What Is A Shotgun Microphone? When To Use? Pros And Cons

A shotgun microphone is a type of directional microphone, which is used to capture sound in front of it while at the same time reducing any noise coming from the sides or behind. This microphone is also called an interference-type line microphone.

The name shotgun microphone comes from shooting sound in its direction, just like a shotgun mics would shoot pellets. Shotgun microphones are very sensitive used in our everyday life.

Shotgun mics are highly sensitive. Therefore, You need to point the microphone at the sound if you want it to record. This device is capable of maintaining a high concentration on the sound source.

In this blog post, I will discuss What Is A Shotgun Microphone? What the advantages are when to use it along with pros and cons of using a shotgun mic.

How Does Shotgun Microphone Work?

What Is A Shotgun Microphone
Shotgun Microphone | Source: pixabay.com

A Shotgun Microphone works by capturing and amplifying sound. It does this by funneling the sound waves into a narrow aperture, reducing the noise from other directions. These principles’ alignment allows it to target sound in a particular direction without depending on its position like most mics.

A standard microphone capsule is used in all shotgun mics. It’s usually a super-cardioid one with a tight polar pattern positioned at the bottom of the long tube called a “shotgun.” Also, there are openings on this tube’s surface.

The waveform interference tube principle is used in a Shotgun Mic. It helps to reduce the noise and unwanted sounds coming from the other directions while recording.

Surface openings of the tube allow some mics to be more highly directional than others. As a result, the different types of shotguns only differ in pick-up pattern, frequency range response, and internal construction.

Shotgun Microphone PickUp Pattern

There are four different pickup patterns for Shotgun Microphones.

  • Cardioid – Cardioid is the most popular pattern among all types of shotguns; Cardioid responds to the front and rear but rejects sound coming from the back, which is very useful in most cases. The heart-shaped graph shows how the Cardioid picks the sound from the front and rejects the noise from other directions.
  • SuperCardioid – In a supercardioid, It has more rear rejection than cardioid mics which is extremely useful when unwanted sound sources are behind you. Super-cardioids can also be used in a variety of applications.
  • HyperCardioid – Hypercardioid picks up more thin and directly in front of the microphone than a Super-cardioid. Also, It can capture sound from about 70° to 130° and rejects noise coming from other directions.
  • OmniDirectional – Omnidirectional is the least directional type of Shotgun mics. It responds uniformly to sounds coming from all directions (360°). Most shotgun mics are normal Cardioid or super-cardioid.

These are the four types of Shotgun Microphones of rear PickUp Patterns.

Checkout: What is a Condenser Microphone?

Which Shotgun Microphone Should I Use?

There are a lot of shotguns available in the market. You can find a microphone that is perfect for you depends on your budget and how much you’re willing to spend.

Some popular options for beginners are:

Image Product Feature Price
No. 1
Rode NTG5
NTG5’s sound quality and innovative design can compete with shotgun microphones costing twice or three times as much. Check On Amazon
No. 2
Sennheiser MKE 600
Filmmakers looking to get a balanced sound at a reasonable price should consider this microphone Check On Amazon
No. 3
Audio Tecnica AT897
The AT879 is a discrete, high-quality shotgun microphone that comes with unparalleled clarity. Check On Amazon

Framework

Recording sounds is hard, but you want to do it right.

Most people use their smartphone’s built-in mic for recording audio, which can lead to many problems.

Shotgun microphones are the answer. They’re designed specifically for capturing sounds in front of them while rejecting noise from other directions. This makes shotgun mics perfect for voiceover work and interviews where you need clear audio without any background noise or echo.

Shotgun Microphone Applications:

1) Voice Response:

Shotgun mics capture voices well because it has a pick-up pattern that reduces the background noise. This makes it easy to clean up the sounds without making them unnatural.

2) Live Event Coverage:

Shotgun mics make it easy to capture and record sound. They are good for talking and loud noises. They reduce noise like people talking, making it easier to hear the person you want to talk to or listen to!

3) Location Sound Capture:

A shotgun mics is an excellent tool for capturing voice responses. This is because it picks up sound in only one direction. So it has advantages for recording sounds in crowded spaces related to markets, airports, train stations, etc. In this source way, you can isolate specific sources and remove unwanted background noise so that the sound continues to be intelligible.

4) Stereo Imaging:

This is hard to understand. One source way to show this is using microphones with cardioid polar patterns. They capture the left and right channels at the same time, which is difficult without an array microphone like an MS Stereo mic or ORTF stereo setup.

Pros And Cons Of Using Shotgun Microphone

Pros
  • Clear Sound Quality 
  • Not Distracting   
  • Good For Single Person Interviews
  • More precise pickup pattern gives better control
  • controlled/scripted sets
  • filtering out busy/noisy environment
Cons
  • Need To Aim It Exactly At The Subject    
  • May Need An External Audio Recorder, Requires Phantom Power.

When to Use the Shotgun Microphones?

What Is A Shotgun Microphone Use For
Shotgun Microphone Uses

Shotguns are an excellent choice for voiceovers, live event coverage, and location sound capture. An interview, for instance, is a perfect use case where you need to capture the voice so people will hear it clearly without background noise which shotgun mic does well.

A shotgun is a microphone that only records the sound in front of it and reduces other noises. You can use it when you do not need to hold a microphone and talk into it. This type of microphone is used for speeches, lectures, and meetings.

This microphone does not pick up sound from the back of the microphone. That means you can just focus on talking without being interrupted by a microphone that makes sounds from the back. In this case, this type of unidirectional microphone is always used for DSLRs or cameras and becomes a DSLR or camera mic.

In a word, a shotgun directional mic is an ideal choice when you need to talk from far away and want to set yourself free from holding or wiring a mic.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: When do I use a shotgun microphone?

A: A shotgun is an excellent choice for any time you need to capture sound without any background noise. It’s especially useful in crowded or noisy spaces where you want to isolate a specific sound source.

Q: When do I not use a shotgun microphone?

A: Shotgun microphones are great for isolating specific sound sources when you need to focus on talking. However, they’re less than ideal if you need to capture more than one sound source at a time.

Q: What is the frequency response of Shotgun Microphone?

A: The Frequency range Response is generally between 20Hz – 20kHz at most. But it depends on the company and the model.

Q: What is the difference between cardioid & super-cardioid microphones?

A: A super-cardioid microphone is much more directional. It has the same directivity as a cardioid, but it reduces noise even further in front of the mic, usually by about 10dB.

Q: What is the difference between a shotgun microphone & a parabolic microphone?

A: The main difference between a shotgun and a parabolic microphone is size. A shotgun microphone is also much more directional, making it ideal for isolating a sound from the rest of the environment.

Conclusion

Understanding what a shotgun microphone is is important because it will help you know more about shotgun microphones and how to use them. In this article, I have explained what a shotgun mic is.

Now, you know what a shotgun microphone is, how it works?. What are the pros and cons of using shotgun microphones? Under which conditions do we use a shotgun microphone? What are the shotgun microphone types?

I hope this article will help you to understand shotgun microphones.
Until then, check out some of my other articles as well:
What Is Microphone Array? Explained In Detail
What is XLR Microphone? XLR vs USB
What Is Polar Pattern? Types Of Polar Patterns
What Is Gain On a Microphone?
What Is A Boundary Microphone?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.