If you’ve been reading our blog, you probably know at this point that we usually recommend wireless microphones for live streaming events. The main reason is that we can place them next to the speaker and get amazing audio no matter where we are.
Even though wireless microphones are fantastic for capturing voices, they sometimes prevent us from capturing the action taking place in front of us, or anyone speaking directly to the camera. In these scenarios, a shotgun microphone is usually the best choice.
Shotgun mics are directional, which means that the audio source coming from the front will be captured while isolating everything else around and behind the camera.
As well as capturing the action going on in front of you, shotgun microphones can be used with an Audio Mixer in conjunction with Wireless mics, which allows you to get the best of both worlds.
Now that you know why you can and should be using them, let’s make a list of the best shotgun microphones for live streaming events.
I’ll break the list into four categories depending on your budget and needs:
- Basic Shotgun Microphones
- Intermediate Shotgun Microphones
- Pro Shotgun Microphones
- Shotgun Microphones for Mobile Devices
Quick disclaimer: There are multiple shotgun mics for different uses. As you will be using these for a live event, I won’t be recommending microphones using XLR connectors for a basic kit. XLR connectors should be used with an audio mixer for best results.
When you’re creating your first live streaming kit, you should consider getting a microphone that allows you to capture decent audio for viewers at home. Having even the smallest and cheapest mic is a huge step up when comparing it to the camera’s internal mic.
For the most basic kit, I’d strongly recommend getting a Rode microphone, as we tested other competitors, such as Deity Microphones, and they are not as good as these:
- Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact Shotgun Mic
This is a fantastic little microphone that you can fit anywhere. It’s extremely affordable and it will boost the quality of your production. If you have a sound system in place or you’re not too far from the audio source, a simple shotgun mic like this is all you need.
- Rode VideoMic GO Shotgun Microphone
This is a step up in quality and size when compared to its little brother, the VideoMicro. For about $35 USD extra, you get a better-sounding microphone with more bass.
The best thing about these microphones is that they are powered through your camera, which means that you don’t need to charge them, ever. You plug them in, and they turn on.
If you’re considering building a serious live streaming kit, any of these microphones will give you better quality, construction, audio gain, and wind resistance than its more affordable alternatives.
One of the downsides of going for a better microphone is that you need to charge them and think about one more battery before the live stream starts.
- Deity V-Mic D3 Pro Shotgun Microphone
Deity produced a fantastic microphone in this case, but I personally prefer the more balanced audio coming out of Rode Microphones better.
- Rode VideoMic / Rode VideoMic Pro
At the time of writing this, both of these microphones cost exactly the same. The reason for that is that the Rode VideoMic Pro has been replaced by the Pro+ with some needed upgrades.
These are both fantastic microphones at about $150 USD and their batteries last forever. The downside of these mics is that they use a 9v battery that isn’t easy to find if they die in the middle of an event.
I’d definitely go for the Rode VideoMic Pro as it allows for more customization and DB gains for the same price.
- Sennheiser MKE 400 2nd Gen Shotgun Mic
This is one of my favorite microphones out there. It doesn’t shake like the others do as its bouncy parts are built inside of it.
It is a smaller footprint which is great to fit into any camera bag, and its sound is comparable to the Rode VideoMic Pro+, which you can find in the Advanced shotgun mics on this list. At $200 USD, it is a fantastic option.
- Sennheiser MKE 440 Stereo Shotgun Mic
I wasn’t sure whether to include this microphone or not, but I think there’s a great use for it. This is a stereo shotgun mic and it’s different than all the ones you read until this point.
A stereo shotgun mic would allow you to capture more ambient noise, which is usually a bad thing for us, but not in this case. If you’re live streaming events inside a church, a concert, a wedding, or any event that involves live music, this mic would give you two channels and a broader pattern to capture sound.
It won’t work for everyone, but it might work for you.
When building a premium live streaming kit, you can include one of these microphones on top of your camera or mounted on a side, using an audio mixer.
Even though all of these shotgun microphones can be used with a 3.5mm jack input, you could use the Sennheiser MKE 600 with an XLR output connected directly to a Comica CVM-AX3 or a Saramonic SmartRig+ audio mixer for best results.
- Sennheiser MKE 600 Shotgun Microphone
This is the best microphone in the entire list, and for a good reason. Its length allows it to isolate sound coming from the sides and the rear of the microphone, and its audio quality is noticeably better than the other microphones I recommended here.
- Rode VideoMic Pro+ Shotgun Microphone
This is probably the most used VideoMic version amongst the videographer’s community. It’s a fantastic microphone but it isn’t cheap, at $270 USD.
The best thing about this mic compared to the Rode VideoMic NTG (which I prefer), is that you can use different batteries on this one and they last up to 100 hours.
- Rode VideoMic NTG Shotgun Microphone
If I had to recommend a single microphone for live streaming events, it would probably be this one. With a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 30 hours and superb audio quality, this shotgun mic is your best option at $250 USD.
It’s lighter and smaller than the Pro+, and I prefer the sound quality of the NTG version.
- Shure VP83F LensHopper Shotgun Microphone with Integrated Audio Recorder
The VP83F is a fantastic microphone that comes with a built-in audio recorder. It features 3 gain levels and a low-cut filter, just like the Rode VideoMic premium series.
It can record to a MicroSD card while sending the audio to your camera at the same time. Unless you need this feature, I’d strongly recommend getting the Sennheiser MKE 600 or the Rode VideoMic NTG instead.
For smartphone live streamers, I usually recommend you to get a wireless microphone kit as it will be the easiest way to get crisp audio.
At certain locations, it might be easier to use a shotgun microphone mounted over your phone, in which case I recommend the following options, sorted by price:
- BOYA BY-MM1 Mini Cardioid Condenser Microphone
The Boya MM1 is pretty much a replica of the Rode VideoMicro in almost every way. For $30, you’re getting a good starting shotgun microphone.
- Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact Shotgun Mic
This is probably your best option if you just want the very basic. We’re talking about a sub $70 USD mic that includes a $15 TRS to TRRS cable. It’s so affordable that it’s hard to say anything bad about it.
- Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit
For $99 USD, you get a fantastic mobile kit with a decent microphone that will boost the quality of your live stream instantly.
This microphone is powered by your smartphone, which means that you don’t need to charge batteries before going live.
- Sennheiser MKE 400 Mobile Kit
This $230 USD microphone kit is the MKE 200’s bigger brother. It’s powered via AAA batteries, which improves audio quality but not that much to justify the jump in price.
Remember that when attaching a shotgun microphone to your smartphone, you might require specific accessories, such as:
- Rode SC4 3.5mm TRS to TRRS Adapter for Smartphones
This TRS to TRRS cable will convert your microphone signal to one that can be received by your smartphone.
Most of the microphones on this list already include this cable and that’s one of the reasons I’m recommending them in the first place.
- Ulanzi ST-06 Smartphone Mount
Oben ASPTA-20 Smartphone Adapter
SHAPE Smartphone Mount with Cold Shoe
To comfortably mount a shotgun mic on your smartphone, you will need a Cold Shoe adapter. These are inexpensive and can be found from many different manufacturers. The price usually varies depending on the materials and quality, but they all serve the same purpose.