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Old April 10th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #1
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Sennheiser K6 vs K6P

Hello everyone,

Is there any advantage to getting the Sennheiser K6 (battery, phantom) versus the K6P (phantom only?)
B&H has the K6 for about 70$ cheaper?

Is the K6P better if you are "only" going to use phantom power?

The K6 has the advantage of using it with "line in" only camcorders? right?

thanks!
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Old April 10th, 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
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When I asked a sales rep at BH Foto, he gave me an answer something like this: the K6P will last longer than the K6, but the K6 will last many, many years to come, so it's nothing you really have to worry about. I really didn't understand why it would last longer, but that's the answer I got.

There is also the reduced sensitivity versions for the power modules as many people say the K6/P are too hot/sensitive. I don't quite get what that means either - what makes it too hot? What does being too hot/sensitive even mean? I would think that having a more sensitive mic would be able to get better audio, but what do I know. I asked the sales rep about this also and he was perplexed because he said the power module shouldn't have anything to do with it, it's just providing power. He said its the mic capsule itself that determines the input and quality of audio, but...then why are there reduced sensitivity versions of the K6/P?

I couldn't really see a reason not to get the K6 for its extra battery possibility, and with its cheaper price, that's what I got.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 02:25 AM   #3
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No advantage at all, go with the K6. To "hot" or "sensitive" in this case is referring to the output voltages from the mic for a particular level of sound pressure. This mic puts out higher (hot) voltages in compairison to many others of similar disign and applicaiton. The result is that the mic can provide a voltage level to your cameras pre-amp that exceeds it's capacity to process without distortion.

Senn has what they call the "Red Dot" mod that can be done to K6's. Named because those that have it are marked with a red dot of paint inside the XLR connector. It modifies the internal circuitry to lower the voltage output and there for make it compatible with cams that would otherwise be recording a distorted sound.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Rob Wilson; April 11th, 2006 at 10:58 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 03:28 AM   #4
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So if I plan on ONLY using the senn mic with phantom power, the K6P is the one to get. But if I plan on using the mic with "line in" camcorders, then get the K6...
I'm probably going to use this mic with the HVX200... unless there are are surprises at NAB.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 09:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Tews
So if I plan on ONLY using the senn mic with phantom power, the K6P is the one to get. But if I plan on using the mic with "line in" camcorders, then get the K6...
I'm probably going to use this mic with the HVX200... unless there are are surprises at NAB.
"Line in" isn't the issue - neither mic will drive a line in input by itself. But the phantom only requires phantom power while the battery version can swing either way. Even with the battery version, phantom usually gives better performance.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #6
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How can I check if the my Sennheiser ME64 mic (maybe other K6 series mics) with K6 is too hot on my camera, a Sony HVR-A1U? Or any camera for that matter?
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Old April 11th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
How can I check if the my Sennheiser ME64 mic (maybe other K6 series mics) with K6 is too hot on my camera, a Sony HVR-A1U? Or any camera for that matter?
With the 10db pad switched in, the ME64 output level is perfect to use with the A1's built in AGC (or without it). I use mine with a Rode shock mount and AGC most of the time and get wonderful sounding audio from it.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 09:11 PM   #8
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Thanks, Laurence. But still, how do I know/check? Is it simply by ear, or something else? And if by ear, what am I supposed to be listening for (or not supposed to hear) to know if the levels are good, too sensitive, or not sensitive enough?

AGC? What is that? Is that the audio module that came with the A1?

Also, I know you use a Rode SM5 shockmount - is that shockmount directly inserted into the Sony shockmount (on the audio module) and you put the mic in the SM5? Does this produce a double shock mount, since you are putting a shockmount within a shockmount?

How would the Rode SM3 used on the shoe on top of the audio module compare to the Sony shockmount and compared to the Sony shockmount with attached Rode SM5?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
Thanks, Laurence. But still, how do I know/check? Is it simply by ear, or something else? And if by ear, what am I supposed to be listening for (or not supposed to hear) to know if the levels are good, too sensitive, or not sensitive enough?

AGC? What is that? Is that the audio module that came with the A1?

Also, I know you use a Rode SM5 shockmount - is that shockmount directly inserted into the Sony shockmount (on the audio module) and you put the mic in the SM5? Does this produce a double shock mount, since you are putting a shockmount within a shockmount?

How would the Rode SM3 used on the shoe on top of the audio module compare to the Sony shockmount and compared to the Sony shockmount with attached Rode SM5?
If the mic is too hot for the input you could hear distortion clipping etc if you listen very carefully. A quick rough test - with the audio level on automatic and using the internal mic, see where the viewfinder meters hit when recording normal closeby sounds. That's the optimum recording level set by the manufacturer's design and it'll probably be -12dBFS or so. Now turn off the auto level control, switching to manual, and plug your mic into the input. With the same sounds, adjust the recording level control until the meters read the same as before. If the mic level is just right, the level control knobs should be about 65%-75% of fully up. If they're down in the lower half of their range the mic is too hot and you run the risk of overloading the input on loud sounds - add an attenuating pad. If you have to turn the knobs all the way up and the meters still don't get to the optimum point, you need to add some gain by way of a mixer or preamplifier
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Old April 12th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #10
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Unless the gain controls are at the amplifier input, there is still the danger of clipping! If the gain controls are between amplifier and DAC (eg Canon GL2), they show that the levels being fed to the DAC are OK. This can be so, with the inputs grossly overloaded, if you have to turn the gain controls well down to get the mter readings you want.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 05:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
"Line in" isn't the issue - neither mic will drive a line in input by itself. But the phantom only requires phantom power while the battery version can swing either way. Even with the battery version, phantom usually gives better performance.
I am just having a discussion in a german, language-wise, actually austrian forum:
Somebody is interested in buying the K6 and believes that it provides phantom power, whereas I tell that it can feed the mics with it's battery, but if one wants phantom power - which should improove the mics performance - an extra phantom power supply is required.
Am I right?
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Old December 13th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Griesmayr
I am just having a discussion in a german, language-wise, actually austrian forum:
Somebody is interested in buying the K6 and believes that it provides phantom power, whereas I tell that it can feed the mics with it's battery, but if one wants phantom power - which should improove the mics performance - an extra phantom power supply is required.
Am I right?
Sort of.... The K6 power module will supply power to the mic capsule that's screwed onto it both from its internal battery or that is fed to it from external phantom power. The K6P has no internal battery and so requires the external phantom power. So in a sense the other poster is correct too - the K6's battery provides the power to the mic capsule that the K6P gets from phantom. But neither one will supply power to 'mics' (plural), that is, supply any phantom power for other mics to use. Both of them are the amplifier/power supply component of a single modular mic system that works hand-in-glove with the one capsule from the system that has been selected for use at the moment.

You are correct also in that mics that have both battery and phantom power as options usually have slightly better performance when running on phantom. More importantly, with phantom you don't have to worry about the sound degrading mid-shoot from a weak or dying battery without you noticing. When phantom is available, remove the battery unless the manufacturer specfically says otherwise in the the manual.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 07:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Sort of.... The K6 power module will supply power to the mic capsule that's screwed onto it both from its internal battery or that is fed to it from external phantom power. The K6P has no internal battery and so requires the external phantom power. So in a sense the other poster is correct too - the K6's battery provides the power to the mic capsule that the K6P gets from phantom. But neither one will supply power to 'mics' (plural), that is, supply any phantom power for other mics to use. Both of them are the amplifier/power supply component of a single modular mic system that works hand-in-glove with the one capsule from the system that has been selected for use at the moment.

You are correct also in that mics that have both battery and phantom power as options usually have slightly better performance when running on phantom. More importantly, with phantom you don't have to worry about the sound degrading mid-shoot from a weak or dying battery without you noticing. When phantom is available, remove the battery unless the manufacturer specfically says otherwise in the the manual.

thank's Steve for your clarification, - and how diplomatic a response as well! - though it is exactly as I thought.

Since the user does not own any phantom supply I was doubting that the rather expensive Sennheiser set up made sense and was recommending a Videomic, also for it's ease of use. But I believe that he is set to get the Sennheisers, which sure must be a very good choice.
I wonder, is the Rode Videomic simply way below the Sennheiser? Pricewise - and build wise it certainly is, and there is the advantage of choices of the various caps. If one only used one set though, is the sound produced in another leage as the one from the Videomic?

He still is undecided which capsules will be better for him. I would not know since he did not specify his exact use, but I remember having read about reservation about the ME66 indoors. and some prefer the ME64. There are also the ME62, ME65 and ME67, though I just found out that the lineup in germany http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser...microphones_k6 and the US seem to differ http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite...?transid=cat34
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Last edited by Andreas Griesmayr; December 13th, 2006 at 08:51 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 09:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Griesmayr
...
He still is undecided which capsules will be better for him. I would not know since he did not specify his exact use, but I remember having read about reservation about the ME66 indoors. and some prefer the ME64. There are also the ME62, ME65 and ME67, though I just found out that the lineup in germany http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser...microphones_k6 and the US seem to differ http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite...?transid=cat34
Really need to know the exact uses in order to select the capsules. One of the advantages of a modular system is you might save some money by having one power unit with a kit of capsules and switching capsules for the situation rather than buying a bevy of completly separate mics. Looking at the Senn site shows the following brief rundown on the types in the line. Also here's some ideas as to possible uses (distances mentioned are very rough approximations):
ME 62 - Omni
ME 64 - Cardioid
ME 65 - Super Cardioid for vocals, speech, booming dialog in CU and MCU indoors and out where the mic can be between 6 inches and 2 feet or less (roughly) of the subject, less colouration of off-axis sounds than with shotguns.
ME 66 - Short Shotgun - dialog where the mic can be positioned around 2 to 4 feet from the subject - reflective environments can cause signifigant colouration.
ME 67 - Long Shotgun - dialog in camera wide shots where the mic needs to be kept from 4 to 10 feet from the subject in order to be out of frame.

Note that running a shotgun too close to the source is just as bad as having it too far away. There's a broad sweet spot in the reach of each mic and you get distortion and colouration on either side of it.

Not sure how the K6 would stack up side by side with the Rode, I think Guy Cochran has done some comparison tests and perhaps he can weight in on that score - my feeling is the Rode is a high-quality prosumer level mic while the Senn K6 system is a good entry level professional mic (and there are other good modular systems in a similar price range from AKG and AudioTechnica as well).

A lot of location and ENG mixers would say they use a boomed hypercardioid or supercardioid for 90% of their dialog recording.
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Old December 13th, 2006, 10:49 PM   #15
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thank you very much again for your extensive reply.

I found the very interesting discussion with inputs of the like of TyFord and Douglas Spotted Eagle and Guy Cochran, comparing the Videomic to the ME66 here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...mic+sennheiser

A bit off topic, but I just can't resist:

I had encouraged the interested person to search this forum to find his answers because of it's very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful members.

Ever since the first thread I opened here called 'help request for first video camera' where my lenghty questions where met with equally lenghty answers and which guided me to buy the GS400 the help I have received here is simply amazing. Recently I had tried some german forums and I am sorry to say that it has been a frustrating experience because of patronizing and even insulting members. What a huge relieve to be here again!
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