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Old August 24th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #1
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Senheisser Mics Explained??

Hi

I've been searching to understand in what situations I would use the following mics - any Senheisser experts who can help? (the Sen site is pretty useless for that):

*416
*418 (M-S version of 416)

*MKH60
*MKH70

*MKH8050

*K6 series

Thanks in anticipation.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 07:11 PM   #2
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This isn't particular to Sennheiser mics - it's more an issue of type of microphone

*416 - is a shotgun microphone with an interference tube of medium/short length, that means it will be used most often as a boom microphone outside, with more side rejection than a short shotgun, but not as much as a long shotgun.

*418 (M-S version of 416) - is same as above, but with addition of a figure-8 microphone element to provide the side signal in a Mid-Side stereo array. This is of particular interest to you in the UK as the BBC requires that M-S microphone techniques be used for most shooting. Some people will tell you that if the Mid element is a shotgun, you really don't have a proper M-S microphone, and it's true, it is not what you'd want to use for M-S for eg. an acoustic guitar trio. The classic M-S array uses a cardiod mic pattern for the Mid element. The place of the 418 is just what the BBC would have you do - boom your work and also provide stereo (sort of). One use of such a mic is also as an on-camera mic, although most location recordists will say that's no place for a mic, and they're right (mostly). However, if you're recording incidental background, aka. ambient, it's fine.

*MKH60 - Similar to 416. A different set of electronics, lower self-noise, a different line of mics. More expensive. Better?

*MKH70 - same electronics as the MKH60, but a longer interference tube, this makes this a classic "shotgun" config, I'd typically call it a long shotgun. More tube means more off-axis rejection, if you look at the polar pattern of this mic on their web site you'll also see that the back of the pattern is a bit more consistent than a typical short shotgun. Goes on a boom, primarly outdoors or on a sound stage.

*MKH8050 - a super-cardoid (less off-axis rejection than a short shotgun, more than a cardoid). I've not used the 8050 myself, but a typical video use would be to boom indoors. For the wider world of audio recording, a super-cardoid has many recording studio and live performance applications.

*K6 series - is a less expensive line of power supply/preamps and modular microphone elements that can mount an omni, a cardoid, super-card, shotgun, etc. I don't like this line much, but they are a popular low to mid cost system. See AKG mics for something competitive.

In summary, it's about the type of microphone - All of these have application in specific circumstances, and the above information is a very brief introduction. You'll find much more by searching by microphone type here on DVInfo, as well as out on the internet.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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Seth has done a pretty good job describing the different models but I would add on his description of the MKH 60 and MKH 70. They have a wider pattern than the 416/816 family and while still shotguns they are a bit easier to use with multiple characters in a scene compared to the 416. Originally the MKH 60 and 70 were thought of as the replacement for the 416/816 line (much like new coke old coke) but the changes in both physical style, powering, sound as well as customer demand persuaded Sennheiser to keep both lines going.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 11:07 PM   #4
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Sherif:

I would take a look at these articles, they may help to give you a rudimentary knowledge of location sound and mic selection
Location Sound: The Basics and Beyond
As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone
Low Cost Shotgun Microphone Comparison

Dan
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Old August 25th, 2008, 01:51 AM   #5
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BBC Requirements

Just a footnote to Seth's very useful post. On paper, the BBC does require recordists to supply and use an M/S microphone: this is stipulated on every call sheet under 'technical requirements'. But people hoping to work for the BBC should not necessarily rush out and buy or hire one, as this is an edict handed down from the stratosphere of BBC management which few of the people who actually make the programmes are bothered about. This goes for the bread and butter programmes, as the high end stuff certainly will like to have stereo atmos tracks: but generally for programmes originated from 'the regions', as the BBC rather condescendingly describes any production centre outside London, a 416 (or similar) and 2 or 3 radiomics will serve you well. Supplying an M/S mic might give you an edge over others after the same work, but it not essential.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherif Choudhry View Post
Hi

I've been searching to understand in what situations I would use the following mics - any Senheisser experts who can help? (the Sen site is pretty useless for that):
Thanks in anticipation.
Why are you concentrating only on Sennheiser Mics?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 29th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #7
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Dr Who recommends Sennheisser?

Seth et all, that was helpful.

I want to upgrade from the Rode ntg2 I have. Its a good mic but i have good ears, and am an audiophile, so i want the sound to match the image quality. Currently i am really pleased with the image from my Sony V1/Canon Hv30 combo onto DVD, but the sound doesnt quite come up to par for me (actually its the Sony pre-amps which are low budget quality - I used my studio pre-amps and the sound quality shot-up 10 fold)

I read somewhere that the Dr Who episodes use Sennheiser mk60s and 416s and obviously some very talented audio people. Isnt the audio amazing? - not a single glitch, or hiss, or boxyness of sound....I just cant believe it)

I want to improve my audio skills so just want to get an "industry standard" recommendation. I am attracted to the fact that the 418 gives you the option for stereo - so i could use it to record a singer/songqwriter for example?

If I wanted just 1 mic for outdoor AND indoor is the 418 a good compromise? I shoot interviews/corporate indoors and documentary footage outdoors.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 05:00 PM   #8
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The applications you mention, including the singer, are almost always recorded mono. Music, ambience, and some SFX might use stereo.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherif Choudhry View Post
...I want to improve my audio skills so just want to get an "industry standard" recommendation. I am attracted to the fact that the 418 gives you the option for stereo - so i could use it to record a singer/songqwriter for example?

If I wanted just 1 mic for outdoor AND indoor is the 418 a good compromise? I shoot interviews/corporate indoors and documentary footage outdoors.
Well, I did a doc project a couple years ago with a great sound guy, who had a wonderful shotgun M/S mic, I think it was a B&K, about $5000 US. We rambled all over Turkey, using the shotgun mid-element for booming interviews, and the M/S for quick pickups for recording acoustic music. It was great, mostly. He supplemented with wired lav, wireless lav, and a couple AKG c414 cardoids.

But I'll tell you, if we hadn't been thousands of miles away from home we would have miked the music differently.

An "industry standard" recommendation:
A super cardoid for indoor booming. A medium shotgun is chancy indoors (and that's what the mid element of the 418 is). The standard is Schoeps 641, and pick up a cardoid capsule for it as well.

The short/medium shotgun of your choice. Could be a 416, a 418, an MKH series, a Sanken, etc. This is for booming mostly outdoors.

A couple lavs - could be wired or wireless, depending on what you're shooting.

For the singer songwriter - that one's harder, so much depends on the instruments, the vocal range, the shooting environment... but a medium length shotgun mid plus side such as the 418 is probably not your first choice. More conventional choices would be an X/Y config of cardoids, an ORTF array of cardoids, a cardoid mid M/S, a cardoid visibly in the shot for a guitar, a couple or 3 mics for a piano, a performance vocal condensor... and all that's just some possibilities, because some of the choices depend on what sounds good to you & work for the project, and some choices are going to be determined by the talent, instruments & setting.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
...
For the singer songwriter - that one's harder, so much depends on the instruments, the vocal range, the shooting environment... but a medium length shotgun mid plus side such as the 418 is probably not your first choice. More conventional choices would be an X/Y config of cardoids, an ORTF array of cardoids, a cardoid mid M/S, a cardoid visibly in the shot for a guitar, a couple or 3 mics for a piano, a performance vocal condensor... and all that's just some possibilities, because some of the choices depend on what sounds good to you & work for the project, and some choices are going to be determined by the talent, instruments & setting.
You didn't mention one of my favourites, at least for acoustic music - a close mic'ed large diaphram cardioid for the singer's voice and a lav mounted at the base of the fretboard right at the soundhole on the guitar itself for the guitar. Got a DVD of Rodrigo & Gabriela where they've mic'ed their guitars like that with what appears to be Sanken COS-11's and it's an incredible sound.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 01:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
You didn't mention one of my favourites, at least for acoustic music - a close mic'ed large diaphram cardioid for the singer's voice and a lav mounted at the base of the fretboard right at the soundhole on the guitar itself for the guitar. Got a DVD of Rodrigo & Gabriela where they've mic'ed their guitars like that with what appears to be Sanken COS-11's and it's an incredible sound.
Steve, thanks for mentioning that - no, I've not miked that way for guitar. I do deal with a couple of lute-like instruments (oud & laute) regularly that I might try that on. So far, I've been fairly happy with a Shure SM81LC... but not overjoyed, in part because minor changes in the playing position can change the sound a lot.

Did it look like R&G were lavs stuck on with sticky putty?

As for large diaphram for vocals - yes, but... if it isn't a performance condensor, and the performer isn't wearing cans or otherwise monitoring for popping "p" & so on, it's pretty important to have a large plosive filter. Now we're getting into a pretty large visual impact. Performance vocal condensors, such as Shure SM86, Beta87 & many similar mics have a small/medium diaphram, maybe up to 3/4", but lots of pop filtering right in the mic head, and it's a much lower profile microphone when it's in the shot.

Having said all that, I agree with you on the sound of the large condensor, especially for female voices.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #12
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in summary

So to summarise:

Indoors interviews boom: a cardiod rather than a shotgun. Schoeps 641 or equivalent Senhessier 8000 series.

Outdoor interviews: medium shotgun like 416 or mkh70. If I get a 418 I can always switch off the Side and just use the mid as a mono, but can switch on the Side if I want more stereo ambience. (418 is Not ideal for a singer/guitar but I could get away with it if I only have one mic on me)

Ideally, get a proper audio soundperson for the job. :-)

If I dont have the budget and just have one mic, and it has to work well outdoors, feels like I'd get the 416 or 418, right?

But since I'm learning anyway feels like I wont regret either a 416 or 418 choice?

Next, a small battery operated pre-amp with nice limiter.

This is fun.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Sherif Choudhry;926760]Seth et all, that was helpful.

I want to upgrade from the Rode ntg2 I have. Its a good mic but i have good ears, and am an audiophile, so i want the sound to match the image quality. Currently i am really pleased with the image from my Sony V1/Canon Hv30 combo onto DVD, but the sound doesnt quite come up to par for me (actually its the Sony pre-amps which are low budget quality - I used my studio pre-amps and the sound quality shot-up 10 fold)

I read somewhere that the Dr Who episodes use Sennheiser mk60s and 416s and obviously some very talented audio people. Isnt the audio amazing? - not a single glitch, or hiss, or boxyness of sound....I just cant believe it)

>> Having a good kit is important. In their case, having a set built for better acoustics allows the use of a shotgun when in most "normal" cases a hyper should be used.

I want to improve my audio skills so just want to get an "industry standard" recommendation. I am attracted to the fact that the 418 gives you the option for stereo - so i could use it to record a singer/songqwriter for example?

>> Singer songwriter micing (if they are playing a guitar)? You mean on camera or just audio?

If I wanted just 1 mic for outdoor AND indoor is the 418 a good compromise? I shoot interviews/corporate indoors and documentary footage outdoors.

>> Yes it is a compromise. The conventional approach is to have both a shotgun and a hypercardioid. e.g. Schoeps cmc641 and Schoeps CMIT or MKH50 and MKH60.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 11:56 PM   #14
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Ty, would you agree that if you're going to go the one mic route, it's better not to choose a shotgun?

I.e. an MKH-50 or a CMC-641 will probably work better outdoors than an MKH-416 or CMIT will work indoors.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 08:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Ty, would you agree that if you're going to go the one mic route, it's better not to choose a shotgun?

I.e. an MKH-50 or a CMC-641 will probably work better outdoors than an MKH-416 or CMIT will work indoors.
Hello Peter,

Absolutely, if you are going to be inside in normal environments with no acoustical treatment or outside in any sort reflective environments.

In some cases where ambient noise is high, a lav will win if you can't get close enough with the boom mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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