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Post by Rene Asologuitar »

Pls help in my search for info and usage of this long and thin microphone.
I acquired it recently, but do not know its proper use.
I also do not know its power requirement.
Thank you in advance for any help.
Rene Asologuitar
Posts: 63 Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2022 5:06 am


Post by Mike Stranks »

Just use any well-known Internet Search Engine... you'll be overwhelmed with 'hits' covering all possible aspects of the use, performance, specification etc etc of this microphone.

If you then want to come back with more 'targeted/specific' questions then feel free... :)

... but at this point, as you'll quickly discover, it wouldn't be high on my list of 'live-sound' mics...
Mike Stranks
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Posts: 9297 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am


Post by Hugh Robjohns »

The MKH815 is the long obsolete forerunner of the MKH816, the latter being superceded by the MKH70 which has itself been replaced with the MKH8070.

It is a long 'shotgun' mic -- so-called because of its superficial resemblance to a long gun barrel. More accurately called an 'interference tube' or 'line+gradient' mic.

It has a hypercardioid capsule with a very long slotted tube placed in front, the latter narrowing the polar pattern at mid and high frequencies to improve the rejection of unwanted off-axis sound. This allows a good ratio of wanted to unwanted/ambient sound to be captured at greater distances than other, more conventional, mics.

However, the technology inherently suffers pronounced side lobes at different frequencies which gives off-axis sources a nasty phasey character. This may be problematic in some situations.

The longer tube allows it to retain a narrow polar pattern to a lower frequency than similar mics with shorter tubes (such as its sibling MKH415/416), but it also makes it very unwieldy.

Short shotgun mics, like the MKH415/416 (MKH60/8060) — and broadly equivalent models from other manufacturers — are far more popular and practical. And some modern designs manage better directivity to lower frequencies, too.

The 815/816 (and later versions) mic was primarily intended for capturing dialogue on film and TV shoots, usually mounted on an overhead boom or pole. It is also commonly used for capturing sounds at large distance, such as from the sidelines of football, rugby, cricket etc, and at other large public events like Trooping the Colours etc.

The MKH designation means it uses Sennheiser's RF Capacitor capsule principle of operation, as opposed to the more conventional DC Bias or Electret technologies more commonly employed in electrostatic mics.

The RF technology makes the capsule much less prone to the effects of humidity, but the circuitry is also far more complex and is easier to damage, especially if dropped!

The T suffix means it uses Tonader powering, also known as AB powering. This is incompatible with phantom power. Instead, it requires a 12V power supply connected between pins 2(+) and 3(-) only — the power supply is not referenced to ground at all.

Some portable location mixers and recorders still provide T-power, and some specialist film/TV suppliers may still have available in-line phantom-T converters... but it is a long-obsolete powering format.
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Hugh Robjohns
Posts: 34080 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 
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