A while ago, I talked about the benefits of using a shotgun mic for voice-over duties. Click here to read that posting.

Most shotguns don’t like to be worked as close as VO requires, but there are a few notable exceptions.

A favorite shotgun mic among the “movie trailer” guys is the Sennheiser MKH416. Terrific mic. The only downside to many potential users is the cost (around $1100 street price.) Rode had just release their NTG3 shotgun, which looked very promising as a lower-cost alternate (about $699 street price). Unfortunately, I had not tried them side-by-side.

Last week I managed to get the new Rode NTG3 in the same room with the MKH416, and had a good time listening to myself say “check, one, two” over and over.

I was impressed and surprised at the similarity of their sound. Both mics are full-bodied, articulate, and “larger than life”. The differences between them are minor. Here are the main differences that I noticed:

MKH416 is slightly better at reducing room ambience. (My home studio actually sounded pretty good.) NTG3 also reduces room noise, but the 416 is just a bit better at it.

NTG3 has a slightly “fuller and rounder” low end. Not over-done or indistinct, just a bit “larger”. I have a fairly low voice, and decided to trim the low EQ just a bit. For most “normal” people, it will sound great with no tweaking.

The net result… Sennheiser MKH416 is still the benchmark, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it if the budget permits. But the rest of us (especially those that are funding this from our own checkbook) will be quite satisfied with the Rode NTG3.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are links to both mics:


Now go out there and say something impressive.

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