The AT875R microphone should be high on your short list of first shotgun mics to buy. Depending on your applications for recording your audio, it may also be your last shotgun purchase. In this article, I won’t go into the technical specs. If you desire those, you can get them here.
Let’s recall the reasons to buy a shotgun mic.
First off, it picks up audio at a distance from the presenter that can’t be achieved with a condenser microphone, though you still want to use it within 36 inches of your subject for best results. For slightly longer throws, you would want a longer shotgun such as the Sennheiser MKE600 or Sennheiser ME66. Secondly, it can be kept out of frame of a camera shot without having to affix a lapel mic to your presenter. Unlike a lapel mic, you don’t have to worry about picking up noise from the lapel mic rubbing against articles of rough clothing. Shotgun mics can be mounted on a mic stand to mic presenters and interviewees, but can also be mounted on top of a DSLR or video camera, so in that way they are very versatile. They can also be affixed to a boom pole for off camera ENG work, as well as hand-held options for stand up reporting type shoots. Some higher end shotguns, and mid range models, can also be used as desktop voiceover mics, such as the industry standard Sennheiser 416. Shotgun mics are also durable and can take the bumps and bruises of traveling with your equipment.
Lastly, let’s not forget about a shotgun mic’s ability to resist noise from the sides and behind the microphone. Its directional pick up qualities make it a great choice if you are not in a treated environment that is built for sound rejection and noise handling, though I would suggest you consider those options before thinking a low to mid priced shotgun mic can solve all of your room problems. It can’t.
There are of course some risks and down sides.
Like with any shotgun mic with a linear pick up pattern, you have to find the “sweet spot” when working the mic. If you or the presenter move your head too far off axis, you will hear the drop in resonance and find yourself doing a lot of post processing to match up your sounds. If you stay “on mic”, with good technique, the AT875R can produce some excellent sounds.
At under $200, this may arguably be your most versatile value priced mic in your arsenal.