It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or a hobbyist, one thing that’s truly important when it comes to choosing the right mic is making sure that it’s the best pick for YOU.
A shotgun mic is arguably one of the best accessories you can get for yourself. Targeted towards a direction and optimal for a wide variety of purposes, a good shotgun mic will enhance your overall recording experience and give you a great playback.
In this segment, we’ll go over the best that 2021 has to offer when it comes to the microphone industry. Let’s get right into it with a quick comparison table!
Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone
The Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone is the premium recommendation for all types of users out there who are looking for something reliable, precise, and well-equipped to tackle all type of recording jobs!
USB-C Plug & Play Microphone for Android Smartphones
Twice the functionality for half the price, the USB-C Plug & Play Microphone for Android Smartphones is a great budget-friendly pick to work with if you want a shotgun mic that won’t drain your wallet and will still get the job done!
|Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone (Premium recommendation)||Weight : 12oz
Dimensions : 12 x 4 x 5 inches
|Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone (Premium follow-up recommendation)||Weight : 3.32oz
Dimensions : 10 x 4 x 3 inches
|USB-C Plug & Play Microphone for Android Smartphones (Budget-friendly pick)||Weight : 2.82oz.
Dimensions : 4.57 x 3.15 x 1.73 inches
|Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone||Weight : 12.8oz
Dimensions : 9.5 x 5 x 2.75 inches
|Saramonic WM4CB Professional||Weight : 17.6oz
Dimensions : 10.24 x 7.56 x 1.89 inches
Best shotgun mics for 2021
Down below is a brief review of all the products that have been mentioned in the comparison table above. All the main features and attractions have been highlighted. Furthermore, as a preface, the main features and ratings on the main aspects are given at the very beginning, to let you know what to anticipate later on.
Without further ado, here are the best shotgun mics for 2021!
1. Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone
- Shock mount
- High pass filter
Starting off with our premium pick and recommendation, the Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone is arguably one of the best Shotgun mics 2020 currently in the market.
The best thing about this model is the fact that it comes with a rycote shock mount. The setup process for that is also quite easy and doesn’t really require any technical finesse, so you’re in for a good ride.
Furthermore, this also ensures that your mic stays vibration-free and reduces any type of unwanted rumble.
Along with providing the standard directional recording, the Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone is also reputable for its high pass filter, which prevents any low-end noise from being recorded.
This makes this model one of the best shotgun mics for camcorders, and a very suitable pick if you’re planning on taking your vlogging or filmmaking journey to the next level.
However, there’s a catch to it.
The Rode VideoMic Camera Mount Shotgun Microphone is notorious for its battery-based operation, which means you’ll have to keep spare around. Furthermore, if you’re a beginner, booming the mic initially might be a bit of a challenge.
2. Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone
- Upgraded acoustic design
Next up, we have the very stylish Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone. This model is the best shotgun mic for vocals, and this title is given to it rightly so.
The best thing about this model, which stands out, includes its auto-sensing output. The model can sense whenever a switch is made between devices, which allows it to self-adjust and give out the best recording output.
On top of that, the high-pass filter combined with the variable gain control means that you can get the best of both worlds and crank out excellent performance at all times.
Overall, the model is a great pick and highly suitable for all types of tasks. However, for best use, it is highly recommended that you thoroughly go through the manual and use it to its best effect.
Surprisingly enough, the Rode VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Microphone doesn’t have any noticeable downside or disadvantage to it. Hence, we think that this model will make an excellent addition to your arsenal and that you should definitely give it a shot!
3. BOYA Shotgun Mic
- Stereo sound effect
The BOYA Shotgun Mic is our premium budget-friendly pick and one of the best shotgun mics under $50.
Featuring two built-in microphones, this model is reputable for its stereo sound effect that is both clear and resonant. On top of that, the sound quality is also quite clear, uni-directional based, and has all the flair of sound professionally recorded.
A good thing about the BOYA Shotgun Mic is that it also comes equipped with all the accessories you’ll need for it down the road. This is a great thing to have since it means you won’t have to get things separately.
Lastly, the model is also optimal for use with smartphones and tablets, so overall, it’s a great choice if you’re planning to get into the world of video making but don’t want to overwhelm yourself with the technicalities.
As far as downsides or anything negative is concerned, there isn’t much to lead on with. Sure, it’s not as good as the other models, but that’s to be anticipated since it’s literally less than half the price.
If you look past this minor hurdle, this is a pretty neat model.
4. Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone
- Long-distance recording
The Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone is a great model to consider if you’re planning to get the best shotgun mic for long-distance recording.
This is evident owing to its sleek and compact design, which features a narrow acceptance angle. The main perk that it provides is rejecting any noise from the surroundings and focus on the target at the front only.
Another great thing about this model is that it’s ideal to use with cameras and DSLRs because of its short length and compactness.
On top of that, the Audio-Technica AT875R has a unique tailored response that minimizes all sorts of camera and handling noise, giving you the right touch of professionalism that you’re after.
Owing to all its pros and perks, this model is also one of the best shotgun mics under $200, so if you don’t mind the price, this is a must-have for all purposes.
However, just a fair warning. This model is a little smaller than you might anticipate, so you need to be prepared for careful handling. It’s pretty fragile!
5. Saramonic WM4CB
If you’re planning on working in the field where you have to move about, and your duty also includes making recordings, then the Saramonic WM4CB is a great choice to work with.
This is a lightweight model that you won’t have trouble moving around. Furthermore, it’s camera mountable meaning you can both record audio and video with one click and in perfect sync, right off the bat!
The Saramonic WM4CB is also noted for its compatibility with distance recording. Due to the high-band VHF, you should anticipate recordings of up to 60m. Overall, that’s a pretty decent bargain.
We feel that the Saramonic WM4CB can make a good fit for all types of users out there, regardless of the specifications of the task.
However, a word of advice. Make sure that you pay extra and the utmost attention to its maintenance and cleaning. Always ensure that your recorder is sealed safely when not in use. This will ensure that the Saramonic is fit for the long run, and will crank out excellent performance each time.
6. Rode NTG2 Multi-Powered Condenser Shotgun Microphone
- Easy handling
- Low noise circulation
Reliable, lightweight, and fit for the long run, the Rode NTG2 Multi-Powered Condenser Shotgun Microphone is a great model to consider if you’re looking for something unique and amazing for your studio work.
This model comes equipped with all the accessories you’ll need for a proper wholesome experience. The kit includes mic clips, windshield, and a zip case which will make storage so much easier!
As far as functionality and performance are concerned, this model delivers quite well and will give you excellent broadcast sound quality.
The overall effect is also heightened via low noise circuitry and extreme design, which ensures that the receptors only pick up sound from a singular source.
On top of that, the model is also quite lightweight and can be virtually used with any type of medium, which grants it versatility as well. Simply put, the Rode NTG2 Multi-Powered Condenser Shotgun Microphone is a great pick.
However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
This model isn’t made for distance recording. If that’s your goal, keep in mind that keeping background noise out might be a little bit of an issue.
7. Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro
- Pre-polarized condenser
- Foam windscreen
- Super cardioid
The Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro is a pretty solid pick if you’re looking for an accessory for your camera. The Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro is one of the best shotgun mic for DSLR, and rightly so.
It features a super-cardioid pick patter that targets the source at the front and makes sure that all background or side noise is ignored.
On top of that, the Deity also has a pre-polarized condenser. This makes sure that along with crisp noise, you can also anticipate easy use and application.
Lastly, this model comes equipped with accessories and everything that you can possibly need for a hassle-free performance. You won’t need to get anything separately.
All in all, this is a win-win for sure.
What’s even better is that the Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro doesn’t have any noticeable downsides or disadvantages to it either. Once you choose this, you’re all set for the long run.
However, make sure that you pay attention to its maintenance and cleanup every once in a while. This will make sure that the Deity delivers well through thick and thin.
8. Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
- Increased directivity
The Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 is arguably one of the most professionally equipped models on this list. Yes, it might come off as a little pricey initially, but truth be told, it literally does not get any better than this.
It features a rugged frame that is well-equipped for adverse climatic conditions. Along with the privilege of using it wherever and whenever, the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 will deliver virtually anywhere, making it optimal for news reporting.
Furthermore, it also has great functionality owing to its interference tube principle. This also gives it more directivity and results in a clear, flawless, and crisp sound picked up from the source.
As far as downsides are concerned, there isn’t anything that you’ll need to keep in mind. This model is, hands down, one of the best there is.
However, our general advice is that you should only consider the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 if your profession demands it, and there simply isn’t any other way to put it.
This is because this model is a definite investment and isn’t something that should be treated lightly. On that note, it’s also very important that you pay attention to its maintenance and clean up after every use.
9. BOYA BY-PVM1000
- polar pattern
- Phantom powered
- Low noise circuitry
The BOYA BY-PVM1000 is one of the best shotgun mics under $100 and should definitely be on your checklist if you’re looking for something fun and sustainable.
Powered by 48V phantom, the BOYA BY-PVM1000 is built to last and can perform well in almost all environments.
It features a super-cardioid polar pattern which ensures that it picks up maximum noise from the front only. Not only does this ensure a clear sound, but it also means you won’t have to worry about any unnecessarily loud side noise.
Another great thing about this model is the low noise circuitry and easy setup. You won’t have any issues with that. for the best measure, go through the manual and you’ll be fine.
However, there is one downside that you’ll have to account for before making the final call.
The BOYA BY-PVM1000 is good, yes. however, it has mediocre rejection. The limited rejection at the sides makes the whole prospect a little shaky.
So if that’s an issue for you, it’s best to check the models above.
10. Sennheiser Pro Audio Wireless Microphone System
- Low cut filter
- Foam windshield
- Pronounced directivity
Last but not least, we have the Sennheiser Pro Audio Wireless Microphone System. Don’t let this model’s placement hold you back. It’s still one of the best that this year has to offer. Here’s what you should look forward to!
The Sennheiser Pro Audio Wireless Microphone System is geared towards maximal rejection of side noise, owed primarily to its uniquely designed mouth that ensures pronounced directivity.
On top of that, the machine is also phantom powered, so it’s geared for long-term performance and won’t cave in to pressure.
The Sennheiser Pro Audio Wireless Microphone System also comes equipped with its shock mount and foam windshield, which is a plus since it will save you the hassle of going for an extra round of buying to get things up and working.
All in all, this is a pretty good pick. However, there is one thing that stands out.
The model doesn’t have that good of reception with bass. So if that was part of your plan, it’s a good idea to press pause and go over this list again because the Sennheiser Pro Audio Wireless Microphone System might not accommodate your needs that well.
If you’re out to buy the best shotgun mic for yourself, then there are a handful of things that will make sure that you’re heading in the right direction.
Generally speaking, the things, tips, and tricks mentioned below are those that are most commonly accounted for when choosing the right microphone. Hence, it goes without saying that this should be on the top of your itinerary.
Furthermore, it is also advised that you use all of these things in conjunction as opposed to regarding them individually. This will ensure that you get the best pick for yourself, as opposed to a good pick in just one regard.
Let’s get into it. Here are the top things to consider when choosing a shotgun mic for yourself!
The first important thing that you need to keep in mind is the directionality or the polar pattern of the microphone concerned. This feature basically accounts for how the microphone picks and receives sound from the environment.
With shotgun microphones, it’s common knowledge that the main feature that they allow for is picking up sound in one direction only, which is why they are also referred to as being uni-directional.
However, even in that category, the polarity of shotgun mics can be divided into two classes.
Cardioid patters are also commonly referred to as the heart-shaped pattern and are arguably one of the most prevalent patterns in the music industry. Their main feature, their design, enables them to pick sound from one direction only and ignore everything else.
However, they pick up a little sound from the side as well, so you won’t completely leave everything out.
With the superlative added, it’s fair to say that this pattern is basically an upgrade on its predecessor.
Their best feature, which is their narrow pickup or region where the sound enters, allows them to have a greater rejection of any and every type of ambient and background noise, and will particularly focus on the source it is directed at.
However, this also presents a slight problem. Any minor deviation might result in loss of sound quality, so you’ll have to be very careful when setting things up.
Another great thing is that they’re resistant to feedback. For this reason, super-cardioid shaped mics should be used in loud environments, such as the streets or during public gatherings.
Another addition to this shape feature is the hyper-cardioid based model, which is basically taking things to an entirely new level.
However, for the average user, they’re pretty unnecessary since they’re mostly overkill and should only be considered if you’re a professional and already know your craft.
Make sure that you know your purpose and the task that you intend to deal with. This will allow you to choose better and get something worth it in the long run that can deliver.
The second important thing to keep in mind and account for is impedance.
Generally speaking, impedance refers to the level of resistance provided by an electrical circuit to alternating current. In this context, this definition is as relevant as ever and decides if your shotgun mic is good for you or not.
Measured in Ohms, this feature will highlight how well audio quality is retained when you transfer your content from place A to place B.
The rule dictates that the lower the impedance, the better your mic will be at retaining good quality.
Furthermore, if your choice has a higher impedance level, then that might mean that other specifications of the model you’re choosing aren’t of good quality.
Frequency response is a very important factor to consider when choosing the right shotgun mic for yourself.
The main thing to keep in mind here is to be completely aware of the task that you intend to undertake. In virtually all cases, the average mic can function between 20Hz to 20KHz. However, that’s just not enough.
What you’ll need to be aware of, through and through, is the frequency that you intend to be working on/with, and if your mic can work with that or not.
The shotgun mic you choose should be highly responsible for that specific range for you to actually reap the benefits.
If you’re new to the game, not knowing about the attenuation switch is fine. These are complex machines that are best handled by professionals.
However, that doesn’t mean that this factor shouldn’t be heavily considered or looked over.
The main purpose of the attenuation switch is to further silence the microphone. This is normally between the range of 10 or 20dB and is quite effective.
Furthermore, it ensures that the microphone can focus primarily on the sound coming from the front so that it can give a clearer and precise result.
As a word of advice, it’s also highly recommended that you learn to get comfortable with the attenuation switch if you aren’t already. This will help you a lot in the long run, and will completely change the recording experience for you.
Max sound pressure level
Last but not least, we have the max sound pressure level.
This feature is directly measured and is noted in decibels or dBs. The max sound pressure level directly refers to the maximum volume that your shotgun mic can handle without producing any distortions or discrepancies in the sound heard.
To reap the most benefits out of this feature, it is again highly recommended that you make sure you know what you’re getting the mic for.
For example, it’s a good idea to get a normal shotgun mic with an average max sound pressure level if you’re planning on working indoors or do a podcast. This is because you won’t need to speak over others or have a lot of background noise which might take over.
However, if you’re planning on working with your shotgun mic in public, then it’s a good idea to get a model with a higher pressure level so that it can adequately record things in high quality.
How do shotgun microphones work?
Understanding how a shotgun microphone works is arguably one of the simplest ways of going about to make sure that you make the most of your mic. Now, we’ll go over the basics and spare ourselves the details.
At the end of this, you’ll be equipped with the general knowledge required to understand how these microphones operate, and how to use them to get what you want.
The best way to go about this is by addressing common questions. Here are the most prevalent ones!
What exactly are shotgun microphones?
Shotgun microphones are unidirectional microphones that have receptors aligned in a very particular manner, which allows them to achieve higher beams of concentrated sound from one particular direction.
As the name states, these microphones are quite literally shaped like an elongated barrel.
Note that such microphones are also excellent at rejecting noise in the back or any similar background noise. This means that these mics work best for targets that are placed directly in front of them.
This is, of course, credited to the delicate machinery and electronics inside, which rejects all ambient noise and is only triggered when sound waves penetrate the system from a particular direction.
The details involved might be derailing or might take the charm out of it. Hence, it’s best to work with the subtlety involved above.
How do the directions level out?
When it comes to shotgun microphones, it’s best to consider the settings around it as a radar.
At 0 degrees, you’re placed exactly in front of it. Subsequently, 90, 180, and 270 proceed in a clockwise manner. A sound detection graph shows that the mic has the highest input when the target is placed at 0 degrees.
Likewise, the input was a minimum when the source was at 180 degrees.
The illustration for this highlight quite clearly that a shotgun microphone works best when the target is at the front.
Why you should use a shotgun mic
Now, we’ll go over a few reasons why YOU should be using a shotgun mic. Frankly, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, then you’re missing out. However, don’t worry. There’s a first time for everything.
Note that these reasons aren’t user-specific and can be perceived as the overall benefits of using a shotgun mic. That perception is entirely your choice.
Here are four solid reasons why you should be using shotgun mics!
Require no batteries
The number one benefit that shotgun mics carry over other models is that they don’t require any type of battery.
If you were part of the influx of new electronic media in the 90s, then you’re certainly aware of the maintenance and battery-hoarding involved to keep your devices up and running.
However, that hoarding phase still hasn’t gone past its living days. For the bulk of devices likes these, you still need to keep a pack of AAs nearby, or else you’d have to halt your recording till you can locate a pair.
Luckily enough, with shotgun mics, you’ll bypass this process. Gone are the days where your biggest concern would be finding the right battery size.
The bulk of the models now are phantom powered. This makes their constant around the application so much easier.
However, there are still models that rely on batteries. Best watch out for them!
No RF hits
Radio frequencies, or most commonly referred to as RF, are notorious when it comes to any type of wireless transmissions. Due to their interference, it’s almost natural to anticipate some type of loss or distortion when working with signals.
Shotgun mics are great because they’re a natural solution to any type of RF hits that might impede your work or recordings.
This is, of course, because they’re cabled. This in itself isn’t much of a flex, since this generation is more geared towards the wireless transmission. However, the silver lining here is that this means that the sound quality is near excellent and easier to keep track of.
More natural sound
The third reason which literally all users like and praise about shotgun mics is that they produce a sound that is more resonant with that as heard as a spectator.
If you’re trying to make recordings and want to retain the original voice just as it is heard by an observer, a shotgun mic will help you get that.
This is mainly credited due to the specificity, the directionality, and the intricate electronics involved to make sure that the sound is received in just the right spots to be processed later.
Doesn’t need to be hidden
Last but not least, shotgun mics are designed in a manner that enables the user to bypass the process which requires them to make delicate setups for recording noise.
Since these mics are usually held with a boom and are strategically placed outside the camera’s range, you won’t have to worry about any further maintenance.
If you’re planning on having a guest over for your podcast, or intend to do some filmmaking, this is a great choice to go with since it means you won’t have to worry about hiding a small mic in the other person’s clothes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few questions that will help you get better acquainted with shotgun mics. These are ones that are frequently asked by our users, so they’re sure to help you out as well!
What are shotgun mics?
A shotgun mic is a type of mic that is unidirectional and works in a particular plane that allows it to properly record the targeted sound source. By orienting it a particular way, you can achieve a high beam of concentration of the sound source and subsequently record it.
Are shotgun mics good?
Yes, shotgun mics are a great investment for all types of mediums, which include cameras, videos, or even professional work. Since they pick up sound very precisely, they’re a good tool to have around.
What type of a mic is a shotgun mic?
A shotgun mic is one which is particularly characterized by an extremely directional polar pattern. They have a tube which protrudes from the front.
Do shotgun mics need phantom power?
This depends on a variety of things, which includes the type of mic that you’re using and/or the model that you’re utilizing. Though most models operate on standard phantom power, there are some in which you might need to make the setup separately.
Why is it called a shotgun mic?
The shotgun mic is called what it is primarily due to its elongated shape, which sort of resembles a shotgun. The main benefit of its shape allows it to reject sound coming in from the side and focus on that which is on the front.
Is a shotgun mic a condenser mic?
No, a shotgun mic is not a condenser mic on principle, and the two are distinct. However, given the current market saturation, almost all shotgun mics are condensers.
Why is a shotgun mic also known as a directional mic?
This is because a shotgun mic has the primary purpose of working in one particular direction while ignoring virtually anything around and about it. For this reason, it’s also known as a directional mic.
Do shotgun mics require batteries?
No, the bulk of shotgun mics do not require any type of battery to operate. Most models currently available in 2020 are phantom powered. However, there is still a handful out there that operate on standard batteries which you can get from a convenience store.
Are shotgun mics good for interviews?
Yes, shotgun mics are a great option if you’re planning to get something to conduct interviews. Along with ensuring that the sound quality is exceptional, another great benefit that this will provide is that you won’t have to worry about any hiding of the mic.
How do shotgun mics work?
The main principle dictates that the microphone receptors are unidirectional and receive signals from one direction only. Hence, anything else coming at an angle isn’t really picked up by the mic, whereas anything from the front is received loud and clear.
What is the difference between a shotgun mic and a boom mic?
The main difference lies in the nomenclature here. Boom mic is the name given to the setup, which includes the stand and the mic together, in which the latter can also be a shotgun mic.
What is the range of a shotgun microphone?
The minimal range of a shotgun microphone is 4 feet, and you can comfortably anticipate getting results at up to 10 feet of distance. However, due to the tightness patterns and how the machinery works, you’ll need to be very precise in your work.
A good shotgun mic is a great accessory to have if you want to take your filmmaking or artistic endeavors to the next level. if you already own any of the models mentioned above and have feedback about them, or have any general recommendations or suggestions about any of the information above, feel free to share them in the comment section below!