced fairly for what it offers.

Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Microphone

image 856

The Audio-Technica AT875R microphone is a compact and lightweight choice for those seeking to improve their camcorder’s audio quality. Ideal for indie filmmakers and vloggers, this microphone provides a narrow acceptance angle which is perfect for focusing on your subject while minimizing surrounding noises. With its tailored response that reduces camera and handling noise, your recordings will feel professionally captured.

My personal experience with the AT875R has been one of great satisfaction. It consistently delivers clear sound capture, whether for dialogue in interviews or ambient noise in a natural setting. It’s shorter length than typical shotgun mics makes it especially useful for mounting on smaller camcorders or DSLRs without the microphone protruding into the frame.

Specs

  • Element: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Line + gradient
  • Frequency Response: 90-20,000 Hz
  • Open Circuit Sensitivity: -30 dB (31.6 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
  • Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Maximum Input Sound Level: 127 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.
  • Phantom Power Requirements: 11-52V DC, 2 mA typical
  • Weight: 80 grams (2.8 oz)
  • Dimensions: 175.0 mm (6.89″) long, 21.0 mm (0.83″) diameter

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality, especially in outdoor or rugged environments.
  • Highly directional, ensuring focus on the subject.
  • Lightweight and compact, not cumbersome to use.
  • Robust build quality; the mic feels durable.
  • Operates on phantom power, so there’s no need for batteries.

Cons:

  • It requires phantom power, which may limit its compatibility with some camcorders.
  • No onboard controls for things like high-pass filter or gain adjustment.
  • It might require an additional mount or shock mount for optimal stabilization.

Price

The Audio-Technica AT875R sits in a moderate price category, generally ranging from $150 to $200. Given its performance and build quality, I find it to be priced fairly for the value it provides. It’s an investment for those serious about their audio capturing but not willing to break the bank on higher-end options.

In conclusion, the Audio-Technica AT875R is a solid performer that should be on your list if you’re looking for an external microphone to attach to your camcorder. It delivers quality sound capture, a key factor in video production, and does so without too many bells and whistles that could overcomplicate its usage. It’s a straightforward, professional choice that won’t disappoint in the field.

Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone

image 857

The Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone is a compact, directional microphone designed to be used with camcorders and DSLR cameras to considerably upgrade audio quality over built-in microphones. What grabs my attention here is the simplicity and elegance of its design, catering to video enthusiasts and professionals alike. I’ve found its ease of operation to be a breath of fresh air, with no overly complex settings to get started. The sound clarity is admirable, capturing the nuances of both dialogue and ambient sounds with crisp precision.

Specs

  • Microphone Type: Stereo Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: X-Y Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -42dBV/Pa (7.9mV)
  • Maximum Input Level: 120 dB SPL
  • Output Connector: 3.5mm stereo mini plug
  • Accessories Included: Noise isolation arm, windscreen

Pros:

  • Its X-Y microphone configuration captures a realistic stereo image that is a noticeable elevation from mono microphone counterparts.
  • The inclusive noise isolation arm is an ingenious addition, helping to cut down on mechanical noise that might come from operating the camcorder.
  • The TM-2X’s lightweight build and straightforward attachment make it highly portable and unobtrusive; this won’t hinder the movement of a mobile videographer.
  • The robust construction assures me of its durability and readiness to endure the rigors of fieldwork.

Cons:

  • It requires the camcorder to have a microphone input, which might limit its compatibility with some models.
  • While the sound quality is generally excellent, it might struggle in extremely noisy environments to isolate the subject, but that would be a challenge for most mics in its class.
  • Lack of XLR connectivity might be a slight setback for professionals seeking advanced audio setups.

Price

The Tascam TM-2X hits a sweet spot in terms of price, typically hovering around the more affordable end of external microphones for camcorders. Its offering of quality audio without the high price tag earns my nod of approval, especially for those looking to enhance their audio without breaking the bank. You’re likely to find this microphone within the range of $100-130, which feels like money well spent considering the audio quality and the included accessories.

In summary, the Tascam TM-2X is a welcoming companion for camcorders, bringing to the table a user-friendly interface and capable sound capture performance. It’s a steadfast choice for videographers eager to immerse their viewers with a more engaging stereo sound experience.

Conclusion

In sum, finding the best external microphone for your camcorder boils down to recognizing your specific needs, such as sound quality, durability, and ease of use. Whether you’re a seasoned videographer or just starting out, investing in the right mic can elevate your audio to professional levels, enhancing the overall impact of your content. From shotgun mics for targeted sound capture to lavalier mics for hands-free clarity, each type of external microphone offers unique benefits. Choose wisely, and you’ll greatly improve your video projects with crystal-clear sound that resonates with your audience.

FAQs

Q: Do all external microphones work with any camcorder?
A: Not necessarily. Some microphones may require specific inputs or adapters. Always check the compatibility of the microphone with your camcorder model before purchasing.

Q: Can I use an external microphone for outdoor recordings?
A: Absolutely. Many external microphones are designed for outdoor use and even include windshields to reduce noise interference. It’s important to choose a microphone that suits the environment you’ll be recording in.

Q: Is it worth buying an expensive external microphone?
A: It depends on your needs. Higher-priced mics often provide better sound quality and durability. However, budget-friendly options can be quite adequate for less demanding situations or amateur videography. Consider your usage and the importance of audio quality in your work when deciding on a budget.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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