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Sennheiser MKH 416

Test & Review

Are you looking for an original condenser microphone for outdoor or home studio use? Discover the advantages of a Sennheiser directional microphone by opting for the MKH 416. Minimalist and yet so appreciated for its versatile moving coil side, it has garnered positive reviews from professionals. But what is it really worth? Let's do a check in.

Sennheiser MKH 416 P48 Test and review

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the Test 👇

Sennheiser MKH 416 Microphone Overview

The Sennheiser MKH 416 is a condenser microphone like the Blue Yeti and the Rode NT USB. In a recording studio, I'm used to seeing fairly large dynamic microphones and micro-USB condenser microphones.

But for the case of MKH 416, I am simply impressed with its unique design which deviates from the usual standard.

Indeed, when we think of condenser microphones, we quickly think of imposing or rectangular studio equipment.

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MKH 416

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Some brands, such as Yéti or the TLM 193 from Neumann , push originality a little further, but still remain on an imposing base.

Sennheiser goes beyond this usual idea to offer me an external microphone that is more versatile and more practical to use.

I also find that the best asset of this directional microphone by far remains its design and its lightness.

A condenser microphone like the Blue Yeti and the Rode NT USB.
Picture from thomann.de

Smaller size for greater versatility

A priori, with a Sennheiser MKH 416 microphone , expect a reduced dynamic description at best. Instead of developing the size of its recorder, case and connector, the brand focuses more on sound quality.

I can even call it a room mic and a handheld mic because of its optimized appearance.

This is probably the thinnest condenser lavalier microphone I have tested to date. You will be of the same opinion when using a microphone of this type. All you have to do is take the microphone and plug it into phantom power to confirm it.

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MKH 416

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In principle, anyone can use it to mix, condense , record and capture sounds . So, no matter if you are a podcast enthusiast, a voice-over artist or a gamer, you can make great use of it.

And given that it's capable of handling fairly high pressure levels, it's well suited as recording equipment .

Sennheiser MKH 416: cinema, radio and studio microphone
Picture from thomann.de

In addition, also consult our complete guide to the Rode NT5 . Discover in this guide our complete test of the Rode NT5 condenser microphone, as well as its manufacturing quality, its sensitivity, its technical characteristics, and our opinion on this microphone.

Sennheiser MKH 416: cinema, radio and studio microphone

For a brief moment, I want to draw your attention to film recording sound recording .

You will probably notice a better consideration of the sound source, regardless of low frequencies or high frequencies.

The electrostatic and magnetic field captured by the converter remains crisp and clear across the line.

It's impressive how the resulting sounds are free of background noise at best . In addition, handling noise is almost non-existent.

 They focus more on thin and light models like the MKH 416.
Picture from reverb.com

But how is it that the sound listened to through headphones responds to vocals without imperfection?

Well, to produce a perfect electrical signal , most cinema producers use specific microphones.

In fact, most of the time they use dynamic pro studio or condenser microphones with an excellent output level.

And to be able to move more easily, they rely more on thin and light models like the Sennheiser MKH 416 .

As you will have understood, many films and recordings shown on TV have used the MKH 416. Its microphone level is simply excellent for recording voices indoors and outdoors.

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MKH 416

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Firstly, its design makes it appear like a professional outdoor microphone . However, the characteristics of its transformer, switch and amplifier also make it useful in studio recording.

You are entitled to a versatile vocal microphone with good value for money and little percussion.

Moreover, associated with a gooseneck acoustic guitar , its response curve remains stable and correct. You will feel like you are recording sound wave frequencies with no apparent acoustic defects.

And to top it off, I am entitled to an optimal audio interface with magnet whose speaker is activated via connectors.

 Versatile side which allows multiple possible applications.
Picture from amazon.com

An excellent shotgun microphone for multiple applications

Compared to other microphones like the Manley Reference Cardioid or the AKG C214, I like the Sennheiser MKH 416 above all for its versatile side which allows for multiple possible applications .

At first glance, you can use it to power the dynamics of different recordings in the studio or outdoors.

Basically, its coil transformer reduces sound faults, and improves the response in cardio diagram. In monitoring, interference disappears with or without a dynamic instrument connected.

The proximity effect is even highlighted to offer you stereo sound quality faithful to the original.

Then, the Sennheiser MKH 416 is also used to capture/capture sound sources broadcast on the radio and amplify the dynamics.

Indeed, this is an excellent USB-style radio microphone with lightweight, shock-resistant capsules.

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MKH 416

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Shockproof, its windshield is combined with a PAD attenuator which reduces interference levels in phantom sources .

A priori, it may well be useful to you to amplify the capture of the bandwidth with or without a preamp.

But I recommend using it with a guitar amp for live recordings with a phantom source.

Shotgun style, your MKH 416 singing microphone offers good intelligibility to acoustic and electrostatic pickups. I have also tested it several times for voice recording in a professional studio.

Every time, I get high level vibrations in SPL without a condenser pop filter. In my opinion, this is indeed a formidable condenser microphone for perfecting your vocal recording technique.

Professional condenser microphone models on the market feature a cardioid polar pattern.
Picture from wikimedia.org

Sennheiser MKH 416: supercadioid/lobe directivity

Most professional condenser microphone on the market have a cardioid polar pattern. The Sennheiser MKH 416 goes even further by offering a supercardioid/lobe polar pattern.

This way, your wireless microphone far exceeds the recording quality standard of other best studio condenser microphones.

In general, the cardio directionality considers all sound waves in front of the microphone input. It precisely captures any treble or bass bandwidth within an inverted heart-shaped radius.

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MKH 416

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In particular, we will talk about directional sound pressure capture. The supercardioid polar pattern provides a much narrower pickup pattern for acoustic instruments ahead of the area in question.

With extreme diaphragm precision, it focuses mainly on particular sources. At the same time, it minimizes the acoustic pressures produced in the surrounding area.

Now you understand why film producers much prefer this type of tripod microphone.

In fact, this type of boom microphone refines the quality of the particular sounds you want to record. It can record the voice of actors and singers well like any professional recording equipment.

The Sennheiser MKH 416 produces good quality sounds in a home studio
Picture from zzounds.com

RF bias instead of DC bias

Also, the majority of condenser microphones on the market use an analog DC bias system.

Once connected to electrical current using an external power supply, it begins to record ribbon sounds. But what's the difference with the RF polarization used by your MKH 416 wireless lavalier microphone?

In principle, the polarization of RF acoustic instruments reduces the sensitivity of the microphone to various external factors.

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MKH 416

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Indeed, your MKH 416 stereo microphone is less sensitive to the presence of humidity, percussion, etc. The studio microphone evokes low and fragile noise levels as well as a better frequency response.

Ultimately, buying a Sennheiser MKH 416 microphone means benefiting from an excellent outdoor or studio recorder without a sound card.

However, I recommend using an external sound card and mixer that provides a phantom power source.

MKH 416 is less sensitive to the presence of humidity, percussion
Picture from audiofanzine.com

Focus on the sound quality of the Sennheiser MKH 416

Like the AT2050 microphone from Audio-Technica , the Sennheiser MKH 416 condenser microphone produces good quality sounds in home studios and outdoors. Unsurprisingly, I expected an audio frequency response between 40 Hz and 20 kHz.

In open circuit free field, the sensitivity reaches a maximum value of 25 mV/Pa at plus or minus 1 dB. Therefore, it fits well into the standard of any kind of microphone for studio recording.

With a nominal impedance of 25 Ohms and a load impedance of 800 Ohms, it can consider all kinds of vibrations .

In any case, the noise level it produces stabilizes at 13 dB for a CCIR weighted value of 24 dB.

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MKH 416

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And as for the maximum sound pressure level supported, it is 130 dB. omnidirectional microphone models that offer more, nevertheless, for the price, I am satisfied.

Once again, the lightness and slim design of this USB recording studio microphone can compensate for its small technical and acoustic shortcomings.

Moreover, it only consumes 2 mA for each recording made for a 48 Volt phantom power supply .

 Dynamic microphones and fairly large micro-USB type condenser microphones.
picture from wedunk.com

The technical characteristics of the Sennheiser MKH 416

  • Type: condenser microphone
  • Style: shotgun
  • Directivity: supercardioid/lobe
  • Frequency response: 40 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 25 mV/Pa
Sennheiser
MKH 416

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  • Load impedance: 800 Ohms
  • Noise level SPL: 130 dB
  • Power consumption: 2 mA
  • Phantom power: 48 Volts
  • Dimensions: Ø 19 x 250 mm
  • Weight: 165g
Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,0 /5
4/5

Value for money

4,8 /5
4.8/5

Global mark

4,5 /5
4.5/5

Our opinion on the MKH 416 microphone

As an essential stand microphone outdoors and in the home studio, I highly recommend the Sennheiser MKH 416. With a shotgun design, shock-resistant diaphragm, RF polarization and supercardioid polar pattern, it far exceeds the standard traditional condenser microphones.

Sennheiser MKH 416 Demo

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MKH 416

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