Best Budget Shotgun Microphones for 2022


budget shotgun mic lg

In order to separate subjects from background noise, shotgun microphones are designed to be extremely directional, ultra-sensitive, and have a small recording angle. But there are a lot of choices when you look. So what is the best budget shotgun mic?

The best budget microphone is the Rode VideoMic Go, as it offers a great balance between quality and affordability.

If you’re on a limited budget and don’t mind doing a little more post-production effort to eliminate the Rode VideoMic Go’s high self-noise, it’s one of the best options. If not, you should check for microphones with low self-noise.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

The best shotgun microphones may record distant sound, natural sound at a podium when someone is giving a speech, or even record solo or group musicians performing.

But don’t worry. That’s not the only option, and it might not be the best choice for your situation. So below, I’ll get into all of the FAQs so you can pick the very best one for you!

How much does a shotgun mic cost?

Shotgun mics average $50 in the budget category, $80 in the middle-price tier, and $200 for higher-end microphones. 

So that means budget shotgun microphones range in price points of about $30 to $60. These are either simple standalone mics that are easy to use or basic versions with limited settings.

This price is largely dependent on the overall quality of the microphone.

While low cost doesn’t always mean bad quality, expect to spend more if you wish to have a shotgun mic that offers higher audio quality and greater features.

They typically do not include a carrying case, much alone a mounting kit, given their affordable price. You can find decent boom microphones around this price range if you’re on a tight budget.

Now when it comes to mid-range shotgun mics, they usually range between $70 and $100. These microphones offer decent sound effects quality, and certain models come with extra accessories. In this price range, you can find yourself some good shotgun mic.

The highest quality shotgun microphones cost between $150 and $300. The majority of these are premium mics with top-notch construction and a staggering amount of internal processing that boosts sensitivity.

At this relatively expensive price range, you can even acquire professional shotgun microphones. Thus, the best shotgun microphones in terms of performance usually fall in this price range.

Why are they called shotgun mics?

The body of the microphone is fashioned like the shotgun barrel, hence the name “shotgun”. Just like a shotgun, the microphone must be directed squarely at its intended target source in order to get the intended audio sources.

A shotgun microphone is a highly directional device that, in order to record sound properly, must be directed precisely at its intended sound source. Unidirectional microphones are used by shotgun mics to produce this intense focus on the sound source.

Due to the fact that they employ unidirectional microphones, they are able to pick up sound well when it is coming from directly in front of the mic but start to pick up back and side noise less effectively.

Shotgun microphones have the benefit of focusing squarely on the sound source in front and capturing the sound with high gain while recording any additional background sounds extremely weakly or not at all.

This has the benefit of just picking up the sound the user wants to hear right in front of it while ignoring any other ambient noises that could be present in the surrounding area.

Since all other sounds will be suppressed and the sound source is in a fixed location, shotgun microphones are often employed in applications where just the sound directly in front of the microphone needs to be captured.

Can you get a good shotgun mic for under $100?

Yes, you can definitely get yourself a good shotgun mic with a budget below $100. Below is my personal recommendation.

Rode VideoMic Go

The cheapest shotgun microphone on this list is the Rode VideoMic Go from Amazon.

It comes at a 34dB self-noise, which means there will be some hissing in the recording. With the use of noise reduction plugins, this noise may be brought down to a manageable level, but this requires an additional stage in the post-production process.

If you’re on a limited budget and don’t mind doing a little more post-production effort to eliminate the Rode VideoMic Go’s high self-noise, it’s one of the best options. If not, you should check for microphones with low self-noise.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

Do they make a cheap shotgun mic for phones?

If you’re on a budget, you can still get a decent shotgun mic at a reasonable price for your mobile phone. The Rode VideoMicro is an excellent example.

Rode VideoMicro

The aluminum body of the Rode VideoMicro on Amazon comes in a compact size, making it perfect for mobile devices.

The cardioid condenser microphone capsule integration is one of its unique characteristics, making way for the product’s directional microphone design. Therefore, it’s great at reducing ambient noise. It also offers a great pickup, which offers a realistic sound that you will undoubtedly like.

With a variety of the aforementioned capabilities, Rode VideoMicro guarantees to give unmatched high-quality sound, regardless of usage circumstances.

The Rode VideoMicro’s synthetic fur windshield and unique suspension architecture will operate to their greatest potential even when used outside. As a result, the device can manage noise well, providing customers with the optimal recording setting.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

What’s the difference between a cheap shotgun mic and an expensive microphone?

Of course, you cannot expect the same quality from a shotgun that’s affordable versus a premium-priced one.

The dynamic range of the microphone will be one of the main reasons for the price difference and the most obvious features when comparing inexpensive and costly microphones.

In particular, the degree of faithfulness a microphone exhibits when recording between its strongest (max SPL) and weakest (noise floor) signals. The more information you are able to collect, the less information you will lose and the more you will have to work with during post-production.

Next, you have to consider the frequency range. Typically, the range increases with microphone quality. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the human ear can only hear a low-frequency noise between 20Hz and 20kHz for individuals who prefer less expensive audio solutions. A low-cut filter can also be used to further minimize low-frequency sounds.

Another consideration is the Max SPL which is the maximum sound pressure level that a mic’s electronics can tolerate before distortion occurs.

This is a crucial specification for many applications, as the microphone needs to be able to handle the loud noises it may encounter. More expensive shotgun mics will have a higher max SPL than cheaper options.

Shotgun mics also have a great reach. When you have to record from a distance, this is quite helpful. These microphones frequently aid in isolating and recording sound originating from a greater distance because of their long tube and narrow pickup patterns.

In spite of this, shotgun microphones do not “zoom” in on sound the way cameras, such as mirrorless cameras and compact digital cameras, do on actors. While less costly, shotgun microphones can only record sound at a distance of three to four feet. The most expensive ones can record audio from up to a distance of six to ten feet.

What makes a microphone expensive?

The first thing to consider is manufacturing. A high-end microphone manufacturer goes through several intricate steps to make them.

Expensive microphones require more time and skilled expertise to produce high-quality results.

Each component involved in producing the best quality must be equipped with cutting-edge technology. The use of top-notch technology necessitates the use of pricey, complicated equipment. Therefore, the costlier it is to produce them, the higher the market cost will be.

The raw materials for a microphone might vary depending on its function. For instance, a premium dynamic microphone like the Shure VP89M is a good option for live shows.

The materials utilized in its production are only intended to project high-quality audio because its primary application is for voice projection, such as singing.

The price of the microphone is significantly influenced by the brand. Microphones from industry-standard brands hold higher price tags, such as the Shure VP83F, Sennheiser MKH, Røde Videomic NTG, Audio Technica AT897, and Audio-Technica AT875R. Meanwhile, those from average brands come at lower prices.

Moreover, the greater the range of the microphone, the better it performs.

Microphones with higher frequency responses have a greater range. If the frequency response of the microphone is high, you can expect that it will cost more than its standard competitors.

What is the difference between a boom mic and a shotgun mic?

Shotgun mics have a hyper-cardioid polar pattern or lobar polar pattern, which means that most ambient background noise and undesirable off-axis sounds will be rejected.

This polar pattern allows for crisp and clear recording while eliminating most of the unwanted noise in the background that conventional omnidirectional microphones frequently pick up. Therefore, shotgun mics are the best choice for specific purposes of voice recording in films, live streams, and Youtube videos.

They can also be attached to the camera’s hot shoe, but they may also be affixed to a video camera rig, mic stand, tripod, or at the end portion of the boom pole. Most filmmakers use the Rycote Lyre Shock Mount for its industry-standard quality.

Now, what about the boom mic? You might have already seen a film shoot where there are long microphones pointing just above the actors—these are the boom mics. The mics themselves are basically the same; the only difference is the application.

When put on the boom pole, a camera shotgun microphone—which is frequently attached to the pole for its ability to do off-axis rejection of background noise—effectively converts into a “boom mic.”

Another benefit of employing a shotgun mic in this situation is that the operator is not required to be close to the actor without sacrificing audio quality. This enables the boom operator to shield the microphone from the view of the camera.

On film sets, a boom mic operator must be very agile, especially if shooting outside with an actor who may be moving around a lot. This is because they must keep the mic in the proper position relative to the actor the entire time to get a consistent sound.

Additionally, you may have observed shotgun microphones being used for face-to-face interviews, frequently with the interviewer seated across from their subject. Each participant usually has a shotgun microphone fixed on a boom, aiming directly at them.

They can frequently be kept out of shot while still sounding excellent, thanks to the shotgun mic’s capabilities.

Take note that there is also another variant in the form of a short shotgun microphone which can be useful when the situation calls for a minimized length. This is, however, less directional than the typical shotgun mic.

Which is the best shotgun microphone?

Here are our top picks if you’re looking for the best shotgun mic for you.

Sennheiser MKE600

One of the best microphones in its class is the MKE600 by Sennheiser on Amazon. It is entirely made of metal construction, has a tough, long-lasting finish, but weighs only 128g.

It can be powered by in-camera preamps without any problems, as well as by phantom power from the recording device and a single AA battery. It utilizes an XLR cable as well.

This is also a better option for those who are always on the go as it offers a battery on/off switch to allow you to conserve energy and lengthen the rechargeable battery’s life.

To ensure that you are never caught off guard, it even has a low battery level indicator that glows when the power source is running low. A low-cut switch reduces handling and wind noise, and the microphone is made to be interference-resistant.

One thing to take note of is that the MKE600 doesn’t have any moisture-resistance feature so ensure to take extra caution in environments with high humidity.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

Rode VideoMic Pro

The Rode VideoMic Go is a little bigger and heavier than the Rode VideoMic Go on Amazon.

The size and style of this shotgun mic are identical, but it comes with added functions for those who want more versatility and recordings with higher frequencies.

Two switches to adjust performance are located on the back, and these can change the output gain (-10, 0, or +20 dB), as well as whether the response is flat or has a low-frequency cut. If you want to set your mic so that it only catches sound above a certain frequency, you can use a high-pass filter.

It also has outstanding battery power and high sensitivity.

The sound quality is superb, with flat response throughout speech frequencies and rich tonality in the 40Hz–20KHz range. The impressively low noise floor is equivalent to the Boya BY-M1 lav mic, so only those who are really picky will be bothered by the slight hiss that the mic produces.

The included foam windscreen protects the microphone, but to stop wind noise outside, a furry wind jammer is required.

Putting this aside, the VideoMic Pro is a superb microphone whose features and performance more than make up for its cost.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

Rode VideoMic GO Shotgun Microphone Review

Conclusion

Shotgun mics are incredible equipment when used for the right purposes. Whether you’re filming a professional film or creating your YouTube content, shotgun mics can help elevate the quality of your work.

In this article, we covered the different things you should know before buying your microphone.

Our top recommendation for the best shotgun mic under $100 is the Rode VideoMic Go. But if you’re willing to spend extra cash for an increase in quality, you can never go wrong with the Sennheiser MKE600 and Rode VideoMic Pro.

Whichever one you choose to get, these shotgun mics will undoubtedly elevate the audio quality of your projects. Enjoy!


Image by vanleuven0 from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Hi, I'm Jeff Campbell, a former DJ, music journalist, musician, and music lover. I'm old enough to have seen all the cool bands and young enough to still remember them.

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