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Finding the Best Shotgun Microphone For Video Content Creators in 2023

Finding the Best Shotgun Microphone For Video Content Creators in 2023

A comprehensive guide to finding the best shotgun microphone for video content creators, YouTubers, and aspiring filmmakers.

As a professional travel content creator, I know how important it is to have quality audio to accompany my visuals. I remember starting to create video content for tourism boards and tour companies, and admittedly not knowing much about mics at all.

But, after several years of trial and error, while working with clients to create high-quality video projects, I have found that using shotgun mics is the ideal solution for run-and-gun video production. So, in this guide, I have compiled a list of the top shotgun microphones based on audio quality, functionality, ease of use, and affordability.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade your existing setup, these top picks will help you take your audio game to the next level.

Shotgun microphones with cameras

Quick Answer: Here are the Best Shotgun Mics for Video Content Creators

My Top Pick: JOBY Wavo PRO

Other top contenders for high-quality shotgun microphones include:

Read on for detailed summaries including the top features, pros and cons, and reasons to buy.

Cmparing shotgun microphones for video

1. JOBY Wavo Pro - The Best Shotgun Microphone for Content Creators

JOBY is the brand behind the very popular Gorillapod tripods and a company that sells high-quality equipment for content creators.

Their new range of on-camera microphones has been quite popular, especially their top-tier WAVO Pro shotgun microphone, aimed at video creators, run and gun filmmakers, and YouTubers. This is an attractive option for many as it balances price, performance, and ease of use in a portable and well-built microphone.

Key Specifications

  • Signal to Noise ratio: 96 dBA
  • Super-cardioid polarity
  • Self Noise: -76dBA (thanks to ANR)
  • Condenser microphone capsule type
  • Built-in USB-C chargeable battery
  • Aluminum & high-quality ABS plastic material
  • 0.35 lb (161 g) weight

With an excellent self-noise level, high directionality, and external audio control via the iOS or Android App (volume, output gain, EQ), this is a high-quality microphone with a nice, flat frequency response. Additionally, the microphone can record an optional -10db safe track in parallel in case of accidental clipping.

Joby shotgun microphone for video creators

Pros:

  1. Advanced software features like Active Noise Reduction (ANR) cuts out ambient noise and off-axis sounds
  2. External mic socket to use multiple mics
  3. Includes a wind-jammer
  4. Long battery life and USB-C chargeable inbuilt power source
  5. Bluetooth connectivity and a great app
  6. Excellent controls and advanced features like low-cut filter

Cons:

  1. Slightly heavier than other mics

I've been using this mic on my Canon R5 for the majority of my recent run-and-gun video projects and content creation trips. The quality of the audio captured on this mic is excellent, and a world above my camera's onboard microphone. I like that it came with a quality wind jammer, which is permanently attached to the mic instead of the foam windscreen since I'm always shooting outdoors and need to cut wind noise.

Since I'm not working on studio or cinema-grade projects, this mic is more than enough for me and I never have to spend time cleaning up audio in post thanks to the in-built ANR. Additionally, the included app is a handy feature– However, admittedly, I haven't taken advantage of it to the fullest.

Joby shotgun mic for video creation

2. TAKSTAR SGC-600

While in no way a top-of-the-line shotgun microphone, the TAKSTAR SGC-600 often appears in gear roundups like this due to the great value-for-money it offers.

At less than a fraction of other camera-mounted shotgun mics, this canon microphone offers super-cardioid sound polarity and decent sound quality overall. However, shooters will miss advanced features and may not like the static noise it produces.

Key Specifications

  • Super-cardioid polarity
  • No reported self-noise specs, although some static is certainly audible
  • AA Battery power
  • Plastic material
  • 0.165 lb (75 g) weight

While the overall specs aren't enough to turn heads, the TAKSTAR SGC-600 is a decent choice for those looking for an ultra-budget shotgun microphone under $40.

Takstar budget shotgun microphone

Pros:

  1. Excellent price for the sound quality it records
  2. Lightweight
  3. Wide polar pattern

Cons:

  1. Some static noises
  2. Lacks advanced features
  3. Poor build quality

While I'm reluctant to include this microphone in this roundup, the truth is that is very hard to ignore at this price point. I used the earlier model TAKSTAR SGC-598 for my first video projects, and truthfully it is a huge step up from your camera's inbuilt audio and often enough for most beginners working on stepping up their audio game.

The newer TAKSTAR SGC600 has improved on many of the pitfalls of the previous iteration, although sticks to very basic features aimed at beginner video creators. This is a low-tier option for those who need a mic at a very affordable price.

Takstar budget shotgun microphone

3. RODE VideoMic Go II - Most Versatile Shotgun Mic

RODE is a brand that is almost synonymous with on-camera shotgun microphones, creating the first of its kind with their VideoMic back in 2004.

The RODE VideoMic Go II is targeted toward content creators looking for a good balance between ultra-compact portability and decent audio recording quality.

Key Specifications

  • Super-cardioid polarity
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 79 dBA
  • Self-noise: 15 dBA
  • Plastic material
  • 0.196 lb (89 g) weight

RODE's Videomic GO borrows the unique acoustic design introduced by their Videomic NTG cameras. It allows for a very versatile recording since you can mount it on your camera, attach it to a desk stand, or hang it from a boom pole.

Rode videomic go ii shotgun microphone for travel

Pros:

  1. Revolutionary acoustic design allows for various use cases
  2. Very portable & lightweight
  3. Can use with a phone or PC via RODE cables
  4. Relatively low cost

Cons:

  1. USB cables not included
  2. No physical buttons

This shotgun mic from RODE is often recommended as the best budget mic on the market. At around $100, this mic offers excellent build quality, versatility, and of course, excellent sound quality with an impressive self-noise rating that is a considerable improvement over the original GO at a very competitive price range.

However, it lacks certain advanced features like ANR or the ability to access a high-pass filter or gain control when using it with a camera. As a result, this mic may not be adequate for those searching for professional shotgun microphones.

Rode videomic go ii shotgun microphone for travel

4. RODE VideoMic Pro+

It goes without saying, the RODE VideoMic Pro+ is one of the most popular shotgun microphones for vloggers. I see this thing everywhere, and for good reason– it captures excellent audio and packs in good control features.

Key Specifications

  • Super-cardioid polarity
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 79.8 dB
  • Self-noise: 14 dBA
  • Plastic material
  • 0.259 lb (122 g) weight

The VideoMic Pro+ is the flagship shotgun microphone for content creators. While RODE NTG mics offer more quality, the truth is that these are aimed at the professional video production markets and film sets.

Rode on camera microphone

Pros:

  1. Flexible power options (rechargeable battery, AA batteries, or USB)
  2. Automatic power-on function is an unexpectedly useful feature
  3. Excellent battery life (100 hours+)
  4. Good control options for gain, bass roll-off, and treble boost

Cons:

  1. Micro USB connector is outdated
  2. Sacrifices on build-quality to save weight

Video creators working on their own online videos for social media or YouTube videos will find that this mic offers more than enough control and performance. There's a reason why this thing's so popular– it does everything you need it to do.

However, I personally prefer the JOBY Wavo Pro due to the in-built ANR, which for me is one of the most useful features in a shotgun mic.

Rode directional microphone for creators

5. Shure VP83F LensHopper Shotgun Microphone

Shure's unique VP83F LensHopper is an ambitious attempt at combining a small shotgun microphone with a digital recorder.

This is a clever idea that cuts out time for professionals doing video production using mirrorless cameras or DLSRs, who would otherwise record audio to an external recording device and need to sync picture and sound in post.

Key Specifications

  • Super-cardioid polarity
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 76.6 dB
  • Self-noise: 17.4 dB
  • Plastic material
  • 0.293 lb (133 g) weight

While the Shure VP84F has been around for a while, it still offers a unique solution to cold shoe-mounted condenser microphones.

Yes, the specs ranging from NTS ratios, off-axis rejection, and general tonality are not as impressive as some of the best shotgun mics like the RODE VideoMic Pro+ or the JOBY WAVO Pro. However, the inbuilt digital recorder is a big reason why some of the biggest YouTubers like Casey Nesitat use this mic.

Shure shotgun mic with inbuilt digital recorder

Pros:

  1. Record internally with a micro SD card (24bit Wav files)
  2. Real-time monitoring on the in-built LCD display
  3. Full audio solution is very unique

Cons:

  1. Although minimal, some would consider self-noise too high (anything above 15 dB is widely considered too much)
  2. Heavier & bulkier than other mics

A confession, this is the only mic in this roundup that I haven't personally tested. However, I wanted to include it as an option because one of the major pitfalls of recording audio on a shotgun mic is the camera's microphone pre-amp, not the mic itself.

Therefore, even with slightly inferior microphone specs on paper, the Shure LensHopper might prove to offer better overall sound quality due to its internal recording capabilities. The reviews and tests online certainly seem to indicate so.

Shure shotgun microphone on camera

What to Look For When Buying a Shotgun Microphone

Whether you're starting up a YouTube channel or looking to buy a shotgun microphone to improve your video content creation, there are several key factors to look for.

Below is a quick list that I believe determines the overall quality and use case for your projects.

  1. High Directionality: This is the primary purpose of choosing a shotgun microphone over lavalier mics or wireless microphone systems like the DJI Mic Pro to capture sound from a specific direction (on-axis) while avoiding background noise or an off-axis sound source. Most shotgun mics do this well, but the best options have the industry standard super-cardioid or hyper-cardioid polar pattern.
  2. Low Self-Noise: Cheap mics often introduce "self-noise", which is caused by the microphone's circuitry. This is often heard as a soft, audible "hiss". The best microphones will limit this unwanted noise with high-quality design, or through built-in ANR (active noise reduction) algorithms to remove self-generated structural noise. Additionally, the best shotgun microphones will include shock-isolating mounts to avoid sounds caused by the camera's movement.
  3. Sensitivity: Shotgun mics have high sensitivity since they are typically used when capturing sources at a far distance. While cheaper mics can increase sensitivity, it often results in unwanted self-noise. A good balance is achieved through a good signal-to-noise ratio.
  4. Connectivity: It's important to consider the type of camera or device you'll be using your microphone with. Today, most mirrorless and cinema cameras use mini-jack inputs while more expensive cinema cameras use XLR connectors. Additionally, modern shotgun mics can feature Bluetooth connectivity.
  5. Price: The price of shotgun microphones ranges from under $50 to over $1,000. However, most content creators and beginner filmmakers don't require a $1000 cinema-grade short shotgun mic.
Mirrorless camera on gimbal with attached short microphone

Alternatives to On-Camera Shotgun Mics

In this roundup, I've only compared shotgun mics designed to be mounted on top of a mirrorless or DSLR camera via an included shock mount, since this is the most commonly used mic setup for beginner content creators and YouTubers.

However, some filmmakers and those working on high-quality video production projects might prefer to mount a mic on a boom pole or a fixed stand. If so, below are some professional directional microphones that are also an excellent choice.

Video creator olly gaspar

Summarized: The Top Shotgun Mics for Video Creators

I hope you've enjoyed this quick guide to choosing the best shotgun microphone. Whether you're looking to start off a side project shooting with compact digital cameras or mobile devices, or you're looking to step up to the professional audio system, these mics will be a good start.

While you're still here, make sure to check out some of my other camera and photography gear guides below.

Olly gaspar photographer in uganda jungle

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The best shotgun microphone for content creators
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

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