Godox IVM-S3 review: double-barrelled shotgun mic

Capture interview sound in noisy locations with this double-barrelled shotgun mic kit

Godox IVM-S3 microphone being used outside
(Image: © George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Godox IVM-S3 may look like a spook-detecting prop from Ghostbusters but its innovative scissor mic design enables you to widen or narrow its sound-capturing field to focus on your subjects’s audio while keeping background noise at bay. The addition of a rear mic for the camera operator makes it an even more attractive purchase (though you can of course turn this mic off to reduce the presence of unwanted sound from the rear of the camera.) A great addition to a videographer’s kitbag!

Pros

  • +

    Adjustable angle for both gun mics

  • +

    Additional rear mic

  • +

    Easy to set up and use

  • +

    Cold shoe mount

Cons

  • -

    Low cut filter sounds tinny

  • -

    Lack of 3.5mm jack to lighting (or USB-C) adaptor for iPhone users

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Your camera or smartphone will be able to capture great-looking high-definition footage, but without additional help, the audio quality will be inferior to the footage. If you talk to a camera at arm’s length then the sound should be adequate, but at a greater distance (such as a couple of meters)  the volume of the subject’s voice will get lower and is more likely to be drowned out by other noises in the location.

Godox IVM-S3: Specifications

Pick-up Mode: Cardioid
Frequency Range: 50Hz-20KHz 
Sensitivity: -38dB±2dB 
Max. SPL: >100dB 
SNR: >70dB 
Output lmpedance: 600Ω 
Lithium Battery Parameters: 3.8V, 470mAh, 1.786Wh 
Type-C Input: 5.0V/0.3A 
Pickup Distance: 2m 
Battery Life: Approx. 12h in recording status, 15h in normal working status 
Dimensions: 139x53x45mm 
Net Weight:
103g

Godox produces a range of shotgun mics that you can mount on a camera. Their older IVM-S2 is a mini shotgun mic that has a cardioid polar pattern. This means it’s more sensitive to sound coming from directly in front of the camera, whilst keeping sound from the sides and rear of the camera to a relative minimum.

Their latest release is the IVM-S3 which has two mini cardiod shotgun mics attached to the shoe-mounted body. These mics can be spread through a range of 90º to create a narrower or wider sound field. This gives you more control over the IVM-S3’s sensitivity to noise.

The most important key feature is the two shotgun mics attached to a control unit (instead of having a more conventional single gun ‘barrel’). The IVM-S3’s two gun mics have a cardioid polar pattern, so they listen to a narrow field of audio directly in front of the camera. If you’re talking to camera then you can keep the mics together - capturing a narrower sound field that reduces background noise from the sides and rear of the camera. 

If you need to capture two people talking you can spread the two gun mics apart for a wider (but still directional) sensitivity to sound. I’d not encountered a double-barrelled shotgun mic before so was tempted to file this one under ‘gimmick’. Check out the performance section to see if I was mistaken.

The OLED screen displays sound levels from the two gun mics. Pressing the omnidirectional button adds the rear camera’s operator’s mic to the mix. (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Godox IVM-S3: Design & Handling

The IVM-S3 is made of a lightweight (132g) plastic, so it will pop onto a DSLR or slide into a cold shoe mount on a smartphone’s tripod or cage rig without becoming a burden when you’re shooting handheld.

 It’s quite good fun to open and close the two gun mics to spread their range of coverage from 0º-90º (as if opening and closing a pair of scissors). The hinge between the two ‘guns’ makes satisfying clicks as you spread the mics apart in increments. Both gun mics are attached to the main body that has a third mic on the rear. 

You can turn this rear mic on by tapping the omnidirectional button and then the camera operator can join in the conversation that’s being picked up by the two front-facing gun mics. 

To widen the net and include two speakers in the sound field simply widen the spread of the gun mics using their scissor-like mechanism. (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

For a narrower sensitivity to ambient sound keep the gun mics together. The cardioid polar pattern makes them more directional. (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

There’s also a low-cut filter button to help reduce the rumble of background noise (such as traffic) and windshields are supplied for both gun mics and a mic at the rear (more on that extra mic in the next section). 

You can also twist a knob to boost the gain of the recording when the subjects are further away. A handy OLED screen on the main unit lets you see if the sound levels from both gun mics are nice and strong. You can also monitor the sound via headphones plugged into the output mini-jack socket. 

In case there is a problem with the cable connecting the IVM-S3 to your camera you can back up your audio using the mic’s on-board recording feature, courtesy of a slot for a V30 MicroSD card. This can give you over 400+ hours of continuous recording.

Both gun mics are provided with a windshield, though it can be a fiddle to attach the shields. The rear mic’s shield is easier to attach. (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Godox IVM-S3: Performance

To test the IVM-S3 I set it up in my back garden. Five doors down a house was being constructed so there was a lot of building noise. I set the camera up with the mics facing away from the building noise. 

I spread the gun mic’s scissor design until they were separated by a 90º angle. This enabled the mics to capture a wider sound field while keeping the building noise behind the camera to a minimum.  I then recorded myself talking to camera via the left gun. As I wanted to see how the IVM-S3 performed as an interview mic I then repositioned myself to talk to camera via the right gun and used the classic split screen technique to place both versions of me in one shot. I then turned on the rear mic and spoke into that to record the voice of the camera operator. 

Check out our supporting video to hear for yourself how the mics were able to pick me up in all three positions loud and clear while keeping the background construction sounds to a relative minimum. 

I then unplugged the IVM-S3 to compare it to the sound captured from the iPhone’s built-in mic. The iPhone’s audio sounded more muffled and bassy compared to the sharper cleaner sound from the IVM-S3. 

One performance failure of note is the optional low-cut filter. It does indeed reduce the presence of bassy background noise but at the cost of capturing a flat and tinny-sounding voice.  We therefore recorded our test video with the low-cut filter turned off.  

The IVM-S3’s three mics are supplied with windshields too, though I confess I struggled to attach the longer windshields to the two gun mics (though the rear mic’s smaller shield popped on with ease.) Fortunately, there was no wind during the test shoot.

The low cut filter is designed to reduce the presence of background noise rumble, but it makes voices sound flat and tinny. (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Godox IVM-S3: Final Verdict

I was impressed at the superior sound quality captured by the IVM-S3’s two front-facing gun mics, even at a distance of a meter or so from the camera. By using the scissor mechanism I could capture a wider (but still directional) sound field or close the scissors for a narrower field of sound sensitivity.  

Building site noise was still audible from the rear of the camera but at an acceptable level. This makes the IVM-S3 an attractive purchase for those working in busy and noisy locations (such as wedding videographers). 

The 0-90º spread enables you to focus on a single subject or widen the net when filming two or more people. It’s also nice that the camera operator can join in using the optional third mic at the rear of the camera, which sounds even better due to its closer proximity. This should make it attractive to documentary filmmakers who want to interview while filming. 

The kit comes with a 3.5mm to TRRS cable to attach it to smartphones. You’ll need an additional third-party adaptor to connect the mic to an iPhone (such as this Ugreen Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor for iPhone 14 or older). You can also buy a Ugreen USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor for the iPhone 15 range). (Image credit: George Cairns / Digital Camera World)

Read more: check out the latest best microphones for vlogging and filmmaking or the best iPhone microphone.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

George Cairns

George has been freelancing as a photo fixing and creative tutorial writer since 2002, working for award winning titles such as Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N-Photo and Practical Photoshop. He's expert in communicating the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as producing video production tutorials on Final Cut Pro and iMovie for magazines such as iCreate and Mac Format. He also produces regular and exclusive Photoshop CC tutorials for his YouTube channel.