If you’re not already a seasoned location sound professional, it’s hard to know which shotgun microphones have a good reputation and which don’t. And since they tend to be expensive, making the wrong mistake can be costly. Here are some of the best reputation boom microphones in the industry:
The Sennheiser 416 shotgun microphone is one of the standard mics used by location sound and boom operators worldwide. It’s earned its reputation over the past 10+ years as an extremely good shotgun microphone for filmmakers and television broadcasters alike. It offers a rugged all metal body, a super cardiod sound pickup pattern– meaning you will be able to isolate dialogue without picking up a ton of background noise– and high sensitivity, all things that filmmakers need. The Sennheiser 416 is the industry standard shotgun/boom microphone and has earned its place inside and outside of Hollywood. It may not be cheap, but it’s far from the most expensive cardiod boom microphone available, and good sound is always worth it.
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The Audio-Technica 897 is another well respected shotgun microphone for filmmakers. It’s been around almost as long and has developed a reputation particularly among indie filmmakers as a solid shotgun microphone at a quarter of the cost of the Sennheiser 416. It’s about an inch longer than the 416, but this medium shotgun length of only 11 inches long still means that the microphone is easy to keep out of the shot, even in cramped shooting conditions. The AT 897 has earned a reputation over the years in film and television as the rare budget microphone that doesn’t absolutely sound like trash.
The Sennheiser MKE 600 is a newer boom microphone that is gaining acceptance in the indie filmmaking world. It’s got a very directional pickup pattern– meaning it won’t pick up a ton of background noise– and rugged metal housing. The Sennheiser 600 runs either off phantom power, like the other mics in this list, or off a AA battery which will give you about 150 hours of operation.
This kit comes with a dead cat wind shield for extreme wind and a normal windshield for indoor shooting conditions, as well as a shockmount.
Rode is well known in the low budget indie filmmaking community, mostly for making cheap video mics that can be plugged into DSLRs with 1/8th inch stereo audio jacks. They also make a line of shotgun mics. Although these are mostly not professional grade, one of them is: the NTG-3 which is a very good super cardiod shotgun microphone. The Rode NTG-3 is made out of light but sturdy aluminum. This kit comes with a boom pole, blimp for extreme wind conditions and 20 foot XLR cable. It is also available in black without the kit (boom microphone only).