Sennheiser's Mic Kit Brings Pro-Grade Audio to Your Phone – Digital Trends

Sennheiser MKE 400 Cellular Equipment

“The Sennheiser MKE 400 Cellular equipment helps you notice your smartphone’s potential as a cellular vlogging instrument, by including high-quality audio and a complete set of equipment.”

  • Nice-quality audio
  • Full set of equipment included
  • Suitable with telephones and cameras
  • Headphone monitoring characteristic
  • Requires you to study new abilities to make use of it nicely
  • Quantity ranges will be low
MSRP $230.00

Your smartphone virtually definitely has a extremely succesful video digicam, and since it’s at all times with you, it’s actually the proper on-the-move vlogging and video-creation instrument. Besides it’s at all times going to be let down by the built-in microphone, which has to carry out too many various jobs and easily can’t be nice at all of them.

Fixing the issue has annoyed me for some time, as only a few of the choices accessible are thought. Now, Sennheiser has launched the MKE 400 Cellular Equipment, which is designed to deliver pro-grade audio recording to movies shot in your cellphone. May this actually be what I used to be searching for? I’ve came upon.

Why use your cellphone?

Each iPhone for the reason that iPhone 6S has recorded 4K-resolution video, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S20 Extremely and newest Galaxy S21 collection telephones shoot 8K video, so taking high-quality video together with your cellphone hasn’t been a priority for a while. If this can be a huge precedence for you, firms like Second make spectacular lens equipment for telephones, and there are a lot of video-editing apps accessible for each iOS and Android. Your cellphone actually is a one-stop video-creation store.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Effectively, virtually. Good audio high quality is crucial when you’re planning to publish your movies. N one will wish to watch if they’ll’t hear you, or if all they’ll hear is wind noise or distortion. The microphone in your smartphone is a compromise, because it has to do varied completely different jobs, and making you sound good on video isn’t that prime up on the listing of priorities. It’s not appropriate for distance recording, or in loud environments.

There are numerous choices accessible to treatment this. Lavalier microphones are widespread however you can be tied down with a wire, or you might spend money on an costly wi-fi microphone system. However there’s a tremendous line between doing this, and contemplating transferring to the subsequent stage fully with a DSLR-based setup, and the cash actually begins so as to add up at this level. It could possibly really feel demoralizing trying on the completely different choices, and generally pointless when your cellphone is correct there and shoots completely good video.

The whole lot you want

What makes the MKE 400 Cellular Equipment particular is that it’s designed primarily to be used with a smartphone. Contained in the field is the Sennheiser MKE 400 shotgun microphone, a sturdy aluminum smartphone clamp to carry each it and your cellphone, and a Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod that doubles as a handheld grip. A 3.5mm TRRS cable to hitch the microphone to your smartphone is included, together with one other 3.5mm TRS cable designed for DSLR use, offering tons of flexibility.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The MKE 400 attaches to the smartphone clamp with an ordinary chilly shoe mount, because it makes use of two AAA batteries for its personal energy. The mount itself has a number of 1/4-inch threaded holes to connect it to a tripod, plus a single 3/8-inch threaded gap, and a rubber-lined clamp to your cellphone. This may be rotated from portrait to panorama orientation, and the clamp will be locked into place so it doesn’t transfer — and so your cellphone gained’t come unfastened.

Manfrotto’s Pixi tripod is small however very sturdy. It’s produced from stainless-steel and has a most top of 5.3 inches, with every of the toes ending in a rubber grip for added stability. It’s tremendous to be used with a cellphone, however Manfrotto doesn’t suggest it for supporting something heavier than 2.25 kilos, so it could not work nicely with some DSLRs. Press the button on the aspect firmly and the pinnacle will be repositioned, giving it loads of versatility.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The Pixi tripod can be utilized on a floor or handheld, the clamp is large enough for many telephones — I’ve used it with the iPhone 12 Professional and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely — and the connection system is easy. You’re up and prepared in lower than 5 minutes, it’s extremely moveable, and really solidly made.

What concerning the microphone?

The MKE 400 is a shotgun microphone with a supercardioid polar sample, that means it’s designed to select up audio from straight in entrance and barely behind, however not a lot from the edges, to chop down on undesirable ambient sound. The MKE 400 identify has been utilized by Sennheiser for years, however the firm has up to date the design and added options to this newly launched mannequin.

The windscreen and shock mounting have been positioned contained in the metallic microphone case for a extra compact, visually pleasing look, plus a “useless cat” furry cowl can be included within the field to scale back wind noise much more. On the aspect of the microphone is a volume-controlled 3.5mm headphone output to observe the audio, a three-stage sensitivity acquire management, and a low-pass filter.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Two AAA batteries are contained in the field able to energy the microphone, and Sennheiser estimates they are going to final for 100 hours earlier than needing to get replaced. It weighs 93 grams, so about half of most fashionable smartphones, however nonetheless feels sturdy. It additionally seems to be actually fashionable {and professional}, whereas merely having the Sennheiser identify on the aspect provides it an enormous quantity of credibility. It might sound odd, however this can be a huge deal.

How does it sound?

I’ve recorded audio with the Sennheiser MKE 400 outdoors when strolling round, and inside when seated, plus within the automotive and different comparatively noisy environments. I’ve used it linked to an iPhone 12 Professional by the included 3.5mm cable and a Lightning dongle. It has carried out extraordinarily nicely always, however most significantly of all, it’s an unlimited enchancment over the audio recordings you’d get when you simply used the built-in microphone, or different cheaper microphones.

The obvious distinction is within the drastic discount of background hiss and ambient sound. The MKE 400 information your voice clearly, whereas nonetheless taking in simply the correct amount of ambient sound. For instance, when recording on an early morning stroll, the microphone nonetheless recorded the sounds of the encircling woodlands for a pure, pleasing tone that precisely captures your setting with out overpowering your voice.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

It additionally makes my voice sound much less synthetic, eradicating the echo and harshness you get from the iPhone 12 Professional’s microphone. I additionally in contrast it to a Rode SmartLav+ lavalier microphone, and once more there was a lot much less background hiss and echo. Exterior, it operates nicely at round a meter to 2 meters distance, offered you’re going through within the microphone’s normal route. It additionally information nicely once you’re behind the microphone, so long as you’re not too far-off. Inside a transferring automotive, when behind the microphone, there’s just a little extra echo, however as a result of the ambient sound is minimized, it doesn’t break the recording.

The downsides are available studying the right way to use the MKE 400 to one of the best of its means. Whereas it’s not particularly sophisticated, there’s various trial and error concerned, which isn’t actually discovered utilizing a easy plug-in lavalier microphone. For instance, the amount is sort of low with the acquire set at regular, and to listen to it nicely when performed again on the iPhone, the amount must be at about 75%. There’s a three-stage acquire management, however once you flip this as much as the excessive stage, it will increase total noise, so there’s a tradeoff between recording at a higher distance and introducing extra ambient sound.

The headphone jack on the microphone physique enables you to hear what’s being recorded, which is useful to a sure extent. It’s laborious to do that when you’re by yourself and wish to examine distance recording, for instance. I don’t suppose the MKE 400 requires pro-level expertise or data to make use of, however I do suppose you want endurance and a willingness to study sound recording to get one of the best from it.

Utilizing the Sennheiser MKE 400 has been liberating. I’m used to recording with a wired lavalier microphone, and never having to fret concerning the wire is nice. I’m additionally horrible about forgetting to clip the mic again on if I’ve to maneuver away from the digicam, which isn’t one thing you are worried about with the MKE 400. The sound high quality is nice, too. It additionally works with the digicam app or voice recorder app, and a DSLR if wanted, so it’s laborious to think about a state of affairs the place you’d need a lot else.

Worth and availability

The Sennheiser MKE 400 Cellular equipment prices $230, or 200 British kilos. It’s that can be purchased now by Sennheiser’s personal on-line retailer, or by different Sennheiser sellers.

Our take

The Sennheiser MKE 400 Cellular Equipment is a complete, high-quality, straightforward to make use of sound-recording system to your cellphone. Though it’s made for a smartphone, don’t suppose this implies it’s fundamental, as all of the options right here make it easier to report one of the best audio attainable together with your smartphone.

Sennheiser’s resolution to make it a full equipment is impressed, as you don’t want to purchase the rest, so it’s ultimate for anybody simply getting began or somebody eager to improve from a extra fundamental setup. Regardless of this, there’s nothing easy concerning the efficiency, and audio high quality is an unlimited enchancment over the built-in mic in your cellphone, and even competent lavalier microphones too.

The flexibility means it’s appropriate for handheld, camera-facing recordings, desktop use, outdoors recordings, and even in noisy environments like the within of a transferring automotive — all with out wires or a Bluetooth wi-fi connection. It’s not low-cost, however the value displays the flexibility, high quality, and welcome simplicity of the general package deal.

Is there a greater different?

There are numerous shotgun microphones the work together with your smartphone, however only a few include the vary of equipment the MKE 400 Cellular Equipment gives. Costs additionally differ wildly. This Comica equipment with a wi-fi microphone system prices $170, whereas Rode’s VideoMic digicam mount set prices $147. A superb lavalier microphone just like the Rode SmartLav+ prices round $90, and Audio Technica’s ATR3350xiS microphone prices about $35.

All will do a greater job at recording audio than the microphone constructed into your cellphone, however think about how and the place you’ll be recording earlier than deciding which one to purchase. Sennheiser isn’t the most affordable model, however high quality is nearly at all times assured.

How lengthy will it final?

The elements included within the Cellular Equipment are rugged and sturdy, being principally produced from varied metals, with solely the bottom of the microphone product of plastic. The common 3.5mm headphone jack to attach the microphone to your cellphone requires a dongle if it doesn’t have the corresponding port, so ensure you have a kind of available. There aren’t any apps that must be put in, and no firmware to replace both. The MKE 400 will final for years offered it’s handled nicely.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. It’s the whole lot it’s essential to vastly enhance the audio recorded by your smartphone.

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