Top 7 Best Shotgun Mics – For Professional Film & Video Productions
Today I review some of the best shotgun mics available! Thanks to their highly directional capabilities, shotgun microphones are essential in the world of professional film and video production. Their narrow pickup patterns are excellent for capturing specific speakers and sound sources.
Let’s dive right in!
At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best Shotgun Mics
- Best Overall: Sennheiser MKE 600
- Best Value: RØDE NTG4+
- Best Premium Pick: Sennheiser MKH-60
- Best Under $200: Audio-Technica AT875R
- Best Under $100: RØDE VideoMic GO
- Best Shotgun Mic for iPhone: Comica CM-VM10II
- Best Shotgun Mic for DSLR: Shure VP83F LensHopper
After testing out seven of the best available shotgun microphones, I’ve determined that the MKE 600 from Sennheiser comes in first place.
I considered price, functionality, and overall sound quality when compiling this list. Ease-of-use and ability to adjust controls on the fly are further considerations.
The Sennheiser MKE 600 shines in all categories. It provides professional-sounding results without breaking the bank. You can easily make adjustments on this shotgun mic while achieving natural-sounding recordings.
Look at all the options below, however, to discover the best fit for your situation. You’ll find a healthy mix of options when factoring in high-directionality and low-self noise features.
Each of these options can help the beginner or more advanced videographer. Whether you’re recording at summits, making your own film, or out in nature, there’s a solution here to fit your needs.
Ready to find your next shotgun microphone? Let’s get started.
Sennheiser MKE 600 – Best Overall
The Sennheiser MKE 600 is a 10” shotgun mic that will give you professional performance without pricing you out of your budget.
You’ll enjoy the overall frequency pattern of my top choice. The MKE 600 doesn’t become dull in upper ranges, and its overall transition is natural and smooth. Similar to other competitors, this mic rolls the low end off at 100 Hz.
However, this Sennheiser model gives you its “low cut” switch that helps you ultimately roll off at 200 Hz. If you’ve ever become frustrated with an inability to cut out booming noises or amplified machinery or wind in the background, then you’ll put this feature to good use.
The MKE 600 picks up low volumes and gives you a crisp, broad sound. Its strong signal means you don’t need as much amplification as other mics on the market.
Some mics make it difficult to adjust controls. Not this one! It’s simple to make your adjustments with your fingers, and the easy-access on/off switch helps with battery conservation.
The Sennheiser MKE 600’s lightweight and compact features make it a perfect fit for DSLR cameras. The only thing you might want to replace is the included foam windscreen. Add the hairy windscreen into your order, and you’ll overcome the less-than-optimal performance of the foam option.
Who’s It For?
Anyone looking for professional-like performance and quality without paying three or four times more will love the Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun mic.
- Low, natural tones
- Works for all situations
- Excellent sound quality
- Easily accessible controls
- Foam windscreen requires immediate replacement
RØDE NTG4+ – Best Value
The semi-pro RØDE NTG4+ shotgun mic offers excellent performance without the premium price tag.
Generally speaking, you’re looking for a smooth frequency response line when dealing with shotgun mics. This helps you achieve a more natural recording. The RØDE NTG4+ provides an unbiased, steady mid-range, clear sound in the higher-frequency ranges and a smooth bottom end.
You’ll achieve a smoother overall response with the MKE 600. However, consider the RØDE NTG4+ when recording in more aggressive conditions. You’ll find that deeper male voices sound cleaner with the NTG4+.
Overall, pick up this model if you want high-end crispness, a natural mid-range, and rich, full low-end sounds.
The NTG4+ improves on past RØDE models made with the single low-cut control switch that didn’t offer much in terms of functionality. This model gives you full presence boost, pad, and low-cut functionality via its three digital controls.
Its overall build is sleek and easy to use, even for beginners. You won’t need AAs for the battery because you can charge it with a USB port in two hours. Once charged, the battery runs for about 150 hours.
Who’s It For?
This RØDE model works great for anyone starting out on their recording career. It doesn’t cost as much as other available options and provides excellent results straight from the box.
- Works well in aggressive situations
- Quality noise levels
- Effective digital controls
- Basic foam windshield
- “Blind” USB port (difficulty when plugging in)
Sennheiser MKH-60 – Best Premium Pick
Consider the MKH-60 when the price isn’t your main concern. This Sennheiser is a professional extended-reach shotgun mic that offers excellent directionality and low noise levels.
Typically, you’re buying a shotgun mic for outdoor use. The goal is to reduce the background noises that come with that type of environment.
The MKH-60 shines in its outdoor performance. Its linear high-frequency response performance also gives it an advantage with indoor usage when compared to its competitors.
This Sennheiser offers outstanding low noise levels. Its sensitivity spec is high at 40 mV/Pa, and the equivalent A-weighted noise level is eight dB, which outperforms other more expensive shotgun mics. This is one quiet mic that helps you achieve improved overall performance.
The overall frequency response reveals an open, rich sound quality.
One drawback to the MKH-60 is its bulkiness. Its width comes in at 25mm vs. 19mm, and the length is 280mm vs. 250mm.
An advantage against the bulkiness comes in the form of the three control switches. Two of the switches control frequency. You can reduce indoor noises, such as HVAC rumblings, with the low-end roll-off switch. The high-frequency control helps avoid muffled sounds. The third switch is your -10 dB attenuator.
Who’s It For?
The MKH-60 works well for outdoor reporting environments and film recording in both indoor and outdoor situations.
- Excellent frequency response
- Outstanding noise levels
- High directionality
- Zero distortion
- Works well in high humidity environments
- Bulkier than other options
- Mid-range requires adjustment for a natural sound
Audio-Technica AT875R – Best Under $200
A 7-inch long shotgun mic, the Audio-Technica AT875R is an affordable option with excellent sound quality and workable directional characteristics.
This shotgun mic gives you clarity, an excellent dynamic range, and a warm overall presence. Getting rid of low-frequency noise is possible using the AT875R’s 12 dB/ octave roll-off for frequencies under 120 Hz.
Many cheaper mics produce an annoying hiss. You won’t have this problem using this particular Audio-Technica model.
It’s short and durable. The AT875R has a solid feel to it and can overcome a little abuse once in a while. It requires a phantom power source and has an XLR output.
Who’s It For?
Anyone needing a quality, low-budget shotgun mic for outdoor videography use will find that the Audio-Technica AT875R offers a nice solution. It’s also good when recording conferences or lectures.
- Compact and sturdy
- Nice quality for the price
- Functional directional characteristics
- Can’t plug directly into a camera (preamp required)
- Foam windscreen requires upgrading
RØDE VideoMic GO Lightweight On-Camera – Best Under $100
This RØDE offers a high-quality yet straightforward solution that produces crisp, clear audio sounds.
The super-cardioid directional feature helps pick up on any sounds in front of the mic while lessening any surrounding background noises. It provides clean and vibrant audio quality when using it to record from one to three feet away. The optimal frequency range of the RØDE VideoMic GO is from 100 Hz at the bottom and up to 16 kHz.
The VideoMic GO is lightweight. It weighs less than three ounces. Your camera powers this RØDE model. Mount it on a 3/8-inch compatible boom pole, hot-shoe, or your mic stand or tripod. The Rycote Lyre shock mount helps protect the mic from vibrations or accidental bumping.
Who’s It For?
This is the perfect solution for beginners who need a less expensive option to get started with.
- Delivers crisp, clear directional audio
- Includes shock-prevention mount
- Priced at under $100
- It doesn’t include frequency control switches
- It isn’t effective for long-range audio pickup
Comica CM-VM10II – Best Shotgun Mic for iPhone
The Comica CM-VM10II delivers excellent sound quality as a cardioid condenser shotgun mic that connects to your iPhone.
You won’t get the same sound quality with the Comica CM-VM10II as you would when buying a shotgun mic for $200 or more. However, the quality of this mic is excellent for its price. Use it close up (within three feet or less) to obtain maximum warmth and crispness without unwanted background noise.
This is a quality option when you need an overhead shotgun mic. Simply add an extension cord, and you’re in business.
The built-in anti-interference works to reduce vibrations from negatively affecting your recordings specifically.
The Comica CM-VM10II shotgun mic is small enough to keep it held in one hand, freeing you up to hold other items, such as a video script. Its connection features also fit other devices such as Android smartphones, laptops, tablets, camcorders, and cameras.
Who’s It For?
This Comica model works well for anyone building a YouTube channel, running a video podcast show, or filming tutorial videos.
- Nice iPhone solution for under $50
- Solid mic construction
- Quality sound quality
- It doesn’t offer near the quality of high-end mics
- The shock mount isn’t 100% sturdy
Shure VP83F LensHopper – Best Shotgun Mic for DSLR
If you need a camera-mounted shotgun mic for your DSLR camera, then strongly consider the VP83F LensHopper from Shure.
Unlike many similar models available on the market, the VP83F LensHopper allows you to incrementally adjust your gain in 1 dB increments up to +60dB. It also offers nice noise level features to help eliminate background noises from ruining your recordings.
You can achieve high-level audio quality due to the VP83F LensHopper’s robust full-end response. Its super-cardioid, highly directional polar pattern system picks up and records crystal-clear audio frequencies while rejecting unwanted off-axis audio input.
You aren’t limited to using it with your camera. This Shure model gives you an option to record audio when you’re not using the camera.
Who’s It For?
Nature videographers with a need to include bird sounds, for example, will find this useful. Works great when requiring voice-overs for any type of video recording. Beginners and professionals alike can easily put this shotgun mic to good use
- Shock mount provides isolation from vibration
- RF immunity feature reduces cellular disruptions
- Achieves high-end audio recordings
- The battery door is flimsy
- The power button is stiff
Buying Guide – Choosing the Best Shotgun Mic
Let’s look at a few tips about how to select the best shotgun mic for your needs. Here are features, challenges, and use cases to consider during your decision-making process.
Which Features Matter Most?
The most important reason to buy a shotgun mic is to record your desired source that’s located a sizable distance from the mic. We’re talking about achieving high directionality here. You should select the mic that helps you reject excessive room sounds, busy street noises, or anything else that degrades recording quality.
Keep in mind that this type of mic eliminates off-axis sounds that you don’t want to get picked up. Some people have a misconception that a shotgun microphone somehow grabs the source sounds. It’s more about rejecting what you don’t want on the recording.
Look for low self-noise features when buying a shotgun mic. This type of noise gets captured throughout your audio path from subject source to final recording. Low self-noise ratings reduce audible hiss sounds.
Problems to Watch out For
A longer mic typically rejects the most off-axis sounds. The extra length makes it more difficult to use. If you don’t have a skilled boom operator on your team, then you need to consider a shorter option without sacrificing too much on sound quality.
A shorter model does become less directional. However, it’s still more effective than a standard hyper-cardioid mic.
Shotgun Mic Use Cases
This type of microphone works well for:
- Conference or lecture speeches
- Capturing directional sounds from afar
- Recording narrow-angle audio
- Outdoor camera-mounted or boom applications
You can’t go wrong when buying any of these seven shotgun microphones. However, the Sennheiser MKE 600 is your best option. It provides professional-sounding audio without the premium price tag.
Are you ready to make your decision? Click here to buy the Sennheiser MKE 600 and achieve outstanding sound quality.