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The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews

Michael Maher

Shooting a documentary or corporate video? These shotguns and lavs are some of the best microphones for capturing sit-down interviews.

Top image BEEP via We Are Moving Stories

The best microphone options for sit-down interviews are shotgun mics and lavalier mics. The best setup is actually one of each — that way you have quality backup audio recorded. Here are a few of the most popular shotgun microphones and video-friendly lavalier mics.

Best Shotgun Microphones for Interviews

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Rode Mic
Image via Rode Microphones

These are the most popular microphones for video production. They can be mounted and plugged directly into the camera, or they can be attached to a boom pole and plugged into an audio recorder. Shotgun mics can be used to record in a variety of ways, and it’s their versatility that makes them a must-own for every filmmaker and video producer. Here are the most popular options.

1. Rode VideoMic Pro (MSRP: $229 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Rode VideoMic Pro

If you own a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the Rode VideoMic Pro is the mic for your camera. Just about everyone uses this microphone for its ease of use and compatibility with the audio jack on DSLR and mirrorless cameras. You just need a 9V battery and you’re ready to go. The microphone comes with a built-in shoe mount to attach to the camera.

Specs:

  • Supercardioid Condenser Microphone
  • 40Hz to 20kHz Frequency Response
  • Lightweight
  • Low Noise and High Sensitivity
  • 9V Battery Powered
  • 1/8″ (3.5 mm) Mini-Jack Output
  • Two-Step High Pass Filter
  • Three-Position Level Control

2. Sennheiser MKE 400 (MSRP $199 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Sennheiser MKE 400

Another shotgun microphone with a built-in shoe mount is the Sennheiser MKE 400. This shotgun microphone comes in at $30 cheaper that the Rode VideoMic Pro, complete with an all metal body and first-rate sound quality. It also takes a single AAA battery, so powering it is cheaper too.

Specs:

  • Supercardioid/Lobar
  • 40Hz to 20kHz
  • Single AAA Battery (300 Hours)
  • Coiled 1/8″ (3.5mm) Mini-Jack
  • Integrated Shock Mount
  • All Metal Construction

3. Sennheiser MKE 600 (MSRP: $329 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Sennheiser MKE 600

Another great shotgun mic from Sennheiser is the MKE 600. This has a traditional shotgun mic body — a single tube that can be mounted to mic stands, boom poles, or attached to cameras. The mic can run with phantom power via XLR cable or with a single AA battery.

Specs:

  • Supercardioid/Lobar
  • 40Hz to 20kHz
  • 48V +/-4V via XLR-3 or AA Size Battery
  • For Camcorders and Video DSLRs
  • Highly Directive
  • Switchable Low-Cut Filter
  • Shock-Mount for Camera Shoe
  • Foam Windshield
  • All Metal Housing

4. Rode NTG-2 (MSRP $269 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Rode NTG2

The NTG-2 is Rode’s most popular shotgun microphone. The traditional body can be mounted to mic stands, boom poles, or attached to cameras. Like the MKE 600, this shotgun mic can run with phantom power via XLR cable or with a single AA battery.

Specs:

  • Supercardioid Condenser
  • 20Hz to 20kHz
  • AA Battery or Phantom Powered
  • Excellent Off-Axis Signal Rejection
  • Broadcast Sound Quality
  • Metal Construction
  • Two-Step High Pass Filter (Flat/80Hz)
  • Low Weight — 161g

5. Rode NTG-3 (MSRP: $699)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Rode NTG-3

The Rode NTG-3 is the big brother to the NTG-2, and it has the price point to prove it. This microphone outperforms others on this list, but prepare for the cost — and not just the price point. You’ll need to supply phantom power to operate this mic, so make sure that’s an option with your audio recorder.

Specs:

  • Supercardioid Condenser
  • 40Hz to 20kHz
  • 48V Phantom Power
  • RF Rejection and Low Noise
  • Broadcast Sound Quality
  • Lightweight — 163g 

Bonus Budget Buy: Azden SMX-10 (MSRP: $79 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Azden MX-10

The Azden SMX-10 is a budget-buy microphone that will get you decent quality at a tiny cost. No need to go into further detail, you know what you’re getting here — a cheap microphone that will still get the job done.

Specs:

  • Dual Unidirectional Stereo Shotgun Microphone
  • 100Hz to 18kHz
  • 1/8″ (3.5mm) Mini-Jack
  • Single AAA Battery Power
  • Includes Windscreen & Mount

Best Lavalier Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Best Lavalier Mic
Image via Shutterstock

Lavalier microphones — or lav mics — are so commonplace in video that audiences don’t even care if the microphone is visible or not. It’s still best to hide the mic — and there are plenty of ways to do that — just make sure your subject is okay with you running cables underneath their clothes. Lavalier mics are best in rooms that have little ambient noise. They come in both wired and wireless varieties, but those options will affect the overall price.

1. Sennheiser ME 2 (MSRP: $149 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Sennheiser ME-2

The Sennheiser ME 2 is one of the best all-around lav mics on the market. It’s trusted by amateurs and professionals alike. If you opt to purchase a wireless Sennheiser system, odds are this is the mic you’ll receive with it.

  • Omnidirectional Electret Condenser
  • 30Hz to 20kHz
  • Wired/Wireless with Transmitter and Receiver
  • 1/8″ (3.5 mm) Mini-Jack

2. Rode Smartlav+ (MSRP: $79 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Rode Smartlav

The Rode Smartlav+ is the perfect lavalier microphone for those without an audio recorder. Designed to be used with smartphones and tablets, the Smartlav+ plugs directly into iOS and Android devices and uses the Rode Rec App for recording. The 3.5mm mini-jack can also be plugged directly into cameras and audio recorders (if you do have one).

  • Omnidirectional
  • 60Hz to 18kHz
  • Wired
  • iPhone and Android Compatible
  • Use with Rode Rec App for Apple iOS

3. Countryman B3 (MSRP: $238 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Countryman B3

The Countryman B3 lavalier mic comes in a variety of colors – designed to be hidden from cameras and audiences. It’s practically invisible on camera, measuring only 0.2 inches in diameter. It’s resistant to moisture, so it can easily be hidden in hair or taped to bare skin. 

  • Omnidirectional Condenser
  • 20Hz to 20KHz +/- 3dB
  • 3-Pin XLR Hardwired Connection
  • 9V to 48V Phantom

4. Countryman B6 (MSRP: $420 USD)

The Best Microphones for Sit-Down Interviews: Countryman B6

The Countryman B6 lav mic is tiny. Very tiny. Like the B3, it’s practically invisible on camera, measuring only 0.1 inches in diameter. It’s also resistant to moisture, so it can easily be hidden in hair or taped to bare skin. 

  • Omnidirectional Condenser
  • 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB
  • 3-Pin XLR Hardwired Connection

Bonus Budget Buy: Audio-Technica ATR-3350iS (MSRP: $29 USD)

The Audio-Technica ATR-3350iS is certainly one of the most popular options out there due to its extremely low price. This microphone is okay. If you have a limited budget, I would go with this strictly for backup audio. It can connect to cameras, smartphones, tablets, and audio recorders.

Specs: 

  • Omnidirectional Condenser
  • Wired
  • LR44 Battery
  • Low Profile Design
  • 1/8″ (3.5mm) Dual Mono Output
  • iOS/Android Smartphone Adapter
  • Includes Tie Clip & Foam Windscreen

What are your go-to microphones for sit-down interviews? Share your gear in the comments below!