Reviews |Rode VideoMic NTG

Rode VideoMic NTG Review

Rode VideoMic NTG
Review

Price when reviewed

£239

$249
Check current price

Our Verdict

Rode has built a reputation for producing good quality microphones at sensible prices and the Rode VideoMic NTG slips right in. It’s actually a little more affordable than the older Rode VideoMic Pro+ yet it’s more versatile, easier to use and better made. It also produces high-quality sound and has the back-up of a safety channel.
It’s a great option for mounting on a camera to record audio, but it can also be connected to other devices via USB, including a computer, making it good value.

For

  • Great sound
  • Auto-power and sensing output
  • Safety channel available

Against

  • Less expensive models available
  • Battery not interchangeable

What is the Rode VideoMic NTG?

The Rode VideoMic NTG is a shotgun mic that combines some of the features and acoustic design of the excellent Rode NTG5 into a smaller form and it’s optimised for on-camera use. It usurps the Rode VideoMic Pro+ as Rode’s top-end mic for mounting on a camera.

While the Rode VideoMic NTG is most likely to be used with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, it can also be connected to a smartphone or a computer via a USB cable.

Specification

  • Product type: Shotgun microphone
  • Connection: Auto-sensing 3.5mm, USB-C
  • Polar pattern: Supercardioid
  • Frequency range: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 18kHz ±3 dB
  • Signal to noise Ratio: 105dB SPL (A-weighted, as per IEC651)
  • Sensitivity: -26 dB re 1V/Pa (50mV @ 94dB SPL) ± 1dB @ 1kHz
  • Battery : Internal 350mAh with 30+ hours life
  • Dimensions (L x W): 171 x 21.6mm
  • Weight: 94g

You can also buy the Rode VideoMic NTG from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Features

Rode has given the VideoMic NTG a super cardioid polar pattern that is designed to be more directional than Rode’s earlier VideoMics. It’s also claimed to have very low self-noise and a flat frequency response.

The Rode VideoMic NTG has the auto-power feature that was first introduced with the Rode VideoMic Pro+. This battery-saving feature detects when the camera is switched off and turns off the mic. It also powers up the mic when the camera is turned on again, so you never miss recording the audio because you forgot to power-up the microphone.

While we’re on the subject of the battery, the VideoMic NTG has an internal battery that can’t be removed. It takes around 2 hours to charge it fully and lasts for over 30 hours.

Smart Connection

Most cameras have a 3.5mm TRS input but most smartphones and tablets have a TRRS input. That means that you normally need an adapter or different cables to connect a mic to different devices. However, the Rode VideoMic NTG has an auto-sensing output that detects whether it is plugged into a TRS input or a TRRS input and adapts the output accordingly. It means you don’t have to worry about using different cables or adapters and the SC10 cable that comes with the VideoMic NTG works with any device.

Alternatively, the VideoMic NTG can be connected to a smartphone or computer via the supplied USB-C cable.

In addition to a step-less gain control with an output range marked 1-15, the VideoMic NTG has a -20dB pad, a safety channel, a high frequency boost to help brighten the sound when a dead cat is used and a high-pass filter that can be set to 75Hz or 150Hz or turned off.

While the signal-reducing pad (or attenuator) is useful in very loud conditions, the safety channel is handy when the volume of the sound you are recording is likely to change quickly or when there are occasional loud noises. When the safety channel is activated, a second track is recorded simultaneously at 20dB lower than the first track with level set via the gain control.

This means that if the first track clips, there should be a usable signal on the second track and you can cut between the two.

Rode VideoMic NTG

Build and Handling

At under 100g, the Rode VideoMic NTG is light enough to slip into a camera hotshoe without it becoming unbalanced or you regretting your decision to take audio seriously. However, it has a nice quality feel with an aluminium alloy shell. It feels more solid than the VideoMic Pro+ which has a plastic construction.

Rode supplies the mic with a Rycote Lyre shock mount that has cable management to keep longer cables tidy and a sliding rail that lets you adjust the position of the mic over the camera.

With the mic in the shock mount and the shock mount in the camera hotshoe, you’re ready to connect the VideoMic NTG to the camera using the supplied SC10 cable.

While it’s pretty obvious how to use the gain control (while keeping an eye on the camera’s audio level), it may not be immediately apparent how to use the two buttons. But actually, it’s pretty straightforward as repeated presses change the setting and light up the appropriate LED.

A single press of the power button engages the -20dB pad while a second press activates the safety channel. A third press engages both features.

The other button toggles through the high-pass filters and a long press activates and deactivates the frequency boost.

Rode VideoMic NTG

You can also buy the Rode VideoMic NTG from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Performance

I tested the Rode VideoMic NTG with a variety of cameras including the Nikon Z7 II, Sony A7S III and Sony A7R III, as well as the iPhone 12 Pro. In each case, using the external mic rather than the onboard mic produces a significant improvement in the quality of the audio – nothing usual there.

Of course, to get the best results from the mic when you’re using it with a camera, you need to find the right level. As a rule, it’s best to set the camera’s audio control to manual rather than auto and then turn the level down to the lowest setting. Then, while keeping an eye on the audio level, you should turn the VideoMic NTG’s gain control up until you see the signal is about half-way or just hitting the yellow area.

Ideally, you should monitor the audio using headphones in the camera’s headphone jack and set the level to suit the subject. If the VideoMic NTG is connected to a smartphone or computer via the USB connection, the mic’s 3.5mm port can be used to connect a pair of headphones to monitor the sound. Unfortunately, that’s not an option when you’re using the 3.5mm port to connect to a camera.

With everything set-up correctly, the Rode VideoMic NTG captures natural-sounding audio that’s well-rounded. It also seems pretty directional and there’s no obvious hiss.

If you’re recording speech, the mic needs to be around 45cm / 18inches or less from the person’s mouth. This means that if you’re recording a head and shoulders shot, the mic can be just out of the frame. It also means it works well as a mic for video conferencing.

Moving the mic further away from your mouth results in the ambient sound being more dominant in the audio. If you’re shooting indoors in a room without acoustic insulation, that’s probably going to mean that you capture slight echo.

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