The popularity of the predecessors NTG1 and NTG2 shotgun microphones seems to be a pretty solid base and further inspiration for RØDE to release another improved additions to their successful line-up of budget shotgun microphones the NTG4 and NTG4+. The only significant difference between the two models is the inclusion of a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery in the NTG4+ version.
Both mics were announced at the beginning of the year together with the Rodelink 2.4Ghz Wireless System. These microphones should be an excellent upgrade for existing NTG 1 and 2 users looking for a higher audio quality at a reasonable price. Curtis Judd from CurtisJuddPhotography.com spent a few weeks working with the NTG4+ in particular, and he shares what he learned from his experience using the shtogun mic.
The RODE NTG4+ sells for $399 and for the price you will get a microphone itself, a leather pouch, foam windshield, stand clip, MicroUSB cable for recharging, XLR spacer that tightens up the connection of your XLR cable, and at last but not least, 10 years warranty from RODE with online registration, plus a free copy of PluralEyes Express.
In terms of weight and size, it turns out the new NTG4+ seems to be a little bit lighter compared to the older NTG2 with a battery, whereas both microphones are almost identical in terms of physical size.
Furthermore, the NTG4+ is also better in audio performance providing stronger and cleaner audio signal compared to the NTG2, especially when you use the built-in phantom power supply of the mic connected to a device through a 3.5″ connector. According to the Australian manufacturer, the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 150 hours operating time.
You can even recharge it using a regular phone or laptop battery with the supplied MicroUSB cable. It takes roughly about two hours to reach the full capacity of the built-in battery. Whether you are using the NTG4+ pair to a proper field recorder via XLR input, or you are connecting it directly to your DSLR through a 3.5″ connection, the mic is versatile enough giving you both options.
The NTG4+ features three digital switching buttons with LED indicators. The first switch provides a -10 dB pad on the input of the microphone allowing the recording of loud sounds without clipping. The middle button turns on a 75 Hz high-pass filter, which is useful for reducing low-frequency sounds. The third button, which is a feature that you won’t be able to find in the previous RØDE’s shotgun microphones, is a high-frequency boost. The value of the high-frequency boost is in restoring some of the high-frequencies that are often lost when a blimp or furry windshield is placed over the microphone.
In terms of pickup pattern, the NTG4+ features a super-cardioid directional pickup pattern, which is somewhere between cardioid and hyper-cardioid. In other words, the microphone has a relatively narrow pattern, yet it’s not the narrowest available which makes the mic suitable for various broadcast and filmmaking applications.
The microphone also has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, 200 ohms output impedance, a sensitivity of -32 dB re 1 V/Pa, a dynamic range of 119 dB, a signal to noise ratio of 78 dB SPL, and a maximum SPL of 135 dB from 48V, 24V, or 12V of phantom power with a 4.5 mA current draw. The max SPL of 135db makes the NTG4+ ideal for a recording considerably loud sounds and events such as live concerts and performances without distortion and unwanted over-modulation.
Overall, the NTG4+ is an extremely versatile solution that is definitely a step ahead compared to its predecessor the NTG2 mic that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck. Despite the decent sound quality and excellent specs the NTG4+ provides, if you are looking for that particular low-end frequency boost sound probably you should get some of the high-end models such as the Sennheiser MKH 416.
Yet, for a retail price of $399, a re-designed microphone capsule and across the boardfeatures the NTG4+ is definitely going to become the “go-to” shotgun mic for many budget shooters.