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From Condenser to Shotgun!

The world of mics endless?

I have never been one to chop & change out microphones in the studio on a regular basis. I am boring, love consistency & pretty much hate change. With that said, it won’t surprise you to know that I found a mic I liked over 6 years ago, and until very recently this has been my only studio mic. As a broadcaster, that mic was the large diaphragm condenser AT2035 from Audio-technica. It was a case of the wand finding the magician! It has always performed for me and I adore it.

Why the change then?

Of recent, the main use of my studio has changed from being a broadcast studio to a YouTube video studio. That of course meant, having a mic and attending pop-filter in front of my face, would not be acceptable. Initially, I went the route of a Røde SmartLav mic. It was inexpensive, sounded pretty OK and got the job done. But, it meant that a mic had to be clipped to me at all times and was thus in view, and unless I went the route of a wireless transmitter pack, meant I was always connected via a physical cable to the MacBook Pro. Having been happy with Røde, I began shopping around, and looking at their range of shotgun condenser mics, I went for the NGT4+


First impressions?

Bright! In a single word was my first thought. Turns out, that may have been a little unfair. A lav mic & its shotgun counterpart are designed for very different uses, and as such the native sound will be different. Although the lav is quite warm, it is a touch muddy, where as the NTG4+ is airy and bright. I found placing it about 500cms - 1m away from me captured great audio.

What’s in the box?

So inside the typical, quality Røde packaging you get an RM5 boom mount, the USB charging cable, a carry case, the windshield, an XLR spacer washer in case your fit is not perfectly tight (mine was, but that is a lovely touch to include it), details about the 10 year warranty if you decide to register your mic online, and an ‘I Love Røde’ sticker, and that is about it!

Setting up

That, for me was super easy. I already had a mixing desk in place, so ran an XLR from the mic to my Yamaha MG12/4 which has lovely analogue pre’s in it. I EQ it a touch on the desk too. Then it runs through a BSS strip compressor adding about -3db of compression & that’s it. I record the audio in Adobe Audition adding some further EQ via a Waves plug-in that I love (GW Voicecentric), some de-noise, de-esser and a final touch of compression. I match the audio to -20 LUFS and that is job done - I then bounce the audio over to Premiere.


Tech Specs

It feels quality from the moment you take it out. Weighing 176gms, it is 280mm in length and 22mm in diameter. It is the first Røde mic to have an inbuilt battery which is reported to have a 150 hour life (clearly I have not tested that claim!), which would be of great use if out on location. It has a full studio frequency ranging from 20Hz - 20,000Hz with an output impedance of 200 ohms.

The layout is simple and classic. You have a -10Db pad to attenuate loud input (also doubling as the on/off power button) and a high pass filter to help eliminate low end rumble. You also have a high frequency boost primarily for use with the windshield.



Conclusion

Once I got used to the open and airy sounds of shotguns, I really liked it. I have been so used to close proximity mics, that the sound initially came as quite a shock. I have made a point of listening to other creators videos that clearly use shotguns, and I can recognise ‘the sound’ now! It needs a little work in post, but that is true of most mic output.

What shotguns do you use? Is there any you think I should try? Leave a comment and let me know.

And here is a link to my video where I un-box and use the NTG4+ for the first time.




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