8 Best Shotgun Microphones / Boom Mics Reviewed 2019

For this article, we tested out and reviewed the 8 best shotgun mics currently on the market -- for every level of production, budget, and technical requirements.

We’ve got you covered, no matter whether you’re: 

  • A pro looking for a shotgun mic that produces top results in demanding situations.
  • A vlogger looking for something basic to get your production off the ground. 
  • A student filmmaker looking for a versatile mic that gives good results without breaking the bank. 

Ready? Let’s jump right in…

8 Best Shotgun / Boom Microphones Reviewed

1. Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone -- Best Overall For Film & Video 

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Battery/Phantom
  • Weight: 4.48 ounces / 128g
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid/lobar
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz -20,000 Hz 
  • Maximum SPL: 132 dB (phantom), 126 dB (battery)
  • Length: 10.07″ / 256 mm

Package Contents

  • Foam windshield 
  • Shock mount (for camcorder)
  • Carry case
  • Other options available, for a price

Sennheiser MKE 600 is often marketed as a shotgun mic to mount on your camera. But its size also allows it to be used as a standard boom mic. With a lower self-noise than other mics on review here, it gives you good crispness & clarity of sound for the price

It’s capable of producing excellent attenuation of off-axis. When you’re on location, there will always be some external sounds around you, and this feature can save you some headaches in post-production. 

When using it mounted on a camera, the mic having its own battery for power is convenient, and one less headache for you to worry about. 

Sennheiser MKE 600 is only a small step in the price above some of the entry-level mics listed below, but you can definitely hear the difference. Overall, the microphone strikes a great balance between affordability and quality of sound.

Pros

  • Battery power option
  • Low battery indicator 

Cons

  • Might not be “pro enough” for more demanding users
Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone Review | Premier Prep

2. Bestshoot Shotgun Microphone -- Best Cheap Shotgun Mic

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Specifications: 

  • Power requirements: battery powered (1 x AA) 
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid 
  • Length; 11’ / 270 mm
  • No information in terms of frequency response, max SPL, etc.

Package Contents: 

  • Anti-wind Foam Cap 
  • Mic Stand clip
  • Stereo 0.25 inches (6.35mm) Jack Adaptor 
  • Mini 0.14 inches (3.5mm) Jack Adaptor 
  • XLR Cable: 26.05 feet (8 meters) 0.25 inches (6.35mm) jack 

To be honest, I didn’t know you could get a shotgun mic for this cheap! I tested this cheap boom mic indoors in an interview type situation and it performed surprisingly well

With its cardioid polar pattern, it did pick up quite a bit of off-axis/off-screen sound. But depending on the environment you are recording in this might not be an issue. 

On the mic, there is a switch for “Tele” mode which is useful when the source is a bit further away from the microphone. But I suspect that it’s just a gain boost marketed under a different name. 

Overall -- if you’re on a super-tight budget, or wondering whether you need a shotgun microphone in the first place -- this bad boy is hard to beat for the money. 

Pros

  • At $22 this has to the cheapest shotgun mic on the market.
  • Perfect for beginners on a budget recording indoors doing interviews, vlogs, etc. 

Cons

  • The overall sound is not detailed at greater distances and also requires a significant gain boost.
  • As you would expect, the overall construction is not amazing and probably won’t stand up to much wear and tear.
Bestshoot Uni-Directional Condenser Microphone | Amazon's $23 Boom Mic 2019

3. Rode VideoMicro On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Plug-in Power (2V-5V DC), fed from camera
  • Weight: 1.44 ounces / 42g
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid 
  • Frequency Range: 100Hz -- 20kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 140dBSPL
  • Length: 3’ / 80mm

Package Contents

  • Rycote Lyre Shock Mount
  • Deluxe furry windshield
  • 3.5mm TRS patch cable

Rode is a well-known microphone brand that makes a variety of mics for different applications. You’ll see Rode in every “best of” microphone list online. The VideoMicro is a budget option from the company, but this one’s made specifically to be mounted on a DSLR camera. 

With a frequency response that rolls off at 100 Hz or so, this mic is definitely aimed at the voice-over/interview/vlogger market. So if that’s what you’re looking for -- this one’s a great pick. Since it’s a cardioid mic, there no rear pickup, and directional sound is also quite focused. 

On the downside, the output of this mic is relatively low. So in quiet environments or dialogues, this could definitely become an issue. 

I must also mention that this thing is tiny! Mounting this mic on your camera adds a negligible amount of additional weight. Great for those long days of doing handheld shots. 

Overall, the VideoMicro is a great budget option, with some limitations that may or may not be an issue for your productions.

Pros

  • Two year extended warranty
  • Simple setup
  • The included shock mount is quality and eliminates vibration-induced noise

Cons

  • Limited low-end frequency response
  • The level output is low
  • Not compatible with every camera
RODE VideoMicro Review (Unboxing, Features & Accessories)

4. Rode VideoMic Pro+ Directional On-Camera Microphone -- Best DSLR Shotgun Mic

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Plug-in Power, RØDE LB-1 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery, 2 x AA batteries or continuously via Micro USB
  • Weight: 4.3 ounces / 122g
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid 
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz -- 20kHz (selected HPF @75Hz/150Hz)
  • Maximum SPL: 133dBSPL
  • Length: 4.37’ / 111mm

Package Contents

  • Rycote Lyre suspension system
  • Windshield
  • LB-1 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Micro USB cable
  • Detachable 3.5mm TRS Cable

As the “Pro+” name suggests this mic is a significant step up from Rodes’s VideoMicro. It is packed full of pro features that address many of the shortcomings of other DSLR mounted microphones. 

It features an on-board pre-amplifier giving an extra 20dB of gain allowing you to capture a strong signal free of any noise issues. The numerous power options mean that regardless of your location, there are solutions to keep the show rolling. 

So directly out of the box, you are all set to get great recording results, whether that’s taking your vlog and interview setup to the next level, or getting out and about as a student filmmaker. If your budget is slightly higher -- The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is definitely worth considering. 

Pros

  • 1-year warranty with free extension to 10 years.
  • Very clean sound

Cons

  • Slight sound pick-up from the rear
  • Not cheap
Rode VideoMic Pro+ Review

5. Audio-Technica AT8035 shotgun microphone -- Best For Podcasts & Interviews

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Battery/Phantom
  • Weight: 6.0 ounces / 170g
  • Polar Pattern: Line + gradient 
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz -20,000 Hz
  • Maximum SPL: 98dB (Battery), 132dB (Phantom)
  • Length: 14.53″ / 369.0 mm

Package Contents

  • Stand Clamp for 5/8″-27 Threaded Stands
  • 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 Threaded Adapter
  • Windscreen
  • (1.5v AA/UM3) Battery
  • Protective Carrying Case

Audio-Technica is another quality brand that produces great products at every price range. The AT8035 is a great choice for documentary, film, and broadcast applications -- both indoors and outdoors

The AT8035 excels at picking up sound at a distance and has excellent off-axis rejection. The Switchable low-frequency roll-off is always a welcome feature. 

The mic is well-priced for what it offers, and you can be confident that you will get excellent results with this one. It’s overall an entry-level shotgun mic that’s capable of very acceptable results when used correctly.

Pros

  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Lightweight enough for long boom operated sessions
  • Versatile in every situation, focused pickup.

Cons

  • Bigger than some competitors
Audio-Technica AT8035 Shotgun Microphone Review / Test

6. Rode NTG2 Multi-Powered Condenser Shotgun Microphone

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Battery/Phantom
  • Weight: 5.17 ounces / 161g
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz -20,000 Hz (HPF @ 80Hz/12dB octave)
  • Maximum SPL: 131dB 
  • Length: 10.94″ / 280 mm

Package Contents

  • Microphone Clip
  • Padded Zip Pouch
  • Windshield

Rode NTG2 is similar to Audio-Technica AT8035 in price and features. It’s a good all-round entry-level shotgun mic that functions well in most situations, although it’s better for outside than indoor locations. 

Some will argue that this mic (and the audio-technica above) are semi-pro, but that comes down to your budget and needs. If you have a good preamp, it’s possible to get a pro-level sound out of this mic. 

Pros 

  • 10 year extended warranty
  • Lightweight
  • HPF switch

Cons

  • The pickup pattern is not as tight as the AT8035
  • Some reports that it doesn’t function well in extreme hot/cold weather conditions
Better Sound for Your Video: RØDE NTG-2 Review

7. Rode NTG3B Super-Cardioid Shotgun Microphone -- Professional Pick

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Phantom
  • Weight: 5.75 ounces / 163g
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz -20,000 Hz 
  • Maximum SPL: 130 dB
  • Length: 10″ / 255 mm

Package Contents

  • Durable aluminum storage cylinder
  • Foam windshield 
  • Padded Zip Pouch

We’re now entering the pro arena -- as we step up in price here, we also take a big jump in quality. While this mic is expensive compared to the models above, it overcomes some of the shortfalls of the mics already discussed

Like the Sennheiser MKE 600, Rode NTG3B can also be mounted on a camera or used as a boom mic. It has low self-handling noise, which is something that cheaper shotgun microphones usually struggle with. As you can expect for the price, the microphone records pristine audio and is versatile enough to be used in every film, TV and broadcast environment

Speaking of environments it is capable of producing excellent results in difficult, noisy environments and also performs very well in temperature extremes. This mic is highly recommended, and if it was a tad bit cheaper, we’d also move it up higher in the list. 

Pros

  • 10-year warranty
  • Very quiet
  • Light

Cons

  • Price
Rode NTG3 Shotgun Mic Review / Test

8. Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

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Specifications

  • Power requirements: Phantom
  • Weight: 5.76 ounces / 165g
  • Polar Pattern: Supercardioid/lobar. Hypercardioid at low and medium frequencies
  • Frequency Range: 40Hz -20,000 Hz 
  • Maximum SPL: 130 dB
  • Length:  9.84” / 250 mm

Package Contents

  • Foam windshield 
  • Padded Zip Pouch

Sennheiser MKH 416 is by far the most expensive shotgun mic in our list, but it is also an industry-standard professional shotgun microphone. You get pristine, clean full sound, excellent directivity, great design. No cons about this bad boy -- except the price. 

There are more expensive microphones, but this one’s at the top end of most people’s budgets. And frankly -- it’s perfect for nearly every situation. This microphone will get the job done in even the most complex situations, such as wildlife recording. 

Pros 

  • Excellent sound
  • Perfect for every application 
  • Very sensitive

Cons

  • Expensive
Do You Need a Sennheiser MKH-416?

Shotgun Microphone Buyer’s Guide 

When choosing the best shotgun microphone it all comes down to YOUR needs. While it’s best to test the mics before buying them, it takes a lot of time and is not always practical. That’s why we included the videos above to give you a rough idea of how the microphones will sound. 

That being said, here are some tips to help you choose the right mic for the task.

What’s the source of sound that you want to capture?

If you need to record interviews in an indoor controlled environment, any of the above mics will get the job done. Obviously, the cheaper microphones will have an overall lower audio quality, but if you’re a beginner, chances are that you won’t be able to tell it apart. 

If you’re recording wildlife, or doing professional TV interviews, you’ll need a higher-end mic. You can look at your mic’s frequency response and Max SPL specification to see if it’s able to adequately capture the source.

What is the distance from the mic to the source?

Are you indoors, outdoors, close up, or at a distance? This is where mic characteristics such as the length are important. In theory the longer the mic, the more off-axis rejection there is

Longer mics are better for when the source is further away, but they’re also more sensitive when positioning for a distant source and the size might not suit being mounted on a camera. Short mics are completely fine for interviews where directionality is not an issue.  Medium-length mics work well in most situations, so that’s a good place to start from if you’re a beginner. 

Cheap vs. Expensive Shotgun Mics

More expensive mics will have lower self-noise and produce a clearer, crisper, fuller sound. They also tend to deal with off-axis sound better, coloring the sound less and better capturing the source as it sounds in location. 

Reading The Specs

Reading and understanding specifications of audio equipment can sometimes be a challenge so you often avoid it. Luckily enough microphone specification sheets are not the worst. The main parameters of a microphone you need to take note of, understand, and which are relevant are;

  • Frequency Response
  • Max SPL
  • Polar/Pickup Pattern
  • Length
  • Self-noise
  • Power requirements

Shotgun Mic Accessories

With some of the microphones intended to be mounted on a camera, you will need to check what accessories are available to attach it to your camera. The price of these can also be a factor when choosing a microphone. 

Accessories, in general, are something you will need to consider. The mic by itself will not be enough, particularly if you intend to record outside. Apart from the obvious mic holder and boom pole, depending on the environmental conditions you are definitely going to need some wind protection. Wind noise on a mic can destroy your recordings so protection is an absolute must.

Final thoughts

Choosing the best shotgun mic can be a challenge. Hopefully, the information provided here can shed some light on some options that are available. 

At the end of the day, all of the mics listed here -- yes, even the bestshoot $22 mic -- can produce satisfactory results if used properly. Obviously, if you are doing a wildlife documentary the demands are going to be higher. But for the most part, your budget is going to be your biggest constraint. 

And don’t worry if you have to start out with a cheaper model. Anyone can get great results with pro equipment, but what you learn and have to fight to get with budget gear pays off in the long run. And as your productions improve, and hopefully your earnings, you will be able to invest and upgrade.