Review: Røde NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone

As it's been a busy few weeks, I've enlisted the help of a friend from "across the pond," as it were. James Knight is Church Relations Manager for leading audio-visual integrator, Hans Kolberg UK. He offered to write a review of the Røde NTG-3 shotgun microphone for us. I've been a fan of Røde mics for years, ever since I heard the NT3 on cello. James gives us a good overview of the mic, which could be quite a great buy for churches who shoot a lot of interviews. Personally, I much prefer a shotgun mic to clip on lavs for interviews, so this is a great option. You can find them for about $700 online, though if that's too much, they also make an NTG-1 and NTG-2 that are less expensive. Without further adieu, here is the review.

Next time you’re around a seasoned sound recordist, ask them which single microphone defines their art – it’s a pretty good guess that most will choose the Sennheiser MKH 416. However, in this current financial climate, where everything from an extra battery to an extra roll of PVC counts, the MKH 416 at more than a thousand dollars a unit, is a rather pricy option.

I for one have been a little fed up with people simply jumping at a microphone due to its manufacturer having worked in broadcast for a few years before moving onto the integration side, I’ve met a fair share of people who used to buy the most expensive shotgun they could find, just to sport the logo around on their boom pole...

Now RØDE is a brilliant company based in New South Wales, Australia who has this wicked habit of making fantastic mics at stunning prices. How do they do it? Well, Scott Emerton over in the marketing department sent me the link to one of their new websites which gives a whole new viewpoint to manufacturing. You see, everything that RODE use in their products is made and designed in-house, meaning they can not only keep the price low, but also ensure the quality is the highest possible.

What does this have to do with shotguns? Well, for quite some time now, RØDE have been trying their hand (quite successfully if I may say so myself!) at more than just the studio setup (large diaphragm condensers and vintage tube mics) we’ve seen some cool omni-directional lavalier, headset, and ‘pinnable’ mics from them in the last year, in- addition to new video mics and rock ‘n roll dynamics. They entered the broadcast market a little while back now, and have been perfecting the art of a good shotgun for a fair few years and the result is not only the NTG-1 and NTG-2, but also the NTG-3, which is precisely what I’m going to write about next.

Dressed in a glossy cardboard box, the NTG-3 looks like a small shy child until you open the packaging, that is. You’re greeted by a classic baton shaped protective tube, where if you unscrew it for a good few minutes you’ll find one of the best shotgun’s I’ve ever used. I don’t just love the way it looks frosted nickel, with the fabulous ‘gold dot’ (put on the large-diaphragms to tell people which way it faced!) but more importantly, the way it sounds.

I know Mike would normally record some audio files, but I was a little pushed for time when writing this – yet I found this great video on YouTube which should give you a nice idea of the sound. The NTG-3 has one of the clearest, most natural tones I’ve heard in a long time, and with only 13dBA self-noise and a weight of just 163g, it’s every recordist’s dream. Technically speaking, it’s got a supercardioid polar pattern, with a frequency range of 40Hz to 20kHz and a 130dB max SPL. The output is unsurprisingly XLR, and it’s a condenser (RF biased), so you need to check your 48V’s on.

I took it out to an orchestral concert whilst I was reviewing it, and it really was a treat to use we could really hear the individual tones of the different sections, and I was blown away by the quality with such a delicate sound I was expecting a little blur here and there but no, it just worked! It does its job every time and never complains that’s RØDE quality for ya.

Oh, and did I mention the best bit? You get a ten year warranty as standard if you register online. 

Hans Kolberg UK – serving the needs of worship professionals throughout the United Kingdom with specialist consultants and friendly support engineers. For more information, why not visit their website

Today's post is brought to you by the Roland R-1000. The R-1000 is a multi-channel recorder/player ideal for the V-Mixing System or any MADI equipped console or environment. Ideal for virtual sound checks, multi-channel recording, and playback.