Guide to the Best Boom Mic

Editor’s Choice

  • Very natural sound
  • Undistorted off-axis sound
  • Exceptionally low inherent self-noise and low distortion

Best Overall

  • Small and lightweight
  • Excellent RF Immunity
  • Uniform off-axis response

Budget-Friendly

  • Smooth, natural-sounding on-axis audio quality
  • Provides the narrow acceptance angle desirable for long-distance sound pickup
  • Excellent sound rejection from the sides and rear of the mic

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best boom mic is, then I’d recommend the DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017B-R Shotgun Microphone as the best one.

One of the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need for video production (except a good camera, of course) is a good boom mic. Thanks to independent filmmakers and broadcasters, boom mics have blossomed in the market. The variety of options is good, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you’re a novice. But worry not, it’s easier than you think.

Choosing the best boom mic for your production needs isn’t as hard as it seems. With this article, we aim to help you find the best boom mic for you that will capture clean and crisp audio effortlessly. 

Here are the Best Boom Mics we will be reviewing:

What is the Best Boom Mic?

What is a boom mic?

A boom mic is any microphone attached to a boom pole. Boom mics are a staple in film and video production. They are positioned at the end of a boom pole to efficiently utilize their high directional polar pattern. Because of the pickup pattern, the audio is loudest where you point your boom mic. Usually, boom mics are held by an operator, and they are easily moved from one point to another.

Boom mic vs. Shotgun mic

These two terms are often interchangeable. Technically speaking, a boom is the boom pole, while a shotgun mic is the specific microphone mounted on boom poles. Shotgun mics are long and usually have a lobar pickup pattern. But there are different shotgun mics models with omnidirectional pickup patterns.

Why Mount a Boom Mic on a Boom Pole Instead of Just On-camera?

When a boom mic is mounted on a pole, the operator can get close to the sound without appearing on camera. All microphones have audio range limits, so you have to position the mic closest to the source to get the loudest sound with the slightest background noise. The best way to achieve that is using a boom pole. 

What is the Complete Setup for the Best Boom Mic?

Although you can use a boom mic on its own, you wouldn’t achieve the best audio results. To achieve the best audio results, effects need a boom pole, a shock mount, and a windscreen. The boom pole suspends the boom mic so that the operator can quickly point the mic towards the audio source. The shock mount attaches the mic to the boom pole and helps eliminate unwanted noise and vibrations. Lastly, the windscreen protects and filters out gusts of air when filming outdoors.

Benefits of Using the Best Boom Mic

Extreme Directionality

Boom mics are highly directional, and this is a huge advantage over using other mics for film and video production. This trait of the boom mic allows you to capture the most transparent and loudest sound towards where you’re pointing the mic, thus eliminating unnecessary background noise. 

Lightweight

Because boom mics are suspended on a boom pole, they are lighter than other types of microphones out there. Lightweight boom mics play a role in the comfort and performance of the operator. Since they have to hold the mic suspended for long periods, a lightweight boom mic is one less thing to worry about during filming.

Shape

Most boom mics in the market usually look long and thin. They fit nicely into the shock mount and a blimp-style windscreen. Its shape also makes it so that it cannot be easily seen on camera and won’t add extra weight to the boom pole or your camera. 

Flat/Extended Frequency Response

There are boom mics in the market that can handle a flat frequency response. This type of frequency yields a more natural sound, thus more pleasing to the human ear. A flat frequency response also means that the mic can reproduce the sound source accurately without altering the original sound.

High Sensitivity

Boom mics with high sensitivity will help you capture the critical quiet, nuanced, and far away sounds that help set the film’s ambiance. So even though your mic has a windscreen, if it has a high sensitivity, it will still pick up the audio from your subject with ease.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Boom Mic

At what part of the production will the mic be used?

Different productions call for specific mics to help you capture the audio efficiently. Boom mics or shotgun mics are great for several things inside the production set. They efficiently capture your subject’s dialogue with the appropriate amount of background noise. If you need to capture dialogue or the sound details of certain scenes, it’s best to use a boom mic. 

Shock Mount

Shock mounts are a must if you’re going to buy a boom mic; your setup will be incomplete without one. Shock mounts separate the boom mic from the pole and the operator. They also help prevent mechanical noise from being picked up by the microphone. 

Placement

Most boom mics in the market are compact and lightweight, perfect for long shooting periods. Usually, the operator positions the boom mic slightly above or below the subject to efficiently capture the dialogue. Also, it would be easier to edit the boom mic out if it does get captured on camera.

The size of the production and budget

The best boom mic shouldn’t have cost an arm and a leg. There are a lot of alternatives in the market that will give the best audio quality without being too expensive. Nowadays, you won’t have to go over the budget just to buy the best boom mic. Quality production microphones are available in the market at reasonable prices.

Pickup pattern

Boom mics come in various pickup patterns and work in a wide range of situations. The most common pickup patterns for boom mics are cardioid, super-cardioid, and hyper-cardioid. These pickup patterns will capture excellent directional audio and reject unwanted background noise. 

Mic accessories 

One boom mic accessory that is a must if you’re not connecting your microphone to your camera is the external audio recorder. This device allows you to record crystal-clear audio in high quality despite the noisy background conditions. 

DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017B-R Shotgun Microphone

The DPA and Ryocote collaboration has developed a compact and lightweight boom mic. The DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017B-R Shotgun Microphone kit includes a shotgun microphone, a foam windscreen, and a windshield kit. Each component is designed specifically for the mic, enhancing its audio pickup. Clear directional sound, regardless of the surrounding conditions, is expected with the 4017B-R. It’s everything a broadcaster, journalist, or location filmmaker will ever need.

The 4017B-R boom mic is one of the shortest and lightest shotgun microphones available. It is also entirely immune to RF emission, and the condenser cartridge can peak at a 152 dB Sound Pressure Level before clipping. So do not be fooled by its compact size; the 4017B-R is more than capable of delivering impressive audio accuracy, clarity, and musicality. 

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Excellent RF Immunity
  • Uniform off-axis response
  • Highly directional pattern
  • Features two onboard filters

Cons:

  • It is not battery-powered and instead requires phantom power from your camera
  • The cables and stand are not included 

Sennheiser MKH 8060 Shotgun Microphone

Although the MKH 8060 isn’t supposed to replace its predecessors, it’s good enough to be included in your starter filming equipment. The MKH 8060 is shorter and more versatile than the MKH 416. It has a fuller representation of the lows and lower mids without sounding like a studio mic. 

The MKH 8060 can make the human voice more prominent while retaining the necessary background noise, giving it a natural feel. It is also essential to note that this boom mic is highly directional, so if it is pointed away from the source, it will not pick up the audio. Isn’t that neat?

Even though the MKH 8060 is designed to be placed on a boom pole, it is ideal for mounting the mic on your chosen camera. Because of its compact and lightweight design and its lobar pickup pattern, you won’t encounter any problem filtering unwanted background noise with the MKH 8060. 

Pros:

  • Very natural sound
  • Undistorted off-axis sound
  • Exceptionally low inherent self-noise and low distortion
  • Extremely weather-proof due to RF circuit
  • Ideal for camera mounting due to its compact design
  • Transformerless and fully floating balanced output
  • The boom mic has a sturdy metal housing

Cons:

  • The MKH 8060 doesn’t come with signal attenuating pad switches

Rode NTG3 Precision RF-Biased Shotgun Microphone

Boom Mic

If you’re looking for professional-level features, then the Rode NTG3 is the boom mic for you! Immunity to radio-frequency interference and low pickup of background noise is to be expected when you use the Rode NTG3. Its gentle rise in high frequencies and signal attenuation of low bass frequencies consistently delivers clear sound every time. Get straight to work with its switch and dial-free design. This design lets you set up quicker and focus more on the sound than waste your precious time fiddling with the mic’s settings.

Filming outdoors won’t be a problem with the Rode NTG3. Because of the NTG3’s RF technology, humidity and condensation won’t stop you from capturing high-quality audio. A weatherproof aluminum storage cylinder is also included for extra protection. 

Pros:

  • Designed to withstand adverse environmental conditions
  • 50% less self-noise than the majority of shotgun microphones
  • True condenser (externally RF biased)
  • Extremely low handling noise
  • High level of immunity to radio frequency broadcast

Cons:

  • Needs a separate adapter or converter if used outside the US

Schoeps Colette MK4 Cardioid Capsules Series Stereo Set

Boom Mic

The Schoeps Collete Series Stereo Set is presented in a beautiful wooden case. Each set offers two complete microphone sets with matched capsules, stand adapters, windscreens, and amplifiers. Each component of the collection is well-made and perfectly compliments the boom mic. The adapters are made from soft, lightweight plastic with a metal base. 

Although, the main highlight of this stereo set is the MK4 boom mics. High sound quality, flat frequency response, and low handling noise is expected from this boom mic. It also has a cardioid pickup pattern, making it highly flexible for all-purpose use. 

Since the microphone capsules can’t be connected directly to the cables or inputs, you’ll need a microphone amplifier. But don’t worry, that component is also included in the stereo set. The microphone amplifier included is designed for standard 48V and 12Volt phantom power, and it automatically adjusts to the supply voltage.  

Pros:

  • The foam windscreens have an inner construction
  • It offers the highest sound quality
  • The sonic impression is thus free of coloration 
  • Classic cardioid suitable for the widest range of applications
  • With consistent directionality throughout its frequency range

Cons:

  • It may not be ideal for filming outdoors

Audio-Technica AT897 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

If you’re looking for an affordable boom mic that can compete with other mics above its price point, then the AT987 is right up your alley! The Audio Technica AT897 is an 11-inch microphone that is good for indoor and outdoor filming. It is compact, lightweight, and easily mounted on your camera without adding any weight. The AT897 has a highly focused polar pickup pattern that can capture both short and long-distance sound sources. You won’t have any problem capturing unwanted background noise with the AT897. 

Its size isn’t the only thing that makes the AT897 convenient; it also has options for your power source. If you want to connect the mic to your camera, it can use its phantom power to operate. But in the absence of phantom power, it can also be powered by a single AA battery. 

Pros:

  • Smooth, natural-sounding on-axis audio quality
  • Provides the narrow acceptance angle desirable for long-distance sound pickup
  • Excellent sound rejection from the sides and rear of the mic
  • Switchable low-frequency roll-off
  • Operates on battery or phantom power

Cons:

  • Its roll-off switch isn’t easily accessible
  • The windscreen of the boom mic doesn’t contribute much to blocking out unnecessary wind noises.

Conclusion

Boom microphones are audio devices that allow you to capture clean and crisp audio while rejecting most ambient noise. The best boom mic can make a massive difference to your productions. As simple as capturing clean and crisp audio may be, the best boom mic will do that and give you high-quality results.

The best boom mic I’d recommend is the DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017B-R Shotgun Microphone. The 4017B-R microphone itself is a compact and lightweight device. It is one of the shortest and lightest boom mics in the market. Despite its compact size, it’s capable of packing a punch. Clear directional sound is delivered, regardless of the surrounding conditions. Be sure to expect audio accuracy, clarity, and musicality once you buy the DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017B-R Shotgun Microphone.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.


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