Sennheiser introduces some new microphones for creators to use on cameras and consumer-level phones, including an update to the popular MKE 400 camera-mounted microphone and new, phone-friendly microphones.
The updated MKE 400 rifle microphone looks more upgraded than the previous version – it has a new design that includes a windshield (also available with a hairy sock), a built-in headphone port and, blessed, can be automatically turned on or off with your camera. Also now available with a free wind blocker when it gets really cool. This should help reduce the number of recordings, just to let you know that you haven̵
It is also now designed to work with mobile devices such as phones or tablets; It is available with a standard TRS cable designed for DSLR, as well as without SLR cameras, as well as with a TRRS cable that should work when plugged into the phone’s headphone jack. Or more likely 3.5mm to USB-C or Lightning adapter. With the built-in headphone jack, you should even still be able to watch when shooting with a phone (or a camera that only has a microphone and no headphone jack).
The new features should help Sennheiser’s microphone become a more convincing competitor to Rode’s latest microphones – the lack of automatic on / off of the MKE 400 and its relatively outdated design have made it difficult to sell compared to something like the Rode VideoMic Pro. It’s nice to see that Sennheiser is catching up with the rest of the market.
However, all upgrades to the MKE 400 have little cost in the battery department: Sennheiser estimates that the old MKE 400 will last 300 hours on a single AAA battery, while the new version only advertises 100 hours of use on two AAAs. The microphone still retails for the same $ 199.95.
Meanwhile, Sennheiser’s new XS Lav microphones are designed to be worn on a shirt or lapel collar and can be useful for creators who want a better sound but don’t want to use a large rifle-style microphone. The clip microphones are available in two versions: one with a 3.5 mm TRRS plug and one with a USB-C plug for wireless use with phones or computers. Sennheiser has previously made a larger microphone for the iPhone, which is turned on via Lightning, but it no longer seems to be widely available. (You can find one that mysteriously looks just like Apogee.)
The USB-C version should be the most widely compatible, as it will be useful for both Android phones and computers with a single audio port (plugging it into a combined headphone jack on, say, a MacBook would make it harder to use headphones. but you can use the USB-C port instead). IPhone owners will want to look at the XS Lav with a 3.5mm connector, although an adapter will be needed.
The 3.5mm version costs $ 49.95 and the USB-C version costs $ 59.95 – both cheaper than the $ 79 Rode smartLav Plus.
Both the MKE 400 and the XS Lav USB-C can also be purchased as part of the Mobile Kit, which adds $ 30 to the price and includes a small tripod and a stand for a phone clip.