If you have Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera, commonly known as a DSLR, then you probably need a very good microphone to take your game to the next level. Most DSLR digital cameras can pick up some quality sound within a good range. However, you may want to improve the quality of sound recorded on your videos, especially for YouTube.
We have been looking for some good microphones for our cameras. We did the daunting task of researching and testing to find the best microphones for DSLR cameras.
Our Top Pick: Ultimate Best Microphone for DSLR–Rode Videomic Pro
After hours of work, we found the very best microphone for DSLR to be the Rode Videomic Pro. This is a robust mic that is compatible with the majority of cam eras. It records high quality sound free from noise. It is also light and thus does not overload small cameras and tripods. Does up to 9 hours on a single charge. One shortcoming noticed with this mic is the standard foam windscreen which does not handle strong winds very well. See our full review below. Its price is worth work, check it on Amazon.
About DSLR Cameras and Why You Need a Microphone for Them
DSLR cameras capture pictures and store them in a digital form unlike the SLR that store pictures in a film. One good thing with DSLR is that you can store a lot of pictures in their digital form in an SD card and easily edit them in their digital form.
Most of these video cameras come with a decent sound quality. Before I outline for you the available microphones, there are a few benefits I would like you to know why you need a microphone on your DSLR video camera;
- The primary reason is for you to have an improved audio quality on your videos.
- The pick-up range for the camera may not be as good as compared to an external microphone.
- The external microphones are able to eliminate the surrounding noise while recording, especially outdoors recording.
- Most people go ahead to use apps in their phones to record the audio and then sync with the video later. All this hustle can be eliminated by acquiring an external microphone to the job.
The variety microphones in the market comes with friendly prices, and depend on your budget, you will be able to pick a pretty decent microphone for your camera. Before settling on a certain microphone, it is good to do a good background check to avoid buying fake ones, which may not serve you as efficiently as the original ones would do.
Also, checking the various microphones available in the market will enable you to settle on the most appropriate one depending on the budget and the intended purpose. Below are the best five microphones for the DSLR camera.
- Rode VideoMic Pro – Broadcast Quality
This is a shotgun quality condenser microphone. It is one of the best you will find in the market. This particular microphone can be used with the HDSLR cameras, camcorders as well as audio recorders.
The microphone is ultra-lightweight and comes with a 9 volt battery that can last up to 70 hours. Also, the mic has a 3.8mm stereo output as well as a three-position level control that offers -10db, 0, and +20db. You will also get a camera shoe mount with a 3/8 inch thread.
Here are some of the benefits you get for acquiring the Rode VideoMic Pro;
- With the high quality shotgun condenser microphone, which is only 150mm you will not have much distractions handling your camera.
- The mic is ultra-lightweight, which means not much extra weight added on the camera.
- The 9 volt battery assures you of enough recording time and thus you do not have to worry about back up.
- On the quality of sound, this is a pro condenser mic, thus assured of the best quality sound.
- The mic is directional, meaning it will be able to reduce external noise. It is therefore the best to use for dialogue and directional applications.
There are a few shortcomings, however, I find with his microphone;
- The standard foam windscreen is not very helpful for strong winds. One might need to acquire a better windscreen.
- It is somewhat a hustle to access the battery compartment. Therefore, I would advise ensuring the battery is full before recording since charging it on location is not easy.
All in all, this particular microphones beats all odds and gives you some quality sound on your videos. However, it is important to make sure you use it in the right way with the right settings to maximize on the quality of your sound.
2. Shure VP83 LensHopper –Very Long Battery Life
Shure always produces high quality products. This particular microphone is one that will get you exactly what you need. The VP83 LensHopper comes with a high-definition audio thus producing professional results.
It is highly directional, which means it will reject any sound while clearly capturing the intended sound. The mounting system is well crafted to enable it minimize any vibrations or mechanical noise. This design is exclusive for the VP83 model. Additionally, the microphone uses the AA battery that can last up to 125 hours. That is approximately 5 days of recording without having to worry about the battery.
Below are the pros I find when you use this particular microphone;
- The first thing to notice with this mic is how it is designed. It has a perfect design that enables functionality. It is easy to handle and mound on your camera.
- Unlike other microphones that breaks easily, VP 83 is durable and if handled well can hardly break.
- You can monitor the battery life as it has a green led power indicator that will turn red when the battery level is low. In other words, you get an earlier warning and thus you will not be caught unawares, which may disrupt your recording.
- With this microphone you are able to get clear and rich audio for your videos. The audio from this mic is unmatched.
- The microphone gives you enough battery life, while it is also easier to swap the batteries out.
- Another interesting feature is that you have the power to switch between different sensitivity settings to suit your sound source or environment and the kind of sound you would like to get.
However, there just a few cons about the mic worth noting before starting to use it;
- The battery signal is only at the back of the microphone. If you are putting the microphone in front of your desk, the battery may die without noticing and you end up recording video without some sound. In such a setting you may want to keep on checking the signal.
- Without proper knowledge on how to use this microphone, you may not get the required audio output on your videos.
Overall, VP83 is an amazing microphone that will not disappoint you when it comes to credible audio sound.
3. Audio-Technica Dynamic Microphone (AT8004) – Omnidirectional
As the name suggests, it is basically a dynamic microphone. The microphone works well with on-location interviews or sports broadcasting. It is 5.93” in length thus best suits for such activities.
The microphone is omnidirectional. This means it is ideal for reproduction of surrounding ambience. Being a microphone that is mostly used in the field, its rugged housing with hardened steel grille comes in handy. It also comes with a shock mounting that minimizes any handling and cabling noise.
Its omnidirectional frequency response is between 80Hz to 16 kHz. The microphone does not require any powering. This microphone will give you exceptionally clear and natural audio sound. If you are an interview person, these are some of the reasons you should consider this microphone for your recording;
- It is excellent when it comes to sound pick up and one does not have to bring the mic so close to the sound source.
- The microphone is hand-held and thus you can move it as the sound source and proximity would demand.
- With its hardened steel grille you are assured of durability without much breakage over time.
- You will not have to worry about power since it does not require any powering. As long as your camera has enough power, you will have peace of mind recording.
There are, however, some shortcomings I find with this particular microphone;
This mic is a bit limited only to interviews. For example, if one wanted to record a concert, this would not be the right microphone to use. In other words, it cannot be used in a wide variety of recording settings.
While doing interviews, the microphone may cause some obstructions to the camera or appear in the video.
4. Zoom SSH-6 – Has A Built-In Preamp
Zoom SSH-6 is a stereo shotgun microphone capsule. You need to have a Zoom recorder in order for it to work properly. The available Zoom recorders include H6, H5, and Q8. Zoom SSH-6 is a super-directional microphone, which means it can pick sound from the center as well as from the left and the right sides.
This is a perfect mic for film, video or even live theater applications. The mic comes with a hairy windscreen for reducing wind noise in case of outdoor recording. It will also have a 5-volt preamp that is able to minimize sound distortion even at high volumes.
One interesting aspect you will find with this mic is you will have the choice to change the input capsule so that you can use the right microphone for a particular recording. The capsules can be changed as easily as changing the lens of a camera. Below are some of the features that make this microphone one of the best audio recorders you will come across in the market;
- There is a built-in preamp, which works better than the built-in DSLR amps in providing with advanced digital signal. This means you get crystal clear sound.
- With this microphone, you will need a Zoom recorder, which means the audio quality is higher as opposed to one recorded in the camera.
- You will also experience a variety; there are two different stereo mics for live music and concert recording, two mid-side mics for videography and filming as well as two types of shotgun mics, a stereo and a mono. In other words, it is flexible thus enabling you to get the optimum quality audio recording.
- The SGH-6 shotgun mic capsule allows one to record from a distance ensuring there is no obstructive mic in the scene. This makes it the perfect recording tool for video shoots and filming.
Although this microphone has such awesome features and advantages, it is a bit unfair that it does not come as one whole package. You will need to acquire the Zoom recorders, which is an added budget that one may not have intended to incur. To use this mic efficiently, one need to be well versed with how it works. It does not feel like a microphone for everyone.
5. Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 – For Professional Videographers
Now this is one of those arsenals, if you are a professional videographer, cannot miss to have. Sennheiser MK416 is a super cardioid shotgun tube condenser microphone. This particular microphone has excellent directivity, compact design as well as feedback rejection that makes it an all-round microphone.
It performs well in film, radio, television, and other outside broadcast applications. Here are a few things that should make you consider having this awesome gadget;
- This microphone uses the interference tube principle thus ensuring there is increased directivity.
- There will be minimal self-noise from this microphone, so you are guaranteed of clarity in sound.
- It is highly sensitive, which means it can pick up sound well from a significant distance.
- The microphone is well equipped for adverse climatic conditions making sure you do not have problems recording outdoors.
- It is made of matt black all-metal body. You can hardly expect it to break down.
- This mic is weighs 165 g, therefore no much load is added to your camera. This means you do not necessarily need a giant mic stand while using it.
- Being a professional-grade microphone, the audio output is of high quality. It has ample gain and you do not have to really go hard on it to get a strong signal.
There is one shortcoming though; it is a bit expensive as compared to other closely related microphones. There are other microphone brands or even the same brand that can cost way much cheaper than the MKH 416 and still do almost a similar job. In such a case, one can find the MKH 416 unnecessarily expensive to spend on.
All these microphones are amazing and they can do an exceptional job. However, it matters a lot how you make use of them. You can acquire a good microphone and still get poor audio on your recordings. There are a few factors one can consider to ensure that you get the maximum out of your microphone of choice;
- First, you should be able to connect the microphone correctly. While most of them are not complicated and you require only to plug in your camera, others you need to make sure all the settings are right. For instance, there are those that need to be powered, while others you will be required to make such settings as gain, and monitoring among others.
- Your environment for recording should dictate which microphone bests suits you. For example, those that come with windscreens are best suited for outdoors.
- You should be able to read the manual correctly and put all the necessary measures required. Those that need to be powered should be powered to avoid recording a video without an audio. Plugging the microphone or mounting it on your camera should also be taken into consideration.
- Lastly, take care of your equipment. Regularly clean them and check for any breakages. You should also ensure they are well stored to ensure they last longer and serve you efficiently.
With the above measures, you are assured of great videos with quality sound that the viewers can be contented with.
My Take: It is evident that RØDE Videomic Pro is the best microphone for DSLR this year for most content creators. This is based on its superb performance in sound on such a budget. The build quality is also fairly good. It is also compatible with almost all DSLR cameras.
The other microphones I mentioned are also very good and that is why they managed to beat tens of microphones to appear in our top listing. The differences is that the others have some unique capabilities which make them stand out and could not fail to feature them. For example, the Zoom SSH-6 has some good built-in preamp which performs better than the preamps in most cameras. This improves the sound quality even further.
You can chose any of the microphones based on your needs and budget. With any of the above mics, be sure to obtain some quality audio with your DSLR. Let’s keep creating!