Sennheiser MKE 400 hands on review and test

Simon Tillyer

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Sennheiser have just released two products aimed at simplifying audio on the move, the MKE400 shotgun microphone and the XS Lav Mic, in this review we’re looking at the MKE400.

If you scroll down there is a video review where you can hear the actual MKE 400 sound so worth a watch.

The MKE400 is the second generation with the same name as its predecessor and has updates to its design and feature set, it weighs in at under 100grams and measures 126mm x 67 x 37 so is nice and compact on a DSLR or with the mobile kit on an iPhone. Inside the windscreen protective housing you’ve got a shock mounted super cardioid polar pattern microphone ensuring the audio pick-up is from the direction the camera is facing whilst cancelling out noise from the sides.

To get started you need 2 triple A batteries, supplied in the box, which slide into the rear, according to the manual this will power the MKE400 for up to 100 hours and as we said before it will detect a if the camera is on or off to further preserve battery life.

There’s also a low battery warning when you have 3 hours left, but I’ve not seen that myself yet, but I think you can be assured it won’t just suddenly turn off without warning.

If you are turning off manually then the on / off switch has an ‘off delay’ as well to prevent accidentally turning it off, just press and hold for about a second to turn it off manually.

The controls are easily accessible so we’ll start with the low-cut filter switch which limits the pick up of low frequencies and helps to reduce wind noise, distant vehicles and also things like air conditioning hum and sometimes camera handling, although the shock mounted capsule does a good job at helping that as well. With the switch over to the bent line you have it activated so I’ll switch it back on.

There’s a three position gain control to adjust the audio gain depending on the environment you’re in and also the camera you are using, it’s always worth doing tests on your camera to decide on the best before you start shooting.

If you’re using the MKE400 with a smart phone then monitoring the audio might be an issue so Sennheiser have included a 3.5mm jack with 8 positions of volume control at 8db per step, the output is a really nice crisp sound as you’d expect from Sennheiser.

The mic output cable is secured with a screw-in 3.5mm jack that locks in and is supplied with two coiled cable options, a stereo TRS connection for cameras and a TRRS for smartphones, they’ve added a little label to remind you on the one for smartphones. When I tested it I added the 3.5mm jack to lightening adapter for my iPhone.

The Sennheiser Mobile Kit includes a Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp and Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod. As soon as you pick up the Manfrotto you’ll be reassured of the quality with a good weight to it and push button head rotation. The Sennheiser phone clamp is also nicely made and securely holds a smart phone.

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Watch the video test here...

Purchase information

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Contributing Author Simon Tillyer

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