Shotgun Mic

Shotgun microphones – sometimes called ‘interference tube’ microphones – are highly directional microphones that work best pointed directly at a ‘target’ sound source. In effect, they create a ‘cone’ of concentration on this sound source and record the sound with little external ambiance (e.g. what’s outside the cone). The great advantage, then, is being able to record the sound only that the user desires, directly in front, while disregarding any other unwanted sounds that may be present in the environment. Common uses of shotgun microphones are for talks or speeches in meetings, conferences, and lectures. This microphone has an ideal range of between 3-10 feet, meaning its capture generally works best in this pocket, and begins to fade at further distances.

In my experience, shotgun mics are not particularly effective in highly reverberant spaces where the on- and off-axis sounds tend to be very similar. Nor do they work well in circumstances where you want to move the mic quickly (e.g. its not a magic wand). Compared to the in-built H1 mic, the shotgun creates much less ‘self-noise,’ though its ability to ‘max out’ vastly increases if you are pointing in a windward direction.

One of the best things about this particular model is that it can be attached to an H5 or H6 to work concurrently with the installed omnidirectional or X-Y. This allows you to record surround sound, while simultaneously pointing at ‘highlights’ with the shotgun. For instane, what if you were trying to capture a bird singing in a tree, and you wanted to partially isolate the sound of the bird, while maintaining the essence of the natural left/right soundscape of the scene? A ‘two mic’ solution recommends itself. This can be quite effective for focusing on details in acoustically dense spaces, such as a slowly passing car on a busy street. Finally, using two mics together on an H5 or H6 is also an excellent way of comparing their relative qualities, as you can lower the gain on just one at a time.


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