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Sennheiser MKH questions Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Sennheiser MKH questions

I’ve been using a borrowed pair of mkh80 for a few weeks now and I am astounded at how good they sound everywhere I use them. They make my schoeps sound dull and lifeless (and noisy!).

For those of you who have used many of these mics, how do the mkh 20/30/40/50 and the 8020-40-50 series compare sonically to the mkh80? Should I expect them to sound basically the same?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

You can have my MKH8040 pair, acquired in 2008, (and my Gefell M296 omnis, 2003) when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

Does that help?

One old guy's opinion.

HB


(I had Very Good Advice when I went looking for mics for recording choirs and orchestras)
Old 1 week ago
  #3
I own pairs of MKH 8040 and MKH 8050. In a slightly controversial prior post, I called them out as the least-costly "A list" SDC's available. They have the robust low end of earlier MKH mics, but without the slightly "boxy" room tone I have sometimes noticed when using MKH 80's as my main pair. I also feel they are slightly less bright, and I usually find that to be a good thing. I think (without actually checking the polar plots) that this is because their HF patterns have a bit of polar narrowing, and this serves to darken the reverberant field pickup. The only "two digit" MKH mics I actually own now are MKH 30's (I own four of them!), and I would say that those can occasionally exhibit a bit of HF "hardness" that I don't hear in the later models.

A week ago I was visiting a lutherie shop specializing in bespoke mandolins and guitars. I recorded all their demo instruments with a stereo pair of MKH 8040's. The instrument makers and players were very familiar with these instruments and had already tried recording them with a pair of cheaper SDC's. When they heard what I was getting with my MKH pair, they were absolutely floored. I've since played those clips for a couple of other players here at home, and each has reacted the same way: "Holy [email protected] that sounds good!"


David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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fred2bern's Avatar
 

Hello,

To me it is really a matter of taste and also how you want to use the microphones.

I have some MKH 800 Twin and MKH80 and I really love them.

Some weeks ago I asked Sennheiser to send me some MKH40 and MKH8040 for a symphonic recording prod, I wanted to change my violins 1/2 and viola spots. I was excited by the MKH8040: I heard really nice recordings with it (also here in Gearslutz) as main and it is really small; this is an asset when using as a spot microphone on live recordings.
I found the MKH40 too flat, without life and the MKH8040 was nice but didn't work with the main pair (M150). I finally baught 8 MK22...

Interesting... In another recording last summer I had the MKH800Twins as main and 2 MK21 on a Steinway, I found the same problem. When opening the piano spots, it didn't mix really well with the main pair (no need to talk about phase, delay between spot and main etc., I'm not the best but I know my job).

It's more a matter of "colour" of the sound, how the frequency responses mix together.
But if I was looking for a cardio pair as main I would choose the MKH8040.

Of course and as usual, just my opinion.


Fred.

Last edited by fred2bern; 1 week ago at 07:26 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Lives for gear
I love my MKH80
Its a wonderful match for a MKH30 in sum and difference
Im awaiting my new MKH 800s which are being built to order (6 weeks or more!)
I expect them to have the MKH characteristics I know and love but with added conveniences
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Im awaiting my new MKH 800s which are being built to order (6 weeks or more!)
I expect them to have the MKH characteristics I know and love but with added conveniences
Roger
Did you opt for the switchable ones or the Twins? Tempted by a tweakable M in MS?
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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emrr's Avatar
I have an MKH800 Twin, a pair of MKH30's, and an MKH40. The Twin has a brighter top end by a bit in cardioid as compared to the MKH40, and it does show up on the provided graphs. The 40 comes off as rounder sounding. I have not had the 30 or 40 next to the Twin for a direct comparison shootout, but I find the general tone of the 30 and 40 more similar. I run the Twin and the 30 together in DMS quite a bit, and will automate the Twin pattern section to section at times.

Graphs top to bottom are 800T, 40, and 30.
Attached Thumbnails
Sennheiser MKH questions-screen-shot-2018-12-07-9.25.43-am.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Comparing the 800 to the 8050, the 800 has a huge, hazy, glowing, treble emphasized character sound with an artificial sounding bass response. The character sound dominates and intensifies a recording. The 8050 sounds darker, more detailed and refined, with a more pleasant and realistic bass and low mids response. It blends well as a spot mic. Compared to the 800 it responds much better to eq processing.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ithinknot View Post
Did you opt for the switchable ones or the Twins? Tempted by a tweakable M in MS?
Tried the Twin but prefer the switched 800
I like direct to stereo , not post faffing
If the 800s are as good as my 80 I will be happy
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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matucha's Avatar
I have MKH80s (2x), MKH30, MKH60, MKH405, Schoeps MK21 (2x), KM84 (2x). Gefell M300 (2x). I don't track much orchestral and use them mostly for acoustic instruments or for foley/afmosferes/sfx.


MKH80 are the most clean sounding out of them and my preference for very quiet sounds. MKH60 should be even quieter, but it doesn't feel that way (it's great though).
To me MKH80s are almost perfect mics when it comes to foley/fx, just place the mic at the right spot and the results sound right. No missing weight, no annoying peaks in the highend, good detail yet the dynamics are well behaved.

With music/instruments. There are three reocuring things that come to mind.
1) "Missing air", some really delicate stuff can sound a bit closed on the top, while Schoeps or Neumann are perfectly fine in this regard.
2) "Too big lowend/lowmids", thing that can be hard to get rid off at times, it's as if some of the upper harmonics were supressed in the body of the instrument and at the same time the same frequencies are present in the transients.
3) "Sounding hard" because of point 2). Upper midrange on this othervise very full sounding mic can get a bit hard esp on transients. Not that they would jump out at you, it's more in the character.

So I don't really love MKH80 as a main pair on things that should sound very open/airy. Schoeps wins that hands down. They are nice as drum overheads, giving you really full sounding drums, but KM84 integrate better with the spots (KM84 are lighter sounding). I like them on piano (for very clear "pop kind of" sound), flutes/saxes/clarinet spots and sometimes they are the mic for mid-scooped acoustic guitars. It's not bad as a vocal mic too.


MKH60 - has great balance for voiceovers IMO, it's super reliable in terms of results too. I never needed to change it for different mic, because it would sound wrong for the voice. The lowend and depth isn't as big as on MKH80, which is a good thing for vo in my world.


MKH30 - for some reason I don't like it as much as MKH60 and MKH80. It's like all the ingrediences are the same, yet the results are a tiny bit more bland? Serves me well as a side in MS.

MKH405 - softer sounding than the MKHx0, "fat pillowy sound". Surprisingly low noise for vintage SD and still very respectable side by side with schoeps and gefell.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
You can have my MKH8040 pair, acquired in 2008, (and my Gefell M296 omnis, 2003) when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

Does that help?


I have pairs of MKH 20 / 30 / 40 / 800 / 8020 /8040 and Gefell M 930 and 221s will be coming soon - and I am looking forward to trying the new M 102 1" omnis when they come out next year.

Like you - once acquired, never sold.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by matucha View Post
MKH30 - for some reason I don't like it as much as MKH60 and MKH80. It's like all the ingrediences are the same, yet the results are a tiny bit more bland? Serves me well as a side in MS.
I have a pair that I love, either in Blumlein or MS etc. If you're not a fan of the MKH30 sound for a main pair, you can always use them as spots.


Or give them to me
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Lives for gear
MKH 30 are seriously good
A benchmark for classical critical distance rendition and even attenuated spotting
However spots can never quite render true values to the real sonic endeavour
Merely a theatrical possibility quite unknown to the elite listener in the finest seat
However Smoke and Mirrors is the essence of entertainment
This always must be challenged
Roger
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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matucha's Avatar
Oh, yep I liked MKH30 as spot on flute once and I'd not hesitate to using it on many other things (as spot or in blumlein). I just don't track orchestral stuff much and in my little studio I have many other choices so it stays in the role of S of MS in my mobile SFX gathering rig. Which gets used a lot.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
I own pairs of MKH 8040 and MKH 8050. In a slightly controversial prior post, I called them out as the least-costly "A list" SDC's available.
When they heard what I was getting with my MKH pair, they were absolutely floored. I've since played those clips for a couple of other players here at home, and each has reacted the same way: "Holy [email protected] that sounds good!"


David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Yes! I have been floored by them, but was not able to consistently use them as mains. Some situations were inappropriate for such detail and needed a more musical and forgiving mic such as MK4 or MK21. I could not afford to keep them for so few occasions.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S View Post
Yes! I have been floored by them, but was not able to consistently use them as mains. Some situations were inappropriate for such detail and needed a more musical and forgiving mic such as MK4 or MK21. I could not afford to keep them for so few occasions.
Hi Don,

I agree that the Schoeps usually offer a "softer focus", though I find the MK4's do have a certain midrange "etch" that is helpful at typical mains distances and less appreciated when used as a spot. I still have the MK21 capsules you sold me some years ago, which I gather you've since replaced. They've grown on me over the years as I learned to use them better.

David
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Nut
 

as a spot, I've loved my schoeps mk22 but in comparison to the mkh80 the schoeps sounds hazy and dull.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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Don S's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
Hi Don,

I agree that the Schoeps usually offer a "softer focus", though I find the MK4's do have a certain midrange "etch" that is helpful at typical mains distances and less appreciated when used as a spot. I still have the MK21 capsules you sold me some years ago, which I gather you've since replaced. They've grown on me over the years as I learned to use them better.

David
Hello David. Yes I have, but I wish I had my original pair! I'm glad they went to someone putting them to good use. I had no idea who you were back then!
I agree with the comment about MK4, they don't get much use these days. The MK21 and MK2S are my go to mics these days.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Plush's Avatar
I did have a pair of MKH800 mics that I really liked as a flute mic. I thought that it was really the best ever for flute pick up. Used to use it with James Galway.

As a main pair or even as a spot microphone I began to agree with Tony F. that they had a synthetic sound; a plastick-y and fake detail sound.

So I dumped them over to the Chicago Symphony.

There they reside as woodwind mics.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
still have the MK21 capsules you sold me some years ago, which I gather you've since replaced. They've grown on me over the years as I learned to use them better.
the 21 can sound like an incredible ribbon mic, by rolling off the highest frequencies and creating a steadily rising eq slope to lowest frequency
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
As a main pair or even as a spot microphone I began to agree with Tony F. that they had a synthetic sound; a plastick-y and fake detail sound.
I was wondering if they maybe responsible for the somewhat plasticky sound of the strings and other sections in this recording. I have the hi-res version of this and its disappointing.
YouTube

I find this to be the case when I use the MKH on some material. I have three MHK30 and two MKH40. The cardioids I find to be pretty boring, but the 30's are much much more interesting. Great spot mics in particular.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Yannick's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I was wondering if they maybe responsible for the somewhat plasticky sound of the strings and other sections in this recording. I have the hi-res version of this and its disappointing.
YouTube

I find this to be the case when I use the MKH on some material. I have three MHK30 and two MKH40. The cardioids I find to be pretty boring, but the 30's are much much more interesting. Great spot mics in particular.
That disc must have been recorded with broken mic preamps on the strings !
I have never heard a MKH mic sound like that.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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emrr's Avatar
This is way off topic for most people here, but being mainly a studio guy in the near field who uses a lot of old colored preamps, I'm finding the strong detail and linearity an asset that allows the color of the preamp to present more clearly, so if you want to change the filter on the camera you get a more obvious change than you do with many other mics.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I have the hi-res version of this and its disappointing.
YouTube
Sounds like the orchestra has been chopped in half and squished all the way to the sides. Of course, that's on the engineer, not the mics. Cellos are tiny.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
RPC
Gear Addict
 

I have a pair each of the MKH800 and MKH800 Twin. They're great mikes on great musicians, but have something of a "merciless" quality. I record a few youth orchestras and the combination of young string players and MKH800s is, shall we say, suboptimal. But when I'm headed into an unknown situation, the Twins are usually what's in the bag.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse View Post
Sounds like the orchestra has been chopped in half and squished all the way to the sides. Of course, that's on the engineer, not the mics. Cellos are tiny.
Anyone know this team and their normal kit/methods?
Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff, Daniil Trifonov, The Philadelphia Orchestra • Yannick Nezet-Seguin - Destination Rachmaninov • Departure (Piano Concertos 2 & 4) (File, FLAC) | Discogs
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Plush's Avatar
Don't really know nothing about those people other than the main dude used to be doing recordings at the Philly hall. I think he is a Polyhymnia orbit person.

Is the recording a good sound outing?
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
I was wondering if they maybe responsible for the somewhat plasticky sound of the strings and other sections in this recording. I have the hi-res version of this and its disappointing.
YouTube

I find this to be the case when I use the MKH on some material. I have three MHK30 and two MKH40. The cardioids I find to be pretty boring, but the 30's are much much more interesting. Great spot mics in particular.
Sorry if I've missed something in this thread but there are two DG trailers for this release. The standard one (customary brief interviews plus clips from sessions) shows mics at various points, e.g. 0'44:

YouTube

The second trailer is.....something quite different:

YouTube

I'll avoid any comments on the contents of that second trailer, other than noting the lush production values.

What's most striking about the mics seen in the first trailer is.....there are so many of them! Expensive production values all round (not that it's done anything for the sound, which I'm tempted to observe is what in philosophy would be termed 'a category mistake'). Well, how else to spend all that Putin money?
Old 1 week ago
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Pk View Post
What's most striking about the mics seen in the first trailer is.....there are so many of them! Expensive production values all round (not that it's done anything for the sound, which I'm tempted to observe is what in philosophy would be termed 'a category mistake'). Well, how else to spend all that Putin money?
I got so derailed by that illogical first cut to a Colorado narrow gauge steam engine that I lost the entire train of thought.

Err...puns not totally intended.

There was some WEIRD decision-making going on in this trailer. Maybe there's some backstory to Rachmaninov's life I'm unaware of (not a fan of his music), but this is a weird video.

Anyway, microphones.

To your point about many mics, since I've recently been taking compact binoculars to the LA Phil for a few recent concerts, I've been stunned at the number of mics mounted for what I assume are standard archival recordings. It's staggering. Schoeps CCMs growing up on the stage like grass. Coles on harps. MKH800s overhead, all over the place. DPAs sprinkled liberally. Just...mics everywhere.

I can't imagine how complex the job of those engineers is.

As for MKH800s, in the recent thread I started on the Tallis Scholars and their Merton Chapel recordings with Philip Hobbs, a pair of those mics seems to be the first choice for that combination of artists and space.

Early music / Tallis Scholars
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