Shotgun Microphone Review:Azden SGM-1X

Azden’s SGM-1X shotgun mike is designed for advanced shooters who need a high-performance, highly directional microphone. This offering from Azden provides excellent quality at a modest price.

Although many mike spec sheets read the same, giving frequency response ranges and maximum sound-pressure levels (SPL), there is no way to tell how a mike actually sounds without plugging it in and listening. In addition, it is difficult to determine how one mike differs from another without listening to them and comparing them.

Black Beauty

The SGM-1X from Azden is a nice looking 12-inch shotgun mike, with an included shock mount (used to isolate the mike from the camera) that can attach to the shoe slot on your camcorder, to a boom pole or to a mike stand. The SGM-1X also comes with a foam windscreen.

Power-Up

When we first took the SGM-1X out of its box, we were impressed with its looks and the slick shock mount assembly. Eager to hear the mike’s output, we grabbed a cable (not included) and dug in our camera bag for a battery. The SGM-1X requires a single AAA battery as a power source (also not included). With power on and the mike cabled in, we put on a pair of high quality, closed-ear headphones and began to listen.

Shotgun Shootout

Through the headphones we listened to four microphones: the SGM-1X, a comparably priced shotgun mike of Bavarian decent, the standard on-camera mike on a Sony DSR-PD150 and the standard on-camera mike from the Canon XL1. Side by side, each mike sounded quite different. The SGM-1X had a slightly darker, but not unpleasing sound than the other three. It did not possess a high, crisp top-end like its close German counterpart, but showed equal output sensitivity when we ran both mikes through a high-quality, low-noise audio mixer. We conducted some tests, mounting the Azden to a Canon XL1 camcorder. The SGM-1X targeted the range of the human voice very well, though music playing in the room sounding slightly tinny, possibly because the mike is not particularly deep in its lower frequency range. The SGM-1X rejected off-axis sounds equally as well as the other shotgun and far outperformed the standard Sony and Canon mikes.

We recorded some footage onto DV tape, and found upon playback that the SGM-1X, with its 80Hz to 18,000Hz frequency range, produced a pleasing warmth and was not as strident (harsh) as the other mikes. The tracks recorded with the SGM-1X sounded rich and clear and needed less audio EQ in post production than audio recorded from the other mikes.

Said and Done

Azden’s SGM-1X would make an excellent choice for any videographers who would like to add a quality mike to their audio arsenal. Videographers will find the SGM-1X to be an excellent mike for the money.

TECH SPECS

Frequency Response: 80-18,000Hz

Pattern: Super Cardioid

Sensitivity: -41dB re 1V/Pa

Impedance: 680 Ohms at 1Khz

Max. SPL Input Level: 110dB

Signal to Noise Ratio: 65dB

Dynamic Range: 80dB

Power: AAA (1.5V) Battery (not included)

Weight (sans battery): 4.76 oz.

Dimensions (inches): 11.8 (length) x 0.83 (diameter)

Output Type: 3-Pin XLR type

Supplied Accessories: Shock mount mike holder, 1 windscreen

Strengths

  • Warm sound
  • Excellent directionality
  • Shock mount

Weaknesses

  • Light construction

SUMMARY

Good mike at the price with a warm signal to tape.

Azden Corp.

147 New Hyde Park Road

Franklin Square, NY 11010

(516) 328-7500

www.azdencorp.com

$200

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