The 5 Best Shotgun Microphones (2022 Edition)
Do you plan to shoot a short film or music video? Are you looking for quality microphones at a reasonable price? We gathered the best shotgun microphones on the market right now. These mics are perfect for any project you plan to shoot in the new year.
What is a shotgun microphone?
A shotgun microphone is a type of microphone, typically used in film, television, and broadcast. Shotgun microphones are often used as boom mics, connected to angled poles that allow boom ops to record dialogue in film scenes clearly without getting in the shot.
The microphone got its name thanks to its design. The long, slender exterior resembles a shotgun barrel, hence the name “shotgun microphone.”
Why are Shotgun Mics Good?
Shotgun microphones work so well recording dialogue and spoken word as they possess a lobar polar pickup pattern. This lobar pattern, a highly directional hypercardioid pickup, is very narrow and extremely directional. Because of this, it picks up spoken dialogue with pristine clarity when positioned directly facing the speaker or sound source. This makes shotgun mics extremely useful when shooting a film or any television program.
However, because of its high directionality, boom ops must have great upper body strength, endurance, and flexibility to keep mics positioned correctly during takes. When these mics are placed correctly, they create pure magic.
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As we previously mentioned, we assembled the best shotgun microphones on the market in 2022. Without further ado, here’s our list.
Top 5 Best Shotgun Microphones
1. Sennheiser MKE 600
Sennheiser is a well-respected, world-renowned audio technology company based in Germany. You may recognize some of their microphones and headphones, and if you’ve seen any other “best shotgun microphone” lists, you’ve certainly seen the MKE 600.
The MKE 600 is a versatile shotgun microphone perfect for film shoots and video creation. This microphone can connect to boom poles and camera mounts, allowing for optimal audio pickup.
Costing just under $330, Sennheiser provides the best bang for your buck with the MKE 600. The mic possesses a pronounced hypercardioid pickup pattern that picks up crystal-clear directional audio. Furthermore, it blocks out unnecessary and distracting side noise, and wind and HVAC noise with a 25dB low-cut filter. The MKE uses battery or phantom power, depending on your setup, making it perfect for any film or video project.
2. Rode NTG-5
If you’ve read our podcast microphone article (click here to read!), you’re certainly familiar with Rode. They provide high-quality intermediate and professional audio equipment that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Rode strikes once again with their NTG-5, a perfect shotgun microphone for newer video creators and filmmakers. The NTG-5 is designed with circular cut-outs in the sides of the mic, as opposed to linear cuts in shotgun mics. This ensures recorded on-axis audio sounds far more natural, with impeccable quality.
The NTG-5 is perfect in any environment, indoors or outdoors. Its directionality and low self-noise makes it a lovely choice for independent films and video production. Moreover, the Rode mic comes with its own shock mount to be attached to boom poles or camera mounts. What a treat!
The microphone bundle, which includes XLR cables, the shock mount, a foam windshield, and a dead cat (aka the furry mic windshield), cost about $500. These items will have you prepared for any shooting conditions and keep your equipment safe.
3. Audio-Technica AT897
Audio-Technica quickly gained popularity in the last 5 years thanks to their inexpensive, top-knotch audio gear. As the proud owner of ATH-M50x headphones and an AT2020 microphone, I can confirm Audio-Technica goes above and beyond with every product they make.
Their shotgun microphones are no exception, especially the AT897. Used primarily for film, television, broadcast, environmental recordings, and soundscapes, the AT897 records crisp audio in all situations.
The AT897 is extremely lightweight, which puts less strain on boom ops. It also boasts amazing long-distance recording quality. Similarly to other shotgun mics, the AT897 offers outstanding on-axis pickup and significantly reduces off-axis pickup.
Additionally, the AT897 also contains a low-cut filter at 80Hz and though it has an even frequency response, slightly accentuates higher frequencies to increase clarity in recorded dialogue. This Audio-Technica microphone sells for $250 and is worth every single penny. If you’re new to video production or producing a low-budget short film, the AT897 is a fantastic option for you.
4. Rode VideoMic Pro
Rode delivers an abundance of exceptional products at every juncture, and shotgun microphones are absolutely included in that. The Rode VideoMic Pro is perfect for any video, broadcast interview, or low-budget film.
The Rode VideoMic Pro includes an integrated mount to attach to any boom pole or camera. Unlike the other shotgun microphones in this list, the VideoMic Pro uses a 3.5mm cable TRS plug to connect directly to your camera. This Rode mic utilizes a supercardioid pickup pattern. Its directionality allows it to pick up focused sound in front of the mic, while reducing side noise and off-axis pickup.
The Rode VideoMic Pro also contains a high-pass filter so traffic, air conditioning, and wind are not included in your recording. Totalling at $150, the Rode VideoMic Pro is the most inexpensive microphone on our list, but it absolutely does not compromise quality.
5. Schoeps CMIT 5 U
Schoeps is another premier German audio tech manufacturer. They are specifically known for their capsules, top-end microphones, and mic preamps.
Schoeps’s CMIT 5 U shotgun microphone is by far the most premium microphone on this list. It has been used in many primetime television programs, popular and acclaimed films, foley and SFX recordings, instrumental recordings, and many high-profile projects. The CMIT 5 U contains multiple settings to counteract typical mic issues to ensure the best recording quality possible.
The Schoeps CMIT 5 U uses a lobar pattern to capture exceptional on-axis sound and pickup natural off-axis sound. The CMIT 5 U also possesses a gentle bass roll-off and sharp low-cut filter to counteract proximity effect and boom noise, giving you the highest sound quality. On top of that, this mic has an accurate frequency response from 40Hz to 20kHz.
Schoeps really has it all with their CMIT 5 U, and they know it. Because of its high quality professional-grade capabilities, the CMIT 5 U is priced appropriately as a premium item. It is definitely the best shotgun microphone on the market in 2022, and that comes with a steeper price point of $2300. However, it is absolutely worth every penny.
Let us know what microphones you’ve used in the comments below! Also, click here to get 25% off all Soundscape subscriptions!