It doesn’t matter if you’re recording YouTube videos, or you’re a freelancer that makes voice-overs for a living, having a good microphone is vital for your success.
Getting the wrong type of microphone will make your job harder because you’ll need to edit and improve your audio in post-production. Instead, the best thing you can do is get a good mic from the start and record the best audio possible.
So in this post, we’ll answer whether shotgun mics are good for voice-overs, and we’ll give you the best ones you can buy to get the most out of your money.
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Top 5 Shotgun Microphones for Voice-Over
Are Shotgun Mics Good for Recording Voice-Overs?
Shotgun mics are long and have narrow tubes with evenly-spaced slits along each side with a capsule near the rear end. This design allows sound only from the front of the microphone to pass through the tube to the capsule.
Due to this, shotgun mics are ideal for voice-over. The mic delivers a more natural tone when compared to other microphones and instead of just suppressing background noise, it simply ignores it, making it great for noiseless recording.
Still, they’re not magic tools. You’ll need to be careful with turning off all the things that can make background noise and get rid of all echo in your recording room if you want to achieve the best result.
Even though these mics prioritize the audio coming from the front, they can still pick up noise if it’s too loud.
Also, you should make sure you’re recording in a room that is conditioned for it. Shotgun mics are made to be used in a studio or a place with zero reverb. If this isn’t the case, they’re known for pickup up all the reverb and making your audio sound terrible. If you can’t condition your room, is better to use a lapel or any cardioid mic.
What’s the Difference Between a Shotgun Mic and a Condenser Mic?
There are two main types of mics: condenser and dynamic. Most shotgun mics are condenser. So, in other words, they’re the same thing.
Condenser mics have a thin diaphragm and increased sensitivity enabling them to pick up delicate sounds. This is why condenser mics are preferred for vocals, while dynamic is better for instruments like the drums.
On the other hand, dynamic mics have a thicker diaphragm that makes them more durable, but less sensitive to delicate sound.
Shotgun microphones are usually good for voice recording because, as condenser mics, they are very sensitive to sound. This allows you to use different vocal ranges without fear of your mic not being able to pick it up.
If you need a shotgun mic that can allow you to record your subject even when it’s far away from you, then you should get the Sennheiser MKE600. This distant recording ability is due to its unidirectional design, with a super-cardioid pattern and long narrow range.
Asides from the fact that it has a 2-3 dB boost, which ensures the voice stays sharp and clear, this special shotgun mic has a lightweight design enabling it to be transported easily and conveniently.
It has a battery life of 150 continuous hours, using AA battery type so you don’t have to worry about battery drainage from the device. This mic has many other special features and they will all be highlighted in this piece.
The Sennheiser MKE 600 has been designed to handle even demanding audio challenges. The shotgun design helps to effectively attenuate noise coming from the sides and rear of the device. It also has a switchable “Low Cut” filter to minimize wind noise.
In addition to all of these, the MKE 600 comes with a battery on/off switch to prevent the battery from discharging prematurely. Whenever the battery is low, it displays “Low Batt”, so you can charge up.
Additional features include:
- Pronounced directivity to capture sound only from the front
- Maximal rejection of side and rear noise
- Switchable”Low Cut” filter to minimize wind noise
- Phantom or battery powering
- Low battery indicator/display
- Excellent suppression of structure-borne noise
- A foam windshield and shock mount
- Rugged all-metal housing
Unlike the Sennheiser MKE 600, the Audio Technica AT8575R is shorter and measures only 7 inches in length. It is also lightweight and weighs only 2.8 ounces. This shotgun mic has a line + gradient polar pattern, enabling it to pick up sound waves directly in its front.
The compact mic has a pickup range of 35Hz to 18Hz, meaning it can pick up voices very fast. Due to this, it is also suitable for use in the studio. Just like every other shotgun mic, the AT8575R rejects voices from the background. For this device, the sound rejection starts at a 60-degree angle.
As a medium to alleviate the low-frequency noises that are produced from directional mics, this mic has a fixed 12db/octave roll-off from 120 Hz or lower. This means that the sounds that are not up to this threshold frequency will be eliminated.
Asides from the octave roll-off feature, this device also comes with a foam windscreen that also prevents unwanted audio from going into the tube. This allows the sound produced to have a crisp and soothing wave, unlike other mics. This feature makes the AT8575R very ideal for voice overwork.
Though this microphone is not highly-priced, it still delivers a better audio quality than those with higher pricing. The affordable price is one of the reasons it has even become so popular.
The AT8575R has been the first choice of many vloggers and producers due to its affordability, great sound quality, and flexibility. It’s a sure bet for me.
3) Movo VXR 10
Many times, the Movo VXR is mistaken for a shotgun mic, but it’s a condenser mic. It uses a cardioid condenser capsule enabling it to focus on the subject directly in front of it, with an 18-inch range.
As you move further from your subject, there is an increasing possibility of you picking up voices or other audio in the background. Hence, you are advised to stay as close as possible to your subject to ensure excellent sound quality.
Though this device can help to minimize ambient noises in the environment, it still picks up some of the background noises. This is why it is recommended for use in quiet places like studios with soundproofing.
It’s typically designed to pick up a wide range of sound, so you can expect higher frequency delivery from this mic. In addition to this, you’ll also get full bass sound quality.
The VXR 10 has universal capabilities, making it very easy to use with smartphones, DSLRs, audio recorders, laptops, tablets, and many other tech devices. It has a lightweight compact design to ensure it is moved conveniently.
However, unlike shotgun mics, the VXR 10 which is a condenser mic relies on phantom power which means it will only turn on when you switch to video. You cannot use a battery for this mic.
The Movo VXR 10 delivers perfect sound quality and has very affordable pricing. It can also be used for voice-over recordings. It is convenient to use and very versatile.
This is a very honest review, however. So, I’ll still go for other shotgun mics instead of the VXR 10. Believe me, it’s still a great choice.
Moving on to yet another shorter shotgun mic, the Diety’s SMic 2S. This one measures only 5.8 inches in length, a bit shorter than the aforementioned AT8575R. It weighs 3 ounces which is slightly more than that of the Audio Technica.
It has a super-cardioid polar pattern which makes it perfect for picking up audio that comes directly in front of the mic. This has made it the favorite of many voice actors and actresses. The slight wide range of the Dirty makes recording multiple people at once a much easier task, cutting down the time spent in the studio.
The 2S comes with a frequency range of 20Hz to 50Hz, and a rejection axis that helps to eliminate noise and other disturbances in the background. This helps produce a cleaner and much more natural sound without using a soundproof like it is done in studios.
Though the price of the Diety’s 2S is slightly higher than that of the Audio Technica, when compared to each other, it’s still a great choice judging from its recording capabilities, good sound quality, and affordability.
This is the last on our list but it doesn’t make it less of a device when compared to the others on this same list. It has a super-cardioid/lobar polar pattern providing a more focused area of pickup with effective side and rear sound rejection.
However, this device has a wider frequency response than the others, measuring 40Hz to 20KHz. This helps to deliver accurate signal capture across the tube, making it the perfect pick for recording conversations.
The Sennheiser ME66 has high sensitivity and maximum SPL rating allowing it to work well with preamps. With this, the device can handle all sounds without distortion or whatever.
This shotgun microphone head is designed for use with the K6 and K6P powering modules. This is one of the downsides of it. It is very ideal for reporting, film, and broadcast location applications and for picking up quiet signals in noisy environments.
The main features of the accessory include:
- Super cardioid/lobar pickup pattern
- Highly directional
- Low inherent self-noise
- High sensitivity
- Wide frequency response
Now, speaking of its price, the ME 66 is a good example of “Price doesn’t determine quality”. I won’t call this product cheap, but I’ll tag it affordable. It doesn’t come with a very high price tag like many other shotgun mics.
Anywhere and anytime I find myself, I’ll always choose Shotgun mics for Voice Overwork. The features of Shotgun mics that have been mentioned in this piece are more than enough reason to go for them.
Another thing that was not included in this article is that shotgun mics do not make use of phantom power; hence they derive their power from batteries. This is however not the case for condenser mics.
Condenser mics make use of phantom power and will only turn on when you connect it with a camera or smartphone. It’s just like integrating video with audio. This is quite discouraging as Voice-Overs do not need the video of the actor, aside from the voice.
The only problem you are likely to face during your search for Shotgun mics is the price. Even if I tag them affordable, some might still find it hard to get. They are costlier than the typical condenser mics.
This is where improvisation might come in. You don’t have enough to get a shotgun mic… You can settle for a condenser mic. Though the audio quality will be lower than normal, you can manage it pending the time you gather enough to purchase a shotgun mic.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.