Sennheiser MKE 400 | An ‘Encapsulated’ & Versatile Shotgun Mic
Sennheiser has released an update to the popular MKE range of shotgun microphones with the Sennheiser MKE 400 – taking it more in line with the excellent MKE 200 that we reviewed here a short while ago, The new Sennheiser MKE 400 is the brand’s answer to the larger, powered, on-camera shotgun mics that we all know and love. But is it any good?
The new Sennheiser MKE 400 mic now sports a lot of similarities in design and features shown in the quite brilliant MKE 200, such as the enclosed shock design, which adds great resilience and some built-in windproofing to boot. Unfortunately, though, just like the Sennheiser MKE 200, it comes with the world’s softest dead-cat; only in a larger size. The excellent locking audio cables also make a return, giving confidence that everything is well plugged in and secure. This new design also keeps the mic solution compact for this style of mic, making it very portable and lightweight.
Where it differs from the Sennheiser MKE 200, however, is the MKE 400 has an active microphone with a much larger internal element. This gives it a hotter signal and extended range when recording. It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries, so super easy to swap out when they die on the go.
There are three gain levels to choose from being – and + [whatever that means] and a low-end roll-off for those rumbly situations. Finally, there is a built-in headphone monitor port with volume control this is an excellent addition allowing you to monitor audio in-camera with no fuss and without a headphone jack or when an external monitor is the only way to go.
Now, as we always mention when reviewing microphones, you should really go for whatever microphone you prefer the sound of, as sound is subjective. Obviously, there are other factors that might sway your choices, like price and features, but, in the end, we use microphones to capture sound so you should make sure the microphone you buy suits your needs and your taste.
Our opinion – we do very much like how the Sennheiser MKE 400 sounds. It’s clearer and performs much better in the wind compared to the Rode alternative. It might have a little less low end, but the Rode sounds muddier overall.
In general, we’re really liking the current MKE line of mics Sennheiser are developing. The Sennheiser MKE 400 built-in shock mount design is really unique and continues to give confidence, along with the locking jacks. The gain symbols may be a little ambiguous on the side but likely to have been a conscious decision; to make the microphone as simple to use as possible and the built-in monitoring means you don’t have to worry about the audio anywhere near as much, whilst and focus on what I’m filming. A
Check out the full review below to get all the details and help decide if this mic is for you!