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Affordable Shotgun Mic Recommendations
Old 11th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
sgmw's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Affordable Shotgun Mic Recommendations

Hey,

I have recently done a bit of audio work for a film and want to get some better gear for location recording.

After much research I chose the Sound Devices 702T recorder, which took up a great deal of my budget. I now need to buy at least one shotgun mic.

I will be mainly recording actors or live discussions for documentaries. I want to spend only around 300-500 USD if possible.

I have heard various reports of the Rode NG1, AKG C568B and Senn ME66 mics and I am concerned that they might not do the recorder justice.

Any recommendations of these or other mics around this price range?

Thanks a lot.
Old 11th September 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Jaymz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A Rode NTG-3 is top quality for the money.
Old 11th September 2012
  #3
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
ME66 are great, AT have some nice SGs (good enough for the Olympics into Digico's). I think the Rode's are a bit harsh and cheap sounding
Old 11th September 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgmw ➑️
Hey,

I have recently done a bit of audio work for a film and want to get some better gear for location recording.

After much research I chose the Sound Devices 702T recorder, which took up a great deal of my budget. I now need to buy at least one shotgun mic.

I will be mainly recording actors or live discussions for documentaries. I want to spend only around 300-500 USD if possible.

I have heard various reports of the Rode NG1, AKG C568B and Senn ME66 mics and I am concerned that they might not do the recorder justice.

Any recommendations of these or other mics around this price range?

Thanks a lot.
If you don't need a true long shotgun, an Oktava MK012 (MC012) with a hypercardioid capsule might work. It is often used in film work, and is a good value. Disclaimer: I only have the cardioid and omni caps for my pair, so I am not speaking from firsthand experience here. The availability of multiple capsules makes this a versatile choice, if your mic locker is small at the moment.

If you go the Oktava route, watch out for Chinese fakes.

And, I am enjoying the thread title; the last time I shot gum was probably in grade school, out of a straw. heh
Old 11th September 2012
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Sennheiser have a new short gun mic., the MKE 600 - I saw it at PLASA yesterday.

It looks a bit like a K6+ME66 together, but it is definitely different as the switches are different.

May be worth a look.
Old 11th September 2012
  #6
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The K6 + ME66 route is just as flexible as the Oktava, and sounds just great in all configurations. I have both.
Old 11th September 2012
  #7
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Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The Sennheiser K6/ME55 combination is a good cheap option as is the Rode. Also Audio Technica have some good cheap options for shotguns. My view is that they are all much of a muchness until you have the budget to get into things like the Sennheiser MKH 416 and above.
Old 11th September 2012
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I have an NTG-1, but it's what you get to throw on the camera so that it has at least some audio going, otherwise it's completely unusable indoors and just kinda OK outdoors.

NTG-3 is a whole different beast, and I agree about the MKH 416, you get that mic and you won't ever need another shotgun for a long while. Again, shotguns are really mostly effective outdoors and at noisy venues (pro tip: try booming from below in noisy public areas, works wonders), but depending on the room, the reverb is going to make the shotguns sound like crap.

A hyper or super cardioid might be much more flexible for you, so see if you can't try out some of these mics for yourself and then decide, take your 702 to a store that has mics on display and make some recordings with all of them.
Old 11th September 2012
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
The Senn K6/ME66 is a decent option. I have 4 and they are fine. They have a pretty good output level and are relatively durable. Being modular they are quite flexible: I have the ME-66 capsules and the MKE-2 omni lav capsules. There is also a long shotgun capsule (ME-67) and the ME-65 cardioid capsule.

Sennheiser USA - K-6 Series

Additionally these mics will run on a single AA battery or with phantom power.

They are not the best sounding shotgun. They do not sound like MKH-416's. But they cost considerably less and are often available used.

Regards;
Danny
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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The Listener's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland ➑️
The Sennheiser K6/ME55 combination is a good cheap option as is the Rode. Also Audio Technica have some good cheap options for shotguns. My view is that they are all much of a muchness until you have the budget to get into things like the Sennheiser MKH 416 and above.
Does that count Rode NTG-3, too?

Because I was surprised how good those are. But not so inexpensive either. Sound-wise I would say the same ballpark as MKH416, just slightly different, but I wouldn't say "worse".

Then again - I am not so experienced with being boom pole recordist or whatever it is called, only do it on occasion and don't own any shotguns, just borrow them when I need them. I was completely satisfied with NTG-3, didn't wish for anything better when I used them.

I would also second the idea of booming from below when possible - I got much better dialogue sound for one documentary micing from below the interviewees and we were in in the fields with tractors, in industrial halls, in the train stations, school halls, etc. NTG-3 worked great everywhere, even indoors.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
In my limited experience the Rode's tend to have a slightly "thick" sound, nothing wrong in that, however, as one poster said in a previous thread about shotguns for location sound, "the MKH 416 is the sound of voices on film". It's pretty much accepted that things like the MKH60 and the Scheopes and Neumann are probably better quality, but again they are not the same sound.
Old 11th September 2012
  #12
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
More news about the new Sennheiser MKE 600 - it was launched at IBC last week.

Supposed to be about Β£250 I think and has a warmer sound than the old K6/ME66.

Sounds very nice and very affordable.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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The Listener's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland ➑️
In my limited experience the Rode's tend to have a slightly "thick" sound, nothing wrong in that, however, as one poster said in a previous thread about shotguns for location sound, "the MKH 416 is the sound of voices on film". It's pretty much accepted that things like the MKH60 and the Scheopes and Neumann are probably better quality, but again they are not the same sound.
Yes, MKH416 is a great "standard" mic. Regarding NTG-3 "thickness" - I guess I like that - sounds full and nice, "serious"... especially cool for documentaries...

I'm not sure I would be more satisfied with the cheaper Sennheiser ME66, purely judging from some videos (people do watch documentaries on youtube, so it is a viable testing environment, too ) It sounds rather "hollow" and midrangey:

Sennheiser ME66 Vs Rode NTG-3 - Shotgun Mic Indoor Comparison #1 - Small Bedroom - YouTube

I liked MKH416 when I had it here on loan - it was a really cool mic that just simply - WORKS. I also had this worm in my head that it has to be better than Rode for awhile, but I got rid of it later.

NTG-3 was equally great, so I wouldn't hesitate buying it... Anything lesser would just "do", but not be so great and unproblematic - I love it when you just aim the mic at the subject and you don't need to worry that dialogue would sound "PRO"... as you have with some cheapish shotguns... and that's the main point why I asked if NTG-3 is included in that statement, because NTG-3 gave me the same confidence that I will achieve a PRO result as MKH416, while I know that some cheap shotguns can't give me that.

A comparison of MKH416 and ME66: Mic Test MKH 416 vs ME66/K6 vs Azden SGM 1X - YouTube

I would say ME66 is no match for 416.

MKH416 and RODE NTG-3 : Sennheiser MKH 416 vs. RODE NTG-3 - YouTube

I could live with either.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamboon ➑️
ME66 are great, AT have some nice SGs (good enough for the Olympics into Digico's). I think the Rode's are a bit harsh and cheap sounding
Complete misinformation - if we speak of Rode NTG-3... sounds full, smooth and ballsy. Even from some distance... a really cool mic.

Your statement would be more appropriate for ME66.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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Earcatcher's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaymz ➑️
A Rode NTG-3 is top quality for the money.
This is the best answer you got, as long as you can't afford the really expensive ones. I use the NTG-3 along with Schoeps CMIT 5U and CMC6MK41. NTG-3 will do your SD702T justice.
Old 11th September 2012
  #16
Gear Nut
 
sgmw's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks a lot everyone for all the suggestions.

I live in NZ and it is pretty much impossible to test a range of mics before buying them here, so I really appreciate the advice of experienced users.

I already have a pair of Rode NT5s and a pair of AKG 414 XLS so I should be ok for cardiod condensers when I need them.

The Rode NTG-3 sounds like it will give me the best value for money. I would also like to give the Senn MKH 600 a try but I am unlikely to be able to get hold of one.
Old 11th September 2012
  #17
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jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
"Shotgum" - that's funny.
i would go with the senn, or perhaps the akg blueline.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener ➑️
Yes, MKH416 is a great "standard" mic. Regarding NTG-3 "thickness" - I guess I like that - sounds full and nice, "serious"... especially cool for documentaries...

I'm not sure I would be more satisfied with the cheaper Sennheiser ME66, purely judging from some videos (people do watch documentaries on youtube, so it is a viable testing environment, too ) It sounds rather "hollow" and midrangey:
I think that is a fair assessment, however, I would point out that "midrangey" isn't necessarily a bad thing, with television dialogue, it needs to "cut" through and the ME66 will do that. For me it's biggest problem is that it has a slight HF bump that I can hear, not present in the MKH 416. The Rode has a slight "chesty" sounding midrange, not something that is easy to eq out, and it might not cut enough to come through well on TV speakers. The 416 offers possibly the best compromise, however it is a lot more money.

This test is not a good one to make any judgements on, for one he is very close and the microphones are laying against a duvet that will likely have an effect on the sound,

Quote:
I liked MKH416 when I had it here on loan - it was a really cool mic that just simply - WORKS. I also had this worm in my head that it has to be better than Rode for awhile, but I got rid of it later.
I don't think it's a worm in your head, it works better for dialogue, period, the thickness to the Rode would have to be EQ'd out in post, you could use the sound of the 416 flat.

Quote:
NTG-3 was equally great, so I wouldn't hesitate buying it... Anything lesser would just "do", but not be so great and unproblematic - I love it when you just aim the mic at the subject and you don't need to worry that dialogue would sound "PRO"... as you have with some cheapish shotguns... and that's the main point why I asked if NTG-3 is included in that statement, because NTG-3 gave me the same confidence that I will achieve a PRO result as MKH416, while I know that some cheap shotguns can't give me that.
I would agree, I own a ME66 and that's another ok compromise.

Quote:
A comparison of MKH416 and ME66: Mic Test MKH 416 vs ME66/K6 vs Azden SGM 1X - YouTube

I would say ME66 is no match for 416.
I prefer the 416 too.

Quote:
MKH416 and RODE NTG-3 : Sennheiser MKH 416 vs. RODE NTG-3 - YouTube

I could live with either.
He's very close in on the frame, in the real world you don't get to boom 8 inches from the talent often, that's closer than you can get with a omni lav!

Booming from 3-4ft is quite usual, then the comparisons become very much different.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgmw ➑️
I would also like to give the Senn MKH 600 a try but I am unlikely to be able to get hold of one.
Why?

Just give Syntec in New Zealand a ring.

Oh - and it's an MKE 600.

Info HERE, HERE and HERE.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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The Listener's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland ➑️


He's very close in on the frame, in the real world you don't get to boom 8 inches from the talent often, that's closer than you can get with a omni lav!

Booming from 3-4ft is quite usual, then the comparisons become very much different.
All good and informed points. Regarding this last one - I must really praise the NTG-3 again - I was mostly booming from that distance - 3 - 4 ft. - I guess that's approximately half meter to one meter away... And it sounded great from that distance. It even sounds good a bit further away, but too far away the dialogue gets that slightly tiny quality that I don't like for the interviews if I can avoid it. (that's the same with any mic)

Something that I like in NTG-3 is also a bit wider pattern than MKH-416 and it can sound more natural sometimes and a bit easier to point at the source - a bit more forgiving for the boom operator. Especially if you only do it occasionally.

I can see what you mean with the "chesty" midrange - although I like that sound, but some comments I read around here (not in this thread, except one) about harsh, etc. are completely wrong... maybe they meant NTG-1 or NTG-2 if they exhibit those "qualities", but I don't know those other Rode mics... I just know NTG-3 which really sounds very similar to MKH416, just a bit more "chesty" and it captures a bit wider. But it sounds PRO from my firsthand experience and from the clips of others I heard - which I don't feel about the ME66 audio clips I heard, but I'm sure it has some use in the right hands...
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
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Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I would quite happily use the ME66 on a small unimportant piece, or a amateur film, however, for a paid job, I'd be MKH416, MKH60, Neumann, Schoepes, you get the picture.

The NTG is certainly not edgy or harsh, possibly it could do with a little more edge, however, it's a pleasing sound. Again for a pro production I would be going more up-market, however for small news and othe bit's I'm sure it would work well.
Old 13th September 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Used MKH 416 go for about Β£300
Sensible investment and bulletproof.
Old 14th September 2012
  #23
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Grummy77's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
At some pointing the next while I'll be getting a shotgun. After a bunch of research on line and checking out videos and specs my decision is between getting an NTG3 sooner or saving up longer and getting an MKH60. Personally from clips I've heard I prefer the sound of the NTG3 over the 416. I find the 416 thin. Which can work great for a lot of stuff and many experienced post mixers are used to it's sound. I think that's the reason it's here to stay. I'd rather have a fuller sound recorded and have the option to thin it out if that's what I need. But if you are jut delivering for someone else to mix the 416 is a safe bet.

If I'm going to spend more than $1000 then hands down I'll grab a MKH60. Insanely low noise and high sensitivity for a shotgun. It'll work great for film, docs, foley, and even the quietest nature recording.

Another reason I like the idea of the NTG3 for out in the field is I wouldn't need to worry about it as much. Replacement cost is minimal by comparison should it get damaged/stolen/lost, and it still yields pro results. Also they have a video on their site where a guy tests it right after having it sit in a freezer for something like three hours. I live in Canada so for me that sort of test speaks volumes.

Also for the price of a new 416 I could get an NTG3 plus a rode blimp/handle and wind protection for it. All things I will need any ways.

I once rented a 416 and for small indoor rooms I totally preferred my Joly Modded MK012 with hypercardioid cap. But that mic is so sensitive to wind that it needed some wind protection just so I could move the boom without picking that up. The 416 (in a small residential home) seemed to accentuate the reflections off the walls. Not ideal. From what I've read that's common for using shotguns in such environments. I'm guessing the NTG3 and the MKH60 would yield similar results. Although if they have wider patterns with a more even off axis response it might not be as harsh.

Take all that with a grain of salt though. I will use whatever shotgun I get for outdoor/ large space location sound but, I also plan to use it for foley, SFX, and even some nature recording. Quieter specs and more natural full sound wins for me. From what I've heard and read, NTG3 is not only superior to the 416 but also cheaper. But if I'm going to get serious it's the MKH60.

For the work I do I'm usually doing my own post. I have no problem using a little EQ after the fact. I'd prolly be doing it with the 416 anyways.
Old 14th September 2012
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
I would choose a second hand MKH-416: it will last ages and it will sound great. Buy the real thing if you can.
Old 14th September 2012
  #25
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grummy77 ➑️
At some pointing the next while I'll be getting a shotgun. After a bunch of research on line and checking out videos and specs my decision is between getting an NTG3 sooner or saving up longer and getting an MKH60.
Personally, nowadays, I would go for the MKH 8060 over the old MKH 60 - it's better and, I think, also cheaper.
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
Jaymz's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett ➑️
Personally, nowadays, I would go for the MKH 8060 over the old MKH 60 - it's better and, I think, also cheaper.
Said he doesn't like the 416 though. The 8060 is much more like a 416 or a 60 with the High-Boost switch on. That said, I love it!
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grummy77 ➑️
I find the 416 thin.
I wonder if you have a bad connection or a half pair somewhere in your signal chain. 416's certainly never appear "thin"

Regards;
Danny
Old 15th September 2012
  #28
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Grummy77's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyL ➑️
I wonder if you have a bad connection or a half pair somewhere in your signal chain. 416's certainly never appear "thin"

Regards;
Danny
Tis possible, it was a beat up old rental. Perhaps I should give another one a try.
Old 15th September 2012
  #29
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Grummy77's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett ➑️
Personally, nowadays, I would go for the MKH 8060 over the old MKH 60 - it's better and, I think, also cheaper.
The 8060 is in fact a little cheaper. What exactly is supposed to be better about the 8060? The main reason the MKH60 appeals to me is it's incredible low noise and high sensitivity ratings. It's the go to for nature recordists for this reason. On paper the MKH60 reads to have much better specs. Perhaps I'm missing something though.
Old 16th September 2012
  #30
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
Twenty five bucks is hard to resist.
There can not use that either.
You buy aluminum tube with a battery holder, and the rest in the trash.
πŸ“ Reply

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