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Top 5 Best Shotgun Microphones For Capturing Sound

April 6, 2024 
best shotgun microphones
Last Updated on April 6, 2024

Shooting videos outside has always been a daunting struggle for filmmakers. If you’re using an integrated mic, you’ll often find your visuals stunning, but the sound is simply lacking, usually muddled and distant. It’s like listening through a thick wall of noise pollution or hearing the sound from a fishbowl!

Thankfully, a shotgun microphone can effortlessly eliminate such issues. But with plenty of brands all promising top-notch sound quality, it’s usually hard for a first-timer to pick the right microphone for their needs. So, to ease your dilemma, we’ve rounded up the best shotgun microphones offering the best bang for your buck. Keep up!

Included in this guide:

Best Overall
Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

  • Expansive frequency response to capture natural sound
  • Durable, compact, and mobile design
  • Narrow polar pattern for industry-standard audio quality
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DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone

DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone

  • Supercardioid pattern for capturing the most authentic sound
  • Handles high SPLs with less than 1% distortion
  • Plug-and-play user-friendly design
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Top Pick
RODE NTG-3B Shotgun Condenser Microphone

RODE NTG-3B Shotgun Condenser Microphone

  • Supercardioid with a 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range
  • Built like a tank with brass housing
  • Generous freebies with pop filter and microphone clip
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Top Pick
Schoeps CMIT 5 U Shotgun Condenser Microphone

Schoeps CMIT 5 U Shotgun Condenser Microphone

  • Onboard electronic enhancers
  • Superior shielding against RF interferences
  • Rotationally symmetrical polar pattern
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Lowest Price
Audio-Technica AT875R Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT875R Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone

  • Top-notch features
  • Sturdy, mobile construction
  • Excellent directional characteristics
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Related Article: Everything You Need To Know About Phantom Power For Microphones

The Top 5 Best Shotgun Microphones

The Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Condenser Microphone is a renowned authority for television, filming, and documentaries. It boasts a compact pressure-gradient feature and a short interference tube, offering a laser-beam focus sound-recording capability. It has a vast 40-20,000 Hz frequency response, with a hyper-cardioid and lobar polar pattern that rejects off-axis noise and effectively isolates your dialogues.

The microphone works in virtually all environments, be they indoors or outdoors. Unlike regular condensers, the MKH flaunts dead quiet internal noise and fantastic feedback rejection without compromising sound quality. It sounds so good you won’t even need an EQ!

But the best part? The MKH 416’s design is compact and light for effortless mounting and maneuverability. It’s built to last, with an all-metal and humid-resistant construction that can handle outdoor exposure like a champ!

  • Voice-activated recording feature
  • The mic comes with a mute function
  • RF design that resists outdoor moisture
  • It’s on the expensive side

The DPA 2017 is a shotgun microphone that blends top-notch sound quality and consistency into one convenient piece of equipment. It’s a broadcast-ready device suitable for location recording, journalism, and filmmaking production applications. And it’s exceptionally durable aluminum to withstand extreme applications. What more can you ask?

That said, those aren’t the only advantages the DPA 2017 offers to the table. Spec-wise, it doesn’t lag behind other industry-popular brands and features a super-cardioid pickup pattern for on-point sound pickups. With a full 20Hz–20kHz frequency response, reproducing faithful and distortion-free audio is effortless!

Are you worried about constant noise pollution on set? The DPA 2017 got your back. Under the hood is a permanent low-cut 60 Hz filter that will keep your voice consistently rich and clear. Top it off with a free foam windscreen, and you’re good to go!

  • Light and compact construction
  • Two years warranty from DPA
  • Linear frequency curve to cater to your creativity
  • It needs +48V phantom power to operate

RODE is a renowned Australian brand that manufactures trendsetter microphone designs. The NTG-3B Shotgun Condenser Microphone is no exception. Here’s why:

The microphone features a super-cardioid pickup pattern and is more than capable of producing flawless audio. It comes preset with high sensitivity, which allows it to produce high output levels without the need to tweak your preamp to extreme gain. The mic has a flat frequency response of 40 Hz to 20 kHz with a sprinkle of brightness, making its reproductions more expressive.

Another key feature of the NTG-3B is its exceptionally low self-noise, measured at only 13 dBA—a quality you’ll only find on shotgun mics at higher price points. Engineered for broadcast-quality audio, the RODE mic is rocking an enhanced immunity to RF interference. Plus, it’s virtually weather-proof, offering a blend of RF bias technology and a solid brass housing for the best blunt protection!

  • It comes with a rugged aluminum travel case
  • An extendable 10-year warranty from RODE
  • Anti-glare matte finish
  • Phantom powered

The Schoeps CMIT 5 U Shotgun Condenser Microphone is one of the newest additions to the respected brand’s professional microphone lineup. And it’s one of the best out there, thanks to its rotationally symmetrical polar pattern. It means the mic can produce consistently high sound quality regardless of the orientation, whether you’re recording in the vertical or horizontal planes!

Under the mic’s light and agile build is an incredibly low self-noise of 13 dBA. It also features an accurate 40 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response and a directionality that increases flawlessly at higher frequencies. Paired with a high-gain mic preamp, CMIT 5’s virtually silent internal noise and optimal -35 dB make it the best companion for capturing neutral and transparent audio.

That said, what really highlights Schoeps’s masterpiece apart from competitors is its customizable tone. With three-button controls, it lets you tweak your production’s tonal balance, from emphasizing treble to gentling bass roll-off—everything you need!

  • Lightweight all-metal construction
  • High SPL handling
  • Includes a foam windscreen
  • The mic is phantom-powered
  • It’s more expensive than most brands

Entry-level doesn’t always mean a compromise in quality. That’s what Audio-Technica proved with the highly-sought line and gradient condenser microphone, the AT875R. So, you want features like an interference tube and a super-cardioid polar pattern to record clear and fully resonant voices without breaking the bank? You’ve got it.

Despite the lightweight quality, the AT875R offers decent external protection to survive extreme use. Hidden under all that ruggedness is a 90 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response that naturally minimizes problematic bass signals, including wind noise. Overall, it can comfortably compete on the market in terms of reliability and performance!

  • Quality for buck
  • Simple design
  • It comes with free mounting accessories
  • It doesn’t feel premium

Related Article: Top 5 Best Microphones For Vlogging (2024)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a shotgun microphone?

A shotgun microphone is a highly directional mic designed to focus on sound from a specific area, minimizing background noise. It's ideal for interviews, film production, and live broadcasting.

Why use a shotgun microphone instead of other types?

Shotgun microphones are preferred for situations requiring sound to be captured from a distance without capturing ambient noise. Their directional nature makes them perfect for isolating the audio source in noisy environments.

Can I use a shotgun microphone for vlogging?

Yes, shotgun microphones are excellent for vlogging, especially when recording in dynamic environments where background noise needs to be minimized. They help in capturing clear and crisp dialogue.

How do I set up a shotgun microphone for best results?

Position the microphone as close to the sound source as possible without compromising the video frame or scene composition. Adjust the angle to focus directly on the source for optimal sound capture.

What accessories are recommended with a shotgun microphone?

Consider a shock mount to reduce handling noise, a windscreen for outdoor shooting, and a boom pole for positional flexibility. Cables and adapters might also be necessary depending on your setup.

Product Recap

So, which shotgun microphone offers the most value for your money? The Sennheiser MKH 416 is the best pick for its reasonable pricing, top-notch sound, and build quality. Next on the list would be DPA’s 2017 shotgun microphone with its exceptional SPL and distortion handling. These brands can feel pricey for novices and amateurs, though. In this case, Audio-Technica’s feature-competitive AT875R would be your best affordable alternative!

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"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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