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The hypercardioid Sennheiser MKH 416 is a short 'shotgun' condenser microphone, with an excellent sound quality. It has very good directivity, a sleek design (19 x 250 mm), and has been around since the end of the Seventies, as successor to the similar MKH 415. Ever since it has been the most widely used mic for recording tv and film sound especially on location. It comes in black (earlier also in satin, as can be seen pictured here), and is available in two different versions: T for AB powering (for recording on location) or P for phantom power (nowadays the studio standard), both these types sound exactly the same.
Often it is used with a fish(boom)pole, and because it is lightweight, soundpeople can use it effortless for hours on end. It is a combination of an interference tube(hence the name 'shotgun') microphone and a pressure gradient type. Which makes it useable for more than just recording sound from far away; it is also a very good studio (and live) mic for vocals and instruments, and can be found in many concert halls, as ambience mic. Reporters love it too, for its insensitiviness to handling noise and the high reliability.

In Hollywood it is the favorite mic for voice-overs. If you ever see a movie trailer and hear sentences like: 'In a country where ……..' you can be sure it is a MKH 416 that is used. Somehow the sound produced by this mic rests very good in a mix, giving it both a natural quality and great intellligibility.

The Sennheiser MKH range uses RF circuitry: a non standard technique to power the transducer, and there is no audiotransformer which makes it insensitive for magnetic fields. All in all it is seen by many as the perfect 'desert island mic'; the choice if you could only take one mic with you (plus enough batteries to use it).

Because of all its qualities, it is still sold today, for around a 1000 euros, and highly sought after on the second hand market, where it reaches about half that sum, as can be observed on the Euro market watch page.


Sennheiser MKH 416