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Field Recording can be really hard and troublesome. But you can make it fun and gratifying by using the right equipment. Here we will recommend some of the best field recording microphones. We will also help you with a proper buying guide to decide which mic is best for you.
For people who don’t know what field recording is, it is a way for capturing natural world sounds. It is also known as a “soundscape,” which refers to an acoustic environment or sound scene, such as a forest at sunrise.
You can look at the highlighted features and browse the products in the table given below.
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|
Which type of microphone is best for field recording?
So, the question that arises is what type of mic is best for field recording. There are numerous types of microphones available in the market, each with their own specific purpose. For outside recording, shotgun microphones are mostly preferred.
Shotgun and field recording microphones are typically very expensive, so, here we’ve compiled a list of some of the best yet most affordable options for you.
1- Audio-Technica AT875R | The Best Budget Option
The Audio-Technica AT875R is a shotgun microphone that gives you excellent quality audio at a very affordable price. This design is specially made for professional video production and broadcasting. It is said to be the perfect choice for outside recording. Here’s why;
It uses a Line+ gradient polar pattern that reduces noise and isolates the sound source. It rejects every unwanted sound coming from the back or sides and only captures sound from the pointed source which is really important in field recording.
It also comes with a pop filter, so there’s no issue in windy situations as it filters out the audio and gives you clean and clear sound. The tailored response of this microphone makes sure that handling noises will be reduced to a great extent.
Let us go over some of its specifications. It has an input sound level of 127 dB SPL and a frequency response of 90-20,000 Hz.
The microphone is completely made of metal which gives it a premium touch and more durability. It is also pretty lightweight and easy to handle. Inside the box, it includes a zipper-carrying pouch for easy transport.
If you’re on a tight budget and still want to get the best out of your microphone, go with the Audio-Technica AT875R.
|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
As we all know Rode is one of the leading companies in audio equipment. It has produced numerous remarkable microphones. The Rode M5-MP is one of their successful inventions. This is an outdoor specialized microphone made entirely of metal.
The Rode M-MP is a tiny, portable microphone with excellent performance. It is a shotgun microphone and uses a cardioid polar pattern to pick up sound which makes it ideal for recording in directionally challenging settings, such as outdoors or in windy conditions. You don’t need to worry about compatibility because it can be used with cameras and any other audio equipment that uses batteries or phantom power.
Rode has improved on its highly regarded NT5 microphone. The new design includes a permanently polarised condenser capsule for those who demand the best sound quality. It has also improved its pencil shape which makes placement easy no matter how you decide to record.
This sleek design is now available with Rode’s unique ceramic coating. The finish is matt black which will perfectly match your car’s interior or exterior, and it is also compatible with WS5 windscreens. It is also lightweight and quite handy which makes it travel-friendly. Thus, perfect for field recordings.
Here are some of its specifications: The frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz, and the dynamic range is 121 dB SPL. You can take a look at all of its specifications in the table given below.
This microphone is an excellent choice and one of the best for field recording. It is almost as cheap as our first choice. So, these are our two best field recording microphones.
|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 among the best available for field recording. The NTG series includes a variety of high-quality microphones with varying features and applications. My personal favourite among the NTG series models is the Rode NTG2. This is an entry-level shotgun microphone that is best for both indoor and outdoor recordings.
The NTG-incredible II’s off-axis rejection capabilities set it apart from all other microphones in the market. This microphone features a narrow pickup pattern which allows it to concentrate on recording audio up close while rejecting all unwanted sounds from the background.
The NTG doesn’t compromise on sound quality whether you’re recording in a calm studio or a noisy outdoor setting. Its smooth frequency response captures audio with more accuracy and minimal coloration. It records every slight detail in the range and gives you a premium and rich sound.
One of the most important features of this microphone is that it is quite sensitive, thus distortion and unwanted noise won’t be an issue. Additionally, a blimp windscreen is included, which lessens wind noise and vibration making it easy to record in outdoor locations.
Overall, the RODE NTG-II is an excellent choice for low-budget filmmaking. So, if you’re looking for a low-cost shotgun mic that produces excellent results, the NTG-II should be at the top of your list. Grab one today before they sell out since it is now more economical than ever.
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz|
4- Rode VideoMic Pro+ | All in One Microphone
The Rode VideoMic Pro+ is a shotgun microphone intended to be used with camcorders, DSLR cameras, and portable audio recorders. This microphone is an all-in-one solution, with features such as a Rycote Lyre shock mount, a windscreen, and an LED light. Thus, a whole package for field recording.
This microphone works best even in extreme conditions. It has a wide frequency response that produces high-quality audio. It comes with a two-stage high pass filter (75 and 150 Hz) which ensures that every unwanted sound is blocked out from the recording. It has a low noise level so, you will have perfect clear audio.
The pickup pattern it uses is a cardioid polar pattern. So, with all the amazing features, every possibility of mixing up noise with your voice gets cleared. In the end, you’ll have audio perfect and clear with any unwanted sound.
It is a tough and durable microphone ideal for any situation. When compared to our other pick, this is a bit more expensive, but it’s a super compact, great-sounding shotgun mic, and with all its characteristics and functions, it’s definitely the best field microphone for professional projects.
|Frequency Range||20Hz ~ 20kHz|
5- BOYA Shotgun Microphone | The Best & Budget Mic
Boya has established its own market presence and is now a well-known microphone manufacturer in the industry. The company sells a variety of products, including the shotgun microphone, which is one of its best-selling items.
The BOYA Shotgun is a high-quality microphone that doesn’t burden your pocket. One of the best things about this microphone is its compact size. It is also lightweight and includes a shock mount.
This microphone is ideal for field recording. You can also use it for voice-overs as well as live music performances. If you don’t want any other sound to get into the recording except the main source, the Boya shotgun is perfect.
It has a super-cardioid polar pattern, which reduces sound coming from the sides and rear and only records from the exact source it is pointed at. It also has a frequency response of 60 Hz-20000 Hz, making it ideal for recording low and high frequencies.
It has an aluminum build, clearly because of the affordability of the budget it comes with. But we can compromise on that when it delivers such an amazing quality sound at a relatively low price. This is one of the best low-cost field microphones available in the market.
Overall, the BOYA Professional Shotgun Microphone is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality microphone at a reasonable price.
|Signal to Noise Ratio||80dB|
|High Pass Filter||150Hz|
Buyer’s Guide | Best Microphones for Field Recording
It’s important to know which features are most significant while looking for the best microphone. For your ease, I’ve put together this post with my knowledge of cardioid microphones so you may make wise choices and find what works well for your budget.
What are Cardioid Microphones?
To begin with, cardioid microphones are simply known as directional microphones. As the name describes itself, they are known to pick sounds from only one direction. Cardioid microphones only pick up sound from the source they are pointed at while rejecting sounds coming from the sides or rear.
For field recording, this feature is considered very crucial. As it aids in eliminating every unwanted sound possible. Additionally, they are really easy to install making them popular among all users, professionals, and even amateurs.
Cardioid Microphone Specifications
If you want to find the best microphone, you need to understand its specifications first.
When microphones are operating, they make white noise which is called Self-noise. Even when there’s no sound source, it can still be heard because of mixing with various frequencies throughout all ranges and it typically has an unpleasant tone.
Darker colors may appear as black bars on your TV while similar-sounding light colors may have a more grainy texture.
When recording loud sounds with short distances between the microphone and the subject, the microphone will be more sensitive to noise. This can cause the microphone to pick up all of the noise from the background creating a huge fuss.
If you want a clear sound, you must understand the levels of Self-noise produced by your microphone.
Self Noise Levels:
If the Self noise is 24 dB-A or higher, it is obvious in any recording situation.
20-23 dB. Even if it’s not the worst, it is still not ideal for a good high quality recording. When recording at low volume it can be easily heard. Definitely not recommended.
16-19 dB-A. At this level of Self-noise you can get pretty good quality audio. It can only be heard when recording voices below 30 or 40 dB in quiet environments which is typically uncommon.
10 dB-A or less. This is the least level of Self-noise you’ll get from any microphone. It can be used in every situation without being heard even in the quietest rooms with more than 10 dB of ambient sound.
The sensitivity of microphones is determined by measuring how much output it gives you for each given input. So in order to get high-quality sound without any distortion, the sensitivity level should be lower than the volume of your sound.
If you want to have a low-noise recording, a louder sound is always preferable.
Pads and Filters
Condenser microphones and dynamic microphones are the two main types of microphones available on the market. If you have a microphone with built-in pads or filters it will require buttons to access via the microphone body, whereas others will only require pressing a button located near the output jack to be activated; however, this function may not always work as expected if there is no power source nearby.
Pads in a microphone prove really helpful while recording. Because of this, you can record extremely loud sounds without any distortion. It lowers the volume of the source and gives you crystal-clear audio.
Another way to look at it is that a pad lowers the sensitivity of your microphone making everything sound more quieter. In case of high volumes, turn on pads at some -10db to avoid distortion in the audio.
Microphones are more sensitive to lower frequencies than our own ears no matter where you’re recording. This can result in an unpleasant sound that may be unfixable with post-production EQ alone – but high-pass filters can help.
Those who listen to music through a high-pass filter will be able to hear everything that happens at the low end of your favourite song.
The only issue may be other instruments playing at higher volumes, causing reflection or clunking sounds when you’re trying to enjoy some peaceful background music while washing dishes by yourself.
How to Pick the Best Microphone for Field Recording
Now, we’ve shared all the best microphones for field recording on our list with you. For field recording, we recommend you go with a cardioid microphone. However, it depends on your financial situation too.
We’ve shared microphones ranging in price from low to mid-range to high-end. You can choose based on your budget; all of these microphones are excellent for field recording. If you ask for my opinion, the Rode NTG2 is the best of all.
Conclusion | Best Microphones for Field Recording
That concludes our guide to the best field recording microphones. We hope that you find your perfect microphone. If you have any questions or feedback, leave them in the comment section below