Choosing the best shotgun mic for your your DSLR, camcorder, or iphone is a great way to get high quality audio for whatever you are filming - especially a vlog.
These are 'unidirectional' microphones that are designed only to pick up sound from whatever they are pointing at. This means that you will get the best possible recording from a single source, while ignoring lots of the background noises that can ruin good takes.
While there are other great microphones for YouTube recording, shotgun mics are a must for anyone who wants to enhance their camera's audio capture at any film location.
Rode and Shure are the most popular and trusted shotgun mic brands, but there are a couple of lesser known gems out there as well. Here are the top 5 shotgun microphones that you can buy for filming in 2018.
Best Shotgun Mic - 2018
Benefits of shotgun microphones
Our full reviews are below, but you can start here if you want some further info on how to pick the right microphone for your DSLR or other digital camera.
The main benefit of adding a shotgun microphone to your YouTube equipment collection is that it only picks up the sound in front of it. It records minimal or no clutter from the sides or the back that other microphones will capture, especially built-in camera microphones. Even if you are just speaking into a camera on a tripod, you will notice a significant improvement in your video's audio by upgrading your microphone.
If you are trying to record just your voice for example, then a shotgun microphone like the ShureV83 Lenshopper will be your best choice, especially if you use a DSLR camera to film in noisy environments. Along with a gimbal stabilizer, a shotgun mic is one of the best investments you can make for filming with your DSLR.
Mounting a shotgun mic to your digital camera is usually easy to do because they are generally small and lightweight. This makes them ideal for filming on the move if that is an important part of your contet.
Shotgun microphones are known to have low power consumption making them efficient for highly demanding tasks with minimal requirements for charging. Most of them can also use batteries, which makes them easy to recharge without losing time for recording.
How to choose the right shotgun microphone
There are several features to consider when it comes to selecting the best shotgun mic for whatever it is that you might be filming. Here are some of the key factors, and differentiators to look out for:
Film Location & Surroundings
When choosing the best shotgun microphone for your camera, you need to consider the audio environments that you want to use it in. If you are filming travel vlogs with GoPro and stabilizer, you might make different choices than filming in your home studio.
Since these microphone generally records sounds coming directly towards it, you need to know the kind of strengths are most important.
For example,if you are using it in a generally noisy environment, you will need to ensure that your device is strong at block out unnecessary noise. In environments with less noise but different sounds, your microphone needs to have a filter to record the sounds you want selectively. Additionally, microphones with sound boosters will be able to enhance sounds in quieter places.
Shotgun microphones have different lengths that are differentiated for use in different environments.
Longer shotguns are used in settings where the speaker does not have to move and is quite far from the microphone while shorter ones are suitable in situations where the speaker is not too far and has to keep moving. A common example would be during a vlog where you are using the flip screen of your camera to film yourself.
This is because it is easier to move a shorter camera. Wrong movements can destroy the quality of sound recorded using the shotgun microphone. As such, movements should be kept at a minimum for shotgun microphones.
The term directoinality refers to the ability of a microphone to pick sounds specifically from the source with the best clarity there can be. Longer shotgun microphones pick sound better because they reject most sound off the axis.
However, the fact that they are long makes them difficult to handle. For instance, long microphones are difficult to position and a little movement leads to sound attenuation. Shorter microphones pick sound in a lesser way but they are efficient since they are easier to handle
Material and power requirements:
Microphones are made from different materials to help cope with the different conditions prevailing in different environments. Situations such as journalists in high-risk zones require a camera that can withstand the pressure that comes with the work. Power requirements are also essential in ensuring that the camera does not frustrate when you need it the most.
Most of the time, shotgun mics are used together with a digital camera or DSLR to capture videos and sound together. Depending on your setting, the best way to use the microphone will be determined by several factors.
For instance, if you do not want to hold it, you could mount it on a stand instead. If the sound you are recording is in multiple directions, you can choose to hold the microphone such that it is directly facing the sound. The best situations to use one would be for speeches and meetings since a speaker does not need to hold it or have it wired since his or her movement is minimal.
There are some additional accessories that help you get the most out of your shotgun microphone. For instance, you could consider buying protective covers, a windscreen, and cables to transfer audio between your device and the microphone.
If you aren't always going to have your microphone attached to a camera, then buying a microphone stand would also be important especially if you require mounting it whenever you need to use it.
Best value for the money
Best cheap shotgun mic
Good affordable alternative
Great sound quality
Best Shotgun Mic Reviews
Shure VP83 LensHopper [Top Pick]
Recommended by successful vloggers like Casey Neistat, the Shure VP83 LensHopper camera-mounted condenser microphine has everything that you need to film with a DSLR or other digital camera. Shure is a trusted brand, and the VP83 is considered by many to be the gold standard of shotgun mic in 2018.
The Shure VP83 is perhaps the best sounding consumer shotgun microphone, and it to be mounted on a camera to capture film from a specific single source like a vlogger.
The microphone is sturdy and compact - easy to take with you to any film location. It will also last for a long time wherever you take it, as it can record for as long as 125 hours from a single AA battery.
If you really want to go all out, there is also opton for integrated flash recording and playback interface. It will cost about another $100, but it definitely provides the most premium experience
Shure and Rode are the major players when it comes to camera mounted shotgun microphones, and while the consensus is that Shure has an edge in sound quality, Rode tends to win in the price department.
If you do pick the VP83, you are getting the best shotgun mic available to buy, but it will cost more than some of the cheaper alternatives.
The Rode Video Mic is a great shotgun mic for anyone who wants to film and capture audio with their digital camera, DSLR, or camcorder at a mid level price. This affordable microphone is usable with any digital camera and Rode is a very popular choice among both beginners and famous vloggers like Jake Paul.
To start with the basics, the Rode delivers very solid sound for the price. On rare occasions it will pick up a bit of white noise, but for the most part vocals are captured very clearly without interference from other environmental noise that might be taking place.
The microphone has a high pass filter 80Hz to prevent the effect of low-end noise. It also has a noise level attenuation of -10db and -20db to minimize noise and ensure that it records a high quality audio.
This mic has a Rycote Lyre mount that is shock absorbent. This is effective in minimizing any disturbance in case of distractions during your recording. If you are ever planning to film or vlog on the move, then that is a huge plus.
To get the best overall results, we recommend the bundle that contains the Fuzzy Windjammer which will minimize the effects of wind on an audio recording. This makes it an ideal vlogging camera for people that want to go out and explore.
This same feature helps to minimize annoying vocal pops that might come up when you are speaking into the mic.
While the price is reasonable, if you are mostly interested in a budget shotgun microphone, you should check out the next on our list - the Rode VMGO.
This Rode shotgun microphone is the best budget shotgun microphone for creators looking for a good cheap option. While not as powerful as the standard Rode VideoMic, the Video Mic GO model can still produce crisp sound that is mostly unblemished by background noise and external disturbance.
The Go shotgun microphone is lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around even when attached on a camera. It has an integrated shock mount that protects your sound from bumps and vibrations.
It does not require a battery as it sources power from the device that it is connected on. This is ideal for some, although if your camera runs short on battery quickly, then this will compound the problem.
Being a smaller microphone the Rode Go is reasonably durable, but it is definitely more fragile than larger alternatives. It does come with a deluxe windscreen that helps to protect it against excessive wind, heat, dust, and moisture.
If you are interested in a cheap microphone for your video camera, then this is the best quality you will get for the money.
The V-Mic D2 has a low-cut filter that prevents low noises such as traffic and other disruptions in noisy environments. It also has a low self-noise through an optimized circuit with its output transformer to minimize noise coming from it.
It comes with a 24 month warranty, and is made of pretty tough stuff for creators who want to put their camera/ mic combo to the test. It also comes with a protective pack to protect it against dust and moisture.
While the audio quality isn't quite professional level, this mic gets the job done for the average videographer. The only notable downside is that it lacks the brand name, and breadth of accessories that a Rode microphone offers. If you are simply looking for a reliable budget shotgun mic, this is a good choice.
The Azden SMX-15 is a great sounding microphone that is lesser known than Rode or Shure mics, but provides a great alternative if you are looking to try something new. With above average noise reduction, or sound boosting features, this is a flexible microphone that performas well in many different situations.
This mic has a wide frequency response that enables it to capture the full sounds in a crisp way. It is fitted with a -10dB pad that helps reduce noise in loud noise environments and a high sensitivity response that work together to prevent noise while capturing some great sound.
In addition to its noise reduction technologies, the SMX-15 also has a 20db pad that also increases sensitivity to capture lower sounds in a quiet environment clearly. It has a low-cut filter feature that helps in reducing external noises.
For those who will be filming on the move, the shock-absorbing mount will help to reduce the effects of movements and bumps. T
The microphone uses batteries and has some handy features to make sure you won't get caught without power. It has a one-hour warning and an LED indicator in case the power drops. It also has an auto power setting that enables it to switch off when not in use, a feature that increases its battery life.