May 2, 2015 at 12:50PM


Best mic for Zoom H4n and managing sound when shooting solo

Hi there,
I get to shoot stuff on my own a lot. I usually mount the Zoom on top of my camera to get better sound but in that position i capture all the noise from operating the camera and lens. So i'm looking to buy a mic to use with it. Any suggestions ??

Also, any advice on managing sound when you have to shoot on your own? It's really difficult to get good sound and bad sound really lowers the overall quality



Good audio is all about mic placement. You need to get your microphone within 2-3 feet of the person you are recording, so on-camera mounting is usually a bad idea.

You can make the mics in your Zoom H4n sound much better by mounting it on a boom stand and hanging it above your subjects just out of the frame. For sitting interviews you can mount it on a floor stand like the Manfrotto back-light stand to place your mics close to the people you are interviewing. Again crop the mic out of your shots.

If you want to buy a mic to use with your H4n then I would look at the Rode NTG-2 or NTG-4+ mics that run on battery power, as using your H4n to supply 48 volt phantom power to your mics will kill the batteries in your H4n very fast. Again you will still want to place your mic within 2-3 feet of the people you are filming, so it's going to be hung from above or pointed up from below.

May 3, 2015 at 4:09AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thank you very much for your answer. Exactly the kind of knowledge i needed.
all the best

Jose Miguel Jimenez

May 5, 2015 at 2:41AM

I shoot a lot of short docs as one-man-band. At the very minimum you need a shotgun mic, Sennheiser MKE 600 is good, AA battery operated. It all depends on what you're shooting. If you need interview people you need at least wired lav. For the best sound quality in your setup use mic with your Zoom recorder and feed scratch sound to your camera with Y cable from it, for sync in post. But position of the mic is the most important, even great mic in the wrong place won't work well.

May 4, 2015 at 4:20AM

Vladimir Pcholkin

Appreciate your advice very much. Will look into the Sennheiser for sure
All the best

Jose Miguel Jimenez

May 5, 2015 at 2:41AM

I use an H6 with NTG4+

The NTG4+ Shotgun Mic is usually on a boom stand that is close to subject but out of frame. I run an XLR from that boom stand to my H6 on another tripod that is next to my camera setup, so I can monitor levels while I'm filming.

If it's an interview, I'll use the shotgun setup, as well as incorporate a wireless lav to the mix.


May 5, 2015 at 8:26AM

Devin Edwards
Director / Producer

I just recently got a lav for my H4n for a small doc I am shooting right now and it's amazing. Super simple to use for a small interview, sometimes I wish I have someone setting up all the lighting for me but it's doable by yourself.

May 5, 2015 at 9:25AM

Keith Kim

Don't buy an NTG-2! The output level is too low for the H4n. If you want a boom mic then go for the sennheiser mke-600 power it with a battery and as it's still too low for the h4n you have to ad an other preamp like the "fethead" that you power with the phantom power of the H4n. I had the same issue and think about it quite a lot before finding this solution, I do it with a ME66 and the results are great ! I think that's the only way if you want to get a sinificantly better quality than what you get with the h4n alone.

THE BEST SOLUTION, I found it later : the rode videomic pro ! because you have a great built in preamp with it, you get clean +20db that allow you to have clean audio. You just have to stop using the H4n as camera mic. The good thing with the rode videomic pro is that it's an ntg-2 capsule in a plastic body so you get the same great quality. And if you want to use a boom then you can plug the videomic in the h4n and use the +20db so you don't have to push the bad preamp of the h4n. I did it I'm really happy of it too ! A very little bit less good than the ME66 / fethead combo but way cheaper and easyer !

May 5, 2015 at 3:46PM, Edited May 5, 3:49PM


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