Audio Technica ATR-55 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
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- 2 condenser microphones in one
- Normal for close- and medium- distance recording, Tele for long-distance pickup
- Integrated 3ft. cable terminated with 3.5mm mini plug
- Designed for video use
- Camera-mount, pistol-grip/mike stand clamp, foam windscreen, battery and 1/4 phone plug adapter included
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The Audio-Technica ATR 55 Uni-Directional Condenser Shotgun Mic is designed especially for use with video cameras. The ATR 55 provides 2 range settings: Normal, for close- to medium-distance recording, and Tele for long-distance pickup. Comes with an attached 3 Feet cable with 1/8-Inch mini plug. A camera-mount, pistol-grip, stand clamp, foam windscreen, battery, and 1/4-Inch phone plug adapter come with the Audio-Technica ATR 55. Requires phantom power.
The ATR55 offers intelligible reproduction for close-, medium-, and long-distance pickup. In its "Tele" range setting, this cardioid condenser is engineered to pick up dialogue and sound effects at a distance, while bypassing ambient noise such as traffic, air-handling systems, room reverberation and mechanically coupled vibrations. Designed especially for use with video cameras.
Intelligible reproduction for close-, medium-, and long-distance pickup.
Includes microphone, camera mount, stand clamp, windscreen, battery and 1/4" phone plug adapter.
Designed Especially for Use With Video Cameras
Use the included camera mount to attach directly to your DV cam, plug into your camera and you're all set.
Two Range Settings
The ATR55 features two polar patterns for different ranges and pickup. The "Normal" cardioid pattern is ideal for for close- to medium-distance recording, whereas the more directional "Tele" supercardioid pattern is better suited for long-distance pickup.
The permanently-attached 3-foot (0.9 m) cable is terminated with a 3.5 mm mini-plug.
- Element: Condenser
- Polar Patterns: Cardioid (Normal), Supercardioid (Tele)
- Frequency Response: 70 - 18,000 Hz
- Open Circuit Sensitivity: Normal: -56 dBm, 1 kHz at 1 Pa; Tele: -45 dBm, 1 kHz at 1 Pa
- Impedance: Normal: 1000 ohms +/- 30%; Tele: 2200 ohms +/- 30%
- Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
- Cable: 3 feet (1 m)
What's in the Box
ATR55 microphone, camera mount, pistol-grip stand clamp, foam windscreen, battery and 1/4" phone plug adapter
Top customer reviews
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BUILD QUALITY: Better than I expected! The "body" of the mic is aluminum tubing (at this price I'm surprised it isn't plastic). The user-accessible electrical components, which include the power switch, cable, and battery contacts, appear to be of good quality. The mic comes with a foam windscreen which fits firmly over the barrel.
PERFORMANCE: About what I expected for $55.00. There is a little audible static at high gain levels, and this mic is (surprisingly) actually less sensitive than the mic built in to the Canon camcorder, i.e., I have to boost the camera's audio gain control about 3db to get the same sound volume with the ATR-55. The comparable Rode shotgun mic is probably a little more sensitive, and probably offers a better signal-to-noise ratio; depends on whether you think $150 buys you enough added performance to justify the price increase. This mic is probably not sensitive enough for professional videography, or even for amateur use if the sound you want to record is more than about 15 feet away, like birds up in tree or something. It is useful for close-in videotaping when your primary need is to eliminate internal noise from the camera's tape drive mechanism.
The mic comes with mounts for the standard videocamera accessory shoe, and for a mic stand. The mounts are molded plastic, and attach with a tight "snap-fit" to the microphone barrel. I question the long term durability of these parts, as plastic under tension tends to fail sooner or later.
The ATR-55 is a monaural microphone: when connected to a Stereo mic input jack on a camcorder like the Canon HV-20, it will produce a signal only on the left audio channel. If this is a problem for you, an inexpensive Mono-to-Stereo adapter is available from Radio Shack (p/n 274-374, $3.99) that duplicates the output from the ATR-55 to both the left and right channels (this sounds better, at least to my ears).
UPDATE: After I got home from the vacation for which I bought this mic, I downloaded all of the video tape and was able to compare the sound recorded from this shotgun mic with the camera's built-in mic and the lavalier mic I also used for a few shots. I have come to the conclusion that the pickup element in this shotgun mic isn't sensitive enough for the purpose for which most people would use it: distance shots. I will probably not use this shotgun mic again, as the sound quality from the lavalier mic was much better. The sound from this shotgun mic has a muddy, fuzzy quality, and boosting the gain makes this muddiness worse, and adds a background hum too. I give it only three stars due to the disappointing sound quality.
Pros: Long lifespan. Included foam windscreen does a good job of keeping pops and hisses to a minimum while indoors. Outside it can filter out a light breeze well enough, but will start to fail for anything more than that. Decent battery life. I can get a good 30 - 40 hours of recording from one AA battery.
Cons: The normal setting never worked well for me. Most of what it picked up was too quiet. The included mounting clips that it comes with are made of a frail plastic and both broke on me after a few uses each. Kinda wish the cord was longer.
Bottom line: I'd recommend this microphone to who needs to record anything short of studio quality music. For the price and the quality, it's a great buy.
There is a degree of hiss going on, especially on 'tele' mode. However if you get close enough to your subject (a cheap boom pole with shockmount can be purchased for around 60-70 dollars US) it will produce clear, high fidelity audio. Not perfect, I usually do some light noise reduction and equalization in post production, but it's pretty solid audio. I've used other shotgun mics that produce 'tinnier' sound, and lack that full, robust sound that comes with an improved frequency response. Also, the mic is mono, which means it'll only record left-channel audio. There are two easy ways to fix this. Either purchase a mono-to-stereo 3.5mm adapter (will set you back around 5-10 dollars USD, and should be found at a local Radio Shack or similar store), or simply double the audio in post production. Also, the mic itself isn't shielded from vibration, and neither is the shoe mount that is included. I found that attaching it directly to my camera doesn't work, as motor noise from the camera's tape mechanism and zoom drive translate through the body of the camera into the mic. However, your results my vary.
'Tele' mode is something I have only experimented with briefly. As I said, due to the loud hiss it produces, I stopped using it instead opting for the less directional, but cleaner sound 'normal' mode produces. However, the 'tele' mode could be useful in a pinch, to zoom in on a subject when you can't physically get close enough. It does seem to do a good job of 'zeroing in' on sound. Another thing I like about the mic is the fact that it takes a single AA battery. Many similar mics (even more expensive brands such as Sennheisser) use button-cell batteries, which are slightly harder to come by and more expensive. The ATR-55 uses a single AA, and a cheap 'Heavy Duty' battery should last you dozens of hours of usage.
Whether or not to buy this mic all comes down to budget and usage. I'm a hobbyist, I shoot short films and other things for fun and have never made a cent doing so, so I can't spend 300 dollars or more on a microphone. If I had the income to support spending thousands of dollars on gear instead of hundreds, I would certainly upgrade to a better mic. But for now, it does its job. I have read reviews stating that their mic stopped working, but it's worked solidly for two years for me, so I consider it to be reliable. If it stopped working on me next time I went to use it, I would simply buy another one. I guess that speaks volumes on what I think of the product; pardon the pun.