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Sennheiser MKE 400 is a winner

Posted on Mar 2, 2023

Low-cost but high-quality, this year’s best on-camera mic is the Sennheiser MKE 400

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At all levels of experience, a dependable, top-quality shotgun mic is indispensable. Mounted to the camera’s hotshoe, rig or cage – even used on a boom – the pickup pattern of a shotgun mic is narrow, so can be directed at the subject to record them clearly while suppressing off-axis noise. 

Compare this with the built-in mic on your camera – more omnidirectional in design – and your audio recordings are guaranteed to be more defined and dynamic.

Since the Sennheiser MKE 400’s release, it’s been universally acclaimed by both beginners and seasoned pros. This is an excellent, compact and great-value shotgun mic. The fact that it’s picked up best on-camera microphone in the PN Awards will come as no surprise to anyone that’s used it.

To deliver crisp, clear audio, the MKE 400’s supercardioid polar pattern is enhanced by an acoustic interference tube, which focuses its pickup and rejects unwanted noise. In addition, there’s a built-in low-cut filter for reducing low-frequency, bassy sounds that can come from environmental factors like wind. 

An included furry windshield further cuts interference. Together with the mic’s internal suspension mount, even handling noise – often encountered when moving with the camera over rough terrain, as just one example – is absorbed and dramatically reduced. 

But that’s not all. Battery-powered, the mic offers three levels of gain, so you can boost the signal for greater quality and fidelity when editing.

Of course, this excellent sound quality would be worth little if the mic was difficult to use. Fortunately, clever design, a wealth of features and top build quality make it a breeze. For starters, the MKE 400 uses 3.5mm TRS and TRRS connections, so it’s compatible with most DSLR or mirrorless bodies – or indeed phones and external recorders with those connections. And while many cameras lack a headphone jack, the MKE 400’s 3.5mm port allows users to monitor the mic audio for volume and quality.

Considering all this, it’s surprising that the MKE 400 weighs only 93.5g, letting you add it to a small set-up while barely noticing the difference. Taking two AAA batteries, it will run for around 100 hours, and the unit comes with a standard coldshoe mount for fixing on top of your camera. But with an integrated 3/8in thread, it can be used with countless accessories. In the box are coiled locking 3.5mm TRS and TRRS cables, plus a drawstring pouch. 

Whatever you’re shooting – be it vlogs, interviews, wildlife, drama or anything else at all – with the MKE 400 you’re just one step away from richer, clearer sound.

For more, head to sennheiser.com

Originally published in Issue 104 of Photography News.

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