Our 5 Recommended Shotgun Mics
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
With so many Shotgun microphones to choose from we thought we'd give our Top 5 in the hope it helps. The main thing to consider when eyeing up a new microphone, is to match the characteristics (polar pattern, frequency response, build quality & sensitivity) to your application and environment.
Our 5 Top Recommended Shotgun Microphones:
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Sennheiser MKH 60
The MKH 60 is a lightweight short gun microphone. It is versatile, easy to handle and its superb lateral sound muting makes it an excellent choice for film and reporting applications. Its high degree of directivity ensures high sound quality for distance applications. Although, the MKH 60 is well known for it's susceptibility to low end rumble caused by booming and handling. We recommend using a decent microphone suspension (Rycote or Cinela) and HPF.
- Extremely low inherent self-noise
- High sensitivity
- High directivity throughout the whole frequency range
- Transformer-less and fully floating balanced output
- Infra-sonic cut-off filter
- Symmetrical transducer technology ensures extremely low distortion
- Switchable pre-attenuation, switchable roll-off filter and switchable treble emphasis
- Rugged and weather-proof
- Black, anodised light metal body
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Sennheiser MKH 416
The Classic Sennheiser 416 Phantom power. This mic goes down in the Annuls as the industry standard shotgun mic for Film and TV applications. Used on probably every major motion picture in the last 20 yrs. It speaks for itself really. You can't go wrong with this fella, it's immune to moisture and damp and will work faultlessly time after time. It's low self noise, high sensitivity & increased directionality make it a versatile choice.
- Increased directivity due to interference tube principle
- Very low inherent self-noise
- High sensitivity
- Transformerless and fully floating balanced output
- Rugged, suitable for adverse climatic conditions
- Matt black all-metal body
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Schoeps CMIT 5U
The CMIT 5 is SCHOEPS' shotgun microphone which has set a new standard for shotgun microphones since its release. The CMIT 5's directionality increases smoothly with higher frequencies, which results in a very balanced sonic character. In addition to this, the microphone's sound level decreases softly yet steadily for off-axis sounds, allowing these to be recorded neutrally as well as reducing the effects of movement during boom operation. This does have it's draw backs as side and rear rejection being less pronounced as some of the other mics mentioned here which, can make isolation in noisy environments a little tricky. We also would think twice about using a CMIT in adverse climatic conditions.
- Unusually low colouration of off-axis sound
- Suitable for music recording as well as dialogue
- Rotationally symmetrical polar pattern
- Even greater immunity to wind noise than a SCHOEPS supercardoid
- Very lightweight, robust all-metal housing
- High-frequency emphasis (+ 5 dB at 10 kHz) enhances speech intelligibility, and compensates for high-frequency loss caused by windscreens.
- A steep low-cut filter (18 dB/oct. below 80 Hz) suppresses wind and boom noise.
- A gentle low-frequency rolloff (6 dB/oct. below 300 Hz) compensates for proximity effect.
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Equipped with a highly directional supercardioid pickup pattern, obtained using a supercardioid design with an interference tube that provides excellent off-axis rejection, the DPA 4017B is a short and exceptionally lightweight shotgun microphone that truly measures up to DPA’s impressive reputation for accuracy, clarity, and musicality. Designed for a broad range of applications, the phantom powered 4017B is ideal for use with camera systems, in fixed positions at sports facilities, for broadcast/ENG/film booming, and even studio recording environments.
- Excellent RF Immunity
- Uniform off-axis response
- Highly directional
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The CS-3e stands out among shotgun microphones because it maintains directivity over an extremely wide frequency range, especially in the low frequencies. Because of its unique design, the CS-3e is an excellent choice for use in difficult applications, such as close-to-ceiling positions or locations near a noisy camera. Even in such challenging situations, the excellent side and rear rejection of the CS-3e helps to capture only the targeted dialogue without ambient reverberation problems. The CS-3e delivers sharp directional sound even in the lower frequencies. Sanken's original design results in a low proximity effect which facilitates working in a scene close-up and wide, while producing little change in sound character.
- Location and studio shotgun featuring exceptional off-axis rejection
- Unique design combination of line mic array and second pressure gradient method
- Very sharp pinpoint directivity
- Provides rich human voice characteristics
Digital Shothgun Microphones -
It is worth considering the new age of digital shotgun microphones. They offer improved side and rear rejection and a much increased reach which is achieved by using complex digital algorithms (voodoo stuff we don't understand). We were surprised by how much further the Super CMIT's reach was increased by and how much the sides were rejected when the digital algorithm was activated. You could tell something was going on but it did not make the focus source sound any worse.
Digital Shotgun microphones:
Budget Conscious alternatives -
All of these budget conscious microphones will perform to a decent standard. Sure, they will lack in quality compared to the ones above but for someone just starting out or a semi pro. They will do a good job and lets face it; A good mic used with bad techniques will not sound as good as a budget mic used with correct techniques.