Recently, I finally got to use the $20 (now $40) Hammer & Anvil MK-SLR100 directional microphone with my Canon 7D Mark II and I was pleasantly surprised. At the time of writing this, I may not be able to share sample audio but I will update this if I can. However, keep reading if you’re interested in my experience with it.
The microphone is light weight. I couldn’t feel a difference in weight on my camera with it on the shoe mount. The coiled cable was a slight problem, however. The coils make it thick and stiff. Combine that with the cover for the plugs also being a bit stiff and not completely out of the way, the cable tended to get in the way. While trying to adjust the cable to be out of the way, I learned that it was easy to accidentally unplug from the camera. After learning this, I attempted to stretch the cable behind and under the plug cover and attempted to not tough it in fear of pulling it out of the camera while recording. I mention this to help you avoid a similar scenario if it comes up. I’m not sure, though, if the plug being easy to remove is the fault of the camera or microphone. I would guess camera, though I haven’t tried other microphones or cables to compare with.
As I was in a bar with a live band performing, people talking, and music playing between live performances, I had a difficult environment to record in. The job involved two subjects to record: the live performances and testimonials from people attending the event. The H&A MK-SLR100 microphone was mounted to my Canon 7D Mark II for the live performances and connected to my GoPro Hero 3 for the testimonials. I was overall impressed by the microphone’s quality. The sound at the venue wasn’t great to begin with, but the microphone recorded the live performances exactly how I heard it. Since I enabled the automatic gain control and a limiter on the Canon 7D Mk II, I didn’t capture any distortion. I was also against the stage.
For the testimonials, I had a unique situation. I was supposed to have an L bracket for the GoPro and microphone to be mounted, but I had misplaced it. I was also planning to use a handhelp microphone but the cable wasn’t working. I was left with using both the H&A microphone and GoPro handheld. Because of my inexperience with this microphone and inability to monitor the audio as it was recording, I moved the mic in close and prayed. As people spoke over the loud music, I was nervous I would capture their voices with any level of clarity. To my surprise, I could hear them clearly and loudly. The music being played was barely audible in the background. While I couldn’t even hear these people speak to the camera, it was as if they were completely isolated from the music in the recordings. I couldn’t have been happier.
Is this the best microphone out there? No. It’s not as capable as Rode or Sennheiser, for instance. However, those microphones are also much more expensive and include more features. At $40, this microphone exceeds my expectations. Audio quality was clear and loud. No noticeable hiss was present in my recordings, though I was recording a loud environment that could have drowned out any that was present. The size is ideal for a DSLR, without sticking out too far or getting in the way. My only wish is that the plug weren’t so stiff and in the way, but it’s a minor complaint.