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163 of 168 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
I produce Interview style videos for a living. I use a Professional field recorder with matched stereo microphones for my primary audio track. Recently I decided to add a "camera mount" shotgun microphone as a safety, aka a scratch track. The "on camera" microphone was useless, so why not? There is nothing more frustrating than shooting a set, then finding out your memory card or drive failed and you have no audio. So, I tried 1/2 a dozen different microphones ranging from a $30 "cheapie" all the way up to the $230+ Rode Pro.

So, the final decision was between the Rode Pro, and an inexpensive TAKSTAR (A brand I'd never heard of before). Evidently, the people behind TAKSTAR manufacture 99% of the shotgun camera microphones "for" brand name manufacturers like Opteka, Azden, AT and (you guessed it) Rode.

To my complete surprise, the TAKSTAR SGC-598 performed 99% as well as the Rode Pro, both indoors and outdoors. In fact, when editing audio in Post the TAKSTAR track was easier to work, with since it had a more neutral range. The Rode has a very heavy mid-range push (their "trademark" sound) which is fine for family videos or making your voice sound better on amateur documentaries, but very annoying to work with in a professional audio editor.

It was so inexpensive I picked up a second one as a spare (just in case) and plan to use them on all future shoots. The audio ended up being so good, I found I can easily use it as primary audio if my main system fails someday. Sure it will take a few hours to tweak/EQ, but it's a viable backup track, for practically free.

My verdict, if you want an inexpensive, great sounding shotgun, this is the way to go. It's easy to use, has great sound, decent line level, and it's well built. It also uses AA batteries.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
Verified Purchase
This review goes out to everyone thinking of buying a Rode videomic or a Takstar SGC-598.

BUY THIS MIC IF: you're on a small budget, don't mind boosting the sound in post production, and plan on speaking more or less directly into it. OR is you NEED to mic a lot of different areas simultaneously on the cheap.

DON'T BUY THIS IF: you're wanting a rich warm sounding mic that can pick up chatter from 25+ feet and requires very little post production tweaking. Spend money on a higher quality mic and you'll get your money's worth in time saved in post production.

First of all, let me acknowledge that you're on a budget. Most people are. Whether the budget it large or small there is always a budget. My budget was on the low end of high, being about $2-300 for my audio set up for an attempt at a youtube channel.

To begin with I bought a Rode Videomic off craigslist for $100 and was immediately impressed with the strong mids and it's ability to pick up voices and noises with clarity from 25+ feet. As I did more interviews and bought more equipment I realized that having multiple mics in one shoot would add some flexibility to my audio editing, so I started browsing mics again and found this.

Some reviewers say "it's just as good as a Rode, virtually indistinguishable!" but if you don't notice the difference between this mic and a videomic pro you've either got a junk audio in set up, or you should let someone else handle the audio editing. The Takstar is NOT a fantastic pro quality do everything mic, but it is a cheap and capable mic for budding videographers. Here's the ups and downs I've found after about 2-3 months of use and back to back testing between a videomic and this.

Ups:
-Decent clarity at close ranges
-Low enough hiss
-Smaller than I thought (it looks pretty huge in pictures)
-Buy 3 for the price of 1 Rode Videomic ($150)
-Great to put it in harms way, you're only risking $40

Downs:
-VERY quite, even with +10db on
-Struggles to pick up sounds from 25+ feet
-Shock mount is too stiff, might as well be glued on
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
Verified Purchase
I produce Interview style videos for a living. I use a Professional field recorder with matched stereo microphones for my primary audio track. Recently I decided to add a "camera mount" shotgun microphone as a safety, aka a scratch track. The "on camera" microphone was useless, so why not? There is nothing more frustrating than shooting a set, then finding out your memory card or drive failed and you have no audio. So, I tried 1/2 a dozen different microphones ranging from a $30 "cheapie" all the way up to the $230+ Rode Pro.

So, the final decision was between the Rode Pro, and an inexpensive TAKSTAR (A brand I'd never heard of before). Evidently, the people behind TAKSTAR manufacture 99% of the shotgun camera microphones "for" brand name manufacturers like Opteka, Azden, AT and (you guessed it) Rode.

To my complete surprise, the TAKSTAR SGC-597 performed 99% as well as the Rode Pro, both indoors and outdoors. In fact, when editing audio in Post the TAKSTAR track was easier to work, with since it had a more neutral range. The Rode has a very heavy mid-range push (their "trademark" sound) which is fine for family videos or making your voice sound better on amateur documentaries, but very annoying to work with in a professional audio editor.

It was so inexpensive I picked up a second one as a spare (just in case) and plan to use them on all future shoots. The audio ended up being so good, I found I can easily use it as primary audio if my main system fails someday. Sure it will take a few hours to tweak/EQ, but it's a viable backup track, for practically free.

My verdict, if you want an inexpensive, great sounding shotgun, this is the way to go.
It's easy to use, has great sound, decent line level, and it's well built. It also uses AA batteries.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2013
Verified Purchase
I got this mic after reading dozens of reviews and watching dozens of videos of other similarly priced products. There are some more expensive units that are not quite as nice, but of course this is by no means a "professional" mic. This is certainly a budget mic for those of us who are not wildly wealthy. It does the job, battery life is great.

One thing to note is that if you have the gain turned up (+10db button on side) you will pick up a lot of background noise.

I have used this mic as a secondary audio source separate from my camera, plugged into a Zoom H4N and the sound comes out pretty nice, assuming that you are close to the subject, and there is not a lot of other noise.

It works pretty well for interviews, and I have even used it to record audio from a couple concerts that I have filmed. Overall, for the price, I would recommend it highly.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2014
I bought this to use as a microphone for my Canon SL1 DSLR. The audio is superb. Contrary to another review here the audio jack is standard and fits the audio input on my SL1 perfectly. Microphone also came with a battery and somewhat nice velvety carry bag. Overall a great microphone for the price. I can't recomend it enough.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2013
Verified Purchase
I purchased this after hearing about and finding good reviews about this particular microphone. I also have recently used this mic on a high profile job and it performed flawlessly. For optimal settings I recommend using the +10db setting activated and not activating the high pass filtering. The distance away is of course subject to the loudness of the source, but overall you will have a very nice recording that can be further edited/EQ'd/finalized in post production.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2014
Verified Purchase
I wish I could rate this higher than a 5. This mic was way more than I was expecting, it came with extra parts (if you want to change it up a bit) and a very nice padded box and bonus carrying pouch. The mount is configurable too if you have a small screwdriver.

The sound quality was superb compared to other mic's I have.

I got the best results turning the gain up on the mic (the little +10 switch on the side) and turning down the gain inside the camera. I got very clean signal that way.

NOTE: The body of the mic is plastic (typical of most mic's) and the "cage" around the microphone element is metal (not typical for a cheap mic). Very nice.

This was well worth the price. I would certainly buy it again (if I ever needed to).

If you ever needed to make a change or a repair, you could since it is screwed (not glued) together.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
Verified Purchase
I chose this microphone because of other reviews. It is far better for sound than the built in Canon t3i microphone. It has adequate sound quality does a pretty good job of blocking out background noise, but you need to use the high pass filter and the 10db gain. If you are looking for more professional sound quality then you need to look at something else. one thing that is note worthy is the mount is adjustable, simply remove the screw from under the mount and relocate it either forward or backwards.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2013
Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a nice microphone for your camera and don't feel like spending a ton of money definitely get this. Its such a great improvement from the built in mics and I recommend spending the money for this. So far its been working great, easy to hook up and comes with a AA battery. If you're unsure look at some of the reviews on youtube, and it compares really well to the Rode Videomic pro.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
I had really high hopes for this mic, maybe that's my fault for expecting more from it. To the people comparing it to the Rode Videomic, they're a mistaken. I'm using it on a Canon T3i. No matter what I do there is a CONSTANT hissing noise. Now, I'm no pro when it comes to audio but am I decent at it and have recorded in the past.

No matter how low I manually set the input gain on my camera to, the mic constantly produces that annoying hiss. Extremely noticeable. Oh and I definitely am not using the built in "+10" gain on the Takstar mic (I tried it, only made the hissing worse). I've tried it with the low cut on and off. No matter the combinations the hissing would not go away.

Maybe its my camera.. I am going to run a few different tests - if the outcome is any different I will certainly update this review.
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