Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit review
The filmmakers and broadcasters of yesteryear never thought that it would be possible to capture great videos without a full audiovisual team. Yet here we are at a time when anyone can shoot a short film or report with a handheld device. While the camera quality of smartphones has improved dramatically over time, smartphone mics still have a way to go.
Fortunately, there is the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit: a cost-effective audio solution to help filmmakers step up their smartphone video game.
Who is the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit for?
- YouTubers or online content creators who needs a compact audio solution for video can appreciate the unobtrusive design here.
- Vloggers Who need a portable setup for filming on the go can pack the MKE 200 Mobile Kit and take it around the world.
- Independent filmmakers Looking for a small microphone on the camera for videography or scratch audio, you should consider this set.
- Mobile filmmakers who use a smartphone with a headphone jack can use this mic setup.
How is Sennheiser MKE 200 built?
The build quality of the Sennheiser MKE 200 is a marked improvement over the company’s older shotgun pickups. The MKE 200 sports a sturdy and lightweight black aluminum construction, which should withstand any accidental impact in a bag.
See: The best gun mics
The microphone also has an internal shock mount to reduce handling noise and a built-in windshield. This is a very smart move on Sennheiser’s part, as the all-in-one design reduces the overall size. A small footprint allows camera operators to install additional accessories on the camera, such as monitors or lights, next to the microphone.
A cold shoe mount sits under the shockproof microphone mount, so you can attach the Sennheiser MKE 200 to most camera housings and cages. There is also a 1/4 inch screw hole under the cold shoe mount for tripods or magic arms.
Besides the microphone, the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit comes with everything you need to start recording except the camera. TRS and TRRS cables are coiled and bent, so you are unlikely to bend or damage them during normal use. While we at SoundGuys are more focused on the audio components of the kit, the smartphone clamp and tripod are great additions. The aluminum clip features multiple locking joints to secure your smartphone and accessories.
The Manfrotto tripod is also sturdy and easy to use. You can mount the ball head on a smartphone clamp via the 1/4 inch screw and adjust it by pressing hard on the Manfrotto logo.
What accessories do you get?
- Sennheiser MKE 200 directional microphone on camera
- Smartphone clamp
- Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod
- Lockable 3.5mm TRS to TRS Coiled Cable
- Lockable 3.5mm TRS to TRRS Coiled Cable
- Windshield (aka Deadcat)
- Storage pouch
What does using the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit look like?
Using the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit is quite similar to the Sennheiser XS Lav USB-C: just plug it in and you’re good to go. The cold shoe mount makes the MKE 200 universally suitable for any camera, and you can connect the mic with the 3.5mm cable. The microphone is powered by the camera, so you won’t have to change the batteries mid-shot. If you’re recording for too long, you might want an external battery to run the camera.
You can easily attach the Sennheiser MKE 200 to a smartphone using the clip and the 3.5mm TRRS cable. Those whose smartphones don’t have a headphone jack should use a dongle adapter with the cable. With Sennheiser marketing this product as a mobile kit, it would also have been nice to see a USB-C or Lightning cable in the box.
The Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit works well with DSLRs, but is not perfect with smartphones. At first, when I connected the microphone to my iPhone 12, iPad Air, and MacBook Pro, I heard a low frequency hum throughout all of the recordings. That low hum was gone when I replaced the cable with a spare. This problem persisted for a bit, but now the original cable works fine. I don’t know what fixed the problem, but it wasn’t the plug-and-play experience I was hoping for.
Once the Sennheiser MKE 200 is up and running, its stunning design really shines in use. The built-in shock mount is not as beefy as those made by Rycote, but it effectively absorbs handling vibrations.
I don’t hear any significant handling noise when recording with the MKE 200, except when I accidentally slip in the middle of a take (oops). The windshield, which replaces the foam coating on most shotgun microphones, does a great job of reducing light wind and plosives, especially when recording outdoors.
Recommended: How to Troubleshoot Common Recording Problems
What does the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit sound like?
For a microphone kit under $ 130, the Sennheiser MKE 200 itself produces very good sound.
Voices come out loud and clearly from the microphone, and it attenuates very low frequency sounds. While this is useful when you need to silence a noisy air conditioning unit, it can make lower-pitched vocals more distant than expected. However, the speech still seems intelligible, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Example of a Sennheiser MKE 200 microphone:
While the Sennheiser MKE 200 is technically a directional shotgun microphone, it is not as directional as you might expect. Its off-axis rejection is decent enough to avoid picking up distant traffic and passers-by to the side, but it’s not ideal when absolute silence is needed. Recording a dialogue between two people in the hope of isolating the voice of a single speaker will not turn out as you would expect.
Sennheiser MKE 200 background noise sample:
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This section is usually where we display a frequency response graph to show you exactly where the audio output shines and where its gaps are. Unfortunately, we encountered a technical issue during our testing. To combat this we have an SCM-3 mic and will add a speaker with standardized output samples to update our testing and data collection. It will take some time to reach our office in Canada, but we will update this review (and many more!) These will be made evident by an announcement explaining the change and a new graphic aesthetic.
Thank you for being with us, and we hope to see you again once we have everything sorted out.
Should I buy the Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit?
The Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit is a fantastic audio solution for people looking to improve the video production quality of their smartphone, if you can get it to work.
The microphone itself is well built, produces good sound for smartphone video, and comes with all the accessories you need for a mobile video setup. That’s a pretty good deal, considering what comes with the kit for just under $ 130.
Related: Shure MV88 + Video Kit Review
However, with more manufacturers phasing out headphone jacks from flagship smartphones, the omission of a USB-C or Lightning cable is a real failure. The low-frequency humming problem caused me to take a long time in my day just to identify the problem and determine if the cable, adapter, or microphone was the cause. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find a better mobile audio solution at this price point.
Sennheiser MKE 200 mobile kit
All prices shown in USD, unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary widely by currency.