I am looking for recommendations for a high quality external microphone for my Vixia HF R80. Mics for this camcorder need their own power supply and 3.5 mm jack. It would be used for recording live music performances, mostly very loud ones. I found a few mics on Amazon and other sites but they are all cheap and with poor reviews from experienced users. Any advice from a current user would be most welcome!
New microphones that truly provide good performance for music are going to cost more than your camcorder. And recording good audio can quickly get very expensive.
I would take a look at some of the used but better electrelet condenser mics on ebay (from the 80s onward) and look for reviews/details on any that look promising. The type you are looking for will have a built in impedance converter typically powered by a AA battery and was generally intended for use with better quality recorders. Make sure you see a photo inside of any used self powered condenser type that you buy online to make sure that a battery wasn't left inside which will generally ruin the mic from leakage.
I suspect you can find a very good quality older Sony, Sennheiser, or other quality brands for less than a new very mediocre offering. Those older microphones with the old standard 1/4" "phone" plug can use a simple adapter to fit your R80. It is a little more complex if trying to get the best reproduction possible out of a microphone with an XLR output but there are adapter cables that will provide reasonable results.
Microphones and your camcorder both have dynamic range limitations so you will need to experiment to stay within that happy window between the noise floor and clipping just like you do with a video image.
You also need to consider how directive a mic you need which will be based upon your placement at the venue and how much ambience (or audience noise) you wish to have in the recording.