The Best Shotgun Microphones For Content Creators – 2022

Shotgun microphones are long microphones shaped like shotguns and used for highly directional audio pickup. 

The “shotgun microphone” is one of the most common microphones used by creators in film, television, and Internet video. It is used for highly directional audio pickup and recording and is named after its slotted tube resembles a shotgun barrel. Anything outside of the shotgun microphone’s general pickup pattern of 30 degrees is eliminated.

The shotgun microphone, like the much smaller lavalier mic, is useful as it is common, and it is one of the key ingredients in creating great-sounding videos. Plus, if you are creating content with a smartphone, a shotgun mic should be part of your smartphone accessories kit.

In this post, we’ll go over how a shotgun microphone works and what kinds of productions typically use them in the section below. We’ll also go over some shotgun mic tips as well as some of the best microphones at various price points.

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Best Shotgun Microphones For Content Creators

What exactly is a shotgun microphone, and how does it function?

As previously stated, a shotgun mic gets its name from its long slotted tube, which resembles the barrel of a shotgun. This 8 to 24-inch interference tube sits in front of the hypercardioid microphone cartridge, picking up audio from in front of the mic while blocking out most of what is beyond its 30-degree pickup pattern.

Shotgun microphones, which are typically condensers rather than dynamic microphones, are frequently used when audio must be picked up and recorded well outside of the frame of a film or video camera. Because it is a long directional mic, the shotgun microphone can pick up sound from several feet away, allowing filmmakers and videographers to keep the microphone out of the way. 

Shotgun microphones do not require batteries and instead use phantom power from your audio recorder or video camera. Many modern shotgun microphones can even be charged via USB.

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When to Use a Shotgun Microphone

shotgun micro

Shotgun mics are most commonly used in film and television productions when filmmakers need to pick up the sound of actors from several feet away and out of frame. The shotgun mic, which can be mounted to a stand or held by a pistol grip shock mount or boom/pole, has superior sound quality to the lavalier mic.

A shotgun mic is a far better option than a lav mic if you want more control over the positioning and subtleties of audio pickup and recording. It also sounds more natural.

Tips for capturing and recording with a shotgun mic

The Shotgun mic is an excellent tool for audio pickup and recording, but it, like any microphone, has advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things to consider when using a shotgun microphone.

  • Shotgun microphones pick up audio best from 6 to 10 feet away, but they aren’t designed to capture sound from great distances. 
  • Shotgun microphones are sensitive to wind and movement, so use a windscreen and keep movement to a minimum. 
  • To reduce vibrations when mounting a shotgun mic to your camera, look for a rubber shock mount. 
  • If you’re going to mount the microphone to a boom/pool, look for one that reduces handling noise. 
  • Shotgun mics typically pick up sound best from above, but if necessary, experiment with mic positioning. 
  • Keep in mind that a shotgun mic can pick up some background noise, so check your levels for any unwanted audio.


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Best shotgun microphones for various price ranges

Regardless of your budget, there are several excellent options for shotgun mics.

Here are a few shotgun microphones worth considering:

Shotgun microphones on a low budget

looking for improved audio for internet videos the VideoMic GO will not disappoint you.

If you’re looking for an on-camera shotgun mic for your DSLR or mirrorless cinema rig, RØDE’s Video Mic series ($99 to $299) and Sennheiser’s MKE 400 ($199) are both excellent options. The Deity V-Mic D3 ($199) and Shure VP83F ($299) are two other great budget options for on-camera shotgun mics. 

Consider the Deity S- Mic 2S ($319), a professional short mic with excellent sound quality, for a low-cost handheld shotgun mic. The RØDE NTG-2 is another good option ($319), which includes phantom and battery power, and the Audio-Technica AT987 ($249).

Shotgun microphones in the mid-range budget

Best Shotgun Microphones For Content Creators

If you want to move up to the mid-range shotgun mic category, start with the RØDE NTG4+ ($399), a short shotgun mic with built-in battery power. This microphone can be charged via USB. 

The Sennheiser MKE 600 ($329), Azden SGM-3500 ($500), and Azden SGM-3500L ($550) are also excellent mid-range options.

High-end shotgun microphones

Shotgun Microphone

If you’re looking for a high-end shotgun microphone, consider the RØDE NTG-5 ($500) or NTG-3 ($700). The NTG-3 is more expensive than the NTG-5 because it has more low-end capability, resulting in a warmer sound that is suitable for a variety of tasks, including voiceover work. This makes it an excellent choice not only for filmmaking but also for podcasting. 

The Sennheiser MKH416 ($999) is another excellent high-end shotgun mic. While more expensive than the NTG-3, the MKH416 is highly regarded in the film and television industries that date back to the 1960s.

The KMR-81 I ($1,695) is available from Neumann, one of the most venerable microphone manufacturers. While it is significantly more expensive than any other shotgun mic on this list, the sound quality and build quality are exceptional, making it an excellent investment for serious filmmakers and content creators.

Smartphone shotgun mic attachments

GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging kit

Looking for a shotgun mic for your smartphone? There are a few different options, all of which fall into the budget category. Comica Audio sells a variety of shotgun mic kits for smartphones, and RØDE sells the VideoMic Me ($79). The Boya BY-MM1 ($29) is another low-cost smartphone shotgun mic. 

To transform your smartphone into a proper audio-visual recorder, you’ll need smartphone shotgun mic accessories such as a phone clamp and ball head mount, which will secure your microphone to your phone. If you’re a vlogger or podcaster, you should consider investing in a desktop tripod. 

The RØDE Vlogger Kit iOS Edition ($149) is an all-in-one solution worth considering. The Vlogger Kit iOS Edition is designed for mobile device filmmaking and includes a shotgun mic, on-camera light, and tripod.

Summary

Remember that shotgun microphones produce a higher quality and more natural sound than lav microphones. While they are highly directional and can pick up audio from a long distance, it is best to use them at a distance of 6 to 10 feet.

There are several options available in a variety of price ranges that can be attached to phones and DSLR/mirrorless cameras, or held with a stand, pistol grip shock mount, or boom/pool.

The best advice we can give is to do as much research as possible before making a purchase. Consider renting different shotgun mics before purchasing to find the best fit for your production’s needs.

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About the author: Trent (IMDB Youtubehas spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.

Best Shotgun Microphones For Content Creators

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