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on January 10, 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.
review image review image review image
88 comments|207 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 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-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.
review image review image review image
33 comments|117 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 23, 2014
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
22 comments|98 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 28, 2014
I bought this to use with my dslr for making some short videos, nothing as a professional. It is much better than the built in microphone for my canon eos rebel. Packaging is very clean and professional, simply place the wind cover on the microphone, add a AA battery, and you are ready to go. Easily mounts to the top plate of dslr's, and comes with spare "rubber bands" for suspension. I noticed much cleaner audio recordings using this microphone, with alot of noise eliminated, though not all. I was quite skeptical at first because of the low price, but I am not a video professional so I figured it would fit my needs. It certainly did meet my needs, I can't speak on its comparison to others because it is my only shotgun microphone experience, but I highly recommend this product for anyone looking to step up their game without breaking the bank.
0Comment|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 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-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.
review image review image review image
55 comments|40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 6, 2013
I found a review of this mic on YouTube, where it was stated that it was almost as good as the results with the much more expensive Rode shotgun mic at $100 more than this one. I was admittedly skeptical, but with the Rode version being way too expensive, I figured that I would give the TAKSTAR a try. I'm very happy I did.

I have never used the Rode shotgun mic to directly compare it to this one, but when testing the TAKSTAR around the house and at my sons' band concert, it was excellent. If nothing else, it's head and shoulders above using the built-in mic on my camera, and since I won't be shelling out the big $ for a Rode mic anytime soon, this definitely doing a perfect job for me. I really like the way this mic uses a regular AA battery instead of smaller, less common CR123A batteries, which cost more and can be a lot more difficult to find. I just bring more spare AA rechargeables that I also use in my external flash. The 10dB enhancer works great, but I haven't really found that the noise reduction feature does anything. The mic easily and firmly attaches to my camera flash hotshoe, and the tension ring on mount is very oversized making the attachment very easy even for the not-so dexterous.

FYI, I'm using it on a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 digital camera, typically recording 1080p MP4 @ 30fps. I had to buy a 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter for it to work with this camera.
11 comment|25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2013
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.
0Comment|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 16, 2014
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.
11 comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 7, 2013
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.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 16, 2014
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.
11 comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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