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Don’t Forget about Shotguns as Podcasting Microphones

I love the RecordingHacks blog.  By no means am I a sound engineer, but I learn a lot from the site — and I like microphones.  Matt McGlynn recently posted a test of podcasting condenser microphones costing under $200.

One of my first reactions was — What about shotgun mics for podcasting? I own a Rode NTG-2 that I sometimes set up in front of me when I need to record something.  It is difficult to quantify, but I feel like my voice in my office sounds best with it.

So for grins and giggles, I thought I would try to recreate Matt’s test with a few of my mics. Note that I do not own a lot of the extras Matt owns like a RealTraps PVB to make the test more controlled.  So I am mostly doing this for fun — and to show respect for RecordingHacks.  It is not scientific at all.

I used the same audio sample that Matt uses which is from the book Zen and the Art of Mixing.  I recorded the sample on the Rode NTG-2, the Audio Technica ATR2020 USB and the Audio Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR.

The Rode and 2100 were recorded into a Zoom H4N using an xlr connection then imported into Audacity.  I recorded the 2020 directly into Audacity via USB. For each mic, I have two samples below — Raw and Treated.
Raw is what came out of the mic with a little gain.  Treated means I tried to play editor and cut out my breath plus add a little EQ (does it help?).

Rode NTG-2


Audio MP3


Audio MP3

Audio-Technica ATR 2100 USB/XLR


Audio MP3


Audio MP3

Audio-Technica ATR 2020 USB


Audio MP3


Audio MP3

So again, it was just for fun.  All feedback welcome. If anyone wants to send me a mic to test and return, I’d do so happily.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • IdeaJason July 13, 2012, 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the great post! I have a Rode NTG2 and never even considered using it as an at desk podcasting Microphone.
    I currently use a Blue Yeti but now that I’m running a mix minus to a 2nd computer for Skype I have to use an XLR mic in the mixer. The XLR/USB Yeti is too expensive for what it is (that said the Yeti is my favorite podcasting mic, I sound sexy & buttery) and was looking to spend that amount on a real mic like the Heil PR-30 or PR-40. Was thinking of cheating down to an AT2020.
    Now I don’t have to buy anything!
    I’m Absolutley dumb founded how great the Rode sounds. I was always told that using a shotgun at a desk setting is a no no. Need the large diaphragm blah blah.
    This pretty much makes my Rode ntg2 my new goto for my live stream/vid cast!
    Your hard work on this review is Ground Breaking!

    How did you have the NtG2 setup. Close to mouth? Shock mount? Overhead? I need to mimics this.

    • Brian Schwartz July 13, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Jason: Thanks for your comment. I actually had the NGT-2 on a mic stand with a pop filter. The mic was also at a 45 degree angle below my mouth plus a few inches a way. I think putting it on a desktop stand is fine, and I have done that too. You just have to experiment with gain settings and also check to make sure you don’t capture noise from a computer. One reason I think it works is because the mic is so directional that it can avoid some sounds around you other than your voice. My best advice is to do what I did and experiment to see what sounds best to you. I have the AT2020 USB, and it works perfectly fine for just voice.

      Would be very interested to hear your setup for Skype and how you record that. Feel free to follow with questions.


  • IdeaJason July 13, 2012, 8:51 pm


    That link is by far the most useful page I have found. It not only has a podcast that explains mix minus but below that some great info graphics.

    For my video stuff I’m currently testing Xmix2012 & Vid Blaster.

  • Matt Phillips March 24, 2014, 6:54 pm

    Awesome. Perfect example research of two mic’s I was considering (NTG-2 and ATR20-20). I need one for podcasting and another for video recording. Looks like the NTG-2 will cover both bases!

  • Travis - Minneapolis MN Video Producer September 25, 2014, 10:47 pm

    I like how you include the audio samples both before and after treating the audio. I have an SM58s and an ntg2 that I had never considered either for a podcast so it makes me excited to think I don’t need to buy yet another mic!
    Definitely agree with you as well about how nice the ntg2 captures your voice without the plosives. Sounds clean and without any noise in the recording.
    Now I just need to figure out interfaces and how to treat the audio well :)

    Minneapolis Video Producer

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