Sennheiser has been wildly popular among indie filmmakers and creators dating back to the early Canon 5D MK II and 7D days. Their wireless EW 100 G3 series was and is still one of our favorite wireless audio systems of all time (and we still use it today).
When it comes to on-camera microphones, the best from Sennheiser is the MKE 400, a super-cardioid condenser microphone. It's compact, runs for 300 hours on a single AAA battery, has switchable sensitivity options, and features an external 3.5mm input jack to monitor through headphones. Surprisingly, the original MKE 400 was introduced well over a decade ago.
Sennheiser has now updated the MKE 400 with a new design that more resembles the MKE 200, with a slightly different frequency response, improved sensitivity, and better distortion response.
Designed for vloggers, videographers, or anyone with a camera that needs better audio than the onboard microphone, the MKE 400 is a directional shotgun microphone with a super-cardioid polar pattern and a frequency response of 50-20,000 Hz. A super-cardioid microphone does exceptionally well at rejecting audio from the rear or the sides, making it ideal for interviews and talking heads in noisy environments.
Credit: SennheiserWhat's new about the second-gen MKE 400 is the design. The interference tube is mounted on two shock mounts that are wrapped around the capsule for better handling noise. The design allows you to shoot without needing to worry about camera shake affecting your audio quality. The previous generation had external shock mounts which could cause some audio interference when bumped. This design addresses that issue.
In terms of functionality, the new MKE 400 is a lot like the original. It carries over the 3-step sensitivity switch to adjust the audio level input. It also has a low-cut filter and a 3.5mm input to monitor the audio via headphones. The MKE 400 also has an integrated 8-step volume control knob to adjust the audio level of the headphone input.
Included in the box are 3.5mm TRS and TRRS locking cables to pair with DSLR, mirrorless, or mobile devices. The cold shoe allows you to attach the MKE 400 to your camera, and the 1/4-20" thread can be used to attach the mic to a boom pole or camera rig.
For power, the MKE 400 runs on two AAA batteries for up to 100 hours of continuous audio. A low battery indicator will warn you when you have three hours of power left. Additionally, you can choose to automatically power on/off the microphone with the camera, saving you battery life.
The MKE 400 comes with both cables as well as a windshield. Sennheiser has also made the MKE 400 available in kit form with its MKE 400 Mobile Kit. The kit adds a Sennheiser Smartphone Clamp and Manfrotto PIXI Mini tripod to the setup.
The new MKE 400 retails for the same price as the original at $199. The MKE 400 Mobile Kit is available for $229. Both are available for pre-order now. The shorter MKE 200 is available for $99 if you're looking to save some money.