Sennheiser at IBC 2010
The MKH 8000 series
Sound engineers in broadcasting, studio recording, film scoring and location/mobile recording can now also benefit from the advantages of the MKH 800 TWIN dual-capsule microphone in a fully digital environment. A special adaptor cable is now available to connect the TWIN with the AES42 digital module of the MKH 8000 series.
The TWIN principle
The MKH 800 TWIN uses a signal principle that is as simple as it is unique: the audio signals from its two capsules are fed separately to the mixing console or portable mixer, enabling the engineer to set an infinite variety of pick-up patterns at the console. This is particularly useful with slung microphones or when the sound engineer wishes to experiment with the pick-up pattern to suit the acoustics of a difficult room. The MKH 800 TWIN even makes it possible to record the two capsules separately and set the ideal directional characteristics for the recording at a later time, in the peace and quiet of the post-production studio.
“Especially for large recordings, this takes the pressure off sound engineers at the session and gives them the creative freedom to experiment with small pick-up pattern variations,” explains Kai Lange, Sennheiser Product Manager for wired professional microphones. “By changing the fader setting and the signal phase, they can set any pick-up pattern they wish from omni to figure-8, as well as an infinite number of intermediate patterns.”
The MKH 800 TWIN has a natural and warm, yet neutral and transparent sound. Because of its minimal inherent self-noise, even the subtlest sound structures and the depth and character of the room are clearly audible. The frequency response extends to 50kHz, thus improving the resolution for complex acoustic details, especially for top-quality digital formats with high sampling rates. Because it is so compact, the MKH 800 TWIN can be positioned inconspicuously – a significant advantage for film score or live location recordings. In addition to a nickel-coloured model there is a dark grey Nextel-coated version, ideal for these purposes as it does not reflect light. The Nextel version is the same colour as the MKH 8000 series of microphones.
The digital module
The MZD 8000 AES42 digital module digitises the sound directly behind the microphone, thus ensuring that the natural sound of the MKH 800 TWIN is faithfully retained along the entire signal chain. Due to this immediate digitisation, the signal is not prone to cable losses, nor to signal disruptions caused by interference or cable capacitance. Using an AES42 interface (Mode 2, e.g. one of the DMI units from Neumann), microphone settings, such as the low-cut filter and pre-attenuation, can easily be remote-controlled. The MZD 8000 AES42 digital module is unique in that both capsules are kept totally separate through the module as a digital stereo signal, so only a single MZD 8000 is needed to digitise both capsules of the MKH 800 TWIN.
Kai Lange explains: “With the MKH 800 TWIN, you are now free to choose whether to make a fully digital recording with the MZD 8000 AES42 digital module and new MZLX 8003 adaptor cable, or to connect the microphone on its own via an analogue signal chain. Sound engineers and studios can thus make a decision based on their particular technical environment – and they can feel confident that they are fully prepared, whatever the future may hold.”
Its characteristic antenna is a familiar sight on stage and in the TV studio: the SKM 5200 is the top-of-the-range microphone in audio specialist Sennheiser’s wireless range. The handheld transmitter is now available in the new mark II version, which provides sound engineers with a switching bandwidth of up to 184 MHz while still offering the same excellent transmission reliability – ensuring that they can flexibly select frequencies and avoid interference. A further highlight is the “Low Intermodulation” mode, which extends the number of usable channels within a given frequency range. The SKM 5200-II rounds off Sennheiser’s II models. The beginning of the year saw the launch of the SK 5212-II bodypack transmitter and the EM 3732-II receiver family. With their wide switching bandwidth, these models are ideal for international productions and multi-channel applications.
“The SKM 5200-II is currently the wireless microphone with the widest switching bandwidth available on the market,” explained Astrid Vettin, Portfolio Development Manager at Sennheiser. “The microphone offers optimum sound quality and maximum flexibility for every type of production, from concerts to TV reporting. On the RF side, the handheld transmitter features outstanding transmission reliability with its new switching bandwidth – extended from 36 MHz to up to more than 180 MHz – , its switchable output power and its “Low Intermodulation” mode. On the audio side, we have the premium capsules from Sennheiser and Neumann, adjustable sensitivity from ‑40 to 0 dB and a switchable low-frequency filter.”
“Low Intermodulation” mode
Like the SK 5212-II bodypack transmitter, the SKM 5200-II is equipped with a “Low Intermodulation”mode, which ensures even more reliable transmission in multi-channel applications. This mode reduces what is known as transmitter intermodulation, which limits the number of usable channels and occurs whenever several transmitters are used in close proximity.
The “Low Intermodulation” mode enables the sound engineer to pack around 30 percent more channels than before into a given frequency band with an RF output power of 10 mW. As a result, the available spectrum can be used more efficiently – or the sound engineer can simply benefit from the increased reliablity that this mode offers. What is more, the wireless handheld transmitter can be operated in standard mode at 10 mW, thus extending the operating time, or can transmit at 50 mW to increase the range.
The SKM 5200-II handheld transmitter is available in the colours black, nickel and steel blue and can be fitted with the familiar Sennheiser and Neumann capsules. The frequency ranges of the wireless microphone are 470 to 638 MHz (L-band), 614 to 798 MHz (N-band) and 776 to 866 MHz (P-band). A special US frequency version (N-US) covers the range from 614 to 697.9 MHz.
MKE 1 clip-on microphone
A dream come true for costume designers and sound engineers alike: audio specialist Sennheiser will launch a paintable version of its miniature MKE 1 at the IBC in Amsterdam. For drama, plays, musicals, shows and televised events, the clip-on mic can be coloured with markers or spray paint, blending in the tiny lavalier with the artist’s costume and make-up.
“The MKE 1 has already become a firm favourite with theatres, musicals, live events and TV shows,” explains Kai Lange, product manager for wired professional microphones at Sennheiser. “The new, paintable MKE 1-M is the icing on the cake, so to speak. Now a show can have both: impeccable audio and perfect looks, even during close-ups.”
Impressive sound, impressively small
Like its sister models, the MKE 1-M has a full and natural sound with plenty of lower mid-range and excellent presence. It measures a miniscule 3.3mm across, the cable has a diameter of only 1mm and is specially coated to avoid tangling. The clip-on microphone features a user-friendly omni-directional pattern but nevertheless predominantly picks up direct sound with relatively little ambient noise. From within, the capsule of the MKE 1-M is protected against moisture by a thin, acoustically open stainless steel membrane. This membrane has excellent moisture rejection properties (you could even pop it in a glass of water) so the microphone is safe to use in situations where the presenter may get wet, as well as for normal sweat protection. For additional protection, the MKE 1-M can be fitted with a multi-purpose cap that prevents large water or sweat droplets blocking the sound inlet. It also doubles as a windshield with a slight presence boost (1.5dB at 10kHz). All capsule contacts are sealed inside the casing and the moulded coating.
The MKE 1-M is available now and comes complete with the multi-purpose cap and an additional small frequency response cap, which gives a treble boost of 2.5dB (at 10kHz) for applications where the mic is hidden within the costume or when more brilliance is needed to be added to a voice. Also included are three make-up protection caps and several thin clear plastic tubes pre-fitted to the cable for protecting it when it is attached with clips or adhesive tape.
The optional MZ 1 accessory kit contains different clips for securely attaching the microphone, plus various accessories for protection against the wind. It includes a protective cover made of soft plastic, two mini-clips, two “Dracula” mounts, two small magnetic mounts including a lanyard, and two mini-clamps that are rotatable through 360° (all clips and mounts available in black and white). In order to reduce wind noise, two windshield baskets (black and beige) as well as foam windshields in black, white, beige and brown are included as well.
The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. The family-owned company, which was established in 1945, recorded sales of around €390 million in 2009. Sennheiser employs more than 2,100 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. The company is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico and the USA, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers), and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres).