Audio-Technica AT897 Shotgun Microphone Review, gradient condenser, video production, high definition, rode, seinheiser, lavaliere, boom pole, canon, nikon, sony, panasonic, HD, movies, film, filmmaking, filmmaker, director,
Audio-Technica AT897 ($209 on amazon)
The Audio-Technica AT897 Gradient Condenser Shotgun Microphone is a splendid value for a professional mic that gets the job done simply.
First of all, for a very good price ($209 right now on amazon.com), you get the shotgun microphone, a mic holder that mounts to a standard mic stand, a windscreen, a AA battery, and a case. Just to give an idea of the overall quality of this mic - I've used an expensive Rode shotgun (can't remember which model but it was a $500 mic) and a Seinheiser and this Audio-Technica performs equally with the Seinheiser and better than the Rode.
The AT897 provides warm, clear audio that never disappoints. It uses a narrow acceptance angle to provide voice-catching abilities that you expect from quality shotgun microphones. Now, I will say that from my experience, the Seinheiser shotgun I used that had a longer design, had better pickup abilities from longer distances. With this AT, you have to be pretty darn close to the speaker to get the best audio; but this is pretty much true with all microphones, especially if you're dealing with lots of background noise.
The included case is great for protecting the microphone and it easily holds the mic holder, windscreen and extra batteries. The case is a little large, but for this reason you can also carry an extra AT897 if you have two. The case uses simple magnetic buttons to click into place, allowing it to open easily. It does not zip or clip shut. It is made of thin plastic over cardboard, so it's not something that will withstand everyday production. For ultimate protection, get a pelican case for your audio gear.
The included windscreen is great for reducing voice popping or a very low amount of room noise like AC. It is not made for use in high wind situations. For those times you'll need a wind muff or a zepellin or blimp. Some professionals even use unlubricated condoms, like magnums, to reduce wind noise. Supposedly they work great.
The included microphone holder is made for mounting to standard music stands and microphone stands, not the 3/8" mount that most boom poles require. You'd probably not want to use this included holder with a boom pole anyway; pick up a microphone shock mount for use with a boom pole.
I use this AT897 for every shoot with a Tascam DR-100 Mkii and they make a great team. The AT897 does not work through phantom power which I would not recommend anyway. Every phantom powered mic I've used was weak and drained the batteries of the recorder. I would also recommend removing the AA battery from the mic when not in use for longer than a week. Batteries tend to leak inside more so than in other electronics.