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Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Shotgun Mic

If you’re looking for a mic that can help you achieve crisp and clear audio with high directionality, you must be on the lookout for a great shotgun mic. This type of mic is known to capture precise sound while minimizing background noise down to a tee.

While there are plenty of shotgun mics that are now available in the market, there are certain names and brands that stand out. Known for their reputation and standing the test of time, we’ve gathered some of the best shotgun microphones from reputable and trusted manufacturers in this list.

So, whether you’re a filmmaker, journalist, or content creator, you’re sure to find the best shotgun mic that will fit your needs and allow you to elevate the audio quality of your craft here!

Which Shotgun Mic is Best?

Editor's Choice

RØDE VideoMic Pro+
Best Overall
Sennheisher MKH 416
Best for Film Production
Shure VP83F
Best for DSLR
RØDE VideoMic Pro+

The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ excels as a versatile and all-around mic tailored for film production, DSLR, and more as it blends advanced features with a practical design.

Sennheisher MKH 416

The Sennheisher MKH 416 is a highly regarded mic known for its exceptional directional sensitivity and robust construction making it ideal for professional film and broadcast applications in and out of the studio.

Shure VP83F

The Shure VP83F is considered one of the best DSLR mics thanks to its internal preamp, exceptional quality, and great output.

Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:

Let’s Go Over Each Top Shotgun Mic

RØDE VideoMic Pro+

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ stands out as the best overall shotgun mic due to its exceptional versatility, audio quality, and user-friendly features, making it a top choice for professionals across various fields. With a reasonable price considering all the features and its stellar performance, this mic offers a superb balance of performance and affordability.

Its supercardioid pattern also ensures clear and focused audio capture, effectively minimizing background noise, which is crucial for filmmaking, vlogging, interviews, and live broadcasting.

Another reason why the RODE VideoMic Pro+ is our pick as the best shotgun mic is because of its many advanced features. You won’t need to worry about losing battery power while in the middle of a recording because, with its built-in long-lasting rechargeable battery and automatic power on/off, this is one recording device that you can rely on. It also offers flexible power options such as including two AA batteries and on-the-go USB charging.

Speaking of being reliable, this RØDE shotgun proves there is such thing as only needing one mic thanks to its digital switching capabilities, which easily lets you control and enhance audio straight from the microphone body. Said digital switch even has a switchable low-cut filter, high-pass filter, gain, and other power modes.

Lastly, the lightweight and durable design of this mic allows for easy mounting on cameras or boom poles, enhancing its usability in diverse recording environments. Considering the portability and its compact size, you can just see the huge difference it all makes when bringing this baby around for various recording applications and environments. However, if you do want something small, then consider checking out the RODE VideoMicro II — another great mic manufactured by RØDE.

Overall, whether you’re a filmmaker, journalist, or content creator, the RODE VideoMic Pro+ delivers reliable and professional-grade audio performance, making it an indispensable tool and one of the best shotgun mics to use for any audio recording task.

Pros and Cons of the RØDE VideoMic Pro+

✔️ Can be used for versatile recording applications
✔️ Long-lasting and reliable power source
✔️ Has a built-in shock mount for reduced handling noise
✔️ Has a Rycote Lyre suspension system
✔️ Has digital switches for easy control
✔️ Compact and easy to transport
✖️ Has no carrying case
✖️ Primarily just designed for a DSLR camera and mirrorless cameras

Sennheisher MKH 416

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  

Renowned in the industry, the Sennheiser MKH416 sets the standard for professional audio quality. Its exceptional clarity and low self-noise make it a favorite among filmmakers and sound engineers alike — making it one of the best shotgun mics.

With its compact pressure-gradient interference tube and rugged metal body for extra durability, the MKH416 was specifically designed for use in film, television, radio, and outside recording activities. In fact, this true condenser industry-standard mic has been used in nearly every major motion picture released in the last few years.

Aside from KH416 being one of the best shotgun mics (or actually the best one for film use), this is now becoming a favorite for recording dialogue and voiceover work. Thanks to its supercardioid polar pattern, the mic exceptionally focuses on the source while attenuating off-axis noise, ensuring precise audio capture and vocal clarity.

As great as this mic is in capturing specific sound sources, eliminating proximity effects, and rejecting sound from the sides, the MKH416 is also one sturdy and durable mic. Its moisture-resistant construction allows outdoor use without compromising performance. It can even withstand high humidity, making it a great mic to use even in the most challenging environments.

Pros and Cons of the Sennheiser MKH416

✔️ Great for film use and professional recording applications
✔️ Can be used for challenging indoor and outdoor settings
✔️ Superb shotgun polar pattern (narrow pickup pattern and directionality)
✔️ Has good sound pressure level
✖️ Quite expensive

Shure VP83F

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Targeted at DSLR camera users, the Shure VP83F is a compact shotgun barrel mic with a super-cardioid or lobar pattern. This means it can deliver clear and natural sound reproduction with limited off-axis coloration.

However, the key selling point of the VP83F is its easy mounting capabilities, making it one of the best shotgun mics for DLSRs. Its compact and lightweight design makes it easy to mount on a DSLR camera without adding significant bulk, enhancing mobility during shoots.

It even features an integrated digital flash recording capability, enabling simultaneous audio recording on microSD cards, providing backup and flexibility in post-production.

With its user-friendly interface and intuitive controls, the VP83F simplifies audio management, making it an excellent choice for videographers seeking professional-grade sound.

Pros and Cons of the Shure VP83F

✔️ Easy DSLR and camera mounting
✔️ Small shotgun mic
✔️ Has an LCD screen for controls
✔️ Decent sound performance and quality
✔️ Has an integrated audio recorder
✖️ Can be quite complicated to use
✖️ A bit pricey

Audio-Technica AT897

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Audio-Technica AT897 offers an affordable entry into shotguns. Despite its lower price point, it delivers impressive audio quality suitable for indie filmmakers, content creators, and beginners in professional audio recording.

Featuring a narrow acceptance angle and excellent off-axis rejection, it focuses on the desired source while minimizing background noise.

Audio-Technica AT897’s compact and lightweight design facilitates easy mounting on cameras or boom poles, providing versatility in various recording setups. It’s equipped with a switchable low-frequency roll-off filter to reduce handling and wind noise, ensuring cleaner audio recordings in diverse environments.

Being one of the longer shotguns, this mic can capture higher frequencies and is equipped with a high-frequency boost. Be that as it may, the AT897 can still give you a flat frequency response or a low-frequency roll-off with its switch to help control undesired ambient noise.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica AT897

✔️ Offers good frequency response and low-frequency roll-off
✔️ Can capture high frequencies
✔️ Produces rich audio quality
✔️ Great entry-level mic
✔️ Compatible with a field recorder, audio recorder, mixer adapter, and more
✖️ Extra setup due to phantom power requirement

Sennheiser MKE 600

Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

While we have dubbed the Sennheiser MKE 600 as the best cheap shotgun mic, the MKE 600 does not compromise on reliable performance. It strikes a balance between affordability (to a certain extent) and quality, making it suitable for videographers, YouTubers, and filmmakers looking for a cost-effective solution without compromising on clarity.

The MKE 600 features a directional pickup pattern that isolates the source from noise, ensuring clear audio capture in various shooting conditions. Its robust metal housing provides durability, while its low-cut filter effectively reduces wind noise and handling vibrations.

Lightweight and easy to mount, the MKE 600 enhances mobility and versatility in video production setups.

Pros and Cons of the Sennheiser MKE 600

✔️ Offers a choice of phantom power or internal battery powering
✔️ Includes a windscreen and a shock-mount
✔️ Lightweight, compact, and portable
✔️ Has a switchable low-cut filter
✖️ No carrying case

Yes, a shotgun mic is often considered superior for capturing directional sound and minimizing noise in specific recording situations, such as filmmaking, interviews, and outdoor shoots. Its focused polar pattern helps isolate the desired source, resulting in clearer and more professional audio recordings compared to omnidirectional or other types of microphones.

The best use is in scenarios where you need to capture clear audio from a specific direction while minimizing ambient noise. It excels in filmmaking, interviews, and outdoor recordings where audio isolation is crucial for maintaining audio clarity and professionalism.

Shotguns are also ideal for capturing dialogue in crowded or noisy locations, providing focused audio pickup that enhances post-production editing capabilities. Their versatility extends to documentary filmmaking, live broadcasts, and any situation where precise and directional audio recording is essential for achieving high-quality results.

These mics can be good for capturing voice, especially in controlled environments where minimizing noise and focusing on the speaker’s voice are priorities. Their directional pattern helps isolate the speaker’s voice, making them suitable for interviews, podcasts, and voiceovers.

However, in less controlled or noisy locations, other mic types like cardioid or condenser mics might be more effective in capturing voice with clarity and fidelity, as shotgun mics are primarily designed for directional pickup rather than capturing a full and rich vocal range.

The length of a shotgun mic generally affects its directional capabilities rather than its audio quality per se. Longer shotgun mics typically have a more directional polar pattern, which can help in isolating sounds and reducing off-axis noise. This characteristic is beneficial in environments where precise audio isolation is crucial, such as in filmmaking or broadcast settings.

However, audio quality itself depends on various factors including the design, diaphragm size, frequency response, and build quality rather than just its physical length. While longer shotgun mics may offer improved directionality, shorter models can still provide excellent sound quality depending on their design and intended use. Therefore, the decision between different shotgun mic lengths should consider the specific recording needs and environment rather than assuming longer mics always equate to better quality.

Choosing a shotgun mic involves considering several key factors to match your specific recording needs.

Selecting a mic begins with understanding its directional capabilities and pickup patterns. Shotgun mics are prized for their ability to focus on sounds directly in front of them while minimizing noise from the sides, rear, and basically all other directions aside from your intended source. The degree of directionality varies among models, typically from supercardioid to hypercardioid patterns.

Supercardioid mics offer a narrower pickup angle, ideal for isolating a single sound in controlled environments like studios or quiet indoor settings. Hypercardioid patterns extend slightly wider, providing a bit more ambient noise rejection while still maintaining focus on the primary sound source.

When choosing a shotgun mic, consider the environment and recording conditions where you’ll primarily use it to ensure the pattern suits your needs for clear and precise audio capture.

The audio quality reproduced by a mic is crucial for achieving professional-grade recordings. Assessing the frequency response range and sensitivity is key. Broader frequency response indicates the device can capture a wider range of frequencies, from deep bass to crisp highs, ensuring faithful reproduction of voices and ambient sounds.

Additionally, low self-noise is essential, particularly in quiet recording environments where any inherent noise from the mic itself can be noticeable. Look for models with these specifications, as this ensures clean and clear audio recordings, especially during quieter passages or nuanced performances. Testing a microphone’s audio quality in different settings and environments can provide insight into its performance capabilities and suitability for your specific recording needs.

The durability and construction of a microphone are critical considerations, particularly if you intend to use it in rugged or outdoor environments. Robust materials and a well-engineered design not only enhance the microphone’s longevity but also contribute to its performance consistency over time.

Look for models with sturdy metal housings and weather-resistant features, such as moisture-resistant coatings or integrated shock mounts, which help protect the microphone from physical damage and environmental elements. Whether you’re filming on location, conducting interviews outdoors, or recording in dynamic studio settings, choosing a microphone built to withstand various conditions ensures reliability and longevity in your audio equipment.

Ensure compatibility between the microphone and your existing recording setup. Check for compatible mounting options, such as camera shoe mounts or boom pole adapters, depending on how you plan to use the microphone. Consider the microphone’s connectivity options—whether it uses standard XLR connections for professional audio equipment or mini-jack connections for DSLRs and portable recorders.

Choosing a microphone that seamlessly integrates with your recording devices minimizes compatibility issues and allows for straightforward setup and operation, enhancing overall workflow efficiency.

Setting a budget is crucial when selecting a microphone, as prices can vary widely depending on features and brand reputation. Determine the features and performance characteristics that are most important for your recording projects, such as additional accessories like windshields or low-cut filters. Evaluate the overall value of each microphone option based on its performance capabilities, included accessories, and long-term durability. 

Reading reviews from other users and seeking recommendations from professionals in your field can provide valuable insights into the real-world performance and reliability of different microphone models within your budget range. By balancing your budget with desired features and performance, you can make an informed decision that meets your recording needs effectively while providing excellent value for your investment.

While there are plenty of other microphone types, a shotgun mic has its own set of advantages. Let’s take a look at some of their key benefits.

One of the primary advantages of microphones is their highly directional polar pattern. They excel at capturing sounds from a specific direction while minimizing ambient noise from other angles. This makes them ideal for situations where audio isolation is crucial, such as in filmmaking, interviews, and outdoor recordings. By focusing on the intended source, shotgun mics deliver clearer and more precise audio recordings compared to omnidirectional or cardioid microphones.

Shotguns are versatile and well-suited for a wide range of recording environments. Their directional nature allows them to perform effectively in both controlled indoor settings and challenging outdoor conditions. Whether mounted on a camera for video production, used on a boom pole for dialogue recording in films, or employed in live broadcasting, shotgun mics offer flexibility in capturing high-quality audio across different applications and scenarios.

Due to their focused polar pattern, shotguns effectively reduce noise and reverberation that may detract from the clarity of the recorded sound. This makes them particularly valuable in noisy environments where maintaining audio quality is essential. By rejecting unwanted noise from the sides and rear, shotgun mics ensure that the recorded audio remains clean and intelligible, enhancing post-production editing capabilities and overall sound professionalism.

The elongated design of shotguns contributes to their longer reach compared to other microphone types. This allows them to capture sound from a greater distance while maintaining directional control over the audio pickup. Whether capturing dialogue from a distance or recording natural sounds in wildlife documentaries, the extended reach of shotgun mics provides flexibility in framing shots and capturing audio without compromising quality.

Shotgun microphones are widely used in professional audio and broadcast settings due to their ability to deliver high-quality, focused audio recordings. They are commonly employed in filmmaking, television production, news reporting, and live broadcasting where capturing clear, intelligible dialogue and ambiance is paramount. Their reliability, durability, and consistent performance make shotgun mics preferred among professionals seeking superior audio recording solutions.

Final Note

No matter your profession and level, you’re sure to find the best shotgun mic for you on this list. From RØDE’s VideoMic Pro+ to Audio-Technica’s AT897, these shotgun mics will definitely elevate the overall sound quality of your recordings.

RØDE VideoMic Pro+

Editor’s Choice

The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ is overall the best shotgun mic, offering exceptional versatility and top-notch sound quality for various professional applications. It features a supercardioid polar pattern that ensures clear and focused audio capture while minimizing noise.

Its advanced features include a built-in rechargeable battery, automatic power on/off, and digital switching for enhanced control. Lightweight and durable, it’s easy to mount on cameras or poles, making it ideal for filmmakers, vloggers, journalists, and content creators seeking reliable, professional-grade audio performance.

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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