A boom mic can be a magnificent tool for all your audio needs. Whether you are a hobby filmmaker or a professional, there are many options that can be the best boom mic for you.
But what is the difference between a camera microphone and a separate boom mic? And are certain options better than others? This article will answer all those questions for you.
Best Boom Mics For Hobbyists and Professionals
1. Sennheiser Pro Audio MKE600
This boom mic comes with quite the famous brand name, as some of the more advanced models are often used by professionals. A prime example of a famous Sennheiser microphone is the Sennheiser MKH, often used by the pros. Fortunately, there are more affordable versions for the aspiring filmmaker too.
The Sennheiser Pro Audio reduces side noise unlike any other of the more affordable boom mics for film. It also comes with handy accessories such as a foam windshield and a shock mount, which are bound to help you get even better sound quality.
- Dimensions: diameter 20 mm, length 256 mm
- Weight: 128 g (without battery)
- Frequency response: 40 Hz to 20 kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 132 dB SPL at P48; 126 dB SPL with battery powering
- Sensitivity in free field, no load (1kHz): 21 mV/Pa at P48; 19mV/Pa with battery powering
- Equivalent noise level: 15 dB (A) at P48; 16 dB (A) with battery powering
2. Rode Videomic Pro
The Rode Videomic Pro is a favorite amongst hobbyists and it is not difficult to figure out why. While this shotgun microphone is only available from amazon.com, this shotgun mic is labelled as one of the best.
When you choose this Rode shotgun mic model, you can count on a 1/2″ condenser capsule, delivering sound quality that is ready for broadcasting. It also has incredible low self-noise at just 14db.
If you are looking for a good boom pole to go with your new Rode shotgun mic, be sure to look for the accompanying Rode boom poles.
- Dimensions: 100mmH x 75mmW x 170mmD
- Weight: 85g
- Frequency response: 40Hz – 20kHz (selected HPF @80)
- Max. sound pressure level: 134dBSPL
- Sensitivity: -32.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (20.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
- Equivalent noise level: 14dBA
3. Rode Videomic Go
If you are looking for an on camera microphone that weighs a fraction of its competitors, then you need to look into the Rode Video Mic Go. This model from Rode is lighter than the pro version, and somewhat easier to use too.
Despite the lighter weight of the Rode Go, it still comes with the Rycote Lyre shock mount most Rode microphones. Therefore, you won’t get any sound problems due to vibrations or bumps.
Finally, the Rode Go is delightfully simple as well. If you are worried about using a complicated boom mic, then you will be happy to know that the Rode go does not have any complicated switches or settings. Simply use the external microphone output on your camera and this Rode microphone is ready to go for your film projects.
- Dimensions: 79.00mmH x 73.00mmW x 167.00mmD
- Weight: 73.00g
- Frequency response: 100Hz – 16kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 120dBSPL
- Sensitivity: -35.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (17.80mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
- Equivalent noise level: 34dBA
4. Schoeps CMIT5U Shotgun Microphone: Best boom Mic For Professionals
This shotgun microphone is an outstanding choice for professionals, but it comes with a hefty price tag. However, if you don’t mind paying a little more, then the sound quality you will get is unmatched!
The Schoeps CMIT5U is a staple in the movie industry and beats most shotgun microphones by a mile where features are concerned. The shotgun microphone has an outstanding frequency response with a range of 40 Hz – 2 kHz. It also comes with low self-noise features, making this one of the best shotgun microphones in the business.
- Dimensions: diameter 21 x L: 251 mm
- Weight: 95 g
- Frequency response: 40 Hz to 20 kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 131 dB SPL
- Sensitivity: -35 dBV/Pa
- Equivalent noise level: 13 dB A-Weighted
5. Audio Technica AT897
Compared to other professional shotgun microphones that can be attached to a boom pole, the Audio Technica is a preferred choice for producers and broadcast professionals.
The Audio Technica AT897 stands out because of its classic shotgun mic design and a rather effective supercardioid pattern, which makes directional sound recording easier than ever.
- Dimensions: diameter 21 x L: 279 mm
- Weight: 145 g
- Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 115 dB SPL Battery, 129 dB SPL Phantom
- Sensitivity: -40 dBV/Pa
6. Sennheiser MKH 60
Amazing is the only word we know to describe the Sennheiser MKH 60. Compared to most shotgun mics, the Sennheiser MKH has a much shorter interference tube. It also contains an RF-condenser microphone, which means it has a natural immunity against moisture but also low self-noise levels.
- Dimensions: diameter 25 x L: 280 mm
- Weight: 150 g
- Frequency response: 50 Hz to 20 kHz
- Max. sound pressure level: 125 dB SPL, 134 dB SPL with pad
- Sensitivity: -28 dBV/Pa at 1 kHz
What Is A Boom Mic
The boom mic is nothing more than a microphone that is attached to a long adjustable arm. This long adjustable arm is referred to as the boom, hence the name boom microphone.
To avoid confusion, the boom mic is actually any microphone that can be added to a boom. In other words, a shotgun microphone can be added to a boom and it becomes a boom microphone.
We will further elaborate on the difference between the boom mic and the shotgun mic to make this a little clearer.
Even if you have little knowledge about microphones, you may be familiar with the boom mic already.
If you ever watched a behind the scenes film, you may have notice a man or woman holding a large boom pole with a microphone. Evidently, this is done to record audio during the making of a film.
How To Choose A Boom(Shotgun) Mic That’s Right For You
In this article, we have covered many aspects of choosing shotgun microphones and other mics. To choose the best however, it is necessary to think about the following features:
This is one of the most important features to get decent sound from shotgun mics. While it is important in general, it becomes even more important for filmmaking.
Good directionality is based onto a simple principle, so even beginners can select the best shotgun mics a little easier.
The best shotgun mic will capture the sound of your subject, not the sound that is coming from the side or the rear. In other words, you need to look for features that promote the directionality of your mic.
When you attach a microphone to a pole, it is quite evident that the weight of the microphone cannot be too much. The pole is often held upright for longer periods of time, which is much harder to do with a heavy shotgun mic.
The best shotgun microphone will be quite lightweight and compact, making it much easier to handle for longer periods. The Rode Pro version is a really good example, as it only weighs a mere 85 grams.
Microphones come in many shapes and sizes, so you may wonder if shape is all that important.
The answer is yes, because your mic must fit into additional and common accessories such as a shock mount or a blimp-style windscreen.
As you know already, these accessories can promote a high-quality sound, so it is a good idea to choose a microphone for your camera that accommodates for these accessories.
Flat frequency response:
A flat frequency response ensures you are able to capture natural sounds. If you have some experience with recording sound, you already know that low frequencies are not very desirable.
If you choose a mic with a flat frequency response, much of those low frequencies are left out of your sound.
While you may believe that sensitivity is a bad thing for your sound, the opposite is actually the case. Remember, your mic will not be right in front of the subject’s mouth, so it must be able to pick up the subject’s sound from a little distance away.
What is the best boom microphone for filmmaking?
If we had to pick one from our overview, it would have to be the Rode Videomic Pro. While the Videomic Pro is one of the most compact shotgun mics and weighs only a mere 85 grams, it comes with the trademarked shock mounting system and a supercardioid pickup pattern that reduces noise pickup from the side and rear of your shotgun microphone.
- A true shotgun microphone designed for camcorders, DSLR cameras and portable audio recorders as primary and reference audio
- The 1/2″ condenser capsule provides broadcast-quality audio via a 3.5mm connector with an incredibly low self-noise of just 14db
- The Rycote Lyre based shock mounting system provides isolation from external factors that may cause unwanted rumble and vibrations
In addition to being transportable, the Rode Videomic Pro comes with a 9 volt battery, delivering a whopping 70 hours of uninterrupted recording time.
It is also important to note that you do not have to mount this microphone on a pole necessarily. In fact, this microphone can be added to any DSLR camera. Since the Rode is also one of the simplest models out there, beginners will have little trouble mounting it on their DSLR camera.
When you use the Rode Pro, you might want to combine it with a primary microphone as well for the best results. In other words, you can mount the Rode Pro to your camera, but use another microphone on an adjustable arm to get the most from your audio.
If you are interested in capturing dialogue flawlessly, but don’t want to break the bank to do it, you can consider the Audio-Technica ATR 3350. This handy little microphone only weighs a mere 6 grams and can be placed on the subject directly. As it is compact and light, it records audio flawlessly without interrupting the subjects movement.
Those who do not mind spending a little bit more can also look at the Sennheiser MKE 400, which can be added to the camera directly or mounted on an adjustable arm depending on your preferences.
The battery life of the Sennheiser MKE 400 is a whopping 300 hours, which makes it unlikely that you will run out of battery power during some vital filmmaking. The microphone has also a very durable construction, as the housing is completely made of metal.
When you choose the Sennheiser MKE 400, you can also count on features that contribute to noise reduction, including a trademarked integral shock mount. And the best feature of all? This microphone fits on all cameras that are equipped with a standard hot shoe mount.
What’s the difference between a shotgun mic and a boom mic?
Many people find themselves confused about the difference between a shotgun mic and a boom mic. However, the difference is actually quite simple. A boom microphone is any microphone that can be added to a boom. A shotgun microphone on the other hand, can be mounted on a boom, but also directly on a video camera.
The shotgun microphone is characterised by its directional nature. To ensure the sound records properly, the shotgun microphone must be aimed directly at the source of the sound.
So, to summarize, the boom microphone is a generalized term for any microphone that can be added to an extended arm or a pole. So, the shotgun microphone falls under that umbrella. Since these terms are so closely related, it is no surprise that they are often confused and used interchangeably. When you browse for microphones, you may want to use both terms to view the full range of options that are available to you online.
The Main Takeaways For Hobbyists And Professionals
You may have already noticed that the most expensive boom and shotgun mics are not always the most expensive. In fact, even the more affordable options cna provide superior sound. So, not matter if you are professional or a hobbyist, choosing a shotgun mic should be done by evaluating the features, not the price.
We also discussed a number of important features to look at when you choose your microphone. With the features, it is important not to prioritise one feature over another. Instead, you should choose a mic that combines directionality, lightness, shape, frequency response and sensitivity perfectly.
Our recommendations provide you with prime examples of good microphones for a variety of purposes. You could choose one of these mics, but you could also choose another option based on the features we described today. Just remember, take your time to evaluate features and don’t be afraid to read customer reviews to get the best option for your needs.