Shotguns microphones are ideal for interviews in crowded scenes and sporting events. They pick up sound in just one direction and ignore noise from the side and rear. Let’s look at these two shotgun mics from Sennheiser and see which one will be the best for you.
Sennheiser MKE 600 Camcorder Shotgun Microphone
The MKE600 is made to accompany camcorders and DSLR cameras. It’s an excellent mic for film-making, news broadcasts, and interviews even when used at noisy events. It runs off either phantom or battery power. The phantom power it requires is 48 volts by way of an XLR-3 connected cable. If the mic is attached to a camera that can’t provide this voltage, the MKE600 can run up to 150 hours on an AA battery inserted into a compartment onboard. An indicator light warns when the battery is getting low.
The mic is more compact than previous similar ones from Sennheiser, measuring just 10.1 inches long and 0.8 inches in diameter. It weighs just 4.5 ounces without a battery. It comes with a shock mount and a foam windscreen. The shock mount, or hot shoe, is the only complaint users seem to have. Many recommend using something stronger.
In case the conditions are windy or if there’s vibration, the mic has a switchable low-cut filter to reduce noise. This filter is not available on the MK66 that is described below.The MKE600 can withstand up to 132 decibels (SPL) when powered by 48 volts, or up to 126dB on battery power. The frequency response is a wide range from 40Hz up to 20 kHz.
The mic itself is sturdy and comes in an all-metal housing. Sennheiser includes a carrying case and a user manual in several languages.
More features of the Sennheiser MKE600
- Mic pickup pattern is super-cardioid/lobar
- Self-noise, or equivalent noise level, is a maximum of 16dB, so the mic itself doesn’t get in the way of the recording
- Foam windscreen (windshield) attenuates noise below 100Hz by about 25dB
- 1-year limited warranty
Sennheiser ME66 Short Shotgun Capsule Head for K6 Series
The ME66 mic is made to be used with Sennheiser’s K6 and K6P powering modules. In this respect it’s quite different from the MKE600 microphone described above. The MKE600 can be powered by multiple sources, but this ME66 only works with those specific Sennheiser parts.
Both of these mics are highly directional, ignoring sound from the sides and rear, focusing in on the target. Like the MKE600, the ME66 is a great tool for film-making and interviews at live events.Since it picks up what is right in front of it, it works well on booms.
Without the powering module it’s lighter and smaller than the MKE600. The mic is housed in an anodized matte-black metal housing that resists scratches so it stays looking good under hard use. It doesn’t come with any accessories like the other mic does.
It has the same frequency response as the MKE600 but it has a slightly lower maximum SPL of 125dB. (This is not the ideal mic for recording close-up at rock concerts.) It has low impedance of only 200 ohms and its equivalent, or self-noise level, is only 10dB. This is lower than the self-noise rating on the MKE-600. This mic really doesn’t get in the way during a recording.
More features of the Sennheiser ME66
- Back-electret head
- Pickup pattern is super-cardioid/lobar
- Measures 8.7 inches long without powering module, and weighs 2.9 ounces
- 2-year limited warranty
Either one of these microphones will serve you well if you are making films or recording interviews, especially if the interviews take place in noisy environments.
If you already have the Sennheiser K6 or K6P modules, or plan to get them, consider getting the ME66 microphone. It’s made specifically for them. This mic would also be better suited for a more experienced user.
If you want the flexibility of being able to run the microphone off of an AA battery or an XLR-3 source, go with the MKE600. This mic also has a low-cut filter that can be switched on and off to cut down low-frequency noise. It comes with a wind screen, shock mount, and carrying case, where the ME66 doesn’t come with any accessories.
Click here to purchase Sennheiser MKE 600 on Amazon!
Click here to purchase Sennheiser ME66 on Amazon!
Actually, you can use the ME66 with no battery in the KP module and run it on phantom power. I mostly use it this way, recording wildlife sound. With recorders that don’t provide phantom power, I put a battery in the module. So it’s very versatile.