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Microphone Month

Shotgun mics and sound reinforcement.

Q: “Why don’t you see shotgun microphones used on stage?”

A: Shotgun microphones are designed to record, or pickup, sound sources that are at a distance. What’s more, they’re exceptionally good at pinpointing a sound source, while rejecting other extraneous noises to the side and back. This is useful for film or video where the microphone cannot be close to the sound source. However, shotgun microphones generally need an operator (someone to hold them and point them in the direction of the desired sound source) to make them effective. On stage it usually isn’t that difficult to place a mic very close to the sound source. And, while they are selective in their pickup patterns, they are not so selective that they can be used from a long distance in an application where sound reinforcement is being used – a shotgun mic would likely feedback. A few situations where a shotgun microphone with a wide pattern might be used on stage include choral performances, stage plays/musicals or soloist situations.

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