A common problem while filming outside is being unable to record crisp sound. Shotgun condenser microphones are the best solution to this problem. These microphones have directional mics with high sensitivity and narrow recording angles. So they can easily separate the subject from outside noise.
But with tons of such microphones available, picking up the best one is challenging. This guide will take you through the factors you must consider and help you choose the best shotgun condenser microphones in 2023. Let’s get started.
What Features Should You Look for When Choosing a Shotgun Condenser Microphone?
You need to consider some crucial factors to ensure the microphone delivers the desired performance. Here is a quick overview of the key factors.
- Frequency Response: It refers to the capability of the microphone to record sound at different frequencies. And it is measured in Hertz (Hz). Choose a microphone with a broad frequency response so that it is suitable for various sounds.
- Length: If you buy the microphone for light purposes, 3-4 inches is good enough. But longer microphones will be better if you need them to minimize outside noise and don’t want to install them on a camera.
- Range: The microphone should have a decent range to capture the target sound. So, you must consider this factor before buying one.
- Power: Check the Phantom power compatibility of the mic before buying it. Also, check if the mic can run on battery.
Considering these features will ensure you get a microphone that meets your needs.
Here’s our list of the 3 best shotgun condenser microphones:
- Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone
- Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone
- Rode VideoMic Shotgun Microphone
Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone:
The Rode NTG2 is a dual-powered short-range shotgun microphone to capture high-quality audio. It has a sturdy yet lightweight construction that allows you to use the mic in a wide range of situations. The mic captures low noise and has decent audio transparency.
The frequency response of this microphone is flat and it produces a full and warm tone. As the maximum SPL is high, the microphone is suitable for loud environments. It runs on P48 or AA battery, which ensures flexibility in all situations.
- High-precision mic
- Lightweight and durable mic is highly portable
- Produces near-original sound
- Easy to set up and use
- There is no on/off switch for the mic
Overall, Rode NTG2 is a value-for-money shotgun microphone at an affordable price and is suitable for professional-grade recording.
Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone
The Sennheiser MKE 600 is ideal for pairing with DSLR or video camera, where it captures crisp sound from the target direction. With its ability to reject side noise, the produced audio is of high quality. And the low-cut filter reduces wind noise, so the mic is suitable for outdoor use.
It has a full metal build, which makes the camera sturdy. But still, this microphone is lighter than the previous Rode NTG2. It will operate on P48 phantom power. You can also use AA batteries in this microphone.
|Name||Sennheiser MKE 600|
- Highly directional microphone
- Excellent side noise rejection
- Low battery indicator
- Sturdy metal build
- The foam windshield isn’t that good
Overall, the Sennheiser MKE 600 is a professional-grade shotgun microphone with full frequency response and high portability. But it is a bit pricier than the previous option.
Rode VideoMic Shotgun Microphone
The Rode VideoMic is an on-camera shotgun microphone that comes with a studio-grade condenser capsule. With this highly directional mic, you can capture loud sounds in a wide variety of situations. Plus, it has a selectable high-pass filter.
An integrated shock mounting system comes with the microphone, which keeps external vibrations at bay. And the windshield is effective for capturing crisp sound in windy situations. It also has the highest maximum SPL among all three microphones we reviewed today.
|Connector Type||Minijack/3.5mm TRS|
- Highly affordable alternative to built-in camera mics
- Compact design with decent build quality
- Comes with a shock mounting
- It only runs on a 9V battery
Overall, the Rode VideoMic is a very affordable shotgun microphone that beginners can take advantage of. Its two-stage gain control delivers superb performance while recording in loud environments.
Shotgun condenser microphones can help record high-quality audio in outdoor and indoor setups. Regardless of the environment, these directional mics can easily reject side noise to produce broadcast-quality audio at an affordable price.
But choosing the best shotgun microphone can be tricky. We picked the 3 best shotgun condenser microphones within your budget that deliver the best performance in terms of audio quality and portability.
In our opinion, Rode NTG2 is the best overall shotgun condenser microphone with its high-precision mic and lightweight construction.
Check the answer to some frequently asked questions about shotgun condenser microphones.
Q: What is the longest distance for a shotgun condenser mic?
A: The best distance for a shotgun condenser mic is about five to six feet from the sound source. If the distance is longer than this, the mic won’t be able to capture good audio.
Q: Is every shotgun mic a condenser mic?
A: Not necessarily. Shotgun mics can be condenser or dynamic mics. Condenser mics have a smaller diaphragm, while dynamic mics have larger diaphragms.
Q: Are condenser mics better than dynamic mics?
A: Shotgun condenser mics have a higher sensitivity and broader frequency response. So, they will pick up subtle nuances, which isn’t possible for dynamic mics. As a result, condenser mics are better for recording in low-noise environments.
Q: What is the best use of condenser mics?
A: Condenser mics are frequently used for recording vocals. They have a broader frequency response, so high-pitched vocals or instrumentals can be recorded with these mics.