5 Budget Boom Microphones That Won’t Let You Down

Let me state up front – audio is a subjective thing. What sounds good to me might not sound good to you. You wouldn’t invest in a camera blind, would you? Then why be any different when it comes to audio? Test everything before you invest and deploy on a professional shoot.

Exclusive Bonus: Download your FREE list: 25 Proven DIY and Cheap Lighting Gear that actually delivers cinematic results (PDF file optimized for mobiles and tablets).

A boom or shotgun microphone (boom mic for short) gives you a beautiful well-rounded directional sound. Its polar sound pattern is displayed thus:

One of the most important things you need to look for when buying a boom mic is its polar pattern. It is basically the ‘reaction’ of a mic to a given SPL plotted over space. As you can see, this type of pattern is highly directional. This makes boom mics excellent choices for recording audio while cutting out extraneous noise.

Don’t forget, polar patterns are like signatures. Each mic has its own unique signature, and manufacturers can design microphones with a mixture of patterns for its own unique blend. Anybody can play back a recorded sound and judge its quality, but only an experienced mixer will really know whether the sound is worthy of fitting correctly in the final mix.

To be really honest I’d choose a shotgun mic for everything if I could! I find this kind of microphone infinitely more preferable to lavaliers. One of the strongest reasons for this is its flexibility. A boom operator can literally play a shotgun mic like a musical instrument. A lav mic, on the other hand, is usually stuck in one place.

The second reason is that traditionally, longer sound devices (ones with greater length) have more harmonics and are more pleasing to the ear. It just sounds good, at least to me. That’s the bottom line.

Here are my top pics:

Sennheiser ME66/K6

The Sennheiser ME66/K6 is the microphone I personally own and use. It is the most expensive of the lot, but in my opinion it is worth every penny.

Cost as of the time of this writing: $479 on Amazon.

Rode NTG2

Cost as of the time of this writing: $269 on Amazon.

Audio Technica AT897

Cost as of the time of this writing: $318.79 on Amazon.

Sony ECM674

Cost as of the time of this writing: $259.99 on Amazon.

Azden SGMX2

Cost as of the time of this writing: $219.95 on Amazon.

Damn, they all look alike, don’t they? But I bet you they don’t sound alike, and it’s your job to find the mic that best suits the kind of sounds you want to record.

Remember, there’s no good or bad here, only ‘different‘.

Exclusive Bonus: Download your FREE list: 25 Proven DIY and Cheap Lighting Gear that actually delivers cinematic results (PDF file optimized for mobiles and tablets).