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Are you a content creator that recently bought a DSLR camera to shoot video footage? You might have been a little disappointed with the lackluster camera built into your camera.
High-quality audio is a must if you hope to produce excellent video content. For this, it’s often best to get a dedicated microphone.
Not sure where to begin? The following microphones (of all price ranges) are sure to get the job done.
Sennheiser MKH 416 – Best Overall
This is a shotgun condenser microphone that is nearly unparalleled in the kind of quality that it offers. With that being said, it’s priced for working professionals as it certainly is not a budget microphone.
Out of all DSLR microphones, the MKH 416 is one of the most recommended amongst users. You won’t have a hard time producing professional-grade audio with this fine piece of equipment.
The MKH 416’s length measures just shy of 10”, and features a supercardioid polarity pattern. This is going to be especially ideal when pointing the microphone in a specific direction.
One thing to keep in mind with the MKH 416 is that it does require Phantom Power to use. Because of this, you’ll likely need to connect it to an external device if your camera doesn’t offer Phantom Power.
Compared to other condenser microphones, the MKH 416 is quite rugged and is fairly resilient to humidity. This makes for a great choice for somebody who is frequently recording in diverse weather conditions.
Also included with the MKH 416 is a windscreen, as well as a mic clip and a protective carrying case.
The MKH 416 is what you’re looking for if you desire to have audio quality on par with mainstream media. You won’t be needing to spend a whole lot of time in post-production to doctor the recording with this mic.
It might seem like quite the investment, but you’re actually getting an incredible value for the price. This is one of the rare occasions where performance matches the hype.
Neumann KMR 82 i – Best Premium
Are you a working professional that doesn’t have budgetary concerns when it comes to your microphone needs? Don’t purchase a microphone until you’ve checked out the Neumann KMR 82 i (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon).
For decades, Neumann has been an extremely well-respected company with regard to producing quality microphones. Recording studios have employed Neumann microphones to provide the best sound quality possible.
Like most things, this type of quality does come at a bit of a hefty price. Whether it is worth the extra money compared to these other microphones will be up to you to decide.
The KMR 82 i is a shotgun condenser microphone that uses a supercardioid polarity pattern. This is going to be excellent for situations that call for distance, as well as voice acting.
When compared to the Sennheiser MKH 416, it’s often debatable whether there is much of a difference. Where the MKH 416 might be more responsive in the mid-range, the KMR 82 i is much smoother.
With that being said, the KMR 82 i is an excellent microphone if you’re planning on utilizing different mics. It is able to capture sound without coloring the input too much, providing a very authentic and realistic sound.
The KMR 82 i measures 15.5” in length, and requires 48V Phantom Power to be able to use. Weighing in just above 2.5 pounds, this microphone is incredibly lightweight and mobile.
Also included with the purchase of this microphone is a windscreen and a protective tube sheath. This sheath casing has a convenient shoulder strap for easy transportation.
Rode Lavalier GO – Best Budget
As the name suggests, the Lavalier Go is a LAV microphone. This is going to be perfectly suited for somebody who needs to record someone speaking, regardless of direction.
For starters, the Lavalier Go has an omnidirectional polarity pattern. This means that the microphone picks up signals from all directions, which is quite convenient.
However, this is quite the small microphone, as it’s designed to be clipped onto a shirt. It comes with a small windscreen to reduce any sort of natural interference from moving air.
To connect the Lavalier Go to your DSLR, you’ll plug its 1/8” TRS cable into your camera’s microphone input. This reduces the need to have a separate piece of equipment for Phantom Power purposes.
The Lavalier Go’s cable measures just shy of 4ft., which is perfect for shots that don’t require much distance. You can always use this in conjunction with a wireless system to reduce the distance factor altogether.
Rode has made sure the Lavalier Go is durable, covering the cable itself in a protective kevlar coating.
Along with the microphone and windscreen, you’ll get a clip and a carrying bag. You’ll essentially have everything you need to get started without breaking the bank.
The Lavalier Go is designed to be discreet and comes primarily in the color of black. However, you can also order the microphone in white if that better fits your needs.
This is especially ideal if you don’t want to have to worry about the direction you might be facing. Due to its clipping design, it will capture your voice, even if you’re facing away from the camera.
Are you looking for a top-notch shotgun microphone that can handle just about anything? The Rode NTG-8 might just be the very microphone you’ve been searching for.
In many ways, the NTG-8 rivals the famed Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun mic and is suitable for professionals. Out of the entire Rode product line, the NTG-8 is one of the best available in terms of quality.
This condenser microphone utilizes a supercardioid polarity pattern. You’ll need to point the tip of the microphone toward the source of the audio you are trying to capture.
However, the NTG-8 is one of the best of its class in isolating the sound source from the surrounding environment. In fact, the NTG-8 really was designed to provide the purest recordings possible, providing:
- Immunity from radio wave interferences
- Minimal noise when using the microphone/moving it
- Excellent sensitivity in the direction being captured only
You’ll find that the NTG-8 is incredibly light, weighing in just around 1 pound. This is quite a bit of a significant difference compared to other microphones in its class.
Furthermore, the NTG-8 is perfect for recording in just about any setting, including adverse weather conditions. The housing of the mic itself is quite rugged and should withstand extreme temperatures quite well.
To use the NTG-8, you will need to have a 48v Phantom Power source. However, this is to be expected with most high-grade shotgun microphones.
Along with the microphone, you’ll get a number of different items in one package, including:
- Mic clip
- Protective tube made of aluminum
- Carrying pouch
Rode NTG5 Shotgun Condenser Microphone Kit
Are you somebody with a decent budget that is looking for a bundle with everything you’d ever need? The Rode NTG5 Shotgun Condenser Microphone Kit (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is exactly what the doctor ordered.
As far as comprehensive bundles go, this NTG5 kit is one of the best values currently available on the market. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal in terms of both usable audio quality and hardware quality overall.
For starters, as the name would suggest, you’d get a Rode NTG5 shotgun condenser microphone with this package. This shotgun mic is considerably shorter than most high-quality shotgun mics.
However, its smaller size allows it to be easily mounted to a DSLR without having to use a boom stand. Of course, how you use it is completely up to you, as this kit has a number of mounts, including:
- Mic clip
- Shock mount
- Pistol grip mount
As far as sound quality goes, the NTG5 manages to perform quite well as a directional microphone. It utilizes a supercardioid polarity pattern, with fairly decent distance capabilities.
The NTG5 is also incredibly light, weighing just a few ounces in total. This means that you likely won’t have to deal with much noise from moving the camera when mounted.
Along with the aforementioned items, this kit also includes:
- Protective leather pouch
- XLR patch cable
- Foam windscreen
- Dead cat windscreen (of the hairy variety)
This microphone has been widely used and recommended by many professionals. Many claim that the NTG5 is just as good as some of the most expensive shotgun microphones on the market.
The NTG5 kit is definitely ideal for someone looking for an affordable entry into the world of shotgun microphones. It’ll be able to handle the bulk of most situations without any issue.
Rode VideoMic NTG
This microphone is the perfect meeting point between Rode’s popular NTG shotgun mics, and their camera-mount microphones. As such, it aims to provide a practical use case for those who need performance in each category.
For starters, the VideoMic NTG is fairly small and compact, measuring just shy of 7”. This microphone doesn’t even weigh 1 pound, so it definitely reduces any possible noise interference from moving the camera.
Unlike the NTG microphones, the VideoMic NTG does not require Phantom Power to use. Instead, it has an internal rechargeable battery that can handle up to 30 hours of use per full charge.
You also won’t have to worry about needing a TRS/TRRS adapter when using this microphone. The VideoMic NTG has a built-in sensor that automatically engages which mode is being used.
Rode has made sure to pack the VideoMic NTG with incredible value. Along with the microphone, you’ll get:
- Foam windscreen
- Camera shockmount
- SC cable
- USB cable for USB recording mode
With this model, Rode seems to have made something extremely practical for just about any type of user. You’ll be able to easily control the microphone’s gain settings to adjust to your surroundings.
Plus, it’s relatively durable, ensuring that you can use this supercardioid mini-shotgun mic just about anywhere. Whether with a phone or a DSLR camera, the VideoMic NTG is primed and ready to perform.
Rode VideoMic Pro R
With this model, Rode has essentially provided a no-frills microphone designed to get the job done with minimal issues. It is a small, supercardioid shotgun microphone measuring just shy of 7”.
The VideoMic Pro R is also quite a light microphone, weighing just a few ounces. When mounted in the shockmount, you won’t have to worry about too much movement noise interfering with the signal.
What makes the VideoMic Pro R so great is that it’s incredibly straightforward to use. There aren’t too many fancy bells or whistles, just connect the microphone to the camera and you’re good to go.
You will need to have a 9V battery to use this microphone. However, a new battery can provide nearly 70 hours of use.
Rode has provided a number of different settings, which change the gain staging of the microphone. If you need less, you can cut 10dB, or you can add 20dB if you should need more.
Along with the microphone, you’ll get a foam windscreen to deter slight breezes from interfering with your recordings. A handy frequency selector allows you to mold the sound characteristics of what you are capturing.
All in all, the VideoMic Pro R is worth every bit of its price, especially for use with DSLR cameras. It’s relatively affordable and is perhaps one of the best-suited when recording with a DSLR.
Not only is it one of the most recommended, but Rode also provides a 10-year warranty with its purchase. You’re bound to keep this microphone around for a long time.
Rode Lavalier II
This is going to be the perfect choice for those of you conducting interviews with your DSLR. The Lavalier II is quite discreet, clipping onto a shirt to provide ample response for voice.
As with most LAV mics, the Lavalier II has an omnidirectional polarity pattern. This means that distance isn’t necessarily an issue, and you can have great quality no matter what direction you’re facing.
The Lavalier II does require a power source to use. Depending on your power capabilities, you may need to provide up to 5V of power.
Due to the design, you will be limited to a distance just shy of 4ft. when plugged into a camera. However, you can easily use this with a wireless system to eliminate any distance worries.
For the most part, this is a simple setup, but Rode has tossed in some extras to sweeten the pot. These items include:
- Carrying case
- Foam windscreen
- Dead cat windscreen (of the hairy variety)
- Mic clip
- ID tags
Overall, the Lavalier II is definitely a viable choice for those that need something like this. It has a pretty balanced tonal response, with excellent depth and a clear high range.
Plus, this microphone is incredibly affordable, even for the smallest of budgets. Depending on the content you create, it might not hurt to have at least one of these in your arsenal.
Rode VideoMic GO II
Using microphones with a DSLR can quickly become a tricky and confusing situation. Sometimes, depending on the microphone, you might need an external device besides the camera itself.
Many people just do not have the wherewithal to be able to deal with a setup like that. Then again, some situations do not allow for a complex rig when recording audio and video simultaneously.
Like many other Rodes microphones, the VideoMic GO II is essentially a supercardioid shotgun microphone. Unlike others, this one measures just shy of 5”, making it incredibly portable and low on noise.
You’re probably wondering what makes the VideoMic GO II so special compared to the other Rode microphones. The answer to this lies in its ability to be plugged in and immediately be ready to be used.
Along with the microphone itself, you’ll get a number of other items, including:
- Camera mount
- Foam windscreen
- TRS cable
Keep in mind, however, that you’re not purely limited to using this microphone with a DSLR camera. The VideoMic GO II offers USB capability, allowing for use with a computer and a phone.
Overall, these are definitely a great budget option for somebody in need of a cheaper shotgun mic. You’ll have nothing short of practicality here, which does provide an easy user experience.
What To Look For When Buying An On Camera DSLR Microphone
It can be quite difficult to wade your way through the numerous amounts of options for microphones available today. If you don’t know anything about microphones, some detailed research is needed to make the wisest choice possible.
Fortunately, while microphones themselves can be complex, the basics are fairly easy to understand. Once you understand the basics, you’ll be to apply the knowledge to any microphone purchase.
Keep the following points in mind when you have decided you need a microphone for your DSLR camera.
Perhaps the biggest thing you need to consider is the actual type of microphone itself. There are many different types of microphones available that you can use for a DSLR camera.
For the most part, the main 3 microphone types you’ll find are:
The names of the microphones refer to the inside mechanics of how the microphone captures sound. You’ll find different variations of these types, but for the most part, nearly all fit these categories.
Have you ever seen those toy microphones that kids often have that use a spring inside to project the sound? Dynamic microphones essentially incorporate a similar technology in their inner workings.
You’ll often find dynamic microphones on stage during a band performance. These microphones are perfect for situations where you’ll be close to the microphone.
Condenser microphones are similar to dynamic microphones, with a few notable exceptions. These microphones have fragile inner workings, which result in increased sensitivity to ambient noise.
You’ll find these being used where there is a need to capture all of the sounds within a general area. Dynamic mics are generally far more rugged than condensers, though condensers tend to provide a more accurate sound capture.
LAV microphones are essentially what you’ll find being used in television studios. You can often see these clipped onto the shirt of whoever may be speaking.
LAV microphones are great as they provide a clear sound while remaining relatively cheap.
Each microphone has its own polarity pattern, which is something you’ll need to keep an eye on. The polarity pattern refers to the directional regions that the microphone captures.
Some polarity patterns capture what is directly in front of it, with the sides absent and the backside semi-present. Others might have more response on the sides in addition to the front-facing side.
Of course, there are also omnidirectional polarity patterns. As the name suggests, these will pick up everything in all directions.
It might not always be practical to have an omnidirectional microphone. This is especially true if you happen to be filming in a noisy location.
Nearly all microphones are affected by distance. The further away from the mic, the less the microphone will capture.
LAV mics do aim at eliminating the distance factor altogether. But, again, these might not always be the most practical.
As you’ve likely seen by browsing this list, microphones come in all sorts of different price ranges. If you wanted to, you could definitely drop well over $1000 for one microphone.
However, you shouldn’t automatically assume that the most expensive microphone will provide the best quality. Quite often, it isn't what you have, it’s how you use it that determines quality.
For instance, you could buy the most expensive microphone, but produce lackluster results from lack of experience. Likewise, a budget microphone could produce professional qualities if your editing and production skills are top-notch.
Sometimes, it’s all about how you place the microphone that produces the best quality. Mastering this ensures you can achieve the best quality possible when using professional-grade equipment.
With that being said, you should always be extremely mindful of your budget. Take a realistic and honest look at how the microphone itself will be serving you.
Have you just started a YouTube channel and have minimal followers? A cheaper microphone is probably more than suitable.
Of course, if you already have a channel that is gaining profits, something expensive might suffice. Going this route ensures your investment provides a quick return to recoup your initial cost.
Another thing you might want to consider is the used market. Sure, buying used can be sketchy, but that is why you try the microphones out first.
Used gear tends to cost far below the retail price that they originally cost in the store. With a little patience, you’ll always be able to come across some deals that are too good to turn down.
Going this route will often give you access to higher-quality gear within the budget you were shopping in. Or, you can save some money on things you were going to buy new.
Something else you should keep in mind is whether or not the microphone comes with any extra features. When you’re just starting out, it can be quite convenient to purchase a microphone that has everything you need.
If a microphone comes with a shockmount, it saves you the time and money of having to source one yourself. Likewise, a dead cat microphone (hairy) cover can be extremely useful in blocking out any wind.
Other Things To Consider
Another major thing to consider is how you’ll be using the microphones in general. Are you somebody that has a dedicated space, or are you filming on the go?
These distinctions will play a huge role in determining what microphone is best for you. Each microphone has its strengths, so play into them rather than worrying about the price.
For instance, someone who has a static and routine setting might benefit from a tabletop microphone. Dynamic microphones used for podcasters might also be appropriate in these situations.
If going this route, you may need something like an audio interface to get the job done. These provide a direct link to a computer, often offering built-in Phantom Power for any mic that may need it.
Of course, those same types of microphones won’t be sufficient for somebody who films while moving around. Some microphones are generally meant to be placed in 1 location and work best as such.
It might also be worth looking into a dedicated field recorder, such as the Zoom H4N. You can plug your microphones directly into the device, which records the audio separately from the DSLR camera.
In a way, a field recorder acts as a sort of mobile audio interface. You would need to sync the audio and video in post-production, however.
Best Brands For On Camera DSLR Microphones
If you’re feeling lost, consider looking at the most reputable brands to begin your research. The following brands are highly acclaimed by those who use DSLR cameras to shoot audio and video.
Rode has literally taken the digital content creation community by storm. Since the 1990s, Rode has been very active in the audio equipment market niche.
Today, Rode makes products specifically with the digital content creator in mind. They have a wide range of microphones, mixers, and interfaces that are often recommended.
Sennheiser is one of the biggest and most-recognizable names in the entire audio equipment industry. Despite being a colossal giant, Sennheiser has remained family-owned since 1945.
Many Sennheiser products have legendary status amongst musicians and audio professionals. Whether it’s a microphone or a pair of headphones, these are sure to be of top quality.
Best On Camera Microphones For DSLR Cameras, Final Thoughts
A decent microphone is a must if you need audio quality to match the visual quality shot by your DSLR. Just remember that it’s not always what you have, but how you use it.
Don’t be afraid to try different things out to really get a sense of what each microphone does. Chances are likely that you’ll incorporate and utilize a number of different microphone types into your rig at some point.