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4 Best Documentary Microphone

When we are recording a professional documentary using DSLR or iPhone, although the picture quality is top-notch the audio quality is insufficient. This not only disturbs the quality of the video but makes it difficult to understand the message of the video. Therefore, we need to invest in a good-quality microphone to capture proper directional audio. Hence, here is a list of Best Documentary Microphones. 

These microphones not only give a new life to the audio but also enhance the overall production quality. These microphones give a clear and high-quality audio response by capturing only specific sounds and isolating all other undesirable sounds. So, without wasting any time, let’s dig into the article to find the best partner for your documentary recording and filming sessions. 

Sennheiser MKH 416

This microphone is an ideal choice for recording film, media, and television applications. This compact shotgun microphone offers laser-precise directivity with a pressure-gradient receiver with a short interference tube. Moreover, it also features a hypercardioid pattern at low and medium frequencies and a lobar pattern above 2kHz.

Which Is The Best Documentary Microphone?

It can exhibit and transmit low noises, and it has excellent feedback rejection. It delivers an awesome sound quality and a compact size which is portable for any studio setup. Furthermore, it also includes a cooling condenser design and a windscreen for seamless performance even in humid conditions. 

Moreover, it also features a durable matte black finish to reflect the heat and ensure a clean and cool surface. However, it has only one polar sound pattern. It is also a bit heavy and massive which makes it difficult to carry around. However, customers still love it for its versatility, durability, and range of frequency response. 

Specs

Mic type Shotgun,Condenser micPolar pattern Super cardioid
Audio frequency response range 40 to 20 000 HzSensitive 25 mV/Pa
Signal-to-noise ratio More than 130 dBMaximum sound pressure pressure130 dB 
Output impedance 25 ohms Audio output type XLR pin-3
Phantom power 48 volts Length 10 inches 
Diameter 1 inchWeight 170 grams 
Construction material Metal Current consumption 2 mA
Noise level 13 dBTerminate impedance 800 ohms

Pros

  • Amazing audio quality 
  • Super cardioid polar pattern
  • Resistant to humidity and moisture 
  • Very durable 
  • Fewer background noises
  • Self-noise is also very low
  • Build quality is great
  • Wide range of audio frequency response
  • Very versatile 

Cons 

  • Very high price 
  • Has to be used with a shock mount or windscreen
  • Greater in size and weight 
  • Single polar pattern 

Audio Technica AT 897 

This microphone is the best choice for vlogging, content creation, and video production. It can easily be attached to any digital camera so you can record clear audio along with hi-fi picture quality. It has a narrow acceptance angle and unique gradient design that facilitates you to capture smooth and seamless audio while rejecting all the off-axis audio. 

Which Is The Best Documentary Microphone?

The microphone runs on both phantom and battery power and ensures an excellent audio experience even from a distance. It has a condenser capsule to capture well-detailed audio at any distance. It also has low-frequency roll-off cuts rumble to avoid detrimental sound. 

However, the microphone is very sensitive to noise, and it lacks a wide range of audio reach. Apart from this, it is also not recommended for all audio recording occasions due frequency response range limit. But if you are looking for a microphone to record your documentary sessions, then it is surely a versatile, portable, and excellent option. 

Specs

Mic type Condenser mic Polar pattern Line + Gradient 
Audio frequency response range 20 to 20 000 HzSensitivity -40 dB
Impedance 200 ohms Max input sound level 129 dB
Dynamic range 112 dBSignal-to-noise ratio 77 dB
Phantom power 11 to 52 volts (Direct Circuit)Battery type AA batteries 
Battery voltage  1.5 volts Battery current 0.4 mA
Switch Flat,Roll-off Weight 145 grams 
Length 11 inches Diameter 0.8 inches 
Audio Output type 3-pin XLRM audio output Stand clampYes 
Thread size ⅝ inches Windscreen Yes 
Batteries Yes Carrying case Yes 

Pros

  • Amazing sound quality 
  • Very lightweight and small
  • Phantom power supply with 48 volts 
  • Impressive build quality 
  • Very versatile 
  • Very light on the pocket

Cons

  •  Very sensitive to wind noises
  • The audio frequency response range is limited
  • Not recommended for all occasions
  • Does not offer extended reach 

Rode NTG-3

It is an extremely durable microphone that won’t leave you in the toughest recording session. And another treat on top of all is it is also extremely budget-friendly. From moist resistance to low noise handling and self-noise properties, it has all the features required in an ideal broadcasting and filming microphone. 

Which Is The Best Documentary Microphone?

It comes with a water-resistant aluminum storage cylinder, windshield pouch, and mic clip included in the box. Moreover, it has an amazing immunity against radio frequency interference. Not only this, it has an extremely low self-noise and handling noise making it ideal to be carried in on any occasion. 

However, the microphone lacks a good built-in shock mount and windscreen. Moreover, it is also not a portable option due to its massive size and weight. 

Specs

Mic type Shotgun mic Polar pattern Super cardioid 
Audio frequency response range 40 to 20 000 HzSensitivity 25 mV/Pa
Nominal 25 ohms Nominal impedance 25 ohms 
Noise level 13 dBMax sound pressure level 130 dB
Phantom power Yes Power supply 48 V
Diameter 2 cm Length 25 cm
Weight 175 grams Color Black 

Pros

  • The audio quality is very amazing 
  • Resistant to moisture and humidity 
  • Strong material and durable build 
  • Direction pickup is also great with super-cardioid polar pattern
  • self -noise is also very low
  • The audio frequency response range is also wide 
  • Come with a phantom power of 48 Volts 

Cons

  •  A bit expensive compared to its competitors 
  • Does not have a built-in shock mount
  • Heavy (not portable)
  • Does not have a built-in windscreen 

Rode VideoMic

The Rode VideoMic is one of the most suitable microphones for making amazing documentaries. Their height and width are 8 inches and 1 inch respectively. The weight of this microphone is about 85 grams. Additionally, it comes with a decent red shock mount and a high-pass filter. The stand is also highly adjustable allowing you to record documentaries from the best possible angles.

If we take a look at its technical features, it is a shotgun-type condenser microphone with a super-cardioid polar pattern. This microphone can record frequency response sounds from 40 to 20,000 Hz at a sensitivity of -34 dB. 24-bit bit depth with a sampling rate of 48 kHz allows you to record audio in decent quality. However, the sound quality is not the same as that of professional microphones.

Otherwise, the microphone is powered by 9V batteries. These batteries can save you the worry of plugging your microphone into a power source, but you will have to recharge or replace them regularly. In the end, the price of this documentary microphone is very affordable, and you can use it as a beginner or intermediate documentarian.

Specs

Mic type Shotgun,Condenser mic Polar pattern Super cardioid 
Audio frequency response range 40 to 20 000 HzSensitivity -34 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio 74 dBMax sound pressure Not mentioned
Output impedance 200 ohms Audio output type 3.5 mm jack
Power source 9 volts Battery timing 70 hours 
Length 8 inches Weight 85 grams 
Constructional material Aluminum Shock mountYes 
High-pass filter Yes 

Pros

  • Very light in weight 
  • Small in size
  • The audio quality is better than the camera’s mic
  • Great direction pickup 
  • Powered by 9V batteries 
  • Comes with a shoe mount 
  • Very budget-friendly option 
  • Very easy to set up and use 

Cons

  • The audio is a bit low-quality compared to professional mics
  • A limited number of features in this price bracket
  • Can catch wind noise
  • The audio frequency response range is not long enough
  • Recommended to use with shock mount 
  • Charging and replacing batteries frequently

Also read Microphones For Voice Acting

Kiran Yahya
Kiran Yahya
Kiran Yahya is a professional technical writer with 4+ years of experience. Her expertise include writing detailed, unbiased reviews on tech products and tools, along with covering trending news on relevant topics.
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