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Whether or not a camera is supported by a high quality microphone depends a lot on the type of camera, of course. We can say that most cameras come with a microphone of acceptable audio quality for most amateur applications that the vast majority of users need.
For some, however, the acceptable word is no longer sufficient, in fact if you need a truly professional audio quality, the best choice is to focus on an external microphone.
The most used solution to obtain a higher quality audio recording, are the microphones for DSLR cameras. Today we would like to help you in choosing this type of microphone and to do so we have compiled a guide and a ranking of the best microphones in circulation, taking into account some factors such as the intended use, the budget available and the audio quality.
Advantages of an external microphone for the camera
DSLR cameras have revolutionized the world of video recording. These cameras allow the creation of videos with a really high quality, in fact with a not too expensive budget, it is possible to have in your hands a device capable of recording videos with 1080p quality. The video quality is therefore certainly not a problem, but is it possible to say the same for the audio one?
The built-in preamps in DSLR devices cannot be considered professional, in fact the cameras in question have been designed for photography and not for video, moreover there is no possibility of a customization of the recording (in most cases), as the parameters are set by the parent company. We have even read around the net about how in many situations they prefer to use the microphone integrated in their smartphone for audio recording, rather than the one present in the camera.
Of course it all depends on your expectations and expectations, in fact there will certainly be someone among you who finds himself 100% satisfied with the audio quality of his camera, but still consider that the addition of an external microphone will only improve, and a lot, the audio quality of your footage.
How to choose your DSLR camera microphone
Let’s start with the budget first. These microphones are not very expensive, but they have a fairly wide price range, let’s say that you can find good ones from 50 euros up to 300 and more. Our advice is not to aim for savings at all costs, in fact the rule of who spends more, spends less is also valid in this case.
Obviously a lot depends on the use you have to make of it, let’s see together the models that are available, so you can orient yourself in the choice:
Shotgun: this is one of the most popular types of DSLR camera microphones and for good reason. They are effective in almost all areas and that is why they are so popular. In fact, they are massively present in the ranking; they can be added on top of the camera or with arm support.
Lavalier: this type of microphone is widely used for example in television broadcasts, in fact we are talking about those microphones that can be attached to clothes. They are ideal for controlled environments and produced in wired or wireless mode, the former certainly cheaper but you have to take into account some impediments dictated by the cables.
Handheld: some users prefer to have a traditional ice cream microphone, as they require some particular applications, for example they are particularly appreciated by journalists. The frequency range that can be captured with these microphones does not appear to be very wide, but this is not a characteristic sought by those who carry out interviews, for example; what an interviewer needs is a microphone that captures what is in front of him, capturing as little ambient noise as possible.
Headband: this type is the most suitable for people who have to speak on stages, for example for product presentations, or fitness activities, where it is not possible to control the background noise in an incisive way. With this type of microphones you can also interview people in conditions of strong noise, as they will be able to isolate the voice effectively blocking environmental noises.
In addition to the microphone itself, there are a number of additional accessories on the market that can be applied to it, such as wind screens, pop filters or stands and tripods. Some microphones are supplied with the accessories directly present in the original package, while others are sold “naked” and require the purchase of accessories separately. This is another important factor to definitely take into consideration.
RANKING OF THE BEST DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONES FOR CAMERA
the following is our ranking of the best directional microphones on the market right now. As mentioned above, most of the microphones in our ranking are of the shotgun type as they are one of the most used models by most users. However, there are also other options in our ranking, so that we can satisfy even those with different needs.
Rode VideoMic Pro – See price or buy
This is one of the most popular models for DSLR camera microphones on the market. The Rode VideoMic Pro can be considered perfect as it is, the only question mark is whether it fits within your budget. The VideoMic Pro features a high-quality, ultra-compact (150mm long) condenser microphone that does not alter the compactness and portability of the camera, weighs 85 grams (very light) and is powered by a 9 volt battery with which you can make up to 70 hours of shooting. Comes with the snap-on mounting system and a wind filter. It is connected to the camera via a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack and there is the possibility to intervene on the levels by means of special controls placed on the back of the microphone. In terms of audio quality, we are talking about a truly professional product, which must be paired with an equally performing camera or camcorder. This model is excellent if you have to record dialogues (interviews) or for directional applications, for musical uses other types are more suitable, such as some of those listed below.
In any case, if this microphone fits your budget it is certainly one of the best choices and the fact that it is made by RODE, a powerhouse in the field of microphones only confirms that.
Sennheiser MKE 400 – See price or buy
This is another of the best microphones on the market, perhaps just below the model previously described, but in any case a real marvel. The price at which it is proposed is similar to that of the RODE, it is a slightly longer model, therefore it is more suitable in case you need to record a sound source coming from a specific place. The model in question consists of an all-metal body, a side noise filter, a wind filter, 300 hours of operation with an AAA battery (much more than the RODE) and an integrated mounting system. Another option present on the MKE 400 but not on the RODE is the possibility to choose the recording mode between short and long distance, particularly not insignificant, which could make your choice fall on this model. Sennheiser is particularly well known in the field of headphones, but the work done in the design and development of this microphone has left us stunned, confirming the Sennheiser as an absolute powerhouse in the field of audio.
Azden SMX-10 – See price or buy
the Azden SMX-10 model is definitely a high-quality microphone that comes with a friendlier price. The name of the manufacturer may not suggest anything to many people, but this model has been evaluated in a very positive way by users, therefore it is rightfully included in our ranking. It is sold at almost half the price at which the two models listed above are offered, so if you are looking for a slightly cheaper option this is certainly a great alternative. The SMX-10 microphone offers a wide frequency response, high audio quality, transparent and detailed sound. It is powered by AAA battery and has a declared autonomy of up to 1000 hours of recording, therefore it is very suitable if you travel a lot, it comes with a support for snap mounting and a windscreen, as in the models previously seen.
Rode Stereo VideoMic – See price or buy
this model, also produced by the RODE house, is more suitable (compared to the previous one always described by the RODE house), it is more suitable in case you need to record environmental sound sources or live music, if instead you are looking for a directional microphone to record dialogues our advice remains fixed on the VideoMic Pro (the first model in our ranking). It is made up of two ½ ”capsules (condenser) with high resistance. Like the other models it comes with a snap-on mount but with the addition of an 80Hz high pass filter, capable of cutting unwanted low frequencies. The build quality turns out to be excellent and is placed at the top of the camera in a very simple way. It is famous for having a large recording range and the ability to attenuate external noise. One of our favorite microphones, once again made by RODE.
Audio-Technica ATR-3350 – Check Price or Buy
This product is available inexpensively but of good quality. This is a type of lavalier microphone and the ATR-3350 model is one of the most popular for its price too. It is a very affordable product, so if you are looking for such a microphone at an affordable price, this is definitely a recommended choice. It is an omnidirectional microphone and has a design capable of hiding it perfectly. It is a highly recommended choice for those who have to speak in public during conferences or presentations, but it can be used in interviews or in any case in all those applications where it is necessary to have a microphone close to the sound source. It has a frequency response ranging from 50 to 18000 Hz and a weight of only 6 grams. One of the most purchased microphones in its class, thanks to an economical price and its audio quality.
Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-A – See price or buy
In case you are looking for a completely wireless solution, this microphone, or perhaps it is better to call it a system, is truly impressive. It turns out to be one of the best wireless solutions for DSLR cameras. To work, this microphone requires a kit, which although it is expensive, knows no rivals in case your need is a qualitatively superior product and without wires. From the point of view of audio quality, this microphone (microphone system) is truly interference-free. It has a graphic display that allows monitoring of the activities that are taking place and indication of the remaining battery life.
Tascam TM-2X – See price or buy
this is a fairly affordable model and offers an XY stereo model used in the popular DR series also produced by Tascam. This is a microphone suitable for outdoor recording, but you need to keep the sound source in front of the microphone itself. The advantage of a dual microphone is that it creates a stereo image that adds depth to the recorded audio. An absolute advantage of this model is that it is powered by the camera itself, so there will be no need for additional batteries or external power supplies. The Tascam also offers the possibility of orienting the microphone capsules according to the necessary direction.
Zoom SSH-6 – See price or buy
This is our last option in our ranking of the best DSLR camera microphones. Even if it turns out to be another shotgun type microphone, we want to insert it because it has some additional peculiarities compared to the others. To work this microphone needs to be paired with a Zoom recorder (H6, H5 or Q8), but the audio quality provided by the device is truly superb. If you have a good budget and are also considering purchasing a recorder, consider this option seriously, as by not recording audio directly into the camera, it returns truly high quality with crystal clear and detailed sound.
It can be used both in the traditional configuration (shotgun) or with two directional capsules (on the sides), thus giving the possibility to record in a wide range of situations. The built-in preamplifier (5 volts) turns out to be much superior to those integrated in DSLRs.
A windscreen is supplied which is very useful in many situations. Its ideal habitat is outdoor environments, characterized by loud environmental noises, but it can give excellent satisfaction even if used indoors. Having a separate recorder will give you the advantage of being able to synchronize the audio with the video in post production, thus being able to make all the adjustments you need.
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