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  • Writer's pictureNerys Muller

The Best Budget Microphones for Vlogging & On-the-Go Sound Capture

Updated: Apr 17

Gotta' keep the sound CRISP, not CRUNCHY!
Rode VideoMic Go II photo via Camera Jabber.

Vlogging and anything run-and-gun can for sure be all fun and games, until you upload your footage AND ... the audio is, well ... inaudible. Let's be honest. We've ALL been there!


While some cameras have SOT (sound-on-tape) recording capabilities, defining your subject's audio with an external microphone or recording system is key in establishing clear and crisp sound.


In the indie film production world, there's such an emphasis on visuals, but a lot of folks don't realize sound is just as (if not MORE) important throughout the production process. If you've ever run audio or boom for any type of production ... you ALREADY KNOW ... and the same applies to vloggers and on-the-street journalists.


What you see is EQUALLY important as what you hear!

That being said, like everything else in the industry, EQUIPMENT. ISN'T. CHEAP.


If you're like me, working on the micro and low-budget production levels, you understand this completely. When we step into our producing and supervising shoes, gathering and/or renting equipment isn't easy, ESPECIALLY when you're trying to find a decent audio capture setup.


But through my experience, I've gathered a small list of amazing alternatives to those high end shotguns that'll still give you great audio on the go! And the price tag in comparison? Chef's kiss!


Here's my top three! Let's dive in!

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Microphone Type: Mini Shotgun

  • Sound Field: Mono

  • Polar Pattern: Supercardiod

  • Windscreen: Foam (Included)

  • High Pass Filter: 75 & 150 Hz

  • Gain Adjustment: -10 dB to +20 dB

  • Retail Price: $232.00


WHY I RECOMMEND IT:

This shock-mounted mini microphone really brings the “pro” form factor to the budget/consumer-friendly realm. This was one of the first external microphones I got in building my run-and-gun, indie filmmaking setup. Not only does the high-pass filter work well in noisy situations, but the gain adjustment allows you to focus in that super cardioid polar pattern to better capture your subject's audio.


Whether you’re recording dialogue, wild sound, or Foley work, this is a perfect beginner microphone for smaller cinema camera mounts and DSLR setups. Not to mention it's quick on recharge time (also using AA batteries) and can give you up to 100 hours of power!


SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Microphone Type: Mini Shotgun

  • Sound Field: Mono

  • Polar Pattern: Supercardiod

  • Windscreen: Foam (Included)

  • High Pass Filter: N/A

  • Gain Adjustment: N/A

  • Retail Price: $67.95


WHY I RECOMMEND IT:

If you’re looking for a proper shotgun microphone for under $100, this mic is your best bet! It comes with an integrated shoe/pole shock mount and is perfect for on-the-go and run-and-gun setups. Performing at a frequency range of 100 Hz to 16 kHz, the VideoMic Go also can provide you with a decent dynamic range of 96 dB.


It may not be the highest-end device on the market, but it's definitely a great start for those looking for simple operation and functionality. It runs on plug-in power, so there's not much you need to do aside from plugging in the 3.5 mm jack, setting your camera to manual audio, and pushing that record button!


3. Rode Wireless GO II Compact Wireless System

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Microphone Type: Wireless Mic Pack

  • Sound Field: Mono

  • Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

  • Windscreen: Mini Deadbeat (Included)

  • Receiver Type: Belt Pack

  • Number of Audio Channels: Two

  • Retail Price: $299.00


WHY I RECOMMEND IT:

Let me just say ... WOWZERS! This two-pack, clip-on transmitter combo has easily become my favorite on-the-go mic system THUS FAR! Not only are these lavs suitable for two-person shoots and onboard recording, but also for any videographer, mobile journalist, or indie filmmaker looking to seamlessly tie in wireless audio into their production rig-outs. With a maximum operating range of 656.2 feet (200 meters) and a latency of 3.5 to 4 ms, this digital 2.4 GHz microphone system can give you reach and function that's unmatched by even some of the best wireless lavs on the market.


These compact devices are easily operable and accessible, giving users the option for loudness padding, marking, and muting, including an approximate battery life of seven hours. All that AND a wireless, two-transmitter system? COUNT ME IN!


So now that you've got a grocery list of some of the best, consumer-grade microphones ... I have to ask ... which one of these are YOU grabbing for YOUR setup?

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