Sennheiser’s new microphones work well with telephones and cameras


Sennheiser is introducing some new microphones that creators can use on consumer-level cameras and phones, including an update to the popular camera-mounted MKE 400 shotgun microphone and new phone-friendly lavaliere microphones.

The updated MKE 400 shotgun microphone appears to be an upgrade from the previous version in many ways – it has a new design with a windshield (it also comes with a furry windsock), a built-in headphone port and, blessedly, can be automatic turned on or off with your camera. It now also comes with a free wind lockout for when it gets really windy. That should help reduce the number of times you’ve finished recording, only to realize that you haven’t actually captured the audio you were hoping for (something I’ve definitely done before).

The renewed MKE 400, with a built-in windscreen.
Image: Sennheiser

The previous version of the MKE 400.
Image: Sennheiser

It is now also designed to work with mobile devices such as phones or tablets; it comes with both a standard TRS cable meant for DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, and a TRRS cable that should work when plugged into a phone’s headphone jack. Or, more likely, a 3.5mm to USB-C or Lightning adapter. In fact, with the microphone’s built-in headphone jack, you should still be able to monitor when shooting with a phone (or with a camera that only has a microphone input and no headphone output).

The TRS and TRRS cables make it easy to use the microphone with both phones and cameras.
Image: Sennheiser

The new features should help make Sennheiser’s microphone a more attractive competitor to Rode’s latest microphones – the older version of the MKE 400’s lack of auto on / off and relatively outdated design made it a hard sell compared to something like this like a Rode VideoMic ProIt’s nice to see Sennheiser catching up with the rest of the market.

However, all upgrades to the MKE 400 come with a bit of cost in terms of batteries: Sennheiser estimated the old MKE 400 would last 300 hours on a single AAA battery, while the new version advertises only 100 hours of use. of two AAAs. The microphone is still on sale for the same $ 199.95.

The USB-C version of the XS Lav.
Image: Sennheiser

Meanwhile, Sennheiser’s new XS Lav microphones are meant to be worn on a shirt collar or lapel and can be useful for creators looking for better audio, but who don’t want to use a large shotgun-style mic. The clip-on microphones come in two versions: one with a 3.5mm TRRS plug and one with a USB-C plug for dongle-free use with phones or computers. Sennheiser had previously made a lavalier microphone for iPhones connected via Lightning, but it seems it is no longer widely available. (You can find one that mysteriously looks exactly like this at Apogee

The USB-C version should be the most compatible as it will be useful for both Android phones and computers with a single audio port (connecting it to a combo headphone jack on, say, a MacBook, it would be difficult to use headphones, but you could use the USB-C port instead). iPhone owners will want to check out the XS Lav with the 3.5mm connector, although an adapter is required.

The 3.5mm version costs $ 49.95 and the USB-C version costs $ 59.95 – both are less expensive than the $ 79 Red smartLav Plus

Both the MKE 400 and XS Lav USB-C can also be purchased as part of a “mobile kit,” which adds $ 30 to the price and includes a small tripod and phone clip mount.