Shotgun Mics: A Product Round-Up

It’s a mature market sector, but shotgun microphones continue to get incremental refinements to their operation, and major product releases are expected at NAB in April. Here’s what the lay of the land looks like now.

Both the 14.96-in. BP4027 and 9.29-in. BP4029 stereo shotgun models feature independent line-cardioid and figure-eight elements in MS (mid-side) configuration with switch-selectable internal matrixing. They allow sound recordists to select left-right stereo output (wide or narrow) via the microphone’s internal matrixing system or choose discrete MS signals for later manipulation. A switchable low-frequency roll-off filter helps minimize the pickup of low-frequency noise.

Particularly useful for miking dynamic action in film/TV audio as well as in “spot” miking in the music studio or theater, the 15.55-in. BP4071 Line + Gradient Condenser microphone provides a low noise floor and balanced output. It is equipped with switchable low-frequency roll-off and 10-dB pad.

At 21.22 in. long, the BP4071L is among the longest shotgun microphones on the market and offers an extremely narrow polar pattern and a high degree of rejection from the sides and rear, as well as a switchable low-frequency roll-off and a 10-dB pad.

The BP4073 Line + Gradient Condenser microphone has an overall length of just 9.17 in. and weight of just 3.5 oz., with a switchable low-frequency roll-off and a 10-dB pad.

The MC 836 (short) and MC 837 (long) shotgun microphones operate according to the pressure-gradient/line-transducer technique. Switchable low-frequency roll-off eliminates low frequencies at a cutoff frequency of 90 Hz. A high-pass filter avoids the transmission of noise below 40 Hz. The microphone can be operated with a phantom power supply of 11-52 V. The frequency response is 40 Hz-20 kHz.

DPA Microphones
Part of the company’s Reference Standard series of modular microphones, the 4017B shotgun microphone has evolved into a two-piece system with an interchangeable capsule and preamp. The preamp can now interface with any one of four capsules in omni, cardioid, supercardioid, and wide-cardioid patterns. The lightweight (2.4-oz.), phantom-powered 4017B offers high RF immunity, uniform off-axis response. The highly directional supercardioid pickup pattern is achieved by a supercardioid design with an interference tube that provides high off-axis rejection. The condenser capsule features a high-voltage pre-polarized back plate, providing high output as well as wide dynamics and low noise and distortion specifications. The 4017B’s 0.75-in. condenser cartridge is capable of handling peak SPLs of 152 dB before clipping and has a dynamic range of 119 dB across a flat frequency response of 70 Hz-20 kHz. The 4017B also features two onboard filters activated via switching-ring design that allows engineers to implement a high-frequency boost that adds a 4-dB shelf at 8 kHz and a first-order bass roll-off below 120 Hz to minimize handling and wind noise. A permanent third-order high-pass filter at 50 Hz removes unwanted low-frequency disturbance from handling and wind noise.

KMR 81i short shotgun microphone features a pressure-gradient transducer and short interference tube. It offers extremely low self-noise, good impulse response, and high output level. Other features include high directivity with excellent off-axis (lateral and rear) attenuation, free of coloration; switchable 10-dB attenuation; and 200-Hz high-pass filter.

The KMR 82i long shotgun has a pressure-gradient transducer and long interference tube. The KMR 82’s frequency response includes a boost between 2 kHz and 15 kHz to compensate for HF-transmission losses in recording distant sound sources. A switchable low-pass filter tailors the response for close-up use. The KMR 82 features a high-pass filter to suppress subsonic interference. The cutoff frequency may be raised to 120 Hz with a two-position switch.

The RSM 191 stereo system comprises the microphone and the MTX 191 A matrix amplifier. It has an adjustable pickup angle and high directivity. The microphone has two separate capsule systems, a hypercardioid element and a figure-eight, in a short shotgun. Together, they generate the mid and side signals. The matrix amplifier controls the width of the stereo image by changing the gain of the side signal relative to the middle signal in six 3-dB steps. The output signals of the matrix amplifier are either mid-side (MS) or left/right (XY). The signals are converted through transformerless sum-and-difference circuitry. The balanced, transformerless technology permits the use of long cables between the microphone, the matrix amplifier, and the following mic input of other signal-processing equipment.

The CS-2 offers extended reach in a standard-length 4.75-in. mic via a unique audio-tube length and proprietary rectangular diaphragm design, emulating the operation of much longer shotgun microphones. A built-in high-boost switch compensates for windscreen frequency attenuation.

The CS-1e’s 7-in. length suits it to camera mounting, and its 3.5-oz. weight makes it easy to maneuver on boom poles. It is also effective as a handheld shotgun mic. Based on Sanken’s original square-condenser capsule design, the CS-1 provides almost 100% rear and side rejection.

The CMS-10 stereo shotgun is switchable between a very sharp directional mono and stereo environmental imaging. Stereo angle is 127 degrees. Second-order pressure-gradient design enables precision directional response through multiple cardioid elements in a front-back array. Stereophonic localization depends primarily on signal accuracy and channel separation in the 400 Hz-3 kHz range.

The CS-3e mono shotgun maintains directivity over an extremely wide frequency range, especially in the low frequencies, with good side and rear rejection. Three directional capsules in a front-back array combine line-microphone performance and second-order pressure-gradient response in a single system to achieve supercardioid directivity in the lowest frequencies.

The new MKH 8060 is a versatile short shotgun whose compact size and light weight suit it to camera-mounting and boom-pole applications. Its RF condenser design makes it highly immune to moisture and humidity. Features include transformerless design, fully floating balanced output, non-reflective Nextel coating, and full integration with AES42 digital systems.

Also new is the MKH 8070 long shotgun for broadcast and sports applications requiring natural sound and high directivity. Features include lobar pickup pattern, uncolored off-axis response, low inherent self-noise, transformerless design, fully floating balanced output, and full integration with AES42 digital systems. With the optional MZD 8000 digital mic module, the MKH 8060 and MKH 8070 become Sennheiser’s first shotgun microphones to integrate directly into digital environments. Both operate on the RF principle.

The MKH 416 is a compact pressure-gradient microphone with a short interference tube. Highly immune to humidity due to its RF-condenser design, it features high directivity, low self-noise, high consonant articulation, feedback rejection, transformerless design, and fully floating balanced output.

A symmetrical RF condenser capsule in the MKH 60 short shotgun produces low distortion, high sensitivity, rapid transient response, and a flat, extended frequency response. It’s transformerless and provides fully floating balanced output with an infrasonic cutoff filter. It also offers switchable pre-attenuation, roll-off filter, and treble emphasis.

The MKH 70 long shotgun features a tight lobar pattern and a symmetrical RF condenser capsule for low distortion, high sensitivity, and flat, extended frequency response. High directivity prevents sound coloration from off-axis sound sources, making the MKH 70 well suited for distance positioning and high-background-noise environments. Switchable features include roll-off filter, treble emphasis, and pre-attenuation.

The MKH 418S MS stereo shotgun is based on Sennheiser’s own RF-condenser transducer technology. Designed for mid/side stereo applications, it features two pressure-gradient capsules, based on the MKH 416. Independent capsule outputs via a five-pin connector allow variable-matrixing capabilities. RF-condenser design produces high immunity to humidity, high directivity, excellent transient response, and low self-noise.

The MKE 400 ultra-compact shotgun has an integrated shock mount and universal shoe mount. Designed for capturing high-quality audio on video cameras and the new generation of DSLRs, the MKE 400 features switchable sensitivity for long and short distances and a switchable wind-noise filter. It offers approximately 300 hours operating time from a single AAA battery.

The new VP89 models of professional shotgun microphones (VP89/L, VP89/M, and VP89/S) feature interchangeable long, medium, and short barrel lengths. The compact and lightweight VP82 provides excellent off-axis rejection for use in sound capture and reinforcement in camera-mounted applications. With an integrated preamplifier design, the VP82 offers a full range of mounting, and wind-protection accessories are available for all models.

The ECM-680S MS stereo shotgun, electret-condenser–type microphone offers high sensitivity, low inherent noise, and a flat-and-wide frequency response. It provides switchable operation between a highly directional monaural mode and stereo mode.

The ECM-673 short shotgun electret-condenser–type microphone features high-sensitivity, low noise characteristics and flat-and-wide frequency response in a compact and lightweight design.

The ECM-CG50BP is a short shotgun electret-condenser microphone with a supercardioid directional response suited for capturing medium-range sound sources. It is suited to use with DSLR-type cameras or camcorders like the Sony HVR-HD1000 or HXR-MC2000. It’s supplied with a shock-mounted cold-shoe mic holder, furry windscreen, and short non-detachable cable including a ⅛-in. stereo mini plug. The ECM-CG50BP can be powered by plug-on powering or internal AA battery.

The ECM-VG1 short shotgun, electret-condenser–type microphone offers a flat-and-wide frequency response (40 Hz-20 kHz), excellent sensitivity of -33 dB (0 dB1 V/Pa), and a low inherent-noise level of less than 18 dB SPL. This microphone requires phantom power and connects using an XLR cable (not supplied).

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