The RØDE NTG-3 a shotgun to take a closer look at!

The RØDE NTG-3 a shotgun to take a closer look at!

Now that I’ve had the RØDE NTG-3 shotgun microphone out a couple of times and listened to the results in the studio, I’ve gotta say it’s a pretty nice microphone! As a medium priced mic $799.00 it does everything you’d want a medium length shotgun to do, plus it’s a beautifully built mic, it comes in a very cool case, and (they claim) is unaffected by humidity and temperature. One of the shows I used the NTG-3 on was in Kenya (37-degree Celsius) that’s hot and dry!

With all that said, I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much since I’m not all that impressed with RØDE’s NTG-2 and NTG-1. As a professional location sound operator what makes a shotgun mic work for me is first and foremost sound quality, and then usability and versatility. When off on a documentary shoot I can’t and won’t carry a whole bunch of mics, I need one that can perform in a wide variety of location sound situations.

RØDE NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone

RØDE NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone

The shooting I did with the NTG-3 was always outside (it’s definitely an outdoor mic) and was used as a boom mic. This is not a camera-mounted mic and I would never use it as one. Many of the shots I used the NTG-3 on had more than one talker (unscripted), and in a variety of locations with ambient volumes ranging from not very much to a considerable amount from one direction.

The NTG-3 has a warm even sound and I found it very consistent at the outer edges of the pattern. When booming a group, I was able to boom approx 3-feet off the top, and the pattern was wide enough that with very small booming adjustments I could nicely capture each talker in the group with even volume and consistent tone. Nothing screws up a recording more than having to swing the boom right over the talents head in a group setting with unscripted conversation – the NTG-3 was quite forgiving.

I shot a lot in high wind while in Kenya, and since the mic isn’t physically large I could put it in a smaller zeppelin making it easy to control when the wind really kicked up. If you’ve worked in the wind you know what I’m talking about! There was virtually no handling noise on the long pole shots with a lot of movement – I was surprised because the mic has a very warm sound and that’s usually problematic when booming motion shots. I did have my HP filter around 80Hz.

Dean in Kenya with the RØDE NTG-3

Dean in Kenya with the RØDE NTG-3

For static interviews, the rejection of the NTG-3 was very good. This surprised the hell out of me because of the success I had booming a group. I wasn’t expecting much rejection even though the mic appears to be a medium shotgun. I like my Neuman KM150 for interviews, it sounds fantastic, but it doesn’t have much rejection. So when I’m in a location with unwanted ambience there’s not much I can do to fix it. The NTG-3 was exceptional for rejecting unwanted ambience. By changing the pitch and angle of the shotgun when booming I could knock down unwanted ambience greatly!

The reach of the mic (in my opinion) is perfect for this type of shotgun, and the pattern even though it seemed wide had excellent rejection – I know it doesn’t make sense! But my ears don’t lie to me and neither did the studio monitors when I listened back to the tracks.

Conclusion:

The RØDE NTG-3 is a beautiful sounding mic, very versatile, and appears to be well made to handle the abuse of being a location audio shotgun.

Related Posts

Tiny Interview

Tiny Interview

Recent Work

Recent Work

Tip of the Week #10: Built-in Booming Aid

Tip of the Week #10: Built-in Booming Aid

31 Comments

  1. Cruce Grammatico
    February 4, 2014, 10:37 am   /  Reply

    Great post, I loved my NTG-3 until I experienced awful RF interference on two separate shoots, making the mic completely useless. I thought I might have a defective mic until I found a many others posting about the same issue on the JW sound forum. Now I’ve got an MKH-50 which I use indoors and can always use outdoors if the Rode starts getting interference. Keep up the posts.

    • Dean Miles
      February 4, 2014, 10:44 am   /  Reply

      Wow, that’s not good! I didn’t have that issue, and I hope I never do. Thanks for the heads-up Cruce!

  2. February 4, 2014, 10:59 am   /  Reply

    I’ve used the NTG-3 (I have 3) for several years in a variety of locations. It handles the extreme cold and moisture very well. The 10 year “no questions asked warranty” is the best part of the deal. They will just send back a new NTG-3 if you ever need service or repair. The only down side of the NTG-3 is you have to use a Phase reversal barrel with most plug on transmitters. Another added bonus is the longer ground pin allows for hot plugging without a pop.

    • Dean Miles
      February 4, 2014, 11:14 am   /  Reply

      The Phase reversal barrel is a fantastic tip! That’s gonna drive sound ops mad if they choose to go wireless with the NTG-3.
      And you just taught me something – I never understood why, on some mics and connectors, one of the pins on the XLR connection was longer… That’s brilliant information, thanks Scott!

  3. jp
    February 4, 2014, 11:20 am   /  Reply

    Hi Dean,

    Thanks for your posting your thoughts about the NTG-3 out in the field. It’s definitely a step up from the NTG-1 and NTG-2. What surprised me about the mic is that it sounds pretty good, compared the Sennheiser 416. Although, they’re only a couple hundred dollars different in price. I don’t recall which mic would typically be your go to shotgun in such an environment.

    There was one thing though. I take it your interview shoot was outdoors, yes?

    • Dean Miles
      February 4, 2014, 11:32 am   /  Reply

      Thanks JP, my go to mic now a days for outdoors shooting is the Shure VP89S. It’s incredibly versatile and it’s made by Shure… They’ve been making killer vocal mics for forever. It sounds very very good – I was surprised to say the least when I road tested the series and now I’m a user.

      The interviews in this article were all outdoors with ambient issues, and the NTG-3 did a very good job with rejection

      • jp
        February 4, 2014, 12:19 pm   /  Reply

        I remember your Shure tour, and subsequent travel with the mics. Not sure I remember you posting about the shotgun. Have to look for that one. Shure isn’t exactly a big player outside live audio applications. I have to go check that out. If you have any audio samples post them! (Of the NTG-3 too). — Thanks.

  4. Gabe
    March 7, 2014, 8:47 pm   /  Reply

    This may be kind of off topic, and i know different shotguns have different applications, but if you were only allowed to use just one shotgun microphone for every shoot, regardless of indoor/outdoor or scenarios, for the rest of your audio career, what microphone would you choose and why?

    • Dean Miles
      March 10, 2014, 4:08 pm   /  Reply

      Wow Gabe that’s a tough question to answer. When I first started in the late 80’s, I had a good 5 years of having the opportunity to use everything from the Sennheiser MKH series, ME series, Schoeps, Neumanns, I found myself using a Neumann KM150 exclusively for close to 15 years on documentaries. I had very good success, but there were times I wish I had been carrying a shotgun with more reach and rejection.

      I don’t think there’s one mic that can do-it-all, but a quality hypercard in my opinion is the most versatile mic on location. They work indoors, outdoors, they’re lightweight, and still have enough rejection to be usable in moderate ambient conditions. What brand to select is up to the operator – we all hear very differently.

  5. bruce
    March 8, 2014, 8:56 pm   /  Reply

    I current have the Shure vp89s and is getting the vp89m. I wonder how the ambient rejection of the two Shure compare to the rode? Which mic in your experience is more sensitive? Thanks a bunch for the review.

    • Dean Miles
      March 10, 2014, 3:43 pm   /  Reply

      I’ve never done a side by side comparison but I had success with both mics with soft talkers in moderate ambient conditions. If you own A VP89S I’d stay with the Shure series for tonal continuity.

  6. Eduardo João Gama
    May 25, 2014, 1:33 am   /  Reply

    Hi Dean,

    I’m considering both the NTG3 and the Sanken CS1-e, Which one you think might be better as a boom mic for both indoors and outdoors application? I’ve worked before with the CS3-e and I must say it is a beautiful mic but I can’t afford to buy it otherwise it would be my first choice.

    Thanks,
    Eduardo

    • Dean Miles
      May 27, 2014, 11:08 pm   /  Reply

      Eduardo, I’ve only used the NTG3 so I can’t comment on the CS1-e. The NTG3 is a nice sounding mic but I don’t think I’d ever use it indoors. It’s a medium shotgun with a descent amount of reach, you’d have troubles getting far enough away to use the mic properly indoors – ceiling height and reflections would kill you. Since the CS1-e is more a short shotgun that’s physically smaller it would be better suited for indoor shooting.

  7. Gil Woodley
    June 25, 2014, 5:08 am   /  Reply

    Hi Dean,

    What would you recommend as a good on-camera mic ? I’ve thought about getting the Sennheiser mkh-416. I have an NTG-3 which I really like, but need a second mic.

    Cheers
    Gil

    • Dean Miles
      June 26, 2014, 3:14 pm   /  Reply

      Hi Gil, I’m a big fan of the Sennheiser ME64. Check out Scot and I going over why.

  8. Andy
    November 27, 2014, 7:46 am   /  Reply

    I’ve used The Sanken and loved it but found it better for outdoor work. I’ve also used the Rodes, Schoeps and Seinheser series. They’re all good mic’s but I’ve not liked aome of the brands sound myself (personal taste). I was thinking of the VM89 series but would it be better to get the S or M first as the primary mic? I’m guessing the S?

    • Dean Miles
      November 27, 2014, 9:35 am   /  Reply

      The VP89S is my go-to mic for sure. I use it outdoors for just about every shot and indoors as well when there’s enough ceiling height. For sit down indoor interviews I still like to use my Neumann KM150 but I’ve recorded numerous interviews with the VP89S and it performed flawlessly.

  9. Raymond Toms
    January 20, 2015, 12:09 pm   /  Reply

    Hi, I am getting back into docos after years of multicamera event work. I used to use a long sennheiser back in the 60’s. I have tried the Rode NGT2 outside, which was ok, but it is no good indoors if there are a lot of reflections, even if I am only a couple of feet from the talent. Will the NTG3, be better for that? Or, another mic?

    • Dean Miles
      January 20, 2015, 1:35 pm   /  Reply

      The NTG3 is a far superior sounding mic. Everything about it is an upgrade from the NTG2. It’s a very nice utility outdoor and indoor mic. I just suggested it to another sound op looking for an all-round versatile shotgun microphone. I’m also a fan of the new Shure VP89 series of shotguns. They are around the same price but you’d have the option of a short and medium shotgun in the same series – they mix nicely when moving between mics.

  10. Raymond Toms
    January 20, 2015, 2:54 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Dean, thanks for responding so quickly (where are you? I’m in Australia and it is 10am on Wednesday 21st Jan).

    I didn’t realise that there was such an improvement in sound between the 2 and 3. I also noticed on the Rode site that the 2 has a rear lobe, but the 3 is cardioid only. That should help with room reverb.

    I use the Rode stereo video mic pro too. As I am in Australia, I’d like to use an Australian product if I can.

    I was lucky enough to get a tour of the factory a few years ago, and the owner is certainly passionate about his products.

    Have ordered my NTG-3 just now.

    Cheers
    Raymond

    • Dean Miles
      January 21, 2015, 9:22 am   /  Reply

      Raymond, I’m in Canada. I think you’ll like the NTG-3, I do. Good luck out there.

      Dean

  11. Rishi
    May 3, 2015, 10:11 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Dean,
    I’m a filmamker based in Sydney, Australia. I am building my sound kit at the moment. So I am looking at buying a shotgun mic, a indoor mic, and lavaliers like Sanken COS11 and Tram TR50 or Countryman B3. I’m very impressed by the sound of MKH 50 and would like to buy it for indoor dialogue recording.

    1) Although I am leaning towards the warm sound of Rode NTG3 compared to MKH416, and that it is half the price with 10 year warranty (as opposed to only 12 months warranty on sennheiser), I am also concerned about matching the sound of all my mics out of the box. I am not too confident about equalising in post yet. At least I should be able to with minimal post work. So does the MKH-50 sound match Rode NGT3? or will I have to go with MKH416?

    2) do mkh 50 and/or mkh416 fit into Rode Blimp?

    3) Also, does sanken cos11 match the mk50/ntg3/mkh416?

    Thanks,
    Rishi

    • Dean Miles
      May 11, 2015, 7:18 am   /  Reply

      Rishi, I used the MKH50 for a couple of years and own and have used the NTG3 a couple of times. I remember the MKH50 being very bass heavy and susceptible to hum and handling noise, that’s why I stopped using one. I had a MKH50 and 60. The few times I used my NTG3 I’ve been very impressed. It’s a very versatile all-round outdoor shotgun that produces quality sound. One problem, there’s no matching indoor version by Rode. I personally think the lavs you’ve mentioned will mix better with the NTG3 since it’s not so bass heavy. One of the best indoor mics I’ve used is the Neumann KM150, in my ears it’s the most natural sounding indoor mic and it cuts great with Trams. It’s a little pricy but I think it’s the best (my opinion).

      Cheers,
      Dean

  12. May 15, 2015, 7:02 am   /  Reply

    […] http://thelocationcrew.com/blog/rhode-ntg3-shotgun/ – review of the mic […]

  13. Tyrone
    March 16, 2016, 9:58 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve worked with the Rode NTG2 for a while now and am trying to find a solid mic to upgrade to and since I don’t have a huge budget and get my equipment fairly slow I was looking into the Rode NTG 3 there are always ups and downs but for someone on a budget seems like the NTG 3 falls into a solid spot for a upgrade to a professional mic. I wanted to get something more solid for indoor use and was looking at the Audix SCX1 HC or the Audio-Technica AT4053b I just don’t know if these will mix well I also work with the Sennheiser ME 2 Lav with the recently new Juicedlink little darling just so many different types of mics may create ugly mixing later. The Sennheiser MKH 416 is what I would truly like but it’s just a bit out of reach for me to afford at this point in time with other purchase I would like to get with a new mic upgrade. So I don’t know if you the Rode NTG 3 would be a solid choice or stick with the NTG 2 and get one of the hypercardiod mics I mentioned.

    • Dean Miles
      March 18, 2016, 1:41 am   /  Reply

      Hi Tyrone, I have found that by sticking to one brand and/or series of microphone you have better luck with continuity in sound when you switch from mic to mic. Mic’s in the same series usually produce the same sound characteristics in the recording.

      I tried out the NTG2 and was not that impressed with it’s overall sound or the quality of the physical makeup of the mic. I was not impressed with the NTG1 or NTG2. I also gave the NTG3 a good field test and was very impressed! I now carry one with me on every shoot. It’s a real good versatile mic that never should have been part of the NTG series – it’s a far superior sounding and manufactured mic.

      Comparing the NTG3 to the Sennheiser MKH416 – they are definitely comparable! I personally prefer the NTG3 over the MKH416.

      For indoors the NTG3 could work. It’s physically small enough and it has a hypercard pattern. The only issue you may have is the pattern is a little tight for indoors and if you end up in a lower ceiling room you may not be able to get far enough away from talent for the pattern to widen out. That’s why super-hypercard mics with short wide patterns are preferred indoors.

      I hope this helps,

      Dean

      • Tyrone
        March 18, 2016, 10:13 am   /  Reply

        Thanks so much that is a great way to look at it as working with the same mics. What would you recommend for an indoor mic for dialogue im trying to up my audio gear now I will be getting the NTG3 but I would like to have a short shotgun but since I am on a budget something like the Audix SCX1 and Audio Technica AT4053b price range is what I can really aim for. I didn’t know the NTG 3 had a hypercardiod pattern didn’t see it on the rode website.

  14. March 18, 2016, 1:49 am   /  Reply

    I started with the NGT2 and it was great. I needed a bit more rejection for interior work and got the NTG3. The increase in sound quality and improved rejection was really marked. Rode managed to give the mic a two person sweet spot, even with better rejection. Worth the upgrade. Still using the 2 for some exteriors, where boom swinging might change the sound of a background noise.

  15. Aaron
    October 28, 2016, 7:03 am   /  Reply

    Hi Dean,
    I’m a novice when it comes to the photography world and bought my first camera, a Canon t5i. I found your info handy. A friend just gifted me the ntg3 and I wanted some advice from you as to how I can start using them together. I read that you said the ntg3 isn’t so good as a top mounted Mic. Was wondering why you thought so. Looking forward to your advice. Thanx again.

    Aaron

    • Dean Miles
      October 30, 2016, 10:10 am   /  Reply

      Hi Aaron, The Ntg-3 as a camera mic has too much reach and the pattern is too narrow.
      What this does is any shot where you are within 5 feet of talent the mic will focus on sounds behind them. Also, if you have more then one person in the shot the mic will pick up the talent’s that is in the centre much more then the one’s on the sides of the shot.

      The best camera mics have short wide pich-up patterns.

      If you really want to learn about camera sound I suggest taking my Camera operator audio course. Everything is in there.

      https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cameraaudiosimplified

Leave a Reply