Sennheiser MKE series Shotgun Mic Overview

With the recent introduction of the MKE 200, Sennheiser has grown its MKE series of camera-mounted shotgun mics to four models, each with its own distinct purpose, ranging from smartphone applications on up to full-size broadcast video cameras. Here’s a quick look at all of them. The “where to buy” links in the left column point to our affiliate partners. Be sure to see the comparison chart and official product page links at the bottom of this page.

Sennheiser MKE 200 Quick Guide   
This is an inexpensive, lightweight, ultra-compact directional microphone which does not require a battery. There are no switches to configure. Two removable locking cables are included (tip-ring-sleeve and tip-ring-ring-sleeve) for mounting on a camera or a smartphone. A furry windshield is included as well. The shock mounting is located internally, within the plastic and metal mesh housing.

Sennheiser MKE 400 Op. Manual   
A popular, low-cost solution for improving the audio recording quality of small-form factor cameras, camcorders and DSLRs, where a larger pro mic such as the MKE 600 would be physically impractical or too obtrusive. It is a battery-operated directional mono mic with an external shock mount, has switches for sensitivity and wind noise, and it includes a coiled cable and foam windshield (which can be upgraded to furry). It is compatible with any camera that has a 3.5mm external microphone input.

Sennheiser MKE 440 Quick Guide   
This is a compact dual-shotgun mic ideally suited for shooters who wish to record two channels of audio as a stereo image from a camera-mounted mic. The MKE 440 provides a vast improvement over the tiny built-in stereo mic elements found on many camcorders and DSLRs, thanks to its relatively larger condenser capsules, built-in shock mounting, low-cut filter and three switchable sensitivity settings. Powered by two AAA batteries, it provides a balanced stereo ambiance while rejecting off-axis noise. A furry windshield is available as an optional accessory.

Sennheiser MKE 600 Op. Manual   
A high-quality shotgun mic intended for professional video and television production. It has rich sound, excellent low-frequency reproduction, and high directivity with little interference from lateral noise. The MKE 600 is best suited for larger professional broadcast video camcorders or standalone use, and as such it may be inappropriate for smaller cameras by virtue of its size. It is perfect, however, for EFP / ENG and studio recording purposes. The included shock-mount / camera shoe is removable and the foam windcreen can be replaced by an optional furry. Power is supplied by a single AA battery or through a camcorder’s phantom power output, if it is so equipped. It has a low-cut filter switch and a low-battery alert. You provide the XLR cable in a length that best suits your particular needs.

Comparison Chart
model:   MKE 200 MKE 400 MKE 440 MKE 600
cost:   $100 $200 $350 $330
pattern:   super cardiod lobar / super card. stereo super card. lobar / super card.
freq. resp.:   40 – 20,000 Hz 40 – 20,000 Hz 50 – 20,000 Hz 40 – 20,000 Hz
low-cut filter:   no yes yes yes
sensitivity switch:   no normal / high -20 dB / 0 dB / +20 dB no
sensitivity 1 KHz:   33 dB V/Pa 8 / 20 dB V/PA 23 / 42 / 63 dB V/PA 21 / 19 dB V/Pa
max SPL 1 KHz:   120 dB 126 / 118 dB 132 dB 132 / 126 dB
noise SPL (A):   20 dB (A) 21 / 40 dB (A) 16 / 21 / 40 dB (A) 15 / 16 dB (A)
connect:   3.5mm TRS mini 3.5mm TRS mini 3.5mm TRS mini XLR
length x dia.:   69mm x 39mm 130mm x 21mm 128mm x 106mm 256mm x 20mm
weight:   48g 60g (w/o batt.) 165g (w/o batts.) 128g (w/o batt.)
batt type:   none 1 x AAA 2 x AAA 1 x AA (or phantom)
endurance:   unlimited appx. 300 hrs. appx. 100 hrs. appx. 150 hrs. (on batt.)
shock mount:   internal external internal removeable
windshield:   included (furry) included (foam)* optional (furry)** included (foam)***

* MKE 400 optional furry: MZW 400 (kit with XLR adapter)
** MKE 440 optional furry: MZH 440
*** MKE 600 optional furry: MZH 600

Features Common to Sennheiser MKE series Shotgun Mics

The transducer type in all microphones of the Sennheiser MKE series is a condenser capsule. All of them include a camera shoe mount with a 1/4-20 threaded insert, and some form of shock mounting. All include a removable windshield except the MKE 440 (that one is available as an optional accessory). All of them have metal mesh housings surrounding the mic capsule. All include coiled connection cables except for the MKE 600; standard XLR cables for this mic must be purchased separately. All Sennheiser MKE series microphones are made in Germany.

To learn more…

For more information about each of these mics, be sure to visit the official Sennheiser product pages at the links below (these come from the company’s USA presence).


About The Author

After completing my degree in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, I managed a video production studio "back in the tape days" while waiting for the digital video revolution to arrive and for the internet to become mainstream. Things started to get interesting in November of 1997 when I launched The XL1 Watchdog, my first web site dedicated to digital video technology. In January of 2001, that site morphed into DV Info Net — the Digital Video Information Network. More than fifteen years later, the longevity of DV Info Net is exceeded now only by its popularity and reputation as one of the leading technology information resources in the broadcast and professional video markets.

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