Field recording can be a fun and rewarding activity, but if you’re using the wrong equipment, it can also be frustrating and unsuccessful. In this blog post, we will discuss the best microphones for field recording, so that you can capture the best sound possible! We’ll also provide a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right microphone for your needs.
What is field recording? Field recording is a way to capture sounds that are happening in the natural world. It can also be called “soundscape,” which means an acoustic environment or sound scene, like a forest at sunrise.
The best equipment for this type of audio capturing includes microphones, recorders, cables, and accessories like stands and shock mounts. What type of microphone is best for field recording?
Usually, the shotgun and field recording microphones are very expensive but we’ve collected some of the best and most affordable options for you here.
There are many different types of microphones available today, and each has its own unique purpose in the world of audio recording.
If you’re looking to capture sounds from nature or other outdoor environments, then shotgun mics will be best suited for your needs. So, in this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best microphones for outdoor recording so you can pick the best one.
Before getting into the reviews of the products, we’ve built a table of our top picks. You can check it out for the highlighted features and navigate to the products.
Best Microphones for Field Recording | Top Picks
|Audio-Technica AT875R||Durable and best for field recording.||Check Price|
|Rode M5-MP||Excellent price value||Check Price|
|Rode NTG2||High end option for pros||Check Price|
|Rode VideoMic Pro+||All in One Microphone||Check Price|
|BOYA Shotgun Microphone||The Best & Budget Microphone||Check Price|
Now, you’ve our top picks for today, let’s review them one by one to find out, why have we ranked these products as the best mics for field recording. We’ll discuss the features, specs, pros, and cons with a buying guide.
Which type of microphone is best for field recording?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best microphone for field recording will vary depending on your specific needs and budget. However, we recommend using a shotgun mic for capturing outdoor sounds, as they are designed for directional sound capture.
So, we would recommend you to go for a shotgun microphone. Because you might have seen a shotgun mic being used for filmmaking. So, the shotgun is the ultimate choice for outdoor and field recording.
1- Audio-Technica AT875R | The Best Budget Option
If you’re looking for an affordable shotgun mic that still offers high-quality recording, the Audio-Technica AT875R is a great option. This microphone features a Line + gradient polar pattern, which helps to reduce noise and isolate the sound source.
It is specially designed for professional video production and broadcasting. It has the ability to reject audio from the sides and the rear of the microphone which is important in field recording because we just wanna capture the audio where we’re pointing.
With the tailored response, you can be sure that the camera and handling noise will be minimized. But it can be operated on phantom power only. These were some of the most highlighted features in this microphone but overall this is a great option for field recording.
Let’s discuss some of its specifications. It comes with a frequency response of 90-20,000 Hz and a maximum input sound level of 127 dB SPL.
This microphone is all metal constructed and very well built, It includes a pop filter to reduce noise if you’re recording in a windy environment. The microphone comes with a zipper carrying pouch with some accessories.
It is also super lightweight and simple to use. So if you’re on a budget and wanna get a good microphone with amazing build quality, this is a spectacular option. And that’s why we’ve put it at the top of the table.
|Polar Pattern||Line + gradient|
|Frequency Response||90-20,000 Hz|
|Open Circuit Sensitivity||–30 dB (31.6 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa|
|Maximum Input Sound Level||127 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.|
2- Rode M5-MP | Good Price Value
The Rode M-MP is a small and compact microphone that offers great performance. This shotgun mic has a cardioid polar pattern, which makes it best suited for recording in directionally challenging environments like outside or windy situations.
It can be used with cameras and audio equipment having phantom power or batteries so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.
As we know Rode is a very popular and established microphone brand and produces quality audio equipment. This is a specialist microphone for field recording and outdoor and It has all-metal construction.
It is also very lightweight and easy to carry around with you, making it perfect for field recording. It’s a great option if you’re looking for an affordable shotgun mic that still offers good quality sound recording.
Here are some of its specs: the frequency response ranges from 20Hz ~ 20kHz and a dynamic range of 121 dB SPL, we’ll mention all its specifications in the table below.
RØDE has taken its highly-regarded NT5 mic and made it even better. The new design includes a permanently polarized condenser capsule for those who demand the best sound quality, in addition to an improved pencil shape that makes placement easy no matter what kind of style recording you are doing.
The sleek and stylish M5 is now available with RØDE’s proprietary ceramic coating. The finish offers a matt black that will match your car’s interior or exterior perfectly, while also coming equipped for WS5 windshields as well.
So this is a great option and one of the best microphones for field recording. It is almost on the same budget as our first pick. So, these are our two finest microphones for field recording, Let’s move forward.
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz|
|Equivalent Noise||19 dBA SPL (as per IEC651)|
|Dynamic Range||121 dB SPL|
|Signal to noise Ratio||75 dBA SPL (as per IEC651)|
|Power Requirements||24V / 48V phantom power|
3- Rode NTG2 | High End Microphone for Field Recording
Rode NTG-series microphones are some of the best on the market for field recording. The NTG series offers a range of quality microphones, all with different features and purposes.
Out of all the models in the NTG series, my personal favorite is the Rode NTG2. This microphone is an entry-level shotgun mic, best suited for indoor and outdoor filmic sound capture.
What makes the NTG-II so unique is its incredible off-axis rejection capabilities. The narrow pickup pattern of this microphone allows it to focus on capturing audio up close while rejecting unwanted noise in the background. This is great if you are recording dialogue or interview indoors.
This shotgun mic has a very smooth frequency response, making it perfect for capturing audio with accuracy and minimal coloration. It also sounds relatively rich, so you can be sure to capture every slight detail in the range it can record.
The best thing about this microphone is that it’s quite sensitive, so you won’t have any problems with distortion or unwanted noise. It also comes with a blimp windshield which helps reduce wind noise and vibration when filming outdoors on location.
Overall, the RØDE NTG-II is an excellent choice for budget filmmaking and offers great value for money. It’s also a perfect mic for field recording as it captures sound with exceptional clarity. So if you’re looking for an affordable shotgun mic that delivers great results, the NTG-II should definitely be on your shortlist.
Whether you’re a videographer or not, the RØDE NTG2 is an awesome microphone with rich sound that will make your work easy and enjoyable! It’s now more affordable than ever so grab one today before they run out.
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz|
4- Rode VideoMic Pro+ | All in One Microphone
The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a shotgun microphone that has been designed for use with camcorders, DSLRs, and portable audio recorders. It offers an all-in-one solution for field recording, with features that include a Rycote Lyre shock mount, a windshield, and an LED light.
The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is rugged and durable, making it ideal for use in harsh environments. It also delivers excellent sound quality, thanks to its wide frequency response and low noise level. The microphone can be powered by two AA batteries. This is Rode’s most popular shotgun microphone.
The two-stage high pass filter (75 and 150Hz) ensures that you’re only listening to the sound of your voice while cutting out low frequencies like an air conditioner or outdoor ambiance. This will help you stand out from the surrounding sounds and clean up your audio.
When it comes to picking up the sound, this mic is a powerhouse. The directionality of its super-cardioid pattern allows for pinpoint accuracy in all directions, without any unwanted background noise interference from other sources nearby or around you – making these valuable tools when recording interviews on location with multiple people who may be talking at once.
This is a bit expensive when we compare it with our other pick, but it’s a super compact and amazing sounding shotgun mic and with all its specs and features, It’s worth buying for professional projects and obviously the best field microphone.
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz|
5- BOYA Shotgun Microphone | The Best & Budget Mic
The BOYA Shotgun Microphone is a budget-friendly option for field recording. Its best features are its small size, it’s lightweight and it comes with a shock mount.
The microphone is great for field recording and video recordings as well. It can be used to record voice-overs or even live music performances. The BOYA shotgun microphone is best employed when you need to capture sound from a specific direction.
It comes with Aluminium construction because obviously the budget it comes on is affordable we can compromise on that. But it sounds amazing and natural. This is one of the best affordable microphones for field recording.
Boya has built its own presence in the market and now they are a reputed microphone manufacturer in the industry. The company offers a wide range of products and the shotgun microphone is one of its best-selling products.
The BOYA Shotgun Microphone has a super-cardioid polar pattern that helps to reduce noise from the sides and rear. It also has a frequency response of 60Hz-20000Hz, which makes it ideal for capturing both low and high frequencies.
The best part about the BOYA Shotgun Microphone is that it’s very affordable, which makes it a great option for those on a budget. Overall, the BOYA Professional Shotgun Microphone is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a quality microphone at an affordable price.
|Signal to Noise Ratio||80dB|
|High Pass Filter||150Hz|
Buyer’s Guide | Best Microphones for Field Recording
When shopping for the best microphone, it is important to understand what specifications are most crucial. Thankfully I have put together this article with my insights on cardioid microphones so you can make informed decisions and find a model that fits your budget nicely.
What are Cardioid Microphones?
To start with, a cardioid microphone can best be described as an adjustable directional microphone. It’s called a cardioid mic because it picks up best from the front and rejects what is on the back or on the sides. You can best think of a cardioid mics as those old cowboy movies where you had to shout into one end of it to talk to someone at the other end.
This comes in really handy for field recording applications as you don’t have to worry about noise contamination from your recordist or anyone else present during your session. In addition, they are typically extremely lightweight and easy to mount – making them very popular among all types of users, whether amatuer or professional.
Cardioid Microphone Specifications
Understanding microphone specifications is crucial if you want to find the best one. The output tone should be engaging and informative, so that readers stay tuned into this article wholeheartedly.
White noise is the self-noise produced by microphones when they’re operating. It can be heard even if there’s no sound source, and it generally has an unpleasant tone to it due its mixture with various frequencies throughout all ranges – similar sounding white colors will have more grainy texture while darker hues might show as black bars on your TV screen.
Understanding the level of self-noise that your microphone produces is important for getting a clear, crisp sound.
What type do you have? How loud should I talk to be able record myself without any interference from my own voice?” The more noise there was in this sentence – which occurred when we were talking about “self” basically saying something along those lines-“the higher amount acceptable.”
The mic will be more susceptible to noise when recording loud sounds and short distances between microphone-subject.
This can be a problem when you are trying to record audio with your microphone because it will pick up all of the noise from what’s going on around them.
They might also find themselves getting lost in their own voice, so they’ll need more than just one take before moving onto something else.
Self Noise Levels:
Poor:) At 24 dB-A and above, self noise is obvious in any recording situation. Below 70 decibels (vacuum cleaner), hissing can be heard even when quietness was desired for an accent or Hillsong worship music track.
Average:) 20-23 dB A self noise level that’s still audible at low recording volumes makes it difficult to produce a high quality sound when you’re trying capture everything detail accurately.
Good:) 16-19 dB A. Good for most dialog and booming applications; some noise may be heard when recording voices below 30 or 40dBs in quiet ambiances, but this is rare.
Amazing:) 10 dB-A and below. Super low noise, so it can be used in any recording situation without being noticed by even the quietest of rooms with more than 10 dBof ambient sound already present.
Microphones determine the sensitivity levels of sound recording by measuring how much it outputs for each given input. The louder your voice, the lower this number needs to be in order not record any distortion on an endings’tape or CD player with high quality playback settings enabled.
The decibel scale measures both volume and frequency response curves at once which can help you troubleshoot problems when using headphones as well.
When you’re trying to make low noise recordings, a louder sound will be better. The sensitivity of your microphone determines how much signal it takes in before distortion sets in and makes the file noisier – but this is only if we want high levels for things like drums or guitars.
If all our input was just piano pieces then even at very little volume they would still have plenty enough detail so there’s not really any need whatsoever when doing quieter work such as voice over dubbing videos etcetera.
Pads and Filters
The different types of microphones that are available on the market can be divided into two main categories – condenser and dynamic. Microphones with pads or filters built-in will need to have switches/buttons accessible via your microphone body, while others only require pressing an button located near its output jack for activation; however this function may not always work as expected if there’s no power source nearby.
When you need to record very loud sounds without distortion, use a microphone pad. It reduces the volume of your signal and enables it for more accurate recording.
Another way to think about this is that a pad reduces the sensitivity of your microphone, so everything sounds quieter. If you have high volumes and are trying not record any distortion with it then turn on some -10 dB pads (which will attenuate all signals by 10dB).
Whether you’re in the field or at home, microphones are more susceptible to lower frequencies than our own ears. This can make for an unpleasant sound that may not be fixable with post production EQ alone – but high pass filters will help.
For those who listen to music with a high-pass filter, they will be able hear everything that is going on in the low end of your favorite song.
The only problem may come from other instruments playing at higher volumes which can cause reflection or clanking sounds when you’re trying enjoy some peaceful background tunes while washing dishes by yourself.
How to Pick the Best Microphone for Field Recording
Now, we shared with you the absolute best microphone for field recording in out list. The type of microphone we suggested you is cardioid, so now you know which microphone is best for your need. But it depends on you budget.
We’ve shared mics on every budget form low, mid range to a high end microphone. You can go according to your budget, all of these mics are great options for field recording. But my personal favourite for field is, Rode NTG2.
Conclusion | Best Microphones for Field Recording
That’s it for our guide on the best microphones for field recording. We hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, be sure to leave a comment below. And don’t forget to check out our other guides on choosing the right microphone for your needs. Thanks for reading!