Shotgun Mic Buyer’s Guide

By Dan Daley

When it comes to shotgun microphones, broadcast mixers have a lot of choices. Here’s a look at some of them.

The cam-mounted VideoMic (priced at $149) from RØDE exhibits low noise and wide bandwidth for its size. Powered by a standard 9-volt battery, it offers an LED low-battery status indicator and a switchable high-pass filter to reduce low-frequency rumble.

RØDE’s moisture-resistant NTG-3 ($899) uses RF-bias technology and combines very light weight, anti-glare finish, and low handling and self-noise (13 dBA).

Audio-Technica, meanwhile, has models originally developed for use in the broadcast of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Both the 14.96-inch BP4027 ($995) and the 9.29-inch BP4029 stereo shotgun models feature independent line-cardioid and figure-of-eight elements configured in an M-S arrangement with switch-selectable internal matrixing. Selectable for a left-right stereo output (wide or narrow) via the microphone’s internal matrixing system or discreet MS signals for later manipulation. A switchable low-frequency roll-off filter helps minimize the pickup of low-frequency noise.

Audio-Technica’s 15.55-inch BP4071 ($1,169) provides a low noise floor and direct-coupled, balanced output, and its interference-tube design provides the same directivity as mics up to 50% longer.

The Sony ECM-680S ($1,010) is an M-S stereo shotgun, electret condenser-type microphone and offers high sensitivity, low inherent noise, and a flat-and-wide frequency response. It provides switchable operation between a highly directional monaural mode and stereo mode.

Sennheiser’s MKH 416 shotgun ($1,957) is a pressure-gradient receiver with short interference tube, hyper-cardioid at low and medium frequencies. Above 2 kHz, it approaches lobar pattern. Other features: high directivity, compact design, low self-noise, high-consonant articulation, and feedback rejection with 40-Hz to 20-kH frequency response. It is transformerless and provides fully floating balanced output.

Sennheiser’s MKH 60 short shotgun ($2,700) is an interference-tube lightweight short gun microphone. Transformerless with fully floating balanced output, it has an infrasonic cutoff filter. Symmetrical transducer technology produces low distortion. The mic also has switchable pre-attenuation, switchable roll-off filter, and switchable treble emphasis.

The MKH 70 long shotgun ($3,105) is a lightweight interference-tube microphone with lobar pickup pattern and high directivity throughout the whole frequency range. It’s suited to applications in difficult conditions, such as high background noise and distance microphone positioning, and its frequency-independent directivity prevents sound coloration from off-axis sound sources and has a switchable roll-off filter.

The SM89 ($1,242), a highly directional condenser shotgun microphone with distant pickup characteristics, discriminates at a distance in favor of desired effects and against ambient noise, even in noisy surroundings.

Sanken’s CMS-10 stereo shotgun is switchable between a very sharp directional mono and stereo environmental imaging. Stereo angle is 127 degrees. The CMS-10 uses a second-order pressure-gradient design, enabling precision directional response through multiple cardioid elements in a front-back array. Stereophonic localization depends primarily on signal accuracy and channel separation in the 400-Hz to 3-kHz range.

Sanken’s CS-3e mono shotgun maintains directivity over an extremely wide frequency range, especially in the low frequencies, with good side and rear rejection. Three directional capsules are arranged in a front-back array to combine line-microphone performance and second-order pressure-gradient response in a single system to achieve supercardioid directivity in the lowest frequencies.

Sanken’s CSS-5 Stereo (wide/normal) shotgun offers three switchable modes of operation: mono, normal stereo and wide stereo. It also has a high degree of rear rejection at 180 degrees even in low frequencies and mono-stereo compatibility; the mono and phantom center have the same sound characteristics.

DPA’s new 4017 shotgun ($2,079.00) can capture both highly directional and off-axis sound equally well. It features enhanced RF immunity for protection against the latest generation of wireless devices. Other specs include 130-dB SPL capability, 2.6-oz. weight, and 8.3-in. length.

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