8 Best Microphone for Filming

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This updated guide is for anyone who needs a microphone for filming. Read this short introduction if you’re unfamiliar with mics and enhanced audio. I will walk you through the basics so that you can make better-informed decisions. Your first job is to identify the type of product that best meets your needs and expectations. They come in different shapes, sizes, features, and recording quality.

SGC-598 Interview Mic
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Easy to set up, sells well, 100 hrs. battery, low power indicator.
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Best Value
AT2020 XLR Studio Mic
Connection: 3-pin XLR
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
High SPL handling, wide dynamic range, stand mount, storage pouch.
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Top Pick
AT875R Shotgun Mic
Connection: 3-pin XLR
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Perfect for compact cameras, natural warm sound, indoor/outdoor use.
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Understanding Polar Patterns

A mic’s polar pattern is an invisible area that refers to how it picks up sound. Certain mics only pick up from the front. Others are sensitive to noise from the front and rear, and some from all directions. Each of these polar pick-up patterns has a name.

  1. Omnidirectional: sensitive to sound from all directions
  2. Bi-directional (figure-of-8): sensitive to sound from the front and back
  3. Cardioid: Most sensitive from the front

There are also supercardioid and hypercardioid mics which are like cardioid, but narrower (see below).

Polar Patterns

Choosing Your Polar Pattern

Understanding the directional sensitivity of a microphone is vital. What works best depends on your filming needs, location, and desired effect. A common newbie buying blunder is to overlook the polar pattern on a mic. Here’s a rough breakdown of how they benefit different situations:

  • Cardioid: Standard pattern for solo singers, broadcasters, and musical instruments
  • Super Cardioid: Ideal for studio work, e.g., isolate a singer’s voice or musical instrument
  • Hyper Cardioid: Same as above but with even tighter directional sensitivity
  • Omnidirectional: Perfect for capturing the surrounding ambiance in studios and venues
  • Bi-directional (figure-of-8): Singing duets or as an overhead mic for drum kits, groups, etc.

You should now have an idea of which polar pattern best suits your style of recording. Note too that you can also buy multi-pattern mics that let you switch between polar patterns.

Choosing the right Mic for YOU

Below are 5 types of microphones to familiarize yourself with:

  1. Handheld mics
  2. Shotgun mics
  3. Stereo Mics
  4. Wired Lavalier- mics
  5. Wireless mics

Let’s now take a brief look at each of the above.

Summing Up

OK, that’s my brief introduction to the types of microphones, typical uses, and polar patterns. There’s plenty more to learn, but you should have a good idea of what kind of mic to consider. The quality of your audio matters as much—if not more—than the quality of your video, so choose with care.

About My Best ‘Microphone for Filmmaking’ Guide

Buying a mic never used to be this overwhelming, but today there are 100s of choices. I’ve reviewed dozens of the best-selling products before settling on a shortlist of eight. I took user feedback as well as the opinions of industry experts into consideration as part of the selection process. These mics are from all price categories and suitable for multiple applications as outlined in the mini-reviews.

The first three are Editor’s choice for Best Budget, the Best Value, and the Top Pick. The five under those are by price, lowest to high. Here’s a glance at the microphones reviewed on the page.

Microphones for Filmmaking Comparison Table

1. SGC-598 Interview Mic for Filming | Best Budget

SGC-598 Interview Mic for FilmingView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The Best Budget microphone goes to the TAKSTAR SGC-598 shotgun. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who records interviews and photographs interviewees using a DSLRs.

  • Best feature 1: Excellent value camera mic
  • Best feature 2: Superior sound quality to built-in mics
  • Plus points: Easy to set up, sells well, 100 hrs. battery, low power indicator, wind guard
  • Minus points: Big, need to get close to the subject

TAKSTAR Interview Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Nikon and Canon Cameras, DV camcorder.

The sound quality of TAKSTAR’s SGC-598 interview microphone easily beats others in its class. It’s simple to set up, sells well, and gets plenty of positive feedback online. That’s reassuring for those new to using external mics for recording. A single AA battery powers it and should last for up to 100 hours. There’s even a low power indicator to inform users when it’s time to change the battery.

This mic uses a heart-shaped polar pattern to reduce unwanted noise from the sides and back. There’s also a foam windbreaker in the box to cut down noise further. However, a furry dead cat is a must-have if you film outdoors in windy locations. Something like the Movo WS3 would do the job.

The Not So Good

The SGC-598 is quite large and bigger still with the furry dead cat on. It may get in the way sometimes depending on the user’s setup. This shotgun microphone has a decent range, but you need to get in closer than 5 feet for the best results.

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Tech Specs
Mic Type: Camera mounted shotgun
Connection: USB
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: 1 x AA battery
Frequency Response: 50 Hz-16 kHz.
Sensitivity: -32 dB À 3 dB
Package Dimensions: 11.3 x 7.7 x 2.7″
Product Weight: 12 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Excellent value camera mic
Superior sound to built-in mics
Easy to set up
Sells well; popular product
100 hrs. battery life
Good gain and decent range
Low battery power indicator
Includes a wind guard
The Cons
Quite big and cumbersome
Need to get close for best results

2. Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio Mic | Best Value

Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Audio-Technica’s AT2020 XLR mic makes the Best Value slot. It has a cardioid pick-up pattern and is ideal for use in a home studio setup. The mic boasts low noise even with signal amplification.

  • Best feature 1: Low noise, clear sound
  • Best feature 2: Lightweight, durable metal body
  • Plus points: High SPL handling, wide dynamic range, stand mount, storage pouch
  • Minus points: Weak base, sensitive to pop

AT2020 Studio Microphone Highlights

The AT2020 is the new standard in affordable, lightweight, and durable all-metal XLR microphones. It comes with a stand mount and soft storage pouch. Consider the AT2020 if you want to take your YouTube videos or podcast audio to the next level. That includes vocals as well as speech. The microphone boasts a wide dynamic range and easily handles high Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs).

Newbies should note that this is an XLR microphone, not a USB. That means you need an audio interface—mixer—to use it. An audio interface is a box to plug mics and other sound/recording devices into. The quality and flexibility are much better than USB mics but more hassle.

The Not So Good

The biggest negative with Audio-Technica’s AT2020 XLR mic is its weak bass. That won’t affect everyone but look to other options if you need more bass when you film. This mic is also quite sensitive to pop and breath, but it doesn’t come with a pop filter. Don’t let that put you off. Quality pop filters are inexpensive and easy to come by, like those offered by Whisperteknik.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Audio-Technica
Mic Type: Condenser XLR Studio
Connection: 3-pin XLR
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: phantom
Maximum SPL: 144dB
Dynamic Range: 124dB, 1 kHz @ Max SPL
Package Dimensions: 9.6 x 9.6 x 2.6
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 74dB, 1 kHz @ 1Pa
Product Weight: 12.1 oz.
Warranty: 1 year limited
The Pros
Low noise, clear sound
Lightweight, durable metal body
High SPL handling
Wide dynamic range
Low-Mass Diaphragm
Stand mount
Storage pouch
Excellent value
The Cons
Weak base
Sensitive to pop

3. Audio-Technica AT875R Shotgun Mic | Top Pick

Audio-Technica AT875R Shotgun MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Editor’s Top Pick is another quality product from Audio-Technica. This is the company’s AT875R. It’s a line/gradient shotgun, condenser mic designed for broadcasts and filming video.

  • Best feature 1: Short length for a shotgun microphone
  • Best feature 2: Quiet, excellent sound rejection
  • Plus points: Perfect for compact cameras, natural warm sound, indoor/outdoor use, value
  • Minus points: No enhancement controls, no shock mount for camcorder

AT875R Shotgun Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Compact digital cameras, DV camcorder, other devices.

The AT875R shotgun mic is an outstanding product for the money. It’s the next step up for anyone who shoots film with a digital compact camera or DV camcorder. This mic is short at only 7”, which makes it an excellent choice for compacts. There are no unwanted sounds like background noise and hiss either. The superb sound rejection makes it a quiet performer with natural results.

Audio-Technica’s AT875R mic costs more than most products on this page, but it’s cost-effective. There’s no—or very little—post-processing needed. You can record in a room with the air conditioning blasting and barely notice it. Most are pleased with the AT875R going by the user feedback. It seems to keep everyone happy from independent filmmakers, VO artists, and professional videographers.

Note to newbies: This is not a plug-n-play USB computer microphone. It needs phantom power to operate and works well with audio recorders like the Tascam DR-40X.

The Not So Good

The AT875R works exactly as advertised, but is void of mic enhancements. For example, it lacks normal/tele mode, dB boost, and doesn’t have battery operation. Also, it’s advertised as a great choice for DV camcorders but doesn’t include a shock mount for that. You need to buy the XLR cable separately too if you don’t already have one.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Audio-Technica
Mic Type: Shotgun condenser
Connection: XLR
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Phantom (11-52V DC)
Maximum SPL: 127 dB
Dynamic Range: 107 dB
Product Dimensions: 6.89 x 0.83”
Product Weight: 2.8 oz.
Warranty: 1 year limited
The Pros
Short length for a shotgun
Quiet (excellent sound rejection)
Perfect for compact cameras
Natural warm sound
Versatile applications
Indoor/outdoor use
Worth every penny
The Cons
No enhancement controls
No shock mount for camcorder
No XLR cable

4. Comica Smartphone CVM-VM10-K2 Filmmaker Mic

Comica Smartphone CVM-VM10-K2 Filmmaker MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Many of today’s budding filmmakers use mobile devices to record footage. The Comica Smartphone Video Kit fits that purpose. It’s an affordable shotgun video microphone with lots to offer.

  • Best feature 1: Portable multifunction microphone kit
  • Best feature 2: Professional shock mount
  • Plus points: Simple assembly, lightweight, super-anti-interference, non-slip handle, tripod
  • Minus points: Phone holder needs lots of turns

Comica Smartphone Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Smartphones from 54mm to 95mm in width, e.g., iPhone X, 8Plus 8, 7Plus, 7, Samsung, Huawei, GoPro action cameras, etc.

Video and photographic quality of modern smartphones have come a long way, but not the audio. Comica’s smartphone mic exists to enhance your presentations with vastly improved sound. There’s a lot to this kit, but it’s super easy to assemble. All parts are ultra-lightweight and durable.

This multi-function kit has everything you need in one box.

  • Professional microphone
  • Flexible, soft, non-slip smartphone clamp
  • TPS-TRRS cable
  • Handheld/desktop sturdy tripod
  • Foam wind muff
  • Dead cat windshield
  • Neat carrying case with foam cutouts and lid pocket

Microphone Audio Quality

The audio quality is a vast improvement to the built-in mics of electronic devices. The mic is a shotgun cardioid design that captures sound mostly from the front. That means it ignores unwanted noise from the sides and rear. The entire body uses aluminum to strengthen its anti-interference function still further. It’s a quality mobile mic set that should last for years with proper care.

The design and full functionality of this product make it easy-to-use and professional. Those who buy it are unlikely to ever go back to the tiny internal mics of their smartphones or other devices.

The Not So Good

The smartphone holder—though excellent—needs a lot of turns to open. That’s no reason not to buy this kit, but it is annoying if you mount and unmount your devices often.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Comica
Mic Type: Shotgun video mic
Connection: TPS-TRRS cable
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in device
Effective Distance: 32.8ft (10 meters)
Maximum SPL: 100db
Battery: CR2032
Auto Power Off: 10 minutes
Mic Dimensions: 1.37 x 0.98 x 0.33”
Kit Weight: 19.04 oz.
Warranty: 1 year limited
The Pros
Portable multifunction mic kit
Crisp, clear sound
Full aluminum body
Professional shock mount
Wind muff
Simple assembly
non-slip handle
Versatile desktop tripod
The Cons
Phone holder needs many turns

5. Tascam X-Y Stereo TM-2X X-Y Mic for DSLRs

Tascam X-Y Stereo TM-2X X-Y Mic for DSLRsView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The TASCAM TM-2X is a stereo audio X-Y microphone for DSLR cameras. The mic connects via a camera’s hot shoe and then plugs into its 3.5mm audio jack (no battery needed).

  • Best feature 1: Unique floating support structure
  • Best feature 2: 2-mic vari-angle structure
  • Plus points: Low-cut filter switch, noise isolation arm, cord holders, dead cat windscreen
  • Minus points: Flimsy noise isolation arm

Tascam Stereo DSLR Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: All DSLRs with a 3.5mm audio jack.

TASCAM’s TM-2X has a unique floating support structure. It works by cutting out any noise that might otherwise travel to the mic when the camera shakes. There are two cardioid mics attached to a 180° vari-angle structure. That’s useful as it lets you point the mic directly to the sound source. Other neat features are the Low/Hight sensitivity switch and a built-in Low-cut filter.

Some DSLR autofocus lenses make a lot of noise as they adjust. The designers of the TASCAM TM-2X have thought about that too. Its noise isolation extension arm gives the mic some distance from the camera to reduce autofocus sounds. And the included dead cat windscreen vastly reduces any wind noise when filming outdoors. There are also cord holders that help to keep everything neat and tidy.

The Not So Good

There are some personal gripes with this mic depending on user expectations and their DSLR setup. The only shared complaint I came across was for the noise isolation arm. It works as advertised, but it’s quite flimsy and may break if knocked or with rough treatment. It’s an invaluable extra for use with autofocus lenses, so the shared criticism for it is well justified.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Tascam
Mic Type: DSLR stereo
Connection: Mic input jack
Plug Type: 3.5mm TRS stereo mini
Polar Pattern: Cardioid
Power Supply: Plug-in DSLR
Maximum SPL: 120 dB
S/N Ratio: 74 dB
Frequency Range: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
Peoduct Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.2 x 8.5”
Product Weight: 8.8 oz.
Warranty: 1 year
The Pros
Unique floating support structure
2-mic vari-angle structure
Low-cut filter switch
Noise isolation arm
Cord holders
Dead cat windscreen
Tripod mounting threads
The Cons
Flimsy noise isolation arm

6. Rode Video Microphone for Filming

Rode Video Microphone for FilmingView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Rode is a well-known name in quality microphones. This model is the company’s Videomic Shotgun that has a 100 hour battery life. It comes with a Rycote Lyre mount and fuzzy windjammer kit.

  • Best feature 1: Non-elasticated Rycote Lyre suspension structure
  • Best feature 2: Supercardioid polar pattern
  • Plus points: Easy to set up, lightweight, versatile, multiple adjustments, 100hr battery life
  • Minus points: Bulky, only takes non-rechargeable batteries

Rode Video Microphone Highlights

Mic Compatibility: DSLR cameras and mobile devices with 3.5mm audio jack

Rode’s VideoMic is a shotgun microphone with a supercardioid pickup pattern. It attenuates side noise and picks up sound only from the front. Supercardioid is narrower than the cardioid pattern. That makes it valuable for recording in noisy places. Sound quality is enhanced further by the Rycote Lyre thermoplastic suspension structure. It works by decoupling the mic from unwanted camera vibrations.

The VideoMic only weighs 6.21 ounces, which is light considering its size and built-in features. You can also mount it onto Rode’s professional boompoles if you need elevated audio capture. It’s the mic’s versatility and audio enhancements that make this such a popular choice.

Built-In Audio Enhancements

The microphone’s built-in audio enhancements are worth mention. The barrel-canceling pickup works with the polar pattern to cancel unwanted audio from the sides. A selectable 10 or 20dB pad lessens the mic’s sensitivity. That’s useful as it lets you work with higher SPL levels without losing quality. And the High-Pass Filter switch helps to eradicate room ambiance and noise below 80Hz.

The Not So Good

Rode’s VideoMic is long and bulky for a shotgun and has an awkward shape that puts it off-center. It doesn’t stray into the frame, but it does look a tad awkward mounted on a DSLR. A lesser con is that it only takes non-rechargeable batteries. That’s not a major setback, but it’s a little disappointing for a 21st-century product.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Rode
Mic Type: DSLR condenser shotgun
Connection: 3.5mm
Polar Pattern: Supercardioid
Power Supply: 9V battery
Pad: -10dB -20dB
Maximum SPL: 134dB
Sensitivity: 38 dB @ 1kHz
Product Dimensions: 10 x 3 x 4”
Product Weight: 6.21 oz.
Warranty: 1 Year
The Pros
Shock mounting system
Easy to set up
Lightweight design
Coiled cord
Fuzzy Windjammer Kit
100 hour battery life
Power light
Barrel-canceling Pickup
Selectable pad (10 or 20dB)
High-pass filter switch
The Cons
Awkward shape, long & bulky
Can’t use rechargeable batteries

7. Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Mic Capsule

Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Mic CapsuleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Zoom SSH-6 is a mid-sized stereo shotgun microphone capsule. Zoom built it specifically for use with its Zoom H5/H6 Handy Recorders and the high-res Q8 Handy Video Recorder.

  • Best feature 1: Superb vocal reproduction
  • Best feature 2: Interchangeable snap-on input capsules
  • Plus points: On-board monitoring/processing, clip-on design, dead cat, excellent value
  • Minus points: Bulky, can’t store in the stock case with the dead cat on

Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Microphone Highlights

Mic Compatibility: H5 and H6 Handy Recorders, and the Q8 Handy Video Recorder.

Add the Zoom SSH-6 to your shortlist if you film interviews. It can focus on the sound source with pro-level accuracy, and it offers onboard sound monitoring and processing. The vocal reproduction is outstanding. It’s a super-directional device with three mics, one top, two on the sides. The top mic picks up sound in the center, and its bidirectional ones pick up sound from the left and right sides.

Setting up out of the box could not be easier or quicker. The SSH-6 clips into place on the H5, H6, or Q8 recorders in a nanosecond. That’s it—you’re ready to record.

Ideal Applications

Postproduction has few limits with the SSH-6 attached to an H5/H6 or Q8 recorder. You get to blend in precise amounts of environmental sound to accompany the dialogue. That makes the SSH-6 the perfect setup for quality video, film, live theater, and more. The 5V preamp vastly reduces distortion effects even at the higher volumes. And the included hairy dead cat significantly reduces wind noise.

The Not So Good

The cons for the Zoom SSH-6 are only minor. One is that it won’t store in the stock case wearing the furry dead cat. It’s a minor gripe, but little annoyances do matter to some. The design of this mic makes it quite bulky too, especially when it’s attached to a recorder. A smaller version of the same thing would be a welcome development.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Zoom
Mic Type: Mid-side Stereo shotgun
Connection: XLR
Polar Pattern: Super cardioid
Power Supply: Handy recorders
Maximum SPL: 122 dB
Maximum Input gain (M): 52.3dB
Maximum Input gain (S): 49.3 dB
Package Dimensions: 3.7 x 8.7 x 3.4”
Product Weight: 7 oz.
Warranty: 1 year limited
The Pros
Superb vocal reproduction
Ideal for interviews & live events
Interchangeable snap-on capsules
On-board monitoring/processing
Clip-on design
Fully mono compatible
Analog-style gain control
5V preamp
Included pro dead cat
Excellent value
The Cons
Bulky design
Won’t fit into the stock case wearing the furry dead cat

8. Sennheiser MKE600 Camcorder Shotgun Mic

Sennheiser MKE600 Camcorder Shotgun MicView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The final review is for the MKE 600 shotgun camcorder/DSLR microphone from Sennheiser. It’s a high-quality all-metal product with a compact, short design for a mic in its class.

  • Best feature 1: Compact and short
  • Best feature 2: Phantom or battery power
  • Plus points: All-metal housing, low-cut filter, XLR connector, on/off switch, LED indicator
  • Minus points: Sub-standard shock mount

Sennheiser MKE600 Shotgun Mic Highlights

Mic Compatibility: Video DSLRs, camcorders

The MKE 600 shotgun mic has an impressive range with some exciting capabilities. It functions with either phantom power or a single AA battery for up to 150 hours. It’s an exceptional tool for recording direct sound thanks to its super-cardioid pick-up pattern. It attenuates all noise from the sides and rear. Other audio enhancements come from a switchable low-cut filter and the foam windshield.

Mounting is straightforward using the shock mount or integrated camera shoe. Users can record with confidence in outdoor as well as indoor environments. The all-aluminum build gives this mic a quality look and feel that plastic products don’t have. Its XLR interface lets you record in ultra-high-quality through a recorder of choice. The side of the mic also has an ON/OFF switch and an LED indicator.

Sennheiser’s MKE600 Shotgun Mic is versatile and performs consistently in multiple environments. That includes brick halls, small spaces, average size rooms, gyms, and outdoor settings.

The Not So Good

The only gripe with the Sennheiser MKE600—considering its price—is the sub-standard shock mount. It’s as if it got added by accident as everything else about this product is high-quality.

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Tech Specs
Brand: Sennheiser
Mic Type: Shotgun Microphone
Connection: 3-Pin XLR
Polar Pattern: Super cardioid
Power Supply: Phantom or battery (AA)
Maximum SPL: 132dB
Frequency Range: 40Hz – 20kHz
Product Dimensions: 10.08 x 0.79”
Product Weight: 4.52 oz. w/o battery
Warranty: 2 years limited
The Pros
Compact and short
Exceptional directivity
Excellent value
Minimizes handling noise
Minimizes wind
Versatile mic for indoors or out
Phantom or battery power
All-metal aluminum housing
Low-cut filter
XLR connector
On/off switch
LED indicator
Foam windshield included
The Cons
Substandard shock mount
0/50 ratings