Any Tips for sound equipment? (Budget)


I’m wondering if anyone knew of a good low budget microphone. I’m just started and I want good sound. If you have suggestions please leave them in the replying section.


If you’re looking for something you can use with your camera for capturing dialogue, something like the Rode VideoMic Pro is probably the best choice - it’ll be a noticeable upgrade over a camera built-in microphone, and will let you shoot alone. If you’re looking for something a bit more elaborate (a sound kit for a second person to operate), let me know!


Kevin, would you recommend a zoom H4N ntg2 combo? (Just for me personally since I have the zoom and can get a good deal on the ntg2 plus boompole)


I think it’s a pretty good combo for the price.


Do you have experience using it?


I want to do the audio without an operator what would you pick besides the Rhode video mic


Depends on what your camera has for inputs - if you have XLR inputs, you can use a more conventional shotgun mic. However, microphone placement is usually more important than the microphone itself. Having the microphone on the camera is inherently a limiting factor, as it’s rarely in the “most ideal” location. I wouldn’t over-spend for something without someone to boom, so something like the VideoMic Pro is a great compromise. If you have XLR input capability, let me know your budget and we can try to come up with some alternatives!


I have used that combo and are not exactly overjoyed with how they work together.
It’s a nice recorder and a nice mic, but the combination has somethings to wish for.

The output from the NTG2 is quite low so you need good pre-amps and the built in pre-amps in the H4n is not quite up to the task. So I get quite low sound or if I crank the gain up a bit to much so the sound is at good levels, then noise is introduced.

Although I want to add that it’s the older version of the H4n that I used, the newer version apparently has better pre-amps, so that might work better together. But I have not tried the new one.

I have gotten solid sound from the H4n and from the NTG2 as well. But together I have had alot of issues.


Yep! I’ve used it plenty of times with both the old and the new H4n. While it is true that, as @Longfang comments, the H4n & NTG2 combo has some issues (he’s right about having to push the pre-amp to get your level high enough to record), I can name plenty of films and shorts that have been shot with this combo and have achieved decent results.

I think that if you just want a decent mic and recorder combo that will allow you to record stuff on the go, the combo will suit you fine. If you are more serious about audio, however, you might want to consider spending a bit more money on either a better recorder (such as the Zoom H6) or a better mic, this gear will last you for a long time so I think it’s better to spend a lot of money at once on gear that it will take longer to “outgrow” than doing it the other way around.

Hopefully that was helpful!


@Longfang @Guima793 thanks for the advice lads. I think I’ll still get it on account of the deal I can get. I also don’t have a big enough affinity with sound that would justify spending more money on a new recorder or better mic.


Thanks for the advice the camera I’m using is the Canon t5 I don’t what that supports


That’s a DSLR, so you’ll only have a mini jack input (standard headphone size). If you want an onboard mic solution, you’re basically going to be limited to something like the VideoMic Pro; you won’t be able to run “professional” XLR microphones on the t5. That would require an external recorder, which is a bit of a current budget vs. long term value thing to consider, that the above posts have covered quite well!


Is there any other way of getting better audio can I buy a bigger jack or use my phone with a phone Mic


Microphone position is the most important, followed by microphone type I would say. If you’re shooting on a DSLR without a dedicated audio person, I still think something like the VideoMic Pro is the best choice. You’d be squandering most of the advantages of a more expensive microphone if it were just sitting on your camera. Trying to set up and leave a microphone in an optimal recording position for each shot would cost you a lot of time working alone, and in some cases might even be impossible - the best position is usually booming it closely above your actors. And if your actors move or turn during the take, which is quite common obviously, you’d basically be screwed with a planted boom. Outside of a talk show-type where people basically stay still the whole time, it wouldn’t be very useful. The time it would cost you while shooting is probably not worth the gain. With the shooting situation you’ve described, that’s honestly my opinion on the matter!

The big thing to check for if you do end up looking for an audio adapter is phantom power. While some decent shotgun mics will allow you to run off of internal batteries, many need to pull power from the recording device in order to function at all. Since your DSLR isn’t designed with this function in mind (all smaller mics like the VideoMic Pro will have internal battery), that’s something to check for if you do consider that kind of investment.

Another option would be to consider lavalier mics that you could plant on your actors, but I would largely recommend this only in addition to an on-camera mic upgrade, rather than as a full alternative. While lavalier mics are consistent for placement, since they’re usually attached to your actors, you’ll have to contend with things like clothing noise affecting the audio, and it can cause a lot of headaches later in post if you’re not constantly monitoring your sound with headphones on while shooting, and taking the time to solve problems as they occur. Generally speaking, I usually recommend a boom instead lavs if you have to choose one or the other.

To look at the bigger picture, I’d suggest this overall progression for equipment:

  • Shooting alone with a DSLR - use a mini jack mic, like the VideoMic Pro
  • Shooting alone with a larger camera, with XLR inputs and phantom power - mount a shotgun mic onto the camera and protect it with a windscreen (this is how a fair amount of the quicker run-and-gun RocketJump content is shot)
  • Shooting with a dedicated sound person - boom mic with an external recorder
  • Shooting with a dedicated sound person (or two), with more cash to spare - look into lavalier mics and/or a second boom


Oh hell no, it is infamous combo for being “less than ideal”!

You can, but it does not mean you should.

In fact no one should ever buy a Zoom H4n in 2018! Although I understand it is something you already own, but even so I’d suggest considering selling it and getting something better (“what” depends on your budget/needs/goals).

As for “what mic to get” that is an extremely diverse question that needs a lot more context.

But a few quick points:

I love my Sanken CS3e.
The Deity shotgun is a good low budget alternative.

But for indoors, you should go for something else than a shotgun, the Oktavas are a classic no budget indie choice.


Thanks for letting me know! Yeah I’m not all that seriously into sound, practically not actually. I’m just a lowly film student. If I get more serious about it I shall definitely retire the h4n for a stronger option.

I appreciate you commenting on all these posts and helping out/giving advice. :+1:


Ah sweet, yeah if you’re just a film student then I’d try to use the university’s gear as much as possible and not waste too much money on your own gear just yet (save it up for until you graduate!). Especially when as a student you don’t even know yet if you want to specialize in sound or not?