Looking for the best microphones for filmmaking? No problem we review the 10 best filming microphones on the market.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, audio matters in filmmaking. People don’t mind if your footage is a bit shaky or if the quality isn’t HD.
However, if the audio is bad, they’re switching off. Certainly, your audio choices can make or break your film. So, with that in mind, you may want to know more about the different types of microphones for filmmaking.
Consequently, because it’s such an important aspect of production, there is a huge variety of filming microphones out there.
We’ve put together a list of the 10 best microphones for filmmaking, split into different categories and sections to help you make the best decision.
Firstly, dynamic microphones are great microphones for filmmaking – they’re often considered the go-to studio mic. Here are a few things to consider when looking at dynamic microphones.
- Not very sensitive
- Best used when working with loud sources
- Use a wide, unidirectional pattern to pick up sound
- Cheaper and ‘lower’ quality
- Best suited for general audio purposes
Dynamic microphones work best if you’re looking to pick up a bit of background audio and environment atmosphere. For example, think of it like using a spotlight – you point them in a certain direction and they’ll capture the sound there, as well as to either side. However, they won’t pick up sound behind which is something to bear in mind.
Here are two of the best dynamic filming microphones.
1. Rode Procaster
- Tailored for Vocal Capturing
- Cardioid Polar Pattern
- Internal Shock Mounting
- Internal Pop Filter
The Rode Procaster is a very budget-friendly dynamic microphone for filmmaking. Despite the low price, it offers users a professional sound quality that’s hard to match at the lower entry point it sits in There’s a very smooth, manageable response that makes it ideal for recording and it does a great job of rejecting a lot of room noise, minimizing certain effects like popping.
2. Blue Yeti USB Mic
- 16-Bit/48 kHz Resolution
- 4 Selectable Polar Patterns
- 1/8″ Headphone Monitoring Jack
- Instant Mute
It’s hard to argue that there’s a better dynamic mic out there than the Blue Yeti. Quite simply, there isn’t. It’s proven hugely popular for podcasts and voicework thanks to its great build quality, exceptional sound, and very low price point. The fact it’s so easy to use is nice too – all you have to do is plug it into a USB port and away you go. 😉
Next, are condenser microphones. In short, condenser microphones are similar to dynamic microphones, but they’re a lot more expensive. There are a few reasons for this.
Here are a few things to consider when looking at condenser microphones.
- High-quality studio mics
- Best suited for voiceover work.
- Similar to dynamic mics, except more expensive.
- The audio quality is much clearer and better for single-source audio recordings
Furthermore, they offer more options when it comes to pick-up patterns. You can opt to keep the indirect shape on some models, but a lot of them also offer you omnidirectional (a full 360 degrees where no sound is canceled) and bidirectional recording (for interviews and conversations).
So, they’re more expensive than dynamic mics but they do give you much more versatility. Here are two of the best condenser microphones for filmmaking.
3. RØDE NT2-A
- Large diaphragm capsule with golden membrane – Noise extremely low background with transformerless circuit. Output Impedance: 100 ohm
- Cardioid polar response
- Finished in satin nickel high-strength
- Internal support vibration of the capsule
The Rode NT2-A is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that features 3 pickup patterns – cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure 8. This makes it highly versatile and great for detailed audio work. Made in Australia, the product looks and feels really well made – very solid and durable with a nice silver satin finish. Thumbs up from us. 👍
4. AKG C414 XLII
- Sonic character delivers astounding sound quality for any vocals
- Nine selectable polar patterns for the perfect setting for every application
- Three attenuation levels (-6/-12/-18dB) for close-up recording or high-output sources of up to 158dB SPL
- Three switchable different bass-cut filters to reduce wind noise, stage vibration or proximity effect
- Overload warning with audio peak hold LED
AKG’s C414 is one of the most popular and widely used microphones in the filmmaking world today. You’re likely to see one in every major studio in the music industry where it has become a professional standard. If it’s good enough for vocals and instruments, it’s also certainly good enough for filming too. We’ve found it particularly useful for voiceovers and voice work in an indoor setting.
Speaking of directional microphones, shotgun mics are hugely popular when it comes to filming microphones. Undoubtedly, just about every filmmaker has at least one of these. Here are a few things to consider when looking at shotgun microphones.
- Shotgun mics are more of a ‘style’ of mic, rather than a ‘type’ like condenser or dynamic.
- Great versatility and solid, quality audio performance.
- The shotgun shape means that the majority of them are directional (the same as a dynamic mic where you point and record).
- Best suited for picking up audio on location from a certain point or subject
Shotguns are so easy to mount wherever you need them. Consequently, filmmakers love them. They’re just a good all-rounder that’s always useful to have on location. Here are two of the best shotgun microphones for filmmaking.
5. RØDE VideoMic Pro+
- Mobile Journalist, Vlogger, Run & Gun
- For Cameras and Portable Recorders
- 70-Hr Run Time via 9V Battery
- Gain and Bass Roll-Off
Perhaps the no.1 go-to shotgun mic of all time and with good reason. The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is incredibly affordable, durable and portable while maintaining fantastic audio quality. It’s an all round champion that has changed the game for a lot of filmmakers and really took off in notoriety with the rise of YouTube and vlogging.
6. Sennheiser MKE 440
- Dual mini shotgun mics create frontal focus
- Suppression of ambience and background noise
- Built-in elastic suspension and wind protection
- 3-level sensitivity adjustment and low-cut
- Compact, all-metal construction
We really like Sennheiser’s different take on the shotgun mic. The product is very strong with its all-metal construction and we think the dual shotgun mics are brilliant. Yes, they look a little strange but they achieve a very rich, solid studio sound that has great front focus (well balanced and accurate), while deflecting any interfering side and rear background noise.
Likewise to shotgun mics, boom microphones are more of a ‘style’, rather than a ‘type’ of microphone. They’re built to do a very specific job so there are a few things to consider here:
- Used primarily as a directional microphone.
- A boom is essentially a shotgun mic on the end of a long pole (the boom).
- Picks up the sounds closest to the front of the mic (in whichever way it’s pointed) and minimises any unwanted background noise.
- Best used in scenes where the microphone needs to be as close to your subject as possible without actually entering the frame.
Booms are extendable and therefore they’re a very useful way of getting filming microphones into places that are at an awkward angle, yet still keeping it out of the shot.
Here are two of the best booms when it comes to filming microphones.
7. RØDE NTG5
- Revolutionary acoustic design with circular ports offers unmatched transparency and a more natural, uncoloured sound
- Combines a tightly controlled frequency response, smooth off-axis response, and very low self-noise
- Weighing a mere 76g and measuring just over 20cm, it’s ideal for use on long, demanding shoots
- RF-bias circuitry ensures reliable performance in adverse environments, with excellent resistance to high humidity, severe cold, damp, and dust
- Comes with a WS10 deluxe windshield, PG2-R pistol grip, and other accessories
Simply put, the NTG5 is the perfect location recording kit. The combination of its technical prowess, fantastic quality, lightweight and fair price means that it simply can’t be beaten when it comes to boom mics. It’s a must-have.
8. Sennheiser MKE600
- Pronounced directivity
- Maximal rejection of side noise
- Switchable “Low Cut” filter minimizes wind noise
- Phantom or battery powering
- Supplied with foam windshield and shock mount. Frequency response – 40 Hz to 20 kHz
Priced for small hand-held video production, this microphone really outperforms in all departments. The audio is exceptional, far exceeding the low price. It’s no surprise to find it in the kits of many accomplished sound mixers. The raw file quality alone is really good but once you start improving it in post (adding a bass boost, taking away the noise floor), you’ll be blown away.
Lavalier/lapel/‘lav’ mics are very useful for any production. Like booms, they’re made with a very specific purpose in mind so it’s good to be aware of the following.
- Effectively just tiny condenser mics.
- Picks up the subject’s voice nicely and clearly, no matter the weather or how far away you are (thanks to the fact a lot of them are wireless).
- Sound quality is not quite as good as a big boom or full-size condenser mic.
Don’t expect amazing background noise or anything else to be picked up other than the subject’s own voice. That’s the tradeoff and sacrifice you make in order to have it be so small and fit on the subject without distracting viewer’s attention. If you can accept this and know what the lav’s specific job is, then you’ll have no problems at all. They are a filmmaker’s best friend.
Here are two of the best lavalier microphones for filmmaking.
9. Sennheiser EW 112P G4
- For Mobile Journalists and videographers
- ME 2-II Omnidirectional Lav Mic
- Rugged Bodypack Transmitter
- Diversity Camera-Mount Receiver
These lav mics offer a solid directional sound with ample noise reduction for any environment. They’re very easy to set up and test, and easy to monitor when paired with an H4n zoom. Like all of Sennheiser’s products, these are built like tanks – they’re very strong and durable and should last you a long, long time.
10. Audio-Technica PRO70
- Miniature condenser microphone ideal for interviews
- Comes with an autonomous power supply
- Sturdy, quality build
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source
AT Pro 70 is a professional lavalier at a very affordable price. We love the sturdy, quality build and the audio performance is second to none – it’s been great for interviews whenever we’ve used it. The cardioid pattern and grill help to reduce a great bit of environmental noise, as well as reverberation. Furthermore, when powered with an AA battery, it can last up to 2 months! Undoubtedly, it’s the best in its price range.
Best Filming Microphones – Wrapping Up
So, there are 10 of the best microphones for filmmaking available to you right now. In conclusion, when it comes to filming microphones, you have a lot of choices and the right one for you always comes down to what your requirements and specific needs or the shoot are.
Remember there is no such thing as a one-mic-shoot. You’ll need the specific types mentioned here to play different roles if you really want to nail your audio. We hope this article helped you find the right tool for the job!