DSLR cameras are more than what we call a ‘Good’ photographic device. But what if we switch our radar from ‘Photography’ to ‘Videography’? It is still as good as before?
There is hardly a scope of questioning the video quality that’s filmed with a DSLR. But when it comes to ‘audio’ recording, the built-in DSLR mics are rarely good enough.
So, what videographers or video enthusiasts do is- they equip their DSLRs with the best DSLR microphones available. If you’re on your way to finding one for yourself, this is the right article that you should go through.
Today, in this roundup post, we’ve hand-picked 8 of the best mics that fit with DSLR, SLR, Camcorders and similar video recorders. Buckle your belts and let’s go through the entire piece.
- Best DSLR Microphones: Our Top Picks
- Rode VideoMicPro
- Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Microphone Capsule
- Azden High-performance (SMX-10) Stereo Condenser Microphone
- Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone
- Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone
- Rode SVM Stereo VideoMic On-Camera Microphone
- Buyer’s Guide for Best DSLR Microphones
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Bottom Line
Best DSLR Microphones: Our Top Picks
If you are in search of a professional DSLR mic with an ability to offer you a handful of control, the Rode VideoMicPro is on the first row of the list. Let’s break down the features of one of Rode’s bestsellers below.
In case you want to customize while records, and you don’t want to wait for the post-production, Rode VideoMicPro is your go-to pick. It comes with a control panel right on the rear face of it. From there on, you can control the power, levels, and filters.
While you are recording the loud sources of sounds with VidoeMicPro, the level controls will widen your range of choices and control. There is a -10dB and +20dB level. The first one is for loud sources and the second one is for quieter sounds with a lot of detailing in it.
To make sure that the mic stands still even in vibration, there is a shock mount of standard size. On top of that, there is a ⅜ inches threat in the base of the mount. You can attach the camera to high-end cameras and of course DSLR cameras. And the kind of tasks you can do is to record interviews, sports events, dialogues, etc.
If you’re concerned about the distance from which it can record tracks and audio, it’s surprisingly up to 15 feet. And we’re certain that it’s more than certain for any kind of applications professionally.
Now come to the point that, with which devices are compatible? Well, the list includes camcorders, SLR cameras, DSLR cameras, and any portable audio receivers. That covers a whole lot of professional video equipment if you think about it.
- Sports a broadcast-quality condenser capsule.
- The polar pattern is super-cardioid.
- Audio quality is precise, crisp and high quality.
- Integrated windscreen and shock mount.
- Easy to set up boom pole mounting.
- 100 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response.
- 14 dB low self-noise.
- No high pass filter.
Zoom SSH-6 Stereo Shotgun Microphone Capsule
The Zoom had two of the sibling DSLR mics launches almost at the same time, which are called the Zoom SSH-6 and Zoom SGH-6. For discussing the best DSLR microphone models of 2021, we’ve got to put our hands on the first one.
Let’s dissect the specs and features!
SSH-6 is compatible with Zoom H5, H6, and Q8. With any of these three cameras, you don’t need to go through any additional hustle, as SSH-6 is a plug-n-play device with them.
It has got a super-cardioid polar pattern along with a hyper directional stereo. The maximum sound pressure level is 122dB, which is good enough for both indoor recording and outdoor recording.
If you look at the image closely, you can explore two parts in this shotgun mic- the mid(center) mic and the side mic. Both of them record two different sound sources. The mid mic records the dialogue and conversations, while the side mic records the environmental sounds.
While both of the tracks are recorded at a raw state, you can blend them together for post-production. Thus, it’s a perfect mic for films, short films, outdoor interviews, live videos and theatre applications.
In terms of price-quality ratio, it’s a winning mic for any video and audio enthusiasts. But while you see at the price tag only, it does not suit your budget in case you are limited within a short budget.
In case you’re looking for a professional’s recording companion, the Zoom SSH-6 will be the best of both worlds.
- Mid mic records the vocal while side mic records surroundings.
- Compatible with Zoom H5, H6, and Q8.
- It comes with a super-cardioid polar pattern.
- Maximum input gain of 50dB.
- Advanced signal processing digitally.
- The width of the stereo image can be adjusted.
- It doesn’t come with a shock mount.
Azden High-performance (SMX-10) Stereo Condenser Microphone
The 7” long, stereo condenser mic from the inventory of Azden is next on our list. SMX-10 sports a dual unidirectional electret-condenser polar pattern that brings out one of the best stereo quality that a DSLR mic can do.
First thing first, the SMX-10 from Azden is a quite small microphone for a DSLR mic. In a sense, it looks like just a baby shotgun that might grow one day. The length is 7” and dia is less than ¾”. As a user, you have some advantages of this size. It won’t weigh down while attached to the camera nor block the field of view of the video.
Moving forward, the next standout feature is its isolation with stereo. You might find the pickup pattern to be a bit narrower than many DSLR mics. But it still can give you a nice stereo image.
A major difference between the built-in microphone in your camera and the SMX-10 is the clarity. While some outdoor situation is recorded, it simply trims down all the noise(birds, traffic, etc) and records only what it’s meant to record. In the sense of cleaning up the recording, SMX-10 is definitely one of the best shots in the market.
And how does it sound, actually?
Well, we’ve found the audio tracks recorded with a true test. And the result was satisfactory. The stereo pickup is good enough, clean and believable. While recording, it minimizes all the other noises apart from the loudest one (voice recording, mostly). Also, the self-noise is quite minimal and inseparable from the camera’s electronic noise.
To make your recorded tracks more real-time, there is a shock mount holder for the mic and a foam windscreen. The airflow noise, the breaths, and other minor distractions will be filtered away through this windscreen.
- Compact design with 7 inches length only.
- Foam and windscreen included.
- Sports a unidirectional electret-condenser.
- Built-in 3.5mm headphone plug.
- It comes with a shock mount mic holder. -40dB sensitivity.
- 400 hours of battery life.
- The pickup pattern is a bit narrow.
Tascam TM-2X Stereo X-Y Microphone
At first glance, you will see a clear difference in the design of Tascam TM-2X compared to most of the other mics on the list. It’d got some standout feature on top of all regular qualities that a good quality mic should have. Let’s explore.
First of all, there is an X-Y design pattern that involves two mics to work simultaneously. As a benefit, you can record true audio with a sonic atmosphere. No matter if you’re recording from a wide area or something directly in front of the camera, you’ll get the best version of the recording quality.
See, that’s the benefit of what they call the ‘Directional stereo condenser’. On top of that, there is a high sound pressure of up to 120 dB SPL.
When it comes to DSLR camera mics, compatibility with diverse devices comes to be a much-needed feature. To make sure that it is compatible with a variety of cameras, there is a two-stage output level.
While targeting the source of the sound, you might need to adjust the direction of the mic. With Tascam TM-2X, the task becomes much easier. It’s called the Vari-angle microphone structure, and due to that structure, you can rotate it up to 180 degrees.
Tascam had taken several steps while designing this mic as a noise-free and recorder. Firstly, there is a noise isolation arm that can reduce the lens operation noise. So, all you will get from the track is from the source only.
To make it even more noise-free, there is a furry windscreen that will prevent the wind noise to enter into the mic’s recorder panel. Lastly, it’s the floating support structure that will reduce handling noise.
- The cardioid polar pattern design.
- It comes with an X-Y configuration.
- Several features and accessories for noise reduction.
- Vari-angle structure to rotate 180 degrees.
- Built-in stereo mini-plug output.
- The mounting can be hectic for the first time.
Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone
Taking into account that the Sennheiser MKE 400 will be mostly using outdoor, there is a rugged all-metal housing structure provided by the brand. Although you won’t get any additional protective case. But transporting it from one place to another won’t harm its internal hardware and electronics.
About noise filtration, we have both good and bad news. Firstly, it’s good news that the MKE 400 comes with an integrated shock mount that reduces handling noises. But if you use a video camera that autofocuses while shooting, we’re afraid that it is going to record the lens noise. So, you better equip a DSLR with the autofocus mode disabled.
Being a portable DSLR accessory, this mic needs battery power to run itself. And the built-in AAA battery is able to provide 300 hours of operation once fully charged. So worries of running out of battery power while you’re shooting outdoors.
The next thing that we need to discuss is its compatibility with cameras. About that, the Sennheiser MKE 400 suits almost all brands and models of DSLR cameras. There is a shoe mount and an external microphone input that can be associated with the DSLR once necessary.
The Sennheiser MKE 400 is a dedicated device for video recording. The first reason behind that is, it has got switchable sensitivity while the subject of your shoot moves forward or backward.
Also, it’s a great noise-free mic as well. There is a maximum external noise rejection feature along with the rejection of wind noise. So your videos will be clutter-free and you will get a video-ready soundtrack onwards.
- Dedicated for video recording.
- Metal housing with a rugged design.
- Wind noise rejection.
- 300 hours of battery life from the AAA battery.
- It suits almost all DSLR models.
- It comes with an external microphone input.
- Not a right suit for indoor recording.
Rode SVM Stereo VideoMic On-Camera Microphone
We’re ending our list of best DSLR mics with the Rode SVM Stereo VideoMic. From the perspective of quality and the price tag that it features, we’ve to clarify at first place that it’s a professional’s cup of tea. Why do I say that? Let’s see.
Just as the ‘Rode’ standard mics go, the SVM is a series of products that conclude three models in it. And the one we are talking about is the first one of the list.
It’s designed as a stereo microphone to be used with DSLR cameras and camcorders. There are a couple of condenser capsules, measuring the size of half-inch each. The directional design is of X-Y type, which means it’s able to intake natural sounds as well as the main subject. On top of that, there is a high level of rear rejection which enables a precise, crisp audio experience for the audience who’ll consume the tracks/videos.
To make the tracks even more real-time, there is a built-in shock mounting system. It protects the recordings from external physical sources that might cause rumbling or vibration in the track.
The body structure is made of rugged aluminum and the internal circuitry is also quite noise-free. The equivalent noise level is 20 dB-A, which is another good sign for you as a user.
- Paired cardioid capsule polar pattern design.
- 200 ohms of output impedance.
- X-Y stereo array for natural recording.
- It can be mounted with both camcorders and SLR.
- It comes with a shock mount.
- Rugged aluminum-made body.
- Only one level switch of -10dB.
Buyer’s Guide for Best DSLR Microphones
While you were going through our roundup list, we’re certain that you have noticed how diverse these mics are in terms of both price and functionalities. So, when it’s time to finally make your mind for one, it’s quite a hard nut to crack.
To assist you throughout the process, here is our hands-on buyer’s guideline.
Think of Your Recording Environment
Not all of the DSLR or shotgun mics are the right suit for every kind of recording situations under the sky. Sometimes, it’s about indoor interviews, sometimes it’s noisy outdoor scenarios. No matter whichever you have to encounter, it’s imperative that you get the right mic to set up with your DSLR camera.
Some models offer different parts right in the mic body that is dedicated to different audio types. Later on, you get to mix the tracks up in post-production. If you’re mostly working to shoot films, outdoor interviews, etc, this is the kind of feature you would like to go with.
Shockmount and Filtration
While recording with the DSLR camera, you might need to equip a tripod to keep it standstill. Similarly, the same kind of protection is needed for the audio as well.
On that occasion, you get to use shock mounts, tripod stands with multiple threads and windscreens, etc. While these accessories are necessary, you need to make sure that your device comes with one.
You are buying your mic for equipping with a DSLR camera, right? But what if it doesn’t fit with your DSLR? Well, that will turn into a terrible waste of investment.
Each of the devices has its list of compatible cameras. Therefore, you better check that list and make sure your one is in there before you swipe your card for the mic itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How much capable these mics are for distant recording?
Answer: As they are labeled as DSLR mics, they all have distant recording capacity. For example, the Rode VideoMicPro can record from 15 feet of distance.
Question: How can I reduce bumps and vibrations while working with a DSLR mic?
Answer: While purchasing the mic, you should look out for a built-in shock mount for that. An additional purchase also makes sense in this regard.
Question: What compatibility should I expect from a DSLR microphone?
Answer: DSLR mics are quite compatible with an array of devices. The list includes camcorders, SLR cameras, DSLR cameras, and similar portable audio devices.
Question: How can I prevent dust from entering the mic circuitry?
Answer: Regular cleaning is a straightforward answer to this question. Also, mics that have built-in windscreens suffer less from this.
Question: How much self-noise at max is regarded as a high self-noise for a DSLR microphone?
Answer: Usually, anything above 15dB is regarded as a high self-noise. On the other side, 5-10 dB is a good score for low self-noise.
Question: What is a good pressure level of a DSLR mic for both indoor and outdoor recording?
Answer: As per most audio enthusiast’s concerns, 110-120 dB is a good pressure level for both indoor and outdoor recording.
Question: Is there any small-sized DSLR microphone available?
Answer: Yes. There are a number of tiny DSLR microphones available. For an instant, SMX-13 from Azden comes at a size of 7 inches only.
So, that was the list of 8 of the best DSLR microphones in the market. No matter whichever budget range you lie within for your mic, we’re certain that you’ll find the best one on our list.