Every media producer gets to that point where they realize their sound quality does not quite match up to video quality.
The truth is if you want to film anything of professional value and high quality, a DSLR microphone is a must.
DSLR video cameras usually come with a built-in microphone, but most of them can only provide the bare minimum. Audio quality is rarely good.
The picture quality of a DSLR video camera is usually great, and that makes it all the more obvious when the sound is horrible.
So for high-quality audio recording, another approach is required.
Built-in DSLR camera microphones have their uses. They are easy to hide, so can be helpful if you’re trying to record discreetly.
The audio quality is bearable if a good sound isn’t that important to you. But a DSLR microphone can only take you so far.
If you are going to take your work seriously, you’re going to need more than the bare minimum sound recording. That means using an external microphone.
You may think that you can get by with your camera’s internal microphone for audio recording.
But for anything other than amateur stuff, you’ll need to upgrade to achieve the level of sound quality that online viewers have come to expect.
This is where using an external microphone comes in.
An external DSLR microphone can significantly improve your videos’ sound quality while remaining easy to use, whether using a DSLR camera or video camera.
In addition, external mics are portable, effective, and at a somewhat affordable price for the quality they provide.
These are the microphones most frequently used with DSLRs.
They are called shotgun microphones (or shotgun mics) because the long, slotted tube in front of the microphone cartridge makes it resemble a shotgun.
Shotgun mics are said to be extremely directional. That means they pick up sound from one specific direction.
The lengthy design of shotgun mics helps in the detection of distant sounds that are difficult to reach.
They do this by canceling out sounds outside of the direction of their barrels, resulting in a cleaner sound, free of background noise.
They can be mounted to the top of a boom pole or, more typically, to the tops of cameras. They’re very effective and straightforward to use.
A lavalier microphone or “lav mic” is a tiny microphone that is fixed to the user’s body or clothing with a mic clip.
A lav mic can be used wired or as a wireless microphone system. They are designed to be small, light, and unseen. Lav mics provide deceptively high-quality sound and are great for discrete filming.
There are many brands of lavalier microphones available for creators.
Read up on the Best Wired and Wireless Lavalier Microphones in our article.
Headset microphones are usually used alongside earphones or headphones.
There’s a wide variety of headsets available. Headphones with two ear cups and an arm-attached microphone provide stereo sound, but single-ear cup headsets allow you a better sense of your environment.
A single-ear headset or mono headset is perfect for those times when the background noise levels are low.
However, when things get noisy (for example, if there is a lot of environmental noise or wind noise) a double-cup headset works best.
Handheld mics are the most popular type of microphone.
Handheld mics are designed for, of course, hand-holding, but they can also be hooked onto a microphone stand when singing or giving a speech.
While it’s nice to be able to hold your mic, make sure you avoid handling noise. A handheld mic requires more expertise than the others, but they perform just as well, if not better, so a handheld mic can always be a great choice.
Like I said earlier, shotgun mics are the most frequently used with DSLR cameras, and that’s because they provide pristine sound while also being portable.
Since they’re mounted on the cameras and are super directional, capturing great audio quality while you shoot is effortless.
This guide is full of shotgun-style DSLR microphones, as they are by far the most popular and best DSLR microphone style. And these are some of the best DSLR microphones available.
Rode VideoMic Pro are high-quality on-camera shotgun microphones that can be used for various recording situations.
For a while now, it has been the industry standard go-to microphone for vloggers, filmmakers, and content creators, thanks to its compact, lightweight nature.
In addition, it delivers high-quality directional audio due to its broadcast-grade condenser capsule and precise supercardioid polar pattern. It is the best microphone for any producer who wants to take high-quality audio quality to the next level.
When you use this microphone, you’ll first notice that it is very light, weighing only 85g.
The Rode VideoMic Pro is popular because it offers a characteristically rich mid-range emphasizing vocal clarity. It also comes with several useful functions that will help you adapt to your recording environment.
For example, it has a high-pass filter that reduces rumble from low frequencies generated by unwanted noise such as traffic and air conditioners and a three-position level control that ensures perfect recording levels every time you shoot. That makes it great for handling noise.
The VideoMic NTG is a versatile shotgun mic that delivers excellent audio quality in every setting.
It is mainly used on camera to capture broadcast-quality audio in the field.
Still, it can also be used with a smartphone, portable audio recorders, and your desktop for interviews and recording podcasts. It is designed to be flexible and to adapt to any recording situation.
The VideoMic NTG uses acoustic perforations along the shaft of the microphone instead of the linear slots seen in a conventional shotgun mic and on-camera microphones. This design provides a high degree of transparent audio.
With a very flat frequency response range, a highly directional supercardioid pattern, and extremely low self-noise, you have tiny on-camera microphones that can compete with the best DSLR microphones on the market.
The end result is a really great shotgun microphone.
The VideoMicro was designed to be a smaller, lighter version of the already compact VideoMic without a significant drop in quality.
The VideoMicro is a high-resolution on-camera microphone for vlogging and filming.
It produces crisp, precise, natural sound quality thanks to its condenser capsule and cardioid pickup pattern, making it ideal for excellent audio production.
The VideoMicro is ultra-compact and super light, weighing only 42g.
With an integrated shock mount included, it’s ideal for use with smaller cameras, cellphones, and other mobile devices.
It also works well on a boom pole, and its high-grade ceramic coating and luxurious fuzzy windshield make it ideal for outdoor video making and avoiding wind noise. This makes it a highly flexible tiny DSLR microphone.
The MKE 600 is an excellent DSLR video camera/camcorder microphone that can maintain performance even in the most challenging filming situations.
Its hypercardioid design boosted by a slim, cigarette-like build, gives it unmatched directivity for a shotgun microphone.
Balance is no issue as the MKE 600 includes a shoe shock mount for easy placement on your camera or a tripod.
Another great feature is the switchable Low Cut filter that enables it to reduce wind noise and other unwanted noise in your recordings.
If your DSLR camera or camcorder does not have phantom power, the MKE 600 can still be used because AA batteries can power it.
This really is one of the best DSLR microphones on the market.
The MKE 400 is a small, highly directional on-camera shotgun microphone that isolates and enhances your video’s sound quality. It has built-in wind noise protection and an integrated shock mount, so it’s great for handling noise.
The MKE 400 also has a switchable low-cut filter that focuses your sound on the most important frequencies for clarity and voice intelligibility, and a three-step sensitivity switch allows it to produce distortion-free sound in any context.
Interchangeable 3.5 mm locking coiled cables work with DSLR/M and mobile devices, and a convenient headphone jack lets you hear your recordings while recording.
If you are looking for a DSLR microphone that sounds accurate and travels well, the Shure VP83F is the one for you.
It has a supercardioid/lobar polar pattern that allows users to capture only the sound they want, with a wide frequency range for natural, high-quality audio reproduction.
In addition, it has an all-metal construction enclosed within a Rycotte Lyre shock mount system.
The 3.5mm audio jack allows you to send audio to your DSLR’s audio input. It comes with a 32GB micro SDHC card, a five-position advanced control level, and an illuminated LCD display for real-time monitoring.
Additionally, it is super easy to record using the Shure VP83F. It also provides a long battery life with up to 10 hours of operating time on two AA batteries.
With a handy integral shoe mount and rubber shock mount to insulate vibration and mechanical camera noise, the AT8024 is designed exclusively for use with DSLR or a video camera, delivering considerably superior sound than inbuilt camera mics.
It is a condenser microphone with a fixed charge for use with DSLRs and other video cameras.
For high-resolution audio in any situation, the microphone can be used in mono or mid-side stereo modes.
With an integrated 3.5mm audio jack that connects straight to your camera, the AT8040 produces far better sound than built-in camera microphones.
The microphone also has an 80 Hz high-pass filter option that allows you to choose between a flat response or a low-frequency roll-off to decrease unwanted environmental noise, room reverberation, and mechanically coupled noise.
Either way, this is a great choice for handling unwanted noise and one of the best condenser microphones.
For its price, the Saramonic Vmic packs a lot of useful features.
It is a broadcast-quality condenser microphone that works with DSLR cameras and camcorders to create near-professional audio quality.
This is a camera-top shotgun microphone that can be mounted to a 1/4″ tripod mount or placed in the camera shoe of your DSLR/video camera.
It has an output to connect the microphone to your camera and also allows you to record directly to an internal SD card.
It provides you with as much functionality as higher-priced microphones as well as additional features to ensure a smooth process.
When considering condenser microphones this is a great option.
This is another cheap but well-performing DSLR microphone. The TM-2X is an X-Y stereo condenser microphone that can record high-quality sounds suitable for DSLR footage.
The X-Y pattern is a stereo recording technique that records sounds while minimizing the hollowing-out effect (when the central sound becomes weak).
The TM-2X is incredibly simple to operate, even though it may not look like it. It only requires mounting the noise isolation arm on a camera and connecting the stereo mini-jack plug to the camera’s external port.
After that, you have to set the camera’s recording level to match the film’s target subject, and you’re free to enjoy filming with pristine sound.
Companies like creating products that work seamlessly with one another. They do this to avoid compatibility problems but also to increase their footprint in the market.
Canon was able to do this successfully with the DM-E1.
It pairs effortlessly with most Canon EOS series, but it also has no problems working with other brands of DSLR cameras. The shotgun design of the directional stereo microphone produces high-quality sound.
It has three audio pickup modes: the shotgun mode for picking voices, the 90° stereo mode that enables you to capture sounds of a concentrated group, and the 120° stereo mode that is designed only to pick up sounds coming from a wide area in front of the camera.
The DSLR microphone has a compact and lightweight design, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.
When combined with the camera and lens, it forms a tidy recording device that allows you to shoot handheld for lengthy periods of time comfortably.
A DSLR microphone is indispensable if you ever plan to get the best high-quality audio when filming and recording with a DSLR camera.
If you’re starting out, any DSLR microphone would do the job. If you’re a more experienced video maker looking for an upgrade, this guide should help you make a decision.
Ultimately, the final decision depends on your budget, your setup, and the sound quality you desire when you want to record audio.
To use a microphone with a DSLR camera, you need to connect it.
Most shotgun mics will come with a 3.5mm (1/8”) connection jack. This is a standard connection size, the same as most headphones.
However, if your mic and camera have an XLR connection, the procedure is the same.
Firstly, mount the microphone on the camera so that it is securely in position for when you are ready to shoot.
Locate the 3.5mm port on the camera (this will be in a different place on each camera).
Push the jack from the mic into the port on the camera.
If your mic has an on-switch, turn it on.
Some DSLR cameras will automatically detect that you have plugged in an external microphone and adjust to using it. Others may require you to go into your settings and manually select your external microphone. Please consult your camera’s manual to confirm which is the case for your specific model.
Wireless lavalier mics come with two components. There is the mic that you clip to your clothing and the receiver which connects to your DSLR camera.
Mount the receiver on the camera.
Once it is securely mounted, connect the receiver to the 3.5mm port on your DSLR camera.
Confirm that both the receiver unit mounted on the camera and the transmitter unit connected to the microphone are turned on.
Some lavalier mics will have different channels. This is so that if there is more than one lavalier mic in use that they do not interfere with each other. Ensure that both receiver and transmitter are on the same channel.
If your model of lavalier mic has a display screen for levels, you will be able to see that it responds when you start speaking.
If not, do a short test recording to confirm that your mic has been successfully connected.
It is also possible to connect a USB mic to a DSLR camera.
You need to ensure that your USB mic has a headphones output. Usually, this will be the 3.5mm standard. If it does not have a headphones output this will not be possible.
In addition, you will require the USB cable that shipped with your USB mic. You will also need your laptop or computer. Finally, you will require a 3.5mm male-to-male cable, like the one below.
Connect the USB microphone to the DSLR camera using the 3.5mm male-to-male cable from the headphone port on the microphone to the port on the camera.
Then plug the USB cable into your computer.
You need to do this to provide power to the USB microphone, which otherwise will not work. Some USB mics have a power LED on them — you will see it light up when you plug the USB cable into the computer.
Once your USB mic has power, that’s it ready for use.
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