Hands-On Review of the Que Audio Q Mini Shotgun
If you’ve ever checked out an impressive piece of gear and thought to yourself: “Wow, this thing is really neat, but imagine if they could shrink it down so it’s only a third of the size.” This is exactly what Que Audio has done with the shotgun microphone. They’ve taken a traditional shotgun microphone and shrunken it down to a size that makes it ideal for mounting on HDSLR and other kinds of video cameras. The great advantage this gives users is that like a full-sized shotgun, the new Q Mini Shotgun Microphone will have multiple uses, while remaining as small and light as possible. It can be mounted on a camera, used on a boompole, used in an installation or even attached to a variety of different wireless transmitters.
The Q Mini Shotgun is nearly the size and weight of a mechanical pencil. You can only truly appreciate its ultra-small size by holding it in your hand. With all of this reduction in size and weight, you may assume that the Q Mini Shotgun would fall short in sound quality, but this is not the case. If you compare the sound of the Q Mini Shotgun back to back with today’s most popular mini-shotgun microphones, it holds its own and sounds equally as impressive. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a durable metal construction and a very solid feel.
The explosion in popularity of HDSLR cameras has brought a great deal of interest to compact, on-camera microphones. These little mics can vastly improve the audio over the poor microphones that are built into HDSLR and other kinds of video cameras. However, many external on-camera microphones have a similar design; the body tends to be molded into an integrated shock mount, which limits that way the microphone can be used. This isn’t the case with the new Q Mini Shotgun.
Besides its great sound quality and nano size, one of the strengths of using a Q Mini Shotgun is its versatility, and a big part of this comes from its detachable cable design. The Q Mini Shotgun doesn’t have a hardwired output cable, nor does it have a conventional audio output jack. In its place at the tail end of the microphone is a small, threaded connector. Depending on your needs, you can attach the kind of cable you’ll need for a given task. If you’re going to be using the Q Mini Shotgun with the Que Audio QMB1 Mini Boom Pole, you can screw on the 6.5' (2m) QCBL2 Q-Compact Cable. You can then screw on any kind of output connecter you need at the other end of the cable. If you’re going to be mounting the Q Mini Shotgun to the top of an HDSLR camera, you can use the shorter QCBL6 coiled cable (and the connector of your choice).
Equally, if not more impressive in its miniaturization, is the Que Audio QSM1 Mini Shock Mount (a required accessory for using the Q Mini Shotgun). I’ve personally handled a lion’s share of shock mounts that are available at B&H, and I’ve never held anything nearly as compact as the QSM1. It’s about as small and lightweight as a shock mount could possibly get. The small size helps the mic disappear on top of your camera, and it will help you keep your rig as lightweight as possible.
The Q Mini Shotgun gets power from two internal QBA2 batteries. These are ultra-compact, button-style batteries that supply the Q Mini Shotgun with enough juice for approximately 100 hours of continuous use. However, if you’re using the Q Mini Shotgun with a professional camera or mixer, it can get its charge from phantom power as well. In order for it to work this way, you need the QAD3 XLR phantom power adapter (two QBA2 batteries need to be inside the Q Mini Shotgun in this configuration). The QAD3 features an electronic balancing circuit, which gives the Q Mini Shotgun increased sensitivity to take full advantage of a professional XLR mic input. The multiple powering options are just another attribute that makes the Q Mini Shotgun so versatile. You can use it with cameras that have a 3.5mm mini-plug mic input, and equipment with professional XLR mic inputs with phantom power (such as the Zoom H4n portable digital recorder). You can adapt the Q Mini Shotgun to pretty much any kind of microphone input you encounter.
The Q Mini Shotgun is available on its own, á la carte, at B&H (with an included foam windscreen) but remember, you’re also going to need to purchase the QSM1 shock mount, and a threaded output cable (the 6.5' QCBL2 cable or the 11.8" QCBL6 coiled cable) as well as a threaded output connector to make it functional. To take the guesswork out of assembling a complete kit for the Q Mini Shotgun, Que Audio offers a couple of all-inclusive bundles for the Q Mini Shotgun.
As the name implies, the Que Audio DSLR-Video Microphone Kit supplies you with everything you need to use the Q Mini Shotgun with the HDSLR camera of your choice, including a pair of batteries, a camera shoe mount with an adjustable gimbal, a high-wind Wombat Fluffy Windjammer, as well as a carrying case. All of the items in the kit are necessary and will be useful to have in the field.
The Que Audio Sniper Kit offers a totally unique solution for portable shotgun booming. It has all of the tools required to do boom work with the Q Mini Shotgun. With the exception of the QCBL6 coiled cable, you get everything that’s included in the DSLR-Video Microphone Kit. In addition, you get the QMB1 Mini Boompole, the QB1 mic stand base, a mini-plug to XLR adapter and the QCBL2 6.5' cable. This kit prepares you for a range of different shooting scenarios, from on-camera usage with HDSLR and larger cameras, to booming and mic-stand use. It’s also the only boompole kit I’m aware of that packs into a case that can fit in the overhead compartment on an airplane.
If you’ve been considering upgrading the microphone that you use with your camera for video production, the Q Mini Shotgun is a compelling new option that provides excellent sound and the ability to adapt to a wide range of situations. HDSLR cameras proved that small cameras are capable of capturing amazing looking moving images, and the Q Mini Shotgun proves that a small microphone is capable of capturing amazing sound to match the picture.
Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth article. If you have any questions about the Que Audio Q Mini Shotgun, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.
Specifications - SG-1 Mini Shotgun Microphone
|Frequency Response||30Hz to 20kHz|
|Sensitivity||-36dB @ 1V @ 1 Pa|
|Maximum Sound Pressure||124dB @ 1kHz|
Battery type - 2 x A84 button cells Battery life - approximately 100 hours of continuous use
|Output Connectors||3-pin XLR Adapter|
|Dimensions||0.39 x 4.92" (10 x 125mm)|