Sennheiser MKE 600 is one terrific shotgun mic. With $300+ price it delivers a near professional sound quality. Probably the best performer in its range it also has some slick design to show. And the this is not a no-name brand either.
Features and sound quality
The MKE 600 has a switchable low cut filter to minimize wind noise, so it can work outdoors. Frequency pattern of MKE 600 is simply great and it could be exemplary for any other shotgun.
It is reasonably flat at good distances and peaks between 7 and 10 kHz by about 2-3 dB. Gets a little muddy if the sound source couple inches away. You hear that as a smooth, natural and unobtrusive transition. The low cut filter of this mic is good because you can set it at 200 Hz. That clears away not just wind and boominess, but also machinery. The 200 Hz cut-off is quite an advantage over comparable mics with 80-100 Hz filters. In fact, it’s a ready solution for run and gun applications.
This is a generally very neutral mic with a broad and crispy sound. Self-noise, or equivalent noise level, is a maximum of 16dB makes it close to professional noise levels as well. Low self-noise is quite good for capturing low volume sounds. When it comes to the opposite volume figures, Sennheiser MKE600 can take up to 132 dB (SPL) when powered by 48 volts, or up to 126dB on battery power.
All that volume comes in with robust gain and does not need much amplification. The strong signal makes it more convenient to use with digital recorders. MKE600 is good for deep voices, the high-pass filter works great to roll off the “booms”. The unobtrusive presence and the above-mentioned variable roll off delivers the sound.
Build quality & Package
The 20 mm diameter and 256 mm length dimensions are quite compact for a shotgun. With the compact size comes light weight, which is even more important. These features make it possible to use MKE600 with DSLR cameras, in fact, it comes with an on-camera shoe mount. It is more likely you are going to use it with a boom, but it does not come bundled, obviously.
The windscreen is kind of cheap but it does attenuate noise below 100Hz by about 25dB. You can get the better MZH 600 windscreen for extra cash. The design of controls fits people with thickest fingers. No need to use pins or coins. MKE600 has an essential on/off switch that ensures you can talk on battery power. There is no little things that constantly bug you and make you think of alternatives.
Basically, Sennheiser MKE 600 is the best short shotgun microphone.
- Amazing sound quality.
- Low cut filter.
- Maximal rejection of side noise.
- Phantom or battery powering.
- Well-designed controls.
- Works with DSLR cameras.
- $300+ price.