Quick Shotgun Mic Review

February 29, 2012

I was looking for a shotgun microphone to attach to my Canon DSLR for audio capture during video recording. The onboard mic of the 60D is ok but picks up more ambient noise than I want. I looked at many online and video reviews and finally settled on a Rode VideoMic but prior to purchasing it I found the AV-Jefes AVL800 on Amazon. I couldn’t imagine a $50 shotgun mic being any good but I decided to test it out.

On-Camera Mic

I purchased the AVL800 from Amazon and it came with everything that was displayed in the description. I first connected it to my laptop mic input and recorded through the simple default recording program and noticed a LOT of static. I then connected a hand held mic to the same laptop and notice the same static, so that test was a net 0.
I connect the AVL800 to my Zoom H1 and was rewarded with a much cleaner recording. I tested close to the subject and further away. I also test the hand held using the same methods. I found that the shotgun mic did not record much low end so the final sound was much less of a “full” sound compared to the handheld. The recording was also not very loud and would require quite a bit of post edit to increase the volume and fatten the sound. While the mic did pick up sound from over 6ft it was not loud enough for my tastes.
Lastly I connected the AVL800 to a Tascam US-MKII audio interface and recorded over USB to my laptop. I found that being able to increase the recording gain definitely helped the recorded audio but it still needed post editing to be usable.
The AVL800 seems to be constructed well and comes with many useful, additional parts. I did have a problem with the fact that there is no light indicator and the on/off switch seems very easy to leave on which may result in a lot of lost batteries between uses. Another problem is the fact that the AVL800 uses a proprietary 1/8 cable with a screw-on end to attach to the mic. I tried other 1/8 cables (1/8 to 1/4 and 1/8 to XLR) but they would not fit because the cable needs the screw end. This reduced my ability to use the mic in other configuration without utilizing many adapters and the more adapters you have to use the worse your sound has the potential to become.
Overall I feel that product is actually good for the price. The addition of a mic stand head and a camera cold shoe head is great for the price but it just wasn’t as useful to me as it could have been. A little more power and this would have been a 4 1/2 star microphone.

(This review also appears on the Amazon.com Website for this product)

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