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New shotgun microphones come out every once in a while, and more often than not, their arrival is met with little fanfare. However, when a giant like Sennheiser releases new models, the professional production world stands up and pays attention. Sound engineers have relied on tools like the MKH-416 shotgun microphone for several decades, for everything from the smallest jobs to their most mission-critical work. The entire MKH series has built a well-deserved reputation as being among the most durable and best sounding location audio equipment ever made. That’s why the recent announcement of the new MKH 8060 short shotgun and the MKH 8070 long shotgun is a big deal in the little world of professional sound capture.
The new Senneheiser MKH 8060: short in size, huge in sound
What does the new MKH 8060 add to this family of world renowned microphones? To my ears it sounded like a new and improved version of the venerable MKH 416. However, the MKH 8060 isn’t here to replace the MKH 416. It’s a complementary tool, and it’s a part of Sennheiser’s 8000 Series of modular microphones. Think of it as a much shorter and vastly more versatile MKH 416, with a bigger and more forgiving sound. Like the MKH 416, the MKH 8060 has the ability to make the human voice come to the front of a mix, while still retaining a natural feeling. The MKH 8060 outshines the MKH 416 when the sound source isn’t directly in front of the mic. Off-axis sounds don’t get thin and tinny—they still sound natural, they’re just lower in volume than the sound source in front of the mic.
The output of the MKH 8060 is a bit hotter than the MKH 416, so keep that in mind if you get the chance to A/B them yourself. The MKH 8060 I tested had a fuller representation of the frequencies than you’re used to hearing in a shotgun (more lows and lower mids), but it doesn’t sound like a studio mic. It has that uncanny immediacy that you get with shotguns, but it was more lifelike and present sounding. The MKH 8060 doesn’t have low-frequency roll off or signal attenuating pad switches, but the good news is that they can be added when needed.
Add filtering to any 8000 series mic with the MZF 8000
The 8000 series is modular, meaning that you can unscrew the module at the end of the mic and attach other kinds of modules to alter and expand its functionality. If a -10dB pad and a low-cut switch are a necessity, you can simply purchase the Sennheiser MZF 8000 Filter Module and screw it on. The nice thing about this system is, once you invest in one of these mics, you’re opening yourself up to the entire 8000 line. The MKH 8060 comes with the MZX 800 XLR Module, which enables you to use the microphone with standard analog equipment. The MZX 800 module can be unscrewed and used with any of the other Series 8000 capsules.
What’s really remarkable is that you can go completely digital with the new MZD 8000 output module. This transforms any of the Sennheiser 8000 Series microphones into a totally digital device. If you own a mixer or a recorder that accepts an AES42 signal (like the Sound Devices 788T), you can take full advantage of this new technology. The benefit gained is that the digital converter inside the MZD 8000 is tuned to match the specific needs of the 8000 Series microphones. The end result is a richer, more natural sound capture.
If you want to explore the other microphones in the 8000 family, all of the other capsules are available separately at B&H. The addition of the MKHC-8040 Compact Cardioid Capsule will transform your MZX 800 XLR Module into a stellar and versatile studio microphone, and an excellent tool for closely booming interior dialog. The bulk of your interior dialog booming can be handled beautifully with the addition of the MKHC-8050 Compact Supercardioid Capsule. When you need to record ambiance on set or in the studio, the MKHC-8020 Compact Omnidirectional Capsule will do an outstanding job of it. By investing in one of these microphones, you can see how it’s easy to build out your Series 8000 kit into a seamless and complete microphone solution.
Capture the crunch of sports and the music of Mother Nature with the MKH 8070
Long shotguns are among the best tools available for recording the sounds of sports from the sidelines, and for harnessing the sounds of nature. The new MKH 8070 brings the unparalleled sound quality and all of the modular versatility of the Sennheiser 8000 Series to this arena of sound capture. Nature documentarians seeking the utmost in fidelity have a formidable new option, and sports broadcasters will be pleased with the improved sonic performance and implementation options that the MKH 8070 will provide.
If you need to mount an 8000 series microphone into an installation and make it as unobtrusive as possible, you can screw the capsule of your choice into either the MZL 8003 (10 feet) or the MZL 8010 (33 feet) remote cables. Any other necessary modules can be screwed into the other end in order to save space. There’s a complete line of Series 8000 products available at B&H which make it possible to achieve the best sound possible, for everything from podium-miking live televised events, to complete systems for panel discussions and news conferences.
Depending on the visual impact the microphone needs to make, two 8000 Series table stands are available: the MZT 8000 and the more modern-looking MZT 8001. The MZG 8000 Swivel Joint makes it possible to position the capsule of your choice where you need it, and a range of extension tubes (15cm, 30cm, 60cm and 120cm), vertical extension bars (30cm, 60cm and 120cm) and bar connectors (the MZGE 8000 and 8002) make it possible to create the ideal custom boom install. The MZH-8000 enables you to utilize your 8000 series equipment in a ceiling mount installation.
The nice thing about this system is that if you own other microphones in the 8000 series, you can use the capsules, cables, modules and components interchangeably as you need them. You can start your kit out with the new MKH 8060 for general boompole use and build it out to a complete solution for every facet of your work. When you make the investment in a professional shotgun microphone, you gain the immediate benefit of having top-notch sound, and you also have the option to use components of your mic in other capacities in the future. That’s a win-win situation for you, and a good reason why the new MKH 8060 and 8070 will be welcome new additions to your sonic toolbox.