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Shotgun mics are the go-to choice for film and TV sound.
Which ones are best for voiceover work?
We look at the 7 best shotgun mics on the market in 2021.
Shotgun mics have surged in recent years, thanks to the boom in independent productions and affordable technology in the fields of music, film, and broadcasting.
A good shotgun mic can make a massive difference to your productions, as it will allow you to capture clean and crisp audio while rejecting most ambient noise.
The best ones will also allow you to use them in a variety of settings and situations, including adverse circumstances (such as on a windy day). In this article, we’re going to look at the 7 best shotgun mics on the market today.
Our pick for the best shotgun mic is the Sennheiser MKE 600. It offers fantastic features and comes at a brilliant price from one of the most respected brands in the business.
For those on a budget, the Audio Technica AT897 gives you outstanding performance for the price. And for those that need the absolute best, it’s hard to beat the quality and features of the Schoeps CMIT5, making it our premium option for this list.
Here are our top picks for the 7 best shotgun mics:
The Sennheiser MKE 600 is a versatile super-cardioid short shotgun mic that can be used with a boom or camera mount.
It can operate via battery or phantom power, adjusting to whatever the situation may be, while its focused directional characteristics and resistance to structure-borne noise offer sonic results well suited to a variety of uses. This is our pick for the best shotgun mic!
Maximum rejection of side noise
Switchable low-cut filter minimizes wind noise
Low battery indicator switch
Durable all-metal housing
The Sennheiser MKE 600 features high sensitivity and low-noise circuitry for improved sound quality without extreme gain, even when used alongside noisy camera preamps.
The MKE 600 comes with a natural roll-off at 40 Hz and a selectable low-cut filter at 100 Hz to deliver clear intelligibility while attenuating low-frequency noise.
Additionally, its frequency response includes a mild rise in the treble to aid with speech clarity. The MKE 600 features a lightweight and durable metal housing that provides reliable toughness without adding too much weight to your rig.
The 10″ long MKE 600 uses an interference tube and a super-cardioid/lobar polar pattern to provide noticeable directivity on-axis along with significant attenuation of sound entering at the sides and rear.
This makes the MKE 600 much more efficient at capturing distant sources than the omnidirectional mics found in most cameras.
Thanks to its 3-pin XLR output and compliance with 48 VDC phantom powering, this shotgun mic is compatible with a variety of handheld audio recorders, field recorders, and mixer adapters, as well as built-in preamps on many camcorders and cinema cameras.
The MKE 600 also features a foam windscreen to diminish undesired wind noise from breezes, fans, heaters, and air conditioners by up to 25 dB. Overall, this is a fantastic choice and it’s no wonder why it is our top pick for this roundup.
The Audio-Technica AT897 is a mic of many uses. It is equally adept at film/TV/video productions, professional recording, wildlife recording, and broadcast applications.
It conveniently attaches to a DV camcorder without adding noticeable weight and remains out of the frame even with compact digital cameras. This short shotgun mic offers great long-distance audio pickup at a reduced price, making it our best value choice for this list.
Great for indie films and video production
Ideal for high-gain preamps
Works with AA battery or phantom power
Selectable 80 Hz low-cut filter
Smooth on-axis tone and great off-axis sound rejection
The Audio-Technica AT897 shotgun microphone features a smooth on-axis tone and fantastic off-axis sound rejection and is built in a form factor short enough for a camera-mounted operation. It offers flexibility of operation as it can be used via phantom power or a AA battery.
It features a selectable low-cut filter at 80 Hz and can deliver clear sound while attenuating noise and bass buildup. Additionally, its full-spectrum frequency response utilizes a gentle increase in high frequencies to enhance intelligibility.
This shotgun microphone was built well with a durable housing for rugged dependability but is lightweight enough to ensure comfort.
It uses an interference tube and a super-cardioid polar pattern for focused on-axis directionality while attenuating rear-entry sound and rejecting sound at the sides.
The AT 897 features a high-pass filter that can be set to flat or 80 Hz to roll off low-frequency noise from common sources such as air conditioners and traffic.
Thanks to its 3-pin XLR output and compliance with 11 to 52 VDC phantom powering, the AT897 is compatible with many handheld audio recorders, field recorders, etc.
When using devices that don’t come with phantom power, the AT897 may be powered by a single AA battery (included).
The AT897 has a foam windscreen to reduce unwanted noise from breezes, fans, heaters, and air conditioners. Overall, this is the best choice for anyone on a budget as the number of features on offer for the price is simply unbeatable.
The lightweight CMIT 5 U (Condenser Microphone with Interference Tube) includes three convenient filter buttons mounted directly on the mic's housing: a steep low-cut filter, a gentle low-frequency roll-off filter, and high-frequency emphasis.
This model is very well regarded for film, TV, and location recording, and offers customizable tone and predictable directionality even when rotated. This is our premium choice for the discerning professionals that need the best there is.
Premium choice for pro film, TV, and location recording
Rotationally symmetrical polar pattern
Selectable bass roll-offs and treble boost
Flat 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response
Low self-noise, moderate sensitivity, and high SPL handling
Its unique construction and filtering effectively restrain interference from various sources such as radio, TV, and cellular frequencies.
The CMIT 5 features a super-cardioid/lobar polar pattern with directional characteristics that smoothly increase at higher frequencies while providing low off-axis coloration for natural sound at all angles.
With low self-noise, moderate sensitivity, and high SPL handling, the CMIT 5 delivers sonic performance deserving of premium mic preamps.
It also features a polar pattern that stays the same in the vertical and horizontal planes, offering consistent sound quality at any point of rotation.
With directionality that increases smoothly at high frequencies and an accurate 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, the CMIT 5 is optimized for neutral, transparent capture of dialogue, foley, sound effects, and instruments.
It performs best when paired with a clean, high-gain mic preamp, especially considering its low self-noise of 13 dBA and moderate sensitivity of -35 dB,
The gentle bass roll-off filter (6 dB/octave below 300 Hz) can offset the proximity effect. Finally, the steeper low-cut filter (18 dB/octave below 80 Hz) can be used to suppress boom noise and rumble. Simply put, this is quite possibly the best shotgun mic on the market today. Just don’t expect to pick one up for cheap!
The MKH 416 is a short gun interference tube microphone. Excellent directivity and a compact design, high consonant articulation, and feedback rejection are ideal qualities for universal use in film, radio, and television, especially for outdoor broadcast applications.
The Sennheiser MKH 416 offers fantastic performance for film, radio, and television applications, and especially location shooting.
This compact shotgun microphone features a pressure-gradient receiver with a short interference tube, offering laser-precise directivity, with a hyper-cardioid pattern at low and medium frequencies and a lobar pattern above 2kHz. The MKH 416 is one of the very best shotgun mics in the market today.
Increased directivity due to interference tube principle
Hyper-cardioid pattern at low and medium frequencies
The Sennheiser MKH 416 is a moisture-resistant shotgun microphone with superior sound quality, sharp directivity, low noise, and a strong output level.
This shotgun microphone features a hyper-cardioid polar pattern at low to midrange frequencies and transitions to a lobar pattern in high frequencies, enabling it to attenuate 125 Hz to 2 kHz by approximately 10 dB at the 90° off-axis points. This is great for recording dialogue, foley, and other sounds with full dynamics and clarity.
The MKH 416’s RF condenser design makes it highly immune to moisture, allowing you to reliably capture high-quality audio in normal and adverse environmental conditions.
It is important to note that this mic was engineered with experienced professionals in mind. Its 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response incorporates a gentle rise from 5 to 15 kHz to increase intelligibility, and a natural bass roll-off to mitigate rumble.
Its low self-noise of 13 dBA and high sensitivity of -32 dB allows studio-worthy signal purity without requiring noise reduction and gain boosting in postproduction.
The Pro R+ incorporates digital switching to reduce post-production editing — with a two-stage highpass filter, three-stage gain control, HF Boost, and a Safety Channel to prevent clipping in the event of unexpected amplitude spikes.
Additionally, the VideoMic Pro+ features a 3.5mm TRS output and detachable cable to ensure proper hookup to your camera, while the selectable safety channel prevents accidental distortion by providing a duplicate audio signal at a lower level.
The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ microphone employs a super-cardioid polar pattern to focus on the sound in front while attenuating sound from the sides and rear.
Its low-noise electronics and sensitive condenser element offer more detailed audio than the mics typically found in cameras and portable recorders.
A detachable straight 3.5mm cable is included for effortless hookup to your camera. The VideoMic Pro’s 3.5mm TRS jack is wired in a dual-mono configuration, guaranteeing that the mic signal is sent identically to both input channels of your camera.
It also features a rechargeable and removable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 100 hours of operating time. You can also use it with two AA batteries if need be.
In addition to a power button, this RØDE mic features an auto on/off function that lessens unnecessary battery usage. The VideoMic Pro+ automatically turns on or off in response to the presence or absence of plug-in power when connected to a compatible camera.
The VideoMic Pro+ also features a high-pass filter that can be set to 75 Hz or 150 Hz to roll off low-frequency noise from common sources such as air conditioners and traffic.
RØDE also included a selectable high-frequency boost, which enhances detail and clarity in the treble range.
The Shure VP89M is a splendid choice if you’re after a shotgun mic for a variety of projects and applications.
Designed as a modular system that supports interchangeable capsules to support a range of indoor and outdoor recording scenarios, the Shure VP89M medium shotgun microphone delivers a narrow 50° acceptance angle for moderate directionality with great off-axis pickup.
Modular design with easy handling
Premium preamplifier design with RF immunity
Internal low-frequency roll-off
Recessed low-cut filter switch for additional control
It features reliable operation and low susceptibility to hum, GSM, and radio-frequency interference. The engineers at Shure did a fantastic job on the VP89M, adding a phantom-powered preamp that features a switchable low-cut filter to attenuate problematic bass frequencies such as rumble.
Additionally, the VPM89 is outfitted with a Class-A, discrete, transformerless preamplifier to deliver a clean and quick transient response with minimal harmonic/intermodulation distortion and no crossover distortion.
This shotgun microphone was designed for remarkably low susceptibility to hum, GSM, and radio-frequency interference, and features low self-noise and high output level with a 50 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response.
Additionally, the VPM89 also offers a switchable low-cut filter (12 dB/octave at 200 Hz) for controlling rumble and overwhelming bass frequencies.
Featuring a revolutionary acoustic design with circular ports instead of the linear slots found on other shotgun mics, the NTG5 captures dialogue and other sound sources with exceptional transparency and a natural, uncolored sound.
The NTG5 is a short, ultra-lightweight shotgun microphone for use in demanding recording applications.
It features an acoustic design with circular ports replacing the linear slots found in other shotgun mics, and offers great transparency and a natural, uncolored sound.
Additionally, it features controlled frequency response, smooth off-axis response, and low self-noise.
Lightweight (76g), and short in length (just 203mm)
Tailored frequency response and low self-noise of 10dBA
Highly directional super-cardioid polar pattern and smooth off-axis response
RF-bias technology and conformal coating for great performance in adverse environmental conditions
Comes with a complete location recording kit with WS10 windshield, PG2-R pistol grip, and other accessories
Building on the NTG3 and NTG4, the NTG5’s body design has been completely overhauled. It features circular acoustic ports that replace linear slots. This design is the result of many months of testing and delivers fantastic acoustic transparency and a natural sound for a variety of applications.
The NTG5 features a short, lightweight aluminum body that makes it one of the most compact professional shotgun mics in the market.
This is great for boom operators who find themselves on long shoots, or filmmakers and sound recordists looking for a more portable and lightweight rig that delivers high-quality audio.
The NTG5 also features controlled frequency response, low self-noise, highly directional super-cardioid polar pattern, and smooth off-axis response.
Overall, the NTG5 is a solid improvement on RØDE’s previous NTG3 and NTG4 models and is a great choice for anyone after a reliable and study shotgun microphone.