Even if you focus more on video, audio is still an important factor to think about.

I’m currently looking to add to my audio kit for a more complete “one-man-band” rig; so I’m looking for microphones that have decent sound quality and lower priced then sayMXL02-200 Sennheiser. There are a lot of ways you can go for these, but this year I saw the MXL (mxlmics.com) mics at the Marshall booth and loved them.

The quality of the sound that these mics pick up varies, but they’re all usable. For the most part their production microphones have a large pickup range and don’t pick up too much excess gain or noise. And because MXL is a division of Marshall Electronics (known for high quality monitors) they have the same durable build as all Marshall (marshall-usa.com)products.

Pro audio rigs can end up costing thousands upon thousands of dollars, but for someone (like myself) who needs to be able to record decent audio for less cost, the MXL mics are the right price point. The 16.5″ FR-301 Shotgun mic only costs $200 on B&H and the 6″ FR-330m (perfect for on-camera) is $160. Wireless lavs usually run ~$800, but the FR500WK is half that at $400. (Ed. note: prices are via B&H (bhphotovideo.com)

Since I’m still building my audio kit a quality shotgun mic is on the top of my list, and MXL has two that I’m looking at. The first is the 6″ FR-330m, this mic has an attached XLR and is perfect for a reference audio mic feeding straight to my C300. The second mic is the 14.5″ FR-304, a super-cardioid shotgun that would be great for running a boom on set; and it’s only $140.

MXL500WR-200For interviews and dialogue scenes a wireless lavalier mic is crucial, but not being an audio-centric guy I don’t need something super expensive. The MXL FR-500WK wireless lav is a great solution for that. Marshall says they work up to ~900ft away, which is great (but I haven’t tested), and they’re extremely easy to use. For half the price of a Sennheiser you can get usable audio from a wireless system.

For audio professionals the MXL mics may not be enough, but for video guys that also need to run audio the MXL microphones are awesome. They’re lower in cost, have great range, and are durable for on-set life. Find more MXL mics at mxlmics.com, or marshall-usa.com; and follow them on twitter (@MXLmics) as well as Marshall Electronics (@MarshallUSA).


WidenHeadShotJeremy Widen is a film and video professional now living in San Francisco. The creation of digital media is his passion. Movies, TV, animation, and gear feed Jeremy's hunger to stay creative. He graduated from the Art Institute of California- San Francisco with a B.Sc. in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production. While there he received a top of the line education and a tremendous amount of hands on training which resulted in his feeling comfortable in any role on set. Widen moved to Chicago to further his education and is a graduate of Columbia College’s MFA program for Creative Production. Visit his blog and website at www.widenmedia.com