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The Best Angle for Shotgun Mic Sound Quality


If you are currently using or plan on purchasing a shotgun mic for your audio recordings, then you should know that this type of microphone requires a certain degree of precision when angling and positioning it. Such is the nature of shotgun mics since they are unidirectional microphones, which means they can mostly pick up sound from sources directly in front of them while rejecting sound sources from the sides.

Don’t be intimidated or discouraged by all the added effort required by a shotgun mic. With this guide, we will share with you the best angles for a shotgun mic so you can achieve great sound quality in your audio recordings most easily and surely possible!

Angles for Shotgun Mic Types

The Best Angle for Shotgun Mic Sound Quality

Depending on the application and sound quality intended, a user can make use of varying shotgun mics. Generally, the two most commonly used shotgun mics are the long shotgun mic and the condenser short shotgun mic. The booming angle will depend if you are suspending the shotgun mic from above or below.

Long Shotgun Mic

A long shotgun mic is often used by professional mixers and productions. These are the shotgun mics that you would attach to a boom arm and will need a boom operator for manual handling.

Booming from Overhead

Booming from overhead would mean you are suspending the shotgun microphone above the sound source. If you are only recording one person, then you can angle the shotgun mic right above the talent. However, if you are recording multiple people, then you can place the shotgun mic at the center and angle it toward the person who is currently speaking.

Angling a shotgun mic from overhead is a preferred technique by many professionals since the microphone will be able to pick up the vocal presence or sound clearly and fully, which makes it easier for mixing in post-production.

Booming from Below

Booming from below would mean that the shotgun microphone is below the person or sound source. However, you must angle the shotgun mic just slightly ahead of the person or sound source so you can still capture the sound clearly and fully. Angling the shotgun mic from below will give you a sound recording that has added bass frequencies and will allow you to capture more ambient sounds such as jewelry dangling or noises from other body parts of the talent.

Regardless if you boom from above or below, using a long shotgun mic will sound best if you angle it at around 3 1/2 to 4 feet from the sound source or talent. Ideally, place a height of 2 to 3 feet. Just remember that the higher or further the shotgun mic is from the sound source, the thinner the sound quality will be, and the more chances of ambient sounds getting picked up.

Condenser Short Shotgun Mic

A condenser shotgun mic is what you often see being used for film and TV sets. Although these shotgun mics cost more and will require more phantom power, they will give you a rich and full sound quality. A condenser short shotgun mic will also give you more reach so you can allocate a bit more distance between you and the sound source.

Generally, a good condenser short shotgun mic can give you an allowance of 3 feet overhead, but some can go as far as 6 feet. However, if you want to make sure that the recording does not get thinned or drowned out by possible ambient noise, you can place the short shotgun mic 2 feet max above the sound source. This will give you a sound recording that’s rich with depth.

If you opt out of a stand or cannot place much distance, then you can angle the shotgun mic towards the person’s mouth. Just remember to angle and tilt it downwards so no wind noise or plosives can be picked up as a shotgun mic is sensitive.

Final Note

The Best Angle for Shotgun Mic Sound Quality

Using a shotgun mic is a great way to achieve high-quality audio recordings, especially for dialogue applications and interviews. However, with a unidirectional polar pattern, shotgun mics need to be angled precisely and carefully so they can pick up clear recordings.

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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