IBC2018 Show Event Channel

Everything you need to know for the show and exhibitors.

Click here

Sennheiser Shows MKE 440 for DSLRs and Previews ‘Action Mic’

The use of digital single lenses reflex and GoPro cameras in professional broadcast has led many microphone manufacturers to produce mics designed specifically to work with this new breed of acquisition tool. Sennheiser showed its latest products in these areas at the 2016 NAB Show, with a new stereo unit for DSLRs plus a prototype ‘action mic’.

Sennheiser's MKE 440 is a compact stereo unit comprising two mini shotgun mics mounted on top of a DSLR. Designed for filmmaking, this unit picks up sound within the viewing area of the camera and is claimed to be superior to established mini AB (using two parallel mics), MS (mid-side) and XY (using two directional mics) techniques. The principle is that the V-shaped mounting of the two mics making up the MKE 440 captures the audio action being shot, while excluding most extraneous sounds.

The mini-shotguns contain super-cardioid capsules with pick-up patterns that coincide to form the area of capture. "The result is what I would call picture-matched stereo ambience," explained Kai Lange, product manager for broadcast and media at Sennheiser. "This lets filmmakers capture comprehensive dialogue with just enough ambient sound to preserve the atmosphere of a scene."

Close-up of the MKE 440 housing.

Close-up of the MKE 440 housing.

The MKE 440 has an all-metal, shock-mounted housing that fits into regular camera shoe slots. The capsules are behind a stainless steel micro-mesh to deal with wind noise but an optional 'fluffy' baffle is available for particularly windy situations. There is also a switch for selecting one of three levels of sensitivity that deal with soft and loud sounds, with a low pass filter to cut lower frequency sources, including wind.

Further explaining the MKE 440's stereo sound pattern, Lange said, "It will predominantly pick up the sound from within the camera angle thanks to its new stereo principle. This enables DSLR users to capture professional stereo sound in one go, which saves production time and effort."

GoPro cameras are now commonly used in broadcasting, particularly for 'special' positions and angles, and in more extreme conditions where the units have to cope with wind, rain, snow and mud. Sennheiser has developed a new microphone specifically for this application and previewed it during the 2016 NAB Show. The so-called action mic is contained in a capsule with a watertight connector that plugs into the camera. The manufacturer claims this is hermetically sealed enough to be used underwater.

The new mic is the first product to come out of Sennheiser's work with GoPro under the camera manufacturer's Developer Programme. It is now being tested on coverage of a variety of extreme sports, which commercial manager for Sennheiser's broadcast and media business, Achim Gleissner, said will "fine tune" the mic's performance. "Achieving uncompromising sound quality for extreme sports footage has been a challenge and more often than not extreme athletes have had to tone down their expectations regarding audio quality," continued Gleissner. "Our forthcoming action microphone will make wind noise a thing of the past and allow audio recordings where currently only video is possible."

There is no word on when the action mic will go into production but the MKE 440 is available from June this year.

Let us know what you think…

Log-in or Register for free to post comments…

You might also like...

Broadcast For IT - Part 15 - Digital Audio

Audio is arguably the most complex aspect of broadcast television. The human auditory systems are extremely sensitive to distortion and noise. For IT engineers to progress in broadcast television they must understand the sampling rates and formats of sound, and…

Broadcast for IT – Part 14 - Microphones

In this series of articles, we will explain broadcasting for IT engineers. Television is an illusion, there are no moving pictures and todays broadcast formats are heavily dependent on decisions engineers made in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and in this art…

Articles You May Have Missed – June 13, 2018

“Everything is software today,” said the marketer. “That’s the problem,” said the engineer. While every broadcast engineer has some story about crashing software, data leaks, and duct-tape solutions, today’s nascent software industry might be compared to the embryonic industry of…

The Era Of The Virtual Microphone

Since the beginning of pro audio, connoisseurs of classic microphones have invested in rare, aging instruments that are said to bring a certain magical quality to the sound. Since many of these vintage mics are quite old, they incur an…

Lavalier Microphones Keep Getting Smaller and Better

Nearly 50 years ago — 1969 to be exact — Sony introduced the ECM-50, a tiny peanut-sized electret condenser lavalier microphone that virtually ended the reign of large, cumbersome microphones used in television broadcasting. Since then, the scope, quality and price of lavalier microphones has…