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Best Shotgun Mic (option of battery or other non-phantom power) under $1,000


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Hi Audio Brains,

I am wondering if you guys can help me with finding the best shotgun mic for under $1,000 or probably more realistically around $500 used. I am looking for something that can also run without Phantom Power (battery or other options). This is because I am looking to have one mic that I can use when I am just field recording, or mounting it on my 5D Mark iii for super run and gun stuff.

Thanks for your help!

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That's kind of like asking "What wrench is best to fix my car". It really depends on what you want to accomplish. There is no one best mic for anything, in fact, there are plenty of 300 dollars mics that will outperform 2000 dollar mics in certain applications. You need to decide first what type of mic you want, are you just trying to single out what you are pointing your camera at in exteriors, or are you planning on hanging it above people on interior sit down interviews? Unfortunately the old "jack of all trades master of none" applies to microphones you may be looking for.

-Oh and about the Phantom Power thing. You can get a battery powered phantom power box. Any mic you would realistically consider for this application will require phantom power (or potentially T power, but less likely). If you are going into a DSLR you may want to consider getting a handheld recorder to record the sound, they generally provide Phantom power and give you better quality, monitoring, and options.

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You may get a MKH 416 t-power used for 500$ .. but I would never recommend using shotgun as camera mic..

and it's also depending on usage.. what type of stuff you shoot etc..

ref this thread on what factors I look before selecting, renting or buying a new mic:

and it's you get what you pay for too..

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I've used an Rode NTG-2 for a couple years as my beater shotgun. Works great with a AA and doesn't cost a lot, but the screws sometimes need tightening in order to quiet it down on a boom. I've used it as an on-camera mic, but only when I absolutely had to. I can't say any on-camera mic will be adequate all the time, so Chase's answer of "it depends" really ends up being the best advice.

I've seen DSLR folks swear by the Rode VideoMic, which also does an adequate job at picking up sound in front of the lens. I'll say that if your distance to the subject moves much beyond three feet, then any mic is going to sound meh.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys!

I should have included more information, but was dead tired when I was typing up that post.

- I shoot mostly documentary stuff and externally record using lav or lavs and a shotgun on a boom pole to a SD702.

- I was using an NTG-2 before it got stolen, but was never that impressed by it. That said, I am a video person first and am still learning the professional ropes of audio and can't say exactly what I didn't love about the NTG-2.

- I occasionally shoot DSLR and am thinking now that I have a Mark iii, that can monitor sound (although it is pretty damn clunky to do so), I was thinking of trying to fill two slots with 1 mic (my shotgun and an on-camera)

- For the "on-camera" I mentioned the non-phantom because I had an NTG-2 that could use batteries and I was considering the NTG-3, but it doesn't have a battery option.

- Also, for the "on camera" I would always be within 3 feet, and most likely within 2 feet of my subjects when recording any audio dialoge that I care about.

- I was hoping I could use the same shotgun that I use on a boom to also do intimate (close proximity) on camera stuff.

- I am not in love with the Rode Video Mics, but am very interested in the not yet released VideoMic HD, which is a small recorder built in to record better audio, but also inputting for camera audio.

- I will definitely check out the ME-66 and MKH 416 t-power. Thanks for those suggestions.

- Is an NTG-3 not impressing anyone?

- If I were to buy a few mics, maybe I can take a few suggestions and buy as I go (getting the most useful to me 1st and so on). Something like this may warrant separate posts. I may do this later.

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Perhaps the just-announced Sennheiser MKE 600? Phantom or AA battery:

"The new MKE 600 shotgun microphone from audio specialist Sennheiser provides video journalists with a microphone that can master even the toughest video sound challenges."

http://en-de.sennheiser.com/news/mke-600-shotgun-microphone-for-video-journalists

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I see used MKH416's all the time on eBay for well under $1000. The trick is, you also have to get a mount, zeppelin, and wind jammer (furry) for it, and then you'll be over a grand.

I'm not a fan of the ME66.

I only mentioned it because the onboard battery power requirement and the under 1k part severely limits choices.

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- For the "on-camera" I mentioned the non-phantom because I had an NTG-2 that could use batteries and I was considering the NTG-3, but it doesn't have a battery option.

- Also, for the "on camera" I would always be within 3 feet, and most likely within 2 feet of my subjects when recording any audio dialoge that I care about.

- I was hoping I could use the same shotgun that I use on a boom to also do intimate (close proximity) on camera stuff.

- I am not in love with the Rode Video Mics, but am very interested in the not yet released VideoMic HD, which is a small recorder built in to record better audio, but also inputting for camera audio.

- I will definitely check out the ME-66 and MKH 416 t-power. Thanks for those suggestions.

- Is an NTG-3 not impressing anyone?

- If I were to buy a few mics, maybe I can take a few suggestions and buy as I go (getting the most useful to me 1st and so on). Something like this may warrant separate posts. I may do this later.

I doubt you would find the 416 very useful as an on camera mic. It has a very tight pattern so you'd need to have the camera pointed directly at his mouth the whole time or else you won't get much usable sound. The 416 sounds horrible off axis as well. The NTG-3 sounds great and has a wider pattern but not phantom as previously mentioned. Unless you've got some one to boom for you you're probably not going to get a better sounding battery powered on-camera mic than the NTG-2. There are better mics but only when used properly for reasons such as handling noise, tight pickup patterns and low frequency rejection. There might be a number of hyper-cardioid mics that would be better as an on-camera mic but most of these require phantom. Perhaps look into a beachtek box and you'll have a far bigger range of shotguns and hypers to choose from.

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I was actually considering selling all my crap (or just rarely used) mics and getting just a couple important mics for my purposes.

I was thinking:

1 - Relatively tight pattern shotgun for recording on a boom in the field (mostly outdoors, but also some indoor talking head stuff)

2 - Some sort of Stereo mic to give a more realistic sound on camera when I'm stuck in that senario and to just capture more realistic sound for all non-interview type situations

3 - Some sort of wider pattern cardiod mic for Public Radio Style interviews (not paired to video) with a warmer and more intimate feel.

Someone mentioned the Senn MSK418S to me that can switch between a normal shotgun and some sort of stereo setup? Unless I am confused here.

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