New vs used mic


I want to get a shotgun microphone, either the rode ntg2 or ntg4. They are cheaper used but I’ve seen video’s where people say that the sound of a mic changes when it’s been used a lot. Is this true and is there a significant difference? Also, which mic do you think is better? Thanks


Lucky you have the budget for that, I use AT875R Audiotechnica :frowning: anyway, this seems like a question for


My personal opinion would be go for the cheaper one b/c I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the ntg2 and ntg4. But then again, keep reminding yourself audio is #1 after story, so props to you for thinking like that.


The main things to consider are your budget and the reliability of the seller. If this is your first mic purchase, you probably don’t need to splurge on something too fancy; either of the two options you’re considering would be a significant upgrade something like a camera built-in mic. As far as used goes, I’d just be really careful to vet the feedback rating on the seller; there’s always some risk if you can’t try the equipment firsthand before purchasing. If it’s in good condition, you shouldn’t have any noticeable difference versus a new product, but you’ll likely be giving up the usual warranty protections, so it depends on how good of a deal the used options are, and if it’s worth the gamble to you.

Are you also all set up to use an XLR mic? Depending on your setup, you might want or need additional stuff like a boom pole, shock mount, cables, recorder unit, etc.!


Thanks for the reply. I have different mic’s, I’ve just never invested this much in one. I have a zoom h4n and accessories and whatnot. The mic’s I use the most are my 2 Senal small diaphragm condensers with different capsules. I’m really happy with them, for some situations. They are good for indoor dialogue, drum overheads, B roll, sound effect recording and vocals, but for outdoor, they aren’t so good. Out of the ntg2 and ntg4, what is better?



I’ve not actually had the chance to use the NTG4 firsthand yet, so I’d unfortunately just suggest checking online for any comparison reviews, and see if there’s any newer features on the 4 that would be of interest to you. Sorry I don’t have more on it!


Thanks, one more thing. I ended up getting the ntg2, but what they don’t tell you online is that you need a ridiculously quiet (and expensive) preamp/recorder. The Zoom H4n is quite noisy and the ntg2 has a low signal so when you make it louder, either on the Zoom or in post, it creates a ton of hiss. I was recommended by Curtis Judd, who does audio reviews and tutorials on youtube, that I should get the Tascam Dr-60d recorder. So I got it, and I set everything right, and it has the same hiss as the Zoom. What really frustrates me is that the average rms of the noise is, I think double as Curtis using the same mic (well he used the sm58 and I use an sm57). I have tried different mics, cables, power sources… they all have a large amount of hiss. I even exchanged the Tascam for a new one and it sounded exactly the same, so I just sent it back. Is there another mic, that I can use with the h4n, or another recorder that is quiet enough? Sorry for rambling, I am really frustrated with my audio situation. Nothing worse than bad audio…


is it the older or newer version of the H4n?
I had the same problem with the old one and the NTG-2, I have not tried the new, but apparently the pre-amps is updated in that model.

If you use a to long XLR cable and have part of it coiled up when everything is on, then it creates a field that can introduce noise and that wears enourmosly on the cable. Similar problem if you have the XLR cable running over power cables.

I have also had problems with a few to cheap XLR cables that are not insulated or whatever it’s called. Once I bought new and better ones with the correct length I got rid of alot of problems for me.


In general, I don’t think you should be getting significant enough noise where it would be a big issue in most cases, though it obviously seems to be causing you some problems!

In addition to @Longfang’s suggestions, I will point out that generally speaking, preamps are something you have to shell out the money for. I personally use an H4n for quick recording and the noise isn’t a generally significant issue, though I need to acknowledge that I use iZotope RX software-side, and I do denoise basically everything I record. While I would recommend a little Google research, anecdotally it seems like the preamps in newer-generation handheld recorders are of higher quality and lower noise (within the Zoom line, H4n Pro, H5, H6). I would recommend looking for direct comparisons, as newer recorders might be your best bet within the same price bracket. Alternatively, a basic-level iZotope RX license should be roughly in the ballpark of another recorder unit - and if they have a free demo trial currently available, it might be worth seeing if it can effectively denoise stuff you’ve already recorded (I don’t mean to suggest a “band-aid” solution like fixing audio in post as your primary solution, but broadly-speaking, RX is an incredibly useful post tool to have anyway). Also, if you’re using the Adobe suite, Audition’s denoise options might also be worth a look.


Thanks for the replies. I have tried Auditions noise reduction, both adaptive and the thing where you capture the noise print. It helps a bit but always seems to muffle the sound. I really don’t know what the problem is. I have listened to recordings of people with the same equipment as me and they have less noise. Some people say cable makes a difference and some say it doesn’t make any difference at all, and it’s just about reliability. Maybe I should go into guitar center and test it out on an expensive cable, and see if that makes any difference. I’ll also be in new york in a few weeks, so I’ll stop by b&h and see what they say.


Hmm, that sounds like it might be the best way to go under the circumstances. Any opportunity to test things without having to spend money is usually wise. Your microphone was “used; mint condition” if I’m not mistaken; have you ruled out the microphone itself? I would think your issue would be coming from elsewhere (hopefully it’s just a wonky cable), but just to cover all the bases.


I don’t think it’s the microphone because I’m also getting a fair amount of noise with an MXL 990 and a Shure sm57.


Gotcha; that’s good to hear at least!


First of all I’ll say the NTG2/NTG1/NTG4 are not mics I’d recommend myself as your main mic, they’re very much “student”/“videographer” grade shotguns, but heh… they’re right for some people and when I was in that situation myself I started out on a NTG2!

Anyway, as for mics in general, now they should not degrade over time with usage. (unless damaged, but that is true for every item in life!)

In many ways microphones are like lenses are for DoPs:

  1. they hold their value well over the long term
  2. as they don’t get outdated with time
  3. you want to own many many of them! For many different purposes


Yes, the H4n/NTG2 combo is infamous as a bad bad combo! Very well known for that.
As the NTG2 output is weak and the H4n has terrible pre amps, combined together… recipe for disaster!

When I was brand new starting out I used a NTG2 with a Tascam DR60Dmk1, a much better set up! (and the DR60Dmk2/DR70D has even better pre amps, while a Zoom F4/F8/F8n would have even better pre amps again)

However you need to also remember to position the mic well to improve S/N ratio, as it will always sound bad if you put it way too far away.


Thanks for the reply. I tried the dr60dm2 and it was just as bad, if not worse than the Zoom, (I know lots of people get great results with it but I don’t understand how). I sent that back, and about a month ago, I stopped at B&H. The sound guy said I should get the h4n pro, and I did. It sounds much better. Still very audible noise, but much better. Another thing I did which helped a bit is getting a decent cable. It’s no Mogami, but it’s great. (It actually has the same brand connectors).


If you’re still getting bad results with the DR60Dmk2 it would suggest it is a user error… are you positioning the mic correctly and within 3 feet of the speaker?

The H4n Pro is an improvement over the original H4n in terms of the internals, but still has the terrible ergonomics of the original, you really really do not want to use a handheld recorder while booming as well!


I like the Zoom and have to problem with it’s design. I actually prefer it over the Tascam.


Hate the Zoom handheld recorders, but I love the Zoom F series (F4/F8/F8n), they’re amazing.

Most people don’t realize it (because sound is constantly underappreciated!) but what they’re doing (together with a few other developments in sound such as Tentacles and Brusfri) is a just as big deal for filmmaking in the sound department as the D90/5Dmk2/T2i/GH1 was for the camera department and the whole “DSLR Revolution!”

We’re quietly undergoing a little sound revolution as some new game changing gear is coming out that are hitting new low low low price points which are accessible to everyone!


Well I just pre-ordered the new Blackmagic Pocket 4k so I guess I’m not one to talk. I can’t stand bad sound, it just drives me bonkers. Sometimes it seems like I’m cursed or something cause no matter what I try, I never get awesome audio. I’m starting to realize that unless I buy a $600 microphone, I’m not gonna get awesome sound, and that would just be a waste of money considering I’m not a professional sound guy.


Often people find themselves not getting great sound as they haven’t dedicated proper resources towards it. (but no problem, sound is only HALF your film after all… why on earth ever give it half your resources? ha :stuck_out_tongue: )

Sound deserves their own dedicated and highly skilled person on set, actually… multiple people! (after all you wouldn’t have your DoP without their 1st AC etc or their lighting crew?! Of course not)

And then of course you still need a good post team, sound post involves even more people than those who were on set! (next time you watch a feature stay for all the credits, tally up the size of the sound department on set vs during sound post!)

How many times have you shot beautiful pictures only to see the editor or grader ruin your gold?

I’ve experienced that many times myself with my sound files once they get past along to “post” (yeah… I’m using air quotes).