Sennheiser recently introduced a new compact microphone, the MKE 200, that is more than just yet another Rode VideoMicro clone. I paired it up with the Sony a7S III, GoPro HERO9, and iPhone to test its sound quality in this hands-on review.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 measures in at 2.7 inches long, weighs 1.7 ounces, and features a super-cardioid microphone that focuses sound pickup from the front. The microphone capsule sits on top of an integrated shock mount which is itself housed inside the built-in perforated plastic wind shield we see from the exterior. This design makes the MKE 200 feel positively solid while mounted to a camera. For added wind dampening, the MKE 200 ships with a removable faux-fur deadcat cover.
What I Like
- As a microphone, you would hope my first list item would be its sound quality. Well, here it is. As you can hear from the video above, it greatly improves sound quality from every device it’s attached to. When compared to the popular VideoMicro, it also holds its own.
- The compact size and light weight means it’s a negligible carry along item. Whether you’re going to put it to use or not on any particular day, it’s not taking up much space to always have it with you. I find a lot of times with mobile content creation that it’s usually a very spontaneous act, and being able to always carry something that elevates that is a nice positive.
- It comes bundled with both a 3.5mm TRS cable for cameras and a 3.5mm TRRS cable for smartphones.
- I like the design of the MKE 200 with its concealed shock mount. I prefer it over the floppy external shock mount like the VideoMicro. It keeps the camera setup feeling nice and solid rather than rattly.
- The built-in plastic windscreen proves to be beneficial in that its less to worry about while shooting, especially when you can’t be monitoring your own sound all the time. Above in the outdoor example shots we can hear that it handles wind quite well on its own without needing to step up to the included deadcat.
- Being a compact microphone, it relies on power coming from the camera so there’s no batteries to carry or worry about charging.
- Not to go on too much talking about the VideoMicro in a Sennheiser review, but at some - point - it - becomes - ridiculous how often it’s been tastelessly mimicked. I’m just saying that it’s refreshing to see the MKE 200 be its own unique product in the compact microphone space, and be a competently good one at that.
What I Don’t Like
- Not necessarily a “don’t like” item, but I do recognize that the front-facing cable jack is different. You may not like it simply because it looks different. In use, I do think it’s really no better or worse than the traditional rear plug. Not being right in the way of the rear monitor is a positive, but I do wish the cord was shorter for less chance of bouncing on the lens up front.
- The price is probably a touch too steep. Yes, I do think it’s an acceptable price for what you get, however as I’ve brought up an annoying number of times already, the VideoMicro has dominated this space for a long time and is $40 less. Even dropping the price $20 might convince many more people to go for it and “step up” to the newcomer MKE 200 instead.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 costs $99.95 and is available to order now.
Would be really curious how it sounds versus the deity D3 (non pro). It's what I've been using recently.
I might consider to use this as a counter balance for my gimbal who always heavy at the lens front.
I really hoped this worked out for my Sony cameras. I have MKE600, MKE400, Rode Go and wanted a shorter mic profile for 2 a9 and a7riv. Voices sound really tinny(higher treble) and side rejection is not great. The range of pickup is also very short so I guess it's more for vloggers pointing the camera arms length from their faces. I also pickup a lot of handling noise even if I am slowly zooming on my Tamron 70-180. I might use this for better audio for my DJI Osmo action as I can attach it directly to the side hotshoe on the Osmo action cage.
IMO, $100 for a good quality, good sounding mic is a bargain, so I wouln't consider that a negative.
It is a negative though if the $100 gives you shitty sound and/or poor isolation through the mount.
Ted, I have the Shure MV-88 for my iPhone for years and that mic is small and versatile. The audio quality is great up close. This is similar. You really have to get close. The only difference is that with an iPhone it is not as offensive when you get closer vs. shoving a Sony a9, 24-70/2.8 and mic. I'm still trying it out. Today something strange happened. There was no audio on the video track. Not sure what happened. Perhaps I bumped the cable and something came loose.
Tools can only do so much, and when worked outside their design limits, obviously performance decreases. So completely understand that these small mics will not work like a Sennheiser 416, not designed to.
I use Filmic Pro for my phone recording, which gives you an audio meter. You will know if you are not getting audio while recording.