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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| 114 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.
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on April 13, 2015
Rating: 4/5

Pros:
-Warm, clear voice
-Low background hiss
-Good battery life
-Takes AA batteries

Cons:
-Quiet, even in +10db mode
-Best for close range
-Shock mount is far too stiff

Summary: While taking into consideration that the Takstar is by no means a professional mic, the audio from it is quite surprising, with a good amount of warmth and a low hiss. However, don’t expect miracles from it- because it is quiet, the mic works best in close range. I would suggest using it for vlogging, close-up interviews or voice recording on a computer.

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Full Review:
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Build Quality & Appearance:
I was immediately surprised at the appearance of this mic. It looks professional. It’s not too big nor too small. It could work well as an on camera mic or off camera (if you purchase a audio cable extension). My primary purpose for using this microphone will be in the videos I make. My initial impressions are quite good - I think this mic will work for me. Whether or not it'll work for you depends on your application. If you're looking to record subtle nuances that happen 20 feet away, look elsewhere, but if you're recording fairly close audio and interviews and you have a budget this may be one of your best choices.

It was quite obvious however that the shock mount is a bit stiff upon first filming as anything that bumped the camera tripod made noise.

Audio Quality:
This mic is a fairly neutral balance, with emphasis on the mid and lower tones. This makes for quite a pleasing amount of bass in male voices, but doesn’t wash out female voices. By all means, it isn’t in the same class as a professional mic, but at 1/3rd the cost of many professional mics it is more than acceptable.

There is a little bit of fuzz in the background but it is easily edited out in post. In fact, this mic’s best strength is that it offers a lot of wiggle room in post production.

The only downside is that this mic is rather quiet. It is best used for closer up interviews and I wouldn’t suggest standing more than 10 feet away from the mic.

Conclusion:
The best thing about this mic is its price: it is available to anyone on almost any budget and competes with many higher end microphones in terms of performance. That being said, it isn’t a professional mic but what your money buys you is a perfectly serviceable product that may in fact surprise you.

Robert D.
DrekiTech
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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.

Update: 11/27/16 2.5 years the mic is still working well, was really impressed a couple of months ago was shooting a live band and sound quality was very acceptable.
11 comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Enthusiast: Photographyon December 25, 2014
While this may not be a "pro level" shotgun mic, it does a pretty darned good job. It will deliver way superior sound compared to using the onboard mic, and the audio is actually pretty clean and clear for something this inexpensive. If you're looking to improve the audio with your videos, this is a good low cost way to do it. Sure, you can get cleaner sound by spending $200 more, but if you're on a budget, this is hard to beat. It works on one AA battery, has an on-off switch, a 10+ DB switch, and comes with a foam pop filter. If you want to use it with your camcorder, you'll probably need a camera bracket which will mount both your camera and this mic. A bracket will give you a lot more stability, too, and is not an expensive option. You'll also look a whole lot more professional when you have your camera and this mic mounted on a bracket. Great deal for someone wanting to improve their vid-audio quality.
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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.
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on November 3, 2016
Takstar SGC-598 Photography Interview Shotgun MIC Microphone for Nikon Canon DSLR Camera DV Camcorder I really love this microphone. I know that there are better ones out there, but for the price you can't beat this. I have used this mic for the past 2 years and it is still working great. The battery life is awesome! It just takes one AA battery and it seems to last forever. I use this mic on my Canon T4I and the sound quality is pretty good. I use it mostly for getting sound from the room but I have used it in a close interview style setting. I would suggest that even though this is a great cheap mic for your DSLR, don't make this your only source of capturing sound for your projects.
review image review image
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on February 11, 2015
OK so what do i have to say about this mic well it works well when the audio source is near to the front of the mic and if you are in a loud area but far away you can still use the mic to get way better sound than you would from the on cam microphone this takstar should be used with a dead cat wind screen for out door recording the 10 db gain is helpful if you are recording into your camera and if you can monitor your audio it makes it easier to control the levels also i would recommend not using the low pass filter and just fix any low rumbles in post so you have more data to work with also this mic is not super directional it will pic any thin around it so try to keep it isolated also the sock mount helps but is not that great you can still get some noises from it moving if you ask me this mic is wonderful for the price comparable to the rode video mic go. if you are on a budget this mic works wonder if you know what your doing

THIS MIC IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR VOICE OVER AUDIO OR VOCALS FOR MUSIC
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on May 18, 2017
This thing is awesome!! I did my research before I bought this mic, and I knew it was going to be a great fit for me. My purpose for getting this was so that I could get better hand-held audio with my GH4, and it's made all my dreams come true. The little built in microphone on my camera is a nice feature to have, but we all know that built in mics are going to pick up the camera operator's voice loudest of all which is usually not the goal, and is especially unfortunate if you're prone to the cam-op giggles. All I wanted to do was focus in on one person in a noisy room, and the Takstar does it well. I modified the Takstar's suspension system because the rubber thingies that it comes with are way too stiff and don't stifle rattling at all, so I just replaced them with some colorful hair-styling rubber bands and it works so much better. The battery life has even been good so far; I make sure to turn it off between shooting, but I went for a couple hours without needing to replace the AA. Would I use this for in the making of a short film? Maybe! It really is very decent quality. It's two steps up from where I was, so I'm a happy filmmaker.
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on October 26, 2014
This is the second one of these I've purchased -- and not because something happened to the first one. It actually works so well that I wanted two. I'm using one on my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 camera and the second one is for my newly purchased Samsung Galaxy Camera 2. For the Camera 2 I purchased a flash bracket that I mount the mic to, and then I had to purchase an adapter to plug the mic into the combo headphone/mic jack. Basically, any adapter that works for the iPad will also work for the Camera 2. I also had to buy an adapter for the Panasonic FZ200 as it uses the smaller size jack. This mic works great on both cameras, and both cameras shoot excellent 1080p video. With this mic the dual footage from both of these cameras results in a really nice verging on pro level production.

If whatever device you're using for video offers a mic jack, I'd highly recommend buying this mic and using it. Most devices that offer 1080p video do a good job, but the built-in mics are usually the main drawback. This will definitely improve your videos.
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