I finally had the chance to test out some new microphones with my Panasonic GH2 camera. I tested the Rode NTG-3 against the Rode VideoMic Pro. I also included my Audio Technica 4073a in the test, for a little non-Rode competition. Check it out:
I personally felt that the Rode NTG-3 was the best sounding of the three microphones. However, all three sounded good. If you’re not very familiar with professional location sound equipment like the Sound Devices 302 mixer used in this video, I don’t mean for you to come away from this video thinking that a $230 mini-plug microphone is nearly equal to a $700 microphone plugging into a $1300 field mixer. In actuality, comparing these microphones like like comparing apples and bananas. Here’s why…
At the end of the day, mini-plug microphones like the Rode VideoMic Pro and the Sennheiser MKE 400 are consumer-level products. They’re awesome for what they are, but they aren’t nearly as dependable as professional microphones. Sure, I can make a shootout video like this in a controlled environment and the inexpensive microphones will be able to compete head to head with the good quality mics, but that doesn’t mean that they’re equals.
A professional shotgun microphone is made out of metal, and it’s designed to preform in demanding environments. It has an XLR output and can connect seamlessly with professional field mixers, along side professional wireless systems and recorders. They can be fitted into blimp windshield systems to be used in fierce winds.
Little mini-plug microphones provide a nice, inexpensive bump up in sound quality, but they should not be used as a primary sound capturing tool in a production that is strives to deliver a high-quality finished product. They’re great little problem-solvers, especially if you’re shooting a quick little video where the sound just needs to be better than the built-in mics in a camera.
Stay tuned for my upcoming video where I test out the Rode NTG-3 in extreme conditions. Also stay tuned for my indoor & outdoor shootout between the Rode VideoMic Pro and the Sennheiser MKE 400.