I've been producing video content for a while now, and in that time, I've used and tested a good number of microphones.
As with anything else, some of the mics I've used have been absolutely stellar. Others have been pretty bad. But most occupy the "perfectly fine" middle ground.
In this buyer's guide, I want to highlight some of the best microphones of 2020.
I've used each of these mics, I've tested them in various environments, and they have proven to be the cream of the crop for my audio recording needs.
You'll find microphones on this list at varying price points, the least expensive of which is barely more than $50! That means there are mics listed below for any and every budget.
Let's get to it!
Ikan Comica CVM-V30 PRO
I have to say that of all the microphones on this list, this one surprised me the most.
At just $53.99 (at the time of this writing), it is by far the least expensive mic listed here. But don't let the price fool you...this thing hits way above its weight class.
I've tested inexpensive mics before, and by and large, it has not been a good experience. That's why I typically avoid recommending microphones at this price point.
But the Ikan Comica CVM-V30 PRO is different...
When you're filming in an environment with a lot of noise, you can put the mic in low-cut mode and adjust the sensitivity adjustment to minimize all the ancillary noise.
When you're filming on the go, as I often do, the shock-resistant structural design helps keep the noise from vibrations in check.
The super-cardioid polar pattern of this shotgun mic gives you superb off-axis rejection of unwanted sounds and allows the viewer to hear the subject with greater clarity.
Truly, the audio quality I've gotten from this mic has surpassed many other microphones that cost double or triple the price - or more. In fact, the quality is excellent up to about 5-6 feet away. Not many budget mics like this can make that claim.
I create a lot of YouTube content, so high-quality audio is a must. This microphone delivers! With excellent build quality, technical specs you'd expect in a much more expensive mic, and extras like an excellent filter and travel case, you have the makings of the ideal budget-friendly mic.
RODE VideoMic NTG
I began testing a pre-release version of the RODE VideoMic NTG about six weeks ago. I use the RODE NTG 4 for a lot of my studio work, and I was interested to see if this smaller, more portable mic could stand shoulder to shoulder with its bigger brother.
Needless to say, this mic has impressed!
Like the larger NTG 4 studio mic, the VideoMic NTG captures gorgeous, natural sound. There are various controls to assist you in doing so, including an infinitely variable gain control, a digital switch for controlling high-frequency boost and the high-pass filter, and it has a headphone output for monitoring audio.
Additionally, there is a peak decibel warning light so you can avoid distortion.
The best feature of this mic, though, is its sliding rail.
I've used RODE mics forever, and they are excellent. But my one complaint about them is that they protruded so far out from the camera that they can easily hit you in the face.
Well, the sliding rail system on the VideoMic NTG solves that problem, so if I'm shooting in selfie mode, I can slide the rail back and keep the microphone from hitting my face.
On top of all that, it has a battery that will last more than 30 hours on a single charge, it can be plugged into a USB port for recording on your computer, and it's price isn't bad at all, if you ask me - it's on sale for $249.00 at the time of this writing.
Deity D3 Pro
Yet another fine option for your audio recording needs is the Deity D3 Pro.
This super-cardioid directional condenser shotgun mic gives you a sensitivity range of -50dB to 28dB. It uses an on-board microprocessor that talks to the audio input it's connected with, which means it can work with your DSLR, mirrorless camera, smartphone, tablet...you name it! Basically, it's compatible with anything with a 3.5mm microphone jack. That's excellent versatility!
This mic has one of the best batteries in the business, too. You get up to 51 hours of runtime on a full charge. As an added bonus, it takes less than two hours to charge up!
The Deity D3 Pro has a stepless analog gain adjustment dial. It also has an on-board low-cut filter and a Rycote shock mount.
What all this means is that you get excellent audio (broadcast quality, in fact), that enables you to elevate the quality of your video productions.
It's priced at $199.00 at the time of this writing, so it's an excellent mid-range option.
SHURE Lenshopper VP83F
One of the neatest features of this microphone is that is has integrated flash recording.
Just add a MicroSDHC card, and you can record and play back audio while the mic is mounted to your camera.
It has an electric condenser cartridge with a super-cardioid/lobar polar pattern for optimal audio quality and an integrated shock mounting system the helps isolate the mic from unwanted noise.
As you'd expect from Shure, this mic is well built, rugged, and offers an intuitive and easy-to-use design.
Speaking of the design, this is a small and compact shotgun mic that doesn't take up too much space or get in your way.
The high-definition audio has excellent low-end response while the single-button recording option allows you to initiate recording quickly and easily.
I appreciate that Shure integrated a headphone audio output, which makes it easier to monitor recording.
I also like how natural the audio sounds, which is thanks to its high sensitivity, low self-noise, and wide frequency range.
At $299.000 (at the time of this writing), this is one of the pricier mics on this list. However, the audio quality and features you get make it well worth the price tag.
RODE VideoMic Pro+
I've had the RODE VideoMic Pro+ in my kit for quite some time, and I have enjoyed using it with a variety of cameras in a variety of situations.
This true shotgun-style mic records super clean, broadcast-quality audio. That's thanks in part to digital switching that includes a two-stage high-pass filter that reduces low frequencies and a three-stage gain control with a +20dB functionality, which improves audio quality on DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
There is also a safety channel to ensure the signal doesn't clip with spikes occur, and a high-frequency boost to enhance the detail and clarity in the recording.
Like other mics on this list, the VideoMic Pro+ has a Rycote Lyre shock system that buffers the microphone capsule and electronics and the microphone mount.
In turn, the result is fewer vibrations of the mic that helps improve the quality of the audio recording that much more.
This mic has easy-to-use controls, intuitive operation, and excellent sound. It's simply a hard-working, lightweight mic!
Normally, all that performance would set you back about $400.00, but at the time of this writing, this microphone is on sale for just $249.00. That's not a bad deal at all!