I recently received the Rode NTG5 and the other day I was recording some birds. When I listened to the recording, I was surprised by how clearly the cars in the background can be heard. Please have a listen: RODE NTG5 birds test

The road was about 200 meters away and I was standing with my back to it, so I didn't think the mic would pick it up that much. I tested the mic indoors with voices and the sound is very nice, but I was hoping to also use it outdoors to pick up nature sounds. The mic has very good reviews and it says on the Rode website that this mic can be used in a wide variety of situations, but so far I've been a bit disappointed by its performance.

Could there be a problem with the mic or is this normal and was I just expecting too much?


2 Answers 2


As an addendum to ghellquist's answer, rather than alternative…

The recording sounds fine - for a given definition of 'fine'.
The only way to know if the mic isn't performing to expectation would be to simultaneously record from an omni - that would put the two sounds in perspective ignoring direction, only level.

Human ears are very adept at tuning out unwanted sounds, microphones are not. They will pick up what is there, not what you think you are hearing.

Having said that, the recording you have has sufficient difference in levels & timbre that it's almost a one-click cleanup in something like Izotope RX, using the Spectral De-noise plugin.


After a listening I would say that this is normal and to be expected. A microphone does not work in the same way as say a telephoto lens on a camera. It will not "zoom" in to include some sounds and exclude other. You can get slightly more of directionality by going from an omnidirectional mic to a cardoid mic over to a supercardoid to a shotgun, but they all take sounds from other directions. Sounds are also reflected from objects and will not only come from one direction.

As the directionality of all microphones is different for different frequencies, you might be able to improve the sound slightly by using low-pass and high-pass filters to taste.

For recording birds you will probably want to go very close to the bird and very far from other sound sources. A technical solution that may help a bit, not solve all issues, is to go for a parabolic microphone. I include one maker name here, telinga.com, only as reference on how a parabolic microphone might look. I have never tried one of their products, so only as reference.

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