Shotgun Microphones

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What is a shotgun microphone?

A shotgun is a long, cylindrical microphone that excels at picking up sounds in front of it, while rejecting sounds to the sides and rear. Shotguns are designed to have a narrower focus than an average microphone. Shotgun microphones do a great job of picking up the frequencies the human voice produces. Their sound grabbing and voice-capturing abilities make them a great choice for picking up on-camera dialog.

When would I use a shotgun microphone?

Shotgun microphones are most commonly used when you cannot position a microphone directly in front of a sound source. For example, if someone is speaking in front of a video camera and you don’t want them to hold an interview microphone up to their mouth, having an off-screen shotgun mic is a great option. Shotguns are commonly used in film and video production, as well as in live theater, sound reinforcement and in the creation of sound effects. Shotgun mics reject a certain percentage of ambient noise, but retain enough to render a richness that sounds natural. 

Do shotgun microphones have any downsides?

A shotgun microphone’s ability to reject ambient sound is frequency dependent; meaning that they do a good job of rejecting high and midrange frequencies, but they don’t reject bass frequencies as well.

Most shotgun microphones have a “rear lobe” in the back: they pick up sound primarily in the front, but they also pick up a little sound from the rear. If you have a shotgun microphone mounted on a video camera, the camera operator needs to be aware that the mic will pick up the sounds they make as well. Another example is when a boom operator is hoisting a shotgun microphone up near a ceiling. They need to be mindful of ducts and other fixtures that may be creating noise behind the mic, as well as to listen for sound reflections that may be creating an unnatural ambience.

As mentioned before, shotgun microphones do a good job of picking up the mid frequencies of the vocal range, but they’re not the best choice for recording musical instruments and other more dynamic sounds.  

How is a shotgun different from other kinds of microphones?

The thing that really makes a shotgun different from other kinds of microphones is its long “interference tube.” It’s basically a long, vented tube that‘s positioned in front of the microphone capsule. The length of the interference tube is usually an indicator of how much “reach” a shotgun microphone has; the longer the interference tube, the more focused it will be, but it will not amplify a very distant sound. One downside to longer interference tubes is that they often strip away the natural quality of the sound. However, this is not a rule. Some higher-quality long shotguns capture great-sounding audio.

Does a shotgun microphone “zoom” into a sound?

People often assume that a shotgun microphone is a “zoom microphone.” This is not the case. Shotgun microphones do not actively chase sounds. They are not the audio equivalent of a photographic telephoto lens. Even though shotgun microphones do an above-average job of picking up sounds that originate from a short distance away, they all sound better when they’re physically close to the sound source. That’s why a skilled boompole operator will always strive to get the shotgun microphone as close as possible to the sound source, which often means hovering right at the edge of the frame of a shot.

What is the best way to position a shotgun microphone?

The ideal position for a shotgun microphone is as close to the speaking person’s mouth (or other sound source) as possible. If a shotgun is more than three feet away, the audio will start to sound distant. The farther away the shotgun is, the more distant and reverberant the audio will become. That’s why one of the biggest challenges you face when using a shotgun microphone is getting it as close as possible to the sound source. That’s why boompoles, pistol grips and boompole C-stand mounts are all regularly used.

Can I mount a shotgun microphone to my camera?

Mounting a good shotgun microphone to a video camera is usually a smart idea, simply because the mics that are built into camera usually don’t sound too good. The improvement in sound quality over the built-in mics is great, but it’s important to understand that any sound source which isn’t directly in front of the camera is still going to sound far away, even when you use a high-quality shotgun microphone. The challenge of keeping the audio clear and intelligible for your audience is a constant one, and there is no set-it-and-forget-it solution.

What is “handling noise” and how do I avoid it?

When you mount a shotgun microphone to anything (be it a camera, a boompole or otherwise), you have to be really mindful of vibration and “handling noise.” Shotgun microphones are very sensitive. When you mount one to a camera, it will pick up the sounds of your hands as they support and adjust controls on the camera. Therefore it's necessary to use a piece of equipment called a “shock mount” to attach the microphone. A shock mount suspends the microphone with rubber bands (or utilizes similar kinds of suspension systems), which eliminates most of the vibration and handling noise the mic would otherwise pick up.

We strongly recommend that you use a dedicated shock-mount accessory to fasten a shotgun to a camera, as opposed to using the microphone clamps that are sometimes built in. The microphone clamps built into cameras do not provide enough suspension for higher-quality shotgun microphones, and your audio will be riddled with unwanted noise if you don’t use a proper shock mount.

How does a shotgun microphone connect to a camera?

There are essentially two kinds of shotgun microphones: consumer and professional. Consumer shotgun microphones connect with a 3.5mm mini-plug jack. Professional shotgun microphones connect with a three-pin XLR jack. If you’re connecting a shotgun microphone to a camera, it’s really important to determine what kind of microphone input your camera has, so that you know which microphones will be compatible.

Does a shotgun microphone need power to operate?

Most shotgun microphones have “condenser” elements which are responsible for picking up the sound. This kind of microphone element requires power to operate. Some condenser microphones require a battery, while others need to draw power from the device into which they’re plugged.

Consumer and professional shotgun microphones that don’t operate on battery power require different kinds of external power. Non-battery powered consumer shotgun microphones require the camera or device they’re plugging into to provide them with “Plug-In Power.” Non-battery powered professional shotgun microphones require the camera or device they’re plugging into to provide them with “Phantom Power.”

What is “Plug-In Power” and why would I need it?

Plug-in Power is a small electrical charge that travels through the cable to power the microphone. It’s exclusive to consumer microphones that connect with 3.5mm jacks. Plug-In Power is typically something that you don’t even have to think about. You plug in the microphone, and if the input supplies Plug-In Power, the microphone will operate and that’s it. However, not all 3.5mm mic inputs supply Plug-In Power. If a device has a 3.5mm mic input but lacks Plug-In Power, a non-battery powered consumer microphone will not work in this input.  

What is “Phantom Power” and why would I need it?

When the device that a professional shotgun is plugged into is supplying it with electricity, the charge is referred to as “phantom power.” Many professional video cameras that feature XLR mic inputs will also feature phantom power. Because only certain kinds of microphones require phantom power, the camera will also have a switch to turn it on and off. Phantom power is also commonly found on audio mixers and computer audio interfaces. Phantom power tends to intimidate beginners because it just sounds spooky. Fear not. Using phantom power is about as complicated as flipping a light switch to turn on a table lamp. Besides being called phantom power, it is also referred to as “+48V.”

What is “wind protection” and why do I need it?

The term “wind protection” applies to any additional accessories that are designed to keep wind and drafts of air from distorting your audio. Using robust wind protection is absolutely necessary for outdoor shooting. Remember, shotgun microphones are very sensitive. If one is exposed to wind, the shotgun won’t be damaged but the audio it picks up will be terribly distorted.

Every shotgun microphone comes with a basic foam windscreen, but this isn't enough protection for outdoor use. Purchasing additional heavy-duty wind protection is critically important. Even a gentle breeze on a calm day will distort the audio that an under-protected shotgun microphone picks up. There are many names for different kinds of wind protection: wind jammers, softies, dead cats, smoothies, blimps, zeppelins, etc. When you’re estimating the budget of a complete shotgun microphone rig, it’s strongly advised that you factor in the cost of buying proper wind protection.   

Are there any controls to adjust on a shotgun microphone?

Some (but not all) shotgun microphones will feature a miniature switch or two. On professional shotgun microphones the switches are almost always recessed into the cylindrical body of the mic. The switches on consumer shotgun microphones aren’t always recessed, and are sometimes found on the rear or base of the microphone.

What is a “Low Cut” switch, and why would I use it?

The most common switch on a shotgun mic is a filter. The filter is sometimes referred to as a “High Pass Filter” or a “Low Cut” switch. These are both the same thing. When this switch is engaged, the activated filter will remove low frequencies from the audio that the mic outputs. Low frequencies are often undesirable, and they’re usually unnecessary for dialog.

A shotgun microphone will pick up more low frequencies than you can hear in any given location. For example, a shotgun will sometimes capture the rumble of distant vehicles, and unnaturally deep sounding footsteps. These sounds can be really distracting to a viewer on normal speakers, and the subwoofers in surround sound systems make it far worse. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to engage the low cut filter if your shotgun mic features one.

What is a “Pad” switch, and why would I use it?

Another common switch is a “pad.” A pad simply makes a microphone less sensitive to loud noises (or in layman’s terms, it turns down the volume of the mic). If you’re using a shotgun microphone in a noisy location such as an active factory or a live band performance, it’s usually a good idea to engage the pad switch. You just need to be mindful to disengage it when the loud noises stop; otherwise the output of the microphone will be unnecessarily low.

Why would I need a switch that allows me to increase the volume?

A few shotgun microphones give you the option to increase the sensitivity of the mic (or in layman’s terms, turn up the volume of the mic). This can be useful if you’re using the shotgun in a really quiet location, where distant sounds are barely audible. You’re more likely to capture quiet sounds if you can boost the sensitivity of the mic.

If the camera or recording device that you’re plugging into allows you to turn down the input level manually, boosting the sensitivity of the shotgun microphone can sometimes help you capture better-sounding audio. The quality of sound that you achieve with any given microphone is partially dependent on how good sounding the “microphone preamp” is on the device that you’re plugged into. A mic preamp is just a small amplifier that raises the soft mic-level signal coming out of the mic up to line level so it can be properly recorded. For example, if the camera you’re plugging into has a noisy, low-quality mic preamp, you may get a better sound if you turn down the input level in the camera manually and engage the sensitivity boost switch on the shotgun mic.  

What makes one shotgun microphone better than another?

The trite phrase, “you get what you pay for” applies to shotgun microphones as well. Better-quality shotgun microphones will be put through more rigorous testing during their design phase, made with higher-quality materials and components, and subjected to strict quality-control testing before they are sold. Shotgun microphones are often used in the field, so they have to be durable, especially since the term “in the field” could be anywhere from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Pole.

While construction and durability are major factors, the attribute that always makes one shotgun microphone more desirable than another is how good it sounds. The better sounding the mic, the more expensive it is likely to be. 


The Takeaway

  • A shotgun is a long, cylindrical microphone that excels at picking up sounds in front of it, while rejecting sounds to the sides and rear.
  • Shotguns are designed to have a narrower focus (sometimes referred to as more “reach”) than an average microphone.
  • Shotgun microphones do a great job of picking up the frequencies the human voice produces.
  • Shotguns are commonly used when you cannot position a mic directly in front of a sound source.
  • Shotgun microphones are used in film and video, live theater, live sound and in the creation of sound effects.
  • Shotguns do a good job of rejecting high and mid frequencies, but they don’t reject bass frequencies as well.
  • Shotguns have a “rear lobe,” meaning they pick up sound primarily in the front, but also pick up a little sound from the rear.
  • Shotguns aren’t the best choice for recording musical instruments and other dynamic sounds.
  • An interference tube is a long, vented tube that‘s positioned in front of the microphone capsule.
  • A shotgun microphone is not a “zoom” microphone.
  • Shotgun microphones always sound better when they’re physically close to the sound source.
  • The best place for a shotgun is as close to the speaking person (or other sound source) as possible.
  • If a shotgun is more than three feet away from a sound, it will start to sound distant.
  • Shotguns are a big improvement in sound quality over the built-in microphones in a video camera.
  • It's necessary to use a “shock mount” to attach a shotgun mic to a video camera or boompole.
  • Consumer shotgun microphones connect with a 3.5mm mini-plug jack.
  • Professional shotgun microphones connect with a three-pin XLR jack.
  • Plug-in Power is an electrical charge supplied through a mini-plug input for consumer mics.
  • Phantom Power is an electrical charge supplied through an XLR input for professional mics.
  • A basic foam windscreen isn't enough protection for using a shotgun outdoors.
  • Using additional robust wind protection is absolutely necessary for outdoor shooting.
  • When a “High Pass Filter” or a “Low Cut” switch is engaged, the low frequencies are removed.
  • When a “Pad” switch is engaged, the shotgun will be less sensitive to loud noises.
  • More expensive shotgun microphones typically sound better than low-cost ones.

Add new comment

I just read your tutorial on shotgun microphones.

I learned a lot.

Thank you for putting it together.

Jim Rolka

Upon receiving B&Hs special offer flyer, I scrolled down to this shotgun mic explanation section and was very pleasantly surprised. Many of the questions that I had about mics but was not motivated enough to ask were answered. It was so interesting that I kept reading, thus increasing my present knowledge about mics at least threefold. Thanks! 

I have been producing for 12 years so I know about mics.  I own a bunch.  I also know a quality article about production when I see it.  This article is a thing of beauty.  This kind of support information is what makes B&H the thought leader in production products.  I am continually amazed that people writing articles, training and even journalism articles and they have no clue about what information needs to be included and excluded.  This article contained exactly what needed to be included.  As a professional, did I see points directed at newbies?  Sure, and that is good.  You covered all the points that needed to be covered.  You stopped at the engineering threshold.  Perfect.  Before I read this article, B&H was just one of many outlets for my purchases of professional gear.  After being so impressed with what B&H is doing by providing support information, you became my first-stop source for gear.  You won my alegiance with your move to be the thought leader in production and the fact that you are executing this direction so well.  Thank you.

P G Addict. Regarding this article is primarily about shotgun mics, cool, it was very informative.  But, I am a mucisian/photographer with a schmancy new DSLR (Nikon D7000).  I wanna do videos of bands performing on stage.  What would be a appropriate mic for situations like that?  I dont need the focused spread of a shotgun mic but more of a ambient room type mic (I'm guessing), I'm thinking possibly a seperate digital recorder, (but more sophisicated that really want to be, I'm trying to stay simple).  I would be at different at different parts of the stage and the on side of stages.  The rooms I am in are typically smaller venues and maybe 1500-3000 sq. ft.  THANKS any information or where to look would be much appriciated, to anybody!  Thanks to all, and Happy New Years!

I think you might be best served with an omni-directional stereo mic. I don't know what interface you'd need to connect it to your Nikon. An omni-directional mic (in theory) picks up sounds equally all around it, and for "close miking" (like the TV "stand-up" reporter) or music (amplified) usually do the best. Plan B. A pair of stand mounted cardiod mics on either side of the stage, radioed to a receiver on your Nikon. You might run into radio interference from the band's wireless mics etc. Plan C. Come out of the band's mixing board into a digital audio recorder, then sync-up the camera audio with the "house" audio in post-production.  If the band's audio is good, this will give you the best sound. I've done this many times for church Christmas programs (5 this year).  At 4 of the programs I did, I had to re-do the entire house sound for them, with my mics. Garbage in=garbage out. 

I use several including a shotgun.  You generally want to include everything happening on the stage.  I have a couple of hot shoe Sony mics, one is a stereo mid-side matrix which captures a wide view.  Another is a variable zoom mic that tracks the zoom on my camcorder.  If you set up some distance from the stage and zoom the camera, especially a tele, then a shotgun may match the visual field of view and keep the senses in harmony.  Bear in mind that the shotgun will pick up bass from everywhere - it is only focused at higher frequencies, like vocal and typical melody range.  Your schmancy camera may not have as good audio as a digital camcorder, and definitely won't have the storage for long sets at high resolution.  It probably doesn't have pro microphone input for an equally schmancy mic, and require an adapter of some kind.

In the image comparing a shotgun to a hypercardiod the hyper is a widecardiod acording to the capsual image.

Hi Craig,

The microphone in that image is a part of a modular system by Audix. You can screw capsules with different pick-up patterns on the end (Cardioid, Hypercardioid and Omnidirectional). Indeed, the image used in the article is of the Cardioid capsule. The capsule with the hypercardioid pick-up pattern (the Audix CPS-SCXHC) can be seen here:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=CPS-SCXHC&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

The Audix SCX1/HC (the full mic that comes with the CPS-SCXHC hypercardioiod capsule) is a great option for booming indoor dialog, and it's made in the USA. Good catch, Craig!

Thanks for commenting,

Sam Mallery

Keep these articles coming as they've oenped many new doors for me.

That was a great article. Is there a similar one on hyper-cardiod mics?

We currently don't have an article dedicated to hyper-cardioid mics. I'll explore the idea of creating one in the future. Thanks for commenting!

Sam

Excellent article in my opinion as well.  I have appreciated B&H over the years.  They just keep getting better and better.

I have been checking for a decent microphone for a video camera for some time.  This one sums it up for the "dialog" portion of videography. 

I look forward to other articles that surely must be in the works.

Thanks, B&H.

Don

Great review! Thanks for writing this article about shotgun mics.

 Patrick

Very well written article! I've been in A/V for 45+ years and pulled 16mm and 35mm film with sound, then video, and you dotted the "i's" and crossed the "t's" and destroyed the myths in a concise, understandable manner. I'm looking foward to more of your articles,about audio, lighting, composition, or any subject. About the highest praise I can give you is this article reminds me SO MUCH of the old Eastman Kodak pamphlets from the late 50's and early 60's about "How to Shoot Better Color Slides/Prints".

Hello again.Here's a question:How are setntdus' recordings saved and how easy are they to collect and to grade using moodle? I am comparing language lab software and you are the third. I am very interested in this.

Hello Pooja -

I am not sure what you are referring to exactly, as it would appear that you are referring to "student's recordings" as opposed to what I see as the word setntdus'.    B&H does not offer language lab software at this time.  For help with Moodle, please visit: 

https://moodle.org/support/

Please  feel free to contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hello Ricky-Pooh -

Thank you for your kind words.

It would be nice if you also explained when to use a "short" shotgun as opposed to a "long" shotgun. Are there any rules of thumb as to when to use one or the other? Great article otherwise. Thanks.

Hello -

It´s not about short or long. It´s about matching the mic to the job at hand. Long shotguns work the best for most exterior shots, since theses mics are characterized by long reach and very narrow pick-up. The narrow field of pick-up helps to control background noise if the mic is deployed overhead.  Interior locations are usually better off being miked with a short shotgun. The short shotgun features a slightly wider pattern and slightly less range, but does not exaggerate the room echo as much. The wider pattern and physically shorter length of theses mics facilitates use with lower ceilings, especially when it comes to covering multiple actors.  The shorter length may also match up better with the smaller form factor of the DSLR or camcorder shooter

Mark, thanks - good explanation. So it would be best to have one of each on hand. One article I read said that in closed spaces - like a bedroom - shotguns can have phase issues with low frequencies due to their inablity to reject low frequency sounds from off-axis that have reflected off the walls. It said that it might be better to use a hypercardioid in that situation.

Awesome article! Clears things up way better than anything else I could find. My question is:

Im looking at buying an XLR microphone (the Azden SGM-2X) from you guys becasue of the deal I'd be getting on it, it seems good for my uses and the kit has a lot worth it in one box. However, my camera (the Canon Vixia HF-S20) only has a 3.5mm jack for input on it. If I connected the two with the Pearstone LMT100 (along with standard extension cables in between) would that be a problem? In terms of quality degration or screwing up one of the two appliances? I know it's way better to just run the XLR into a standalone recorder, and I'm definitely doing that in the future but I need to record a video with a better mic by the beginning of July and I only have enough money right now to put down on just the mic and those wires. But will the sound just be godawful?

And three years ago I blew out a sound card on my computer by plugging in an audio inupt that wasn't intended for that use, even though the wires fit. So this setup won't mess anything up, right? The mic runs on one AAA.

Thanks for any reply!

Hello Jake -

Using the Pearstone  LMT-100 is an excellent, inexpensive solution designed precisely for your application. It will not degrade the audio pick-up in your case.  Use quality XLR cables and keep the runs as short as possible to get the job done. If you need more guidance - feel free to e-mail us at:  AskBH@BandH.com

I am new to video production, but would like to start make videos. I have a canon xf100 and am borrowing a Sennheiser MKH416T shotgun mic from a friend. I would like to use this mic to record some outside interview sequences with my camera, but I just can't figure out how to get the mic to work with the camera. I have plugged it into Channel 1, and have played around with the audio switches on the camera, trying a combination of different things but at the moment the best sound being picked up is when I have it on MIC and INT which is simply my internal microphone. I though it would be as easy as connecting the mic and selecting +48V and EXT on CH1 but obviously not. As I said I'm a beginner so be nice to me if the mistake is obvious! Thanks in advance!

Hello Peter -

The issue is a simple one and will require the purchase of this small adapter from PSC

The PSC A4812 is an In-Line Barrel Adapter which allows "12T"  (read 12 volt) microphones to be used with mixers (and cameras, recorders) which provide 48V phantom power.  Just connect in-line between the mic and the camera. You'll be "good-to-go" if you follow the microphone set-up found on pages 77 + of the Canon XF100 HD Professional Camcorder user manual.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Caution, newbie alert! (This means the possibility of idiotic questions ahead?!)

First of all, thank you for providing an excellent starting point that answered nearly all of my questions but also left (my fault) even more confused in other areas.

I'm coming from a background of real estate videos. I wanted to video record two of my neighbours who are classical musicians (Harp and double bass) I used the Sony 96GB HXR-NX30 and the Stereo Shotgun Microphone (ECM-XM1) that came with the camcorder (Excellent price for the kit B&H, thanks!)

I had no issues with the video quality, I was recording from a distance of approx 6 feet. When it came to the audio, I felt I was doing something wrong, either in the set up or lack of equipment. The harp came through nicely both on playback on the camcorder and once downloaded to the PC. The double bass sounded 'tinny' by comparison on the playback on the camcorder and only marginally better once downloaded. The two musicians are in close proximity to each other, (2 feet)

Should I have set up a mic next to each instrument and fed them via xlr cables into the camcorder>(it has 2 channel xlr ports) if so, what sort of mic should I be looking at? My budget is not huge (I have a ton of other stuff arriving from B&H and the well is running dry) Is there any other equipment I need to make this project work? I have a Rolls 124 field mixer also on order, should I be feeding the mic feeds into that first or something else?

(I did tell you I was a newbie and that there was the possibility of stupid questions) Any help, direction, advice gratefully appreciated. Total budget I can allow is $400-500 USD. Thank you in advance!

Cheers,

Tom

Hi Tom -

In this case, two (microphone) heads are better than one. Corny pun intended!  I suggest a modest set-up of a large condenser mic for the harp and a small condenser (pencil-type) for the double bass.  Mic the harp from about 4-6 inches near the middle of the strings to capture the fingerwork.  For the bass - position the mic about 6 inches or so from the sound hole or a few inches up the neck depending on the quality of sound you are looking for.  Feel free to experiment with different mic positioning to capture the subtleties of the fingering technique and beauty of the instrument.

The Audio-Technica AT4040SP 40 Series Studio Package delivers 2 high quality studio recording microphones and accessories for a modest price. The package includes the AT4040 large diaphragm, side-address condenser microphone and AT4041 small diaphragm condenser microphone.

The AT4040 is ideal for vocal and general instrument (like a harp) capturing while the 4041 is well suited for instrument (like a double bass or cello) and amplifier cabinets. The package is intended to provide project studios and musicians with 2 quality microphones for capturing vocals and instruments.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I have a Canon 60D and have a dilemma. Ok, I'm mounting the camera on a tripod, will also have an LED Genaray 120 light, and I want to use a shotgun mic to record a church choir performance. If I use the camera hotshoe for the shotgun, how and where can I mount my light source?

Hi Teasastips -

The Vello CB-600 Straight Flash Bracket is a durable horizontal flash bracket that provides an additional shoe and 1/4"-20 screw that allow you to mount accessories such as lights, microphones, remote control, etc. alongside your camera. It has a 1/4"-20 screw to attach the bracket to the camera, a 1/4" socket to mount the bracket on a tripod, and a 1/4"-20 male screw with a shoe on top to attach a flash, LED light, microphone or any other shoe mount accessory. You can remove the top shoe to mount any accessory with a 1/4" socket. The camera mounting screw has a 3" adjustable rail, and the top of the bracket has a rubber surface to keep the camera from slipping.

Additional shoe & 1/4"-20 screw
Mount light, microphone, remote, etc.
 

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hey guys.I'm trying to record some sounds to soundcloud.So i don't need to use a video camera(because it's just audio files there) but i wonder if there's any way i could still use a microphone.What mics are good for recording instruments?Is there any other way for me to use a mic instead of plugging it into a video camera? Thanks for your help :)

Hi Syazril -

You can create your own audio recordings very simply with a USB microphone connected directly to your computer or Apple iPad:

The Blue Spark Digital exhibits all the features of the solid-state Blue Spark, with the addition of USB and iPad connections for direct digital recordings to a computer or Apple iPad. Its cardioid polar pattern effectively controls off-axis feedback and extraneous noise. Its Focus Control settings are available at the push of a button. The Normal mode (out position) provides increased low frequency sensitivity for recordings with great impact and definition. The Focus mode features even greater clarity and detail. The Spark Digital ships with a desktop shockmount stand, a Y-cable with USB, iPad and headphone connections, and Blue's Cloud Production Bundle for audio back-up and sharing online.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I just bought a Sony NXCAM, HXR-NX70U that came with an ECM-XM1 shotgun microphone.

I tried it out and have it set to crecord audion on CH 1 and 2, and is set to MIC +48X and low cut on. Channels are set to Auto.

I've recorded some voice and when putting the video file into my editing program, the audio is soft and barely visible in most cases on the audio portion of the time line.

What should be the proper settings to make this mic work best to pic up audio while recording?

Hi Don -

Make sure to have INPUT 1 switched to MANUAL and to MIC +48V mode.  Then manually adjust the gain to the desired level.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi Ali -

This is my best recommendation in your stated budget range:

The Sennheiser MKE 600 is a shotgun microphone designed for use with a camcorder or video DSLR. Building on the company's extensive expertise in designing shotgun microphones, it is able to take on even the toughest video sound challenges, while still being compact and short relative to previous models. With its high level of directivity, the microphone focuses on the sounds in front of the camera, while attenuating unwanted sound coming from the sides and rear.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi, I'm wondering if I could use a shotgun microphone for my PC? I Skype a lot in places with ambient noise, such as keyboards. The clacking can get annoying to those I'm skyping with, and I find myself refraining from typing when skyping. Could I place one of these on my desk and use it as a desk microphone? Any suggestions? Thank you!

Hi Joseph -

Using one of these professional shotgun microphones for Skype applications is not a practical solution.  Have you considered a high quality USB headset for "skyping"?

The Blackwire C710 Over-The-Head Monaural Headset from Plantronics is the singular UC headset that combines corded reliability with wireless flexibility. Use the C710 as a USB headset with your computer or remove the detachable cable and connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. Enjoy seamless call management and industry-first Smart Sensor technology for ease of use - answer a call by simply putting on the headset, or pause mobile device media playback by taking it off. Advanced noise canceling, Digital Signal Processing, wideband PC audio, and hi-fi stereo sound output quality audio, and the detachable cable enables you to take your mobile calls throughout the office. The headset provides up to 10 hours of talk time, and is designed to connect to all the devices in your work life.

Premium UC headset seamlessly manages calls to and from your PC and mobile devices
Connect to a PC via USB or to mobile phone/tablet via Bluetooth
Smart Sensor technology lets you answer a call by simply putting on the headset
Detachable cable with integrated clothing clip to take your mobile calls throughout the office
Dynamic EQ automatically adjusts audio settings between voice calls and music
PC wideband audio with noise-canceling microphones for quality PC telephony
Digital Signal Processing (DSP) provides natural voice sound
SoundGuard and SoundGuard DIGITAL technology provide protection against audio spikes
Smart Call Transfer automatically routes the audio from the mobile phone to the headset whenever it's put on - and vice versa
Intuitive inline controls to answer/end calls, control volume, and mute
Inline indicator lights and voice prompts give connection, mute and volume status
Lights on the ear pad let colleagues know when you're on a call
Integrated A2DP lets you listen to streaming media from your mobile phone or tablet
Soft leatherette ear cushions and lightweight headband provide all day comfort
Built-in sensors provide contextual information

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I recently bought a Shotgun Microphone. I was curious is there a better way to store it than to just put it in my camera bag? Side note I have a DSLR backpack for most of my equipment. Any tips on storage that I can use?

Hi Matt -

The Alfa Case MicTube Shotgun Microphone Case, Small 12.5" (Gray and Black) is a rigid vinyl waterproof, shock resistant case made to hold a single shotgun microphone up to 12.5" long. It is a foam padded case with a lockable latch.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I have a Canon 600D and I'm planning to shoot a short film with it. Obviously the internal mic. will be inadequate but I'm not sure whether a shotgun mic. or something less directional will be more appropriate. I expect to be recording dialogue from approximately 2m away (±1m) and wider scenes of city streets (still character focused) but I'd like to keep the mic. fixed to my camera. Note I'm on a tight budget.

Hi Andrew -

For a tight budget consider the VP83 LensHopper Shotgun Microphone from Shure, a compact camera-mount condenser that provides detailed, high-definition audio with DSLR cameras and camcorders. An integrated Rycote Lyre shock mounting system provides isolation from vibration and mechanical noise.

The VP83 LensHopper features an easily accessible three-position gain adjustment and low-cut filter, allowing it to adapt for different recording environments. Its lightweight, yet durable, metal construction provides dependability and long-life. The VP83 easily mounts to a standard-size camera shoe or a 1/4" threaded stand. The convenient, attached 3.5mm cable connects to your camera's audio input. Its efficient operation boasts 130 hours of battery life on just one AA alkaline battery. A foam windscreen is included to guard against wind and environmental noise.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Ok, we produce live theatre, we are venturing into outdoor venues and A) can't afford wireless lav's B) need to reinforce our sound... I have been looking into overhead condensers, shotgun mics, boundery pzm's and pcc's and the like... what do you recommend?

Hi Shakescar -

You will want to look into hard-wired hanging mics and boundary mics. Consider using a combination of these two with the boundary mics distributed along the proscenium and the hanging mics filling in farther back.

From the Audio-Technica UniPoint Series, the U853A Hanging Microphone is designed for accurate signal reproduction in theaters, houses-of-worship, conference halls, boardrooms, schools, professional recording applications and more. The U853A features a flexible steel hanger that grips the suspended cable and capsule, enabling easy microphone placement without excess hardware.

The U853's capsule features a wide frequency response and highly sensitive cardioid capsule. The cardioid pick up pattern provides a focused pick up area by minimizing noise and ambiance at the off-axis sections of the microphone. The result is a focused pick up without residual room noise and feedback. The wide, linear frequency response ensures transparent, accurate reproduction of both vocals and instruments.

A low frequency roll-off switch eliminates rumble and noise associated with room ambiance, acoustics, wind, proximity effect, etc. The U853A's rich audio quality, detailed signal reproduction, small profile and flexibility make it an excellent choice for capturing choirs, theatrical performances, lectures, sermons, etc.

The Crown PCC-160 Microphone is a rugged phase coherent, surface mountable boundary microphone designed for accurate pick up and signal reproduction on stages, lecterns, news desks, conference tables and more. The microphone features a phase coherent half-supercardioid pick up that minimizes pickup behind the capsule, resulting in high gain before feedback.

The PCC-160's surface mounting increases directivity by 3dB, and its increased sensitivity provides accurate signal reproduction at long range. A frequency response of 50-18kHz provides accurate signal reproduction, with minimal low frequency noise and rumble. A "Bass Tilt" switch further reduces low frequency noise. The PCC-160 microphone features a rugged steel body, able to withstand accidental abuse. The PCC-160 requires 12V to 48V phantom power and includes a 15-foot cable with switchcraft TA3-female and XLR-male connections.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Hi Shakescar -

You will want to look into hard-wired hanging mics and boundary mics:

From the Audio-Technica UniPoint Series, the U853A Hanging Microphone is designed for accurate signal reproduction in theaters, houses-of-worship, conference halls, boardrooms, schools, professional recording applications and more. The U853A features a flexible steel hanger that grips the suspended cable and capsule, enabling easy microphone placement without excess hardware. The U853's capsule features a wide frequency response and highly sensitive cardioid capsule. The cardioid pick up pattern provides a focused pick up area by minimizing noise and ambiance at the off-axis sections of the microphone. The result is a focused pick up without residual room noise and feedback. The wide, linear frequency response ensures transparent, accurate reproduction of both vocals and instruments. A low frequency roll-off switch eliminates rumble and noise associated with room ambiance, acoustics, wind, proximity effect, etc. The U853A's rich audio quality, detailed signal reproduction, small profile and flexibility make it an excellent choice for capturing choirs, theatrical performances, lectures, sermons, etc.

The Crown PCC-160 Microphone is a rugged phase coherent, surface mountable boundary microphone designed for accurate pick up and signal reproduction on stages, lecterns, news desks, conference tables and more. The microphone features a phase coherent half-supercardioid pick up that minimizes pickup behind the capsule, resulting in high gain before feedback. The PCC-160's surface mounting increases directivity by 3dB, and its increased sensitivity provides accurate signal reproduction at long range. A frequency response of 50-18kHz provides accurate signal reproduction, with minimal low frequency noise and rumble. A "Bass Tilt" switch further reduces low frequency noise. The PCC-160 microphone features a rugged steel body, able to withstand accidental abuse. The PCC-160 requires 12V to 48V phantom power and includes a 15-foot cable with switchcraft TA3-female and XLR-male connections.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I really appretiate this! its helped me alot in my movies

Hello,

A little while ago I bought the AKG C568EB shotgun mic, including an external recorder: the Tascam DR-40.

As a hobby I like to photograph fireworks shows, but sometimes I try to make video’s too. I use my Canon 700D camera for this. The internal microphone of this camera takes all the surrounding noise from the crowd, which distracts from the fireworks sound, what is most important to me. That’s why I wanted a shotgun mic, but since it’s phantom powered I bought an audio recorder with it. (My camera doesn’t support phantom power)

Here is one record I recorded with it. I had the mic plugged in the XLR input and recorded in mono. Also I had the input level set at +50 on the Tascam recorder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWwL5yrilCo

What bothers me is the big fireworks don't really sound like big fireworks when they explode, but more like party poppers, if you get the idea. It doesn't sound as heavy or deep, if that are the right words to describe it. It might be asked a little bit mucht, but do you have any idea how I can make the fireworks sound a little bit better with this combo of AKG mic and DR-40 recorder?

I would really like to hear from you, thanks.

Hi Johan -

What you are describing is not possible to record with your gear.  You are "feeling"  the percussive air movement of the fireworks' explosion with your body more than you are hearing it with your ears.  The small condenser element of your mic is more like your ears in this respect.  Your only practical option is to add the explosion effects in post.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

A nice piece of information on how to use the microphone. I need to design one using active components for the filter!