NAB 2016: Sennheiser unveils MKE 440 stereo DSLR mic

Sennheiser used last week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas to introduce the MKE 440, a new stereo camera microphone designed for DSLR users.

Two mini-shotgun microphones and a new stereo technique allow the MKE 440 to record the sound from within the camera angle, unlike mini AB, MS or XY arrangements.

While classic stereo set-ups capture sound and noises from the sides, including any comments from the camera operator or people next to them, the two mini-shotguns of the MKE 440 are mounted in a V-shape arrangement that predominantly picks up the sound from within the direction of filming and rejects the majority of off-axis noise from outside the camera focus.

“The MKE 440 is not only the most compact stereo shotgun microphone on the market,” said Kai Lange, Sennheiser product manager, Broadcast and Media. “Quite unlike other stereo camera microphones, it will predominantly pick up the sound from within the camera angle thanks to its new stereo principle.” The result is what Sennheiser describes as ‘a well-balanced mix between ambient sound and clearly comprehensible speech and dialogue.’

“This enables DSLR users to capture professional stereo sound in one go, which saves production time and effort,” added Lange.

The matched mini-shotguns of the MKE 440 feature super-cardioid pick-up patterns that overlap to create a front focus. “The result is what I would call picture-matched stereo ambience,” said Lange. “For example, this lets filmmakers capture comprehensible dialogue with just enough ambient sound to preserve the atmosphere of a scene.”

The microphones are shock-mounted internally to reduce any handling noise and are protected against wind noise by a stainless steel micro-mesh. For strong wind, a special hairy cover is available as an accessory.

The compact, all-metal MKE 440 attaches to standard camera shoe mounts, and features a three-level sensitivity switch to adjust to softer and louder sound sources with a switchable low-cut filter to eliminate low-frequency noise such as wind noise. The microphone is powered by two AAA size batteries, with the green LED of the on/off switch doubling as a low-batt indicator. The LED will turn red approximately four hours before the batteries run flat, ensuring sufficient time to finish shooting.

Also on Sennheiser’s booth at NAB 2016 was the HandMic digital and the MK 4 digital, the latest products developed in cooperation with Apogee launched at Prolight + Sound earlier this month.

The MKE 440 will be available from June 2016.