Shotgun Microphones: Lots of Choices, Tweaks in an Old Favorite

It’s a mature market sector, but shotgun microphones continue to get incremental refinements to their operation. Here’s what the lay of the land looks like now.

Both the 14.96-in. BP4027 and the 9.29-in. BP4029 stereo shotgun models feature independent line-cardioid and figure-of-eight elements configured in an MS (mid-side) arrangement with switch-selectable internal matrixing. They allow sound recordists the choice of selecting a left-right stereo output (wide or narrow) via the microphone’s internal matrixing system or choosing 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 techniques 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 837 (long) shotgun microphones operate according to the pressure-gradient/line-transducer technique. A switchable low-frequency roll-off eliminates low frequencies at a cut-off 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. Frequency response is 40 Hz-20 kHz.

The 4017B short, lightweight shotgun achieves a highly directional supercardioid pickup pattern, obtained via a supercardioid design with an interference tube that provides excellent off-axis rejection. The phantom-powered mic uses a condenser capsule with a high-voltage prepolarized backplate, endowing the shotgun with high output as well as wide dynamics and extremely low noise and distortion specifications. Its 0.75-in. condenser cartridge is capable of handling peak SPLs of 152 dB before clipping and has a wide dynamic range of 116 dB across a flat frequency response of 70 Hz-20 kHz. The 4017B features two onboard filters activated via a switching-ring design. With a simple twist of two rings, engineers can 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 effectively removes unwanted low-frequency disturbance from handling and wind noise.

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 the 3.5-oz. mic is easy to maneuver on boom poles. It is also effective as a handheld shotgun. 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. The CMS-10 uses a second-order pressure-gradient design, enabling 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-to-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 are arranged in a front-back array to combine line-microphone performance and second-order pressure-gradient response in a single system to achieve supercardioid directivity in the lowest frequencies.

The new MKE 600 camcorder shotgun microphone picks up sound from the camera direction while attenuating unwanted sound coming from the sides and rear. The included foam windshield reduces wind noise, and a switchable low-cut filter additionally minimizes wind and handling noise. An optional blimp reduces wind noise even more. The mic can be phantom-powered or operated on AA battery for about 150 hours.

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

The MKH 8070 long shotgun is suited to broadcast and sports applications requiring natural sound and high directivity. Features include lobar pick-up pattern; uncolored off-axis response; low inherent self-noise; transformerless, 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 shotgun models 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; and transformerless, fully floating balanced output.

The MKH 60 short shotgun features a symmetrical RF condenser capsule, which produces low distortion, high sensitivity, rapid transient response, and a flat, extended frequency response. Features include transformerless and fully floating balanced output with an infra-sonic cut-off filter, switchable pre-attenuation, switchable roll-off filter, and switchable treble emphasis.

The MKH 70 long shotgun offers 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-microphone positioning and high-background-noise environments. Features include switchable roll-off filter, switchable treble emphasis, and switchable pre-attenuation.

The MKH 418S MS stereo shotgun uses Sennheiser’s own RF condenser-transducer technology. Designed for mid-side stereo applications, it has 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, it offers switchable sensitivity for long and short distances, switchable wind-noise filter, and approximately 300 hours’ operating time from a single AAA battery.

The VP89 models (VP89/L, VP89/M, and VP89/S) professional shotgun microphones feature interchangeable long, medium, and short barrel lengths. The compact, 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 is an M-S stereo shotgun, electret condenser-type microphone and offers high sensitivity, low inherent noise, and flat-and-wide frequency response. It features switchable operation between a highly directional monaural mode and stereo mode.

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

The ECM-VG1 short shotgun, electret condenser-type mic provides a flat-and-wide frequency response (40 Hz to 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 via XLR cable (not supplied).

The compact, 137-mm ECM-MS2 provides mono operation when stereo is not required and power supply is simply cut off to the right channel. XLR3P outputs enable connection to professional camcorders for 48-volt phantom powering. The microphone’s metal body also enhances audio performance by blocking vibration, resonance, and RF noises.

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