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Product Review— The Sennheiser MK 4 Condenser Microphone


Introduction


Sennheiser is one of the greatest professional audio manufacturing companies in the world. It is well-known for its excellent products, including its microphones, headphones and wireless systems. But, it is the Sennheiser wired microphones, especially its dynamic microphones such as the MD 421 II, which is a recording studio classic that has forged the company’s amazing reputation in the world of professional music recording. The Sennheiser 421 MD II has been heard on countless drum and electric guitar tracks in the history of popular music since its introduction in 1960. Since its introduction, Sennheiser has created a number of innovative products in its image— rugged, versatile, smooth-sounding, dependable and affordable. I have been blessed with the opportunity to evaluate the Sennheiser MK 4. Though it is not a new microphone in the Sennheiser line-up of offerings, it is the very first time that I have had the opportunity to evaluate a condenser microphone from this legendary company. At every step of the process of evaluating this microphone, I was impressed by its engineering, its smooth sound, its ruggedness and its incredible versatility. It is an excellent microphone— great for a variety of applications and perfect for the educational space.



(Image: The Sennheiser MK 4 Microphone System consists of a fine cloth pouch, the MQZ 4 microphone clamp and the MK 4 microphone unit.)



Engineering and Craftsmanship


When I first received the Sennheiser MK 4 Condenser Microphone from the company to review, I was extremely excited. As I mentioned above in the introduction, Sennheiser is one of the finest audio manufacturing companies in the world and their products are both recording studio staples and classics, as well. The microphone came in a small square package. The box containing the microphone was also quite small and contained the following: a small cloth pouch, the MQZ 4 mic clamp, a brief manual and the MK 4 microphone unit. The manual is both easy to read and easy to follow. The MQZ 4 mic clamp is also very easy to use to secure both to the microphone and to any stand of your choice. This microphone is beautiful on the outside, but when you peer inside of it, it is also both well-designed and engineered using premium components. In other words, this is a microphone that is designed to sound great and to give its owner a lifetime of great use. It is also built like a tank— it’s quite solid and to me, reminds me of the great microphones of the past that I used to handle on a regular basis, in terms of its rock-solid build.



(Image: The Sennheiser MK 4 Microphone is easy to set-up and use-- even for a kindergarten student.)



How does it sound?


If there is ever a question that must be answered about any microphone, it is the following, “How does it sound?” The answer to this question will tell us just about everything you need to know about the Sennheiser MK 4. It is a very natural and smooth-sounding microphone. In fact, to achieve a superb recording with this microphone is quite easy— it has much more to do with the placement of it, than any other factor. It is an excellent microphone for voice— podcasting, voice-overs and even for narrating stories. It can handle any vocalist (male or female) with relative ease. This microphone is extremely quiet. In other words, the hiss that can sometimes accompany condenser microphones when turned up to high-levels of gain is never present at all with the Sennheiser MK 4. However, it is also easy on a solid preamp to achieve an excellent response from any source. I was extremely impressed with not just how quiet this microphone is, but also in the fact that it rejects unwanted sounds outside of its cardiod pickup pattern extremely well. The sound of the microphone is so natural and smooth that every person who had the opportunity to be a part of this review really fell in love with this microphone.



(Image: My wife assists me in evaluating the Sennheiser MK 4 microphone. This microphone was truly loved by everyone who participated in the testing process.)


Is this a microphone that can be used with students in a classroom environment?


Yes. I could probably end the review just by stating that it would be perfect for the classroom environment, but first it is important to understand exactly what that would entail. A school needs a microphone that is built to withstand a reasonable amount of wear and tear, or even in the hands of students– abuse. As it was mentioned above, this microphone is built like a tank, with excellent internal components. It feels just as solid as it sounds. Throughout my review of this microphone, I have been using it with my six-year old son, who is just about to finish his first year of school as a kindergartner. Though he loves music and has been taught to be careful with any electronic or digital device, he is still a six-year old boy. However, he has enjoyed using the microphone to record his music practice sessions. On the flip side, my wife also enjoyed using the microphone. We even had the opportunity to use it as a vocal microphone and with her voice— which is deep and very rich, this microphone is a great place to start for someone who is searching for a microphone that would fit most vocalists well at an incredibly affordable price point. In short, this is a microphone that could be used by both music teachers at any level and by the students (if taught responsibly) even at the elementary level to record them playing the acoustic guitar, ukulele, piano, xylophone, drums (if place appropriately overhead) and even brass instruments. It is an excellent vocal microphone— and a great unit for individual children to narrate stories with or to sing into for their very first recordings.



(Image: Our son, who is in kindergarten plays his snare drum from his kit to test the Sennheiser MK 4 Microphone. This microphone is perfect for students of all ages and ability levels.)


How might this microphone be used in a school setting?


This microphone could be used for content creation, podcasting and music recording in an educational setting at any level. Though I would use it around elementary-level students, I would do so in terms of recording their performances. It would be a great microphone— if used as a stereo pair— for students to practice their musicianship while learning to play the piano, for example. I used it on my son’s drum kit as a single overhead microphone and it captured the kit in great detail and again, is perfect for recording performances and teaching students at that age level how to play their instruments. For students who are older, let’s say at the junior high level, for example, this would be a great microphone to record performances for showcasing their abilities in their band, orchestra or choir programs. At the junior high and high school levels, this microphone would also be excellent for podcasting and content creation and would be both an excellent and an affordable option for students at those levels of creative endeavor. This microphone would be an excellent choice for a teacher to use to both create more engaging lessons and to teach their students the arts of music and performance.



(Image: The Sennheiser MK 4 is the perfect teaching tool for children who are interested in learning more about the process of music recording.)



What is my recommendation?


This microphone is an excellent choice for the school environment and would make a wonderful teaching tool. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this microphone to students, teachers or program directors (such as those who direct band, orchestra or choir programs).


Pros

  • It is well-built and extremely durable.

  • This microphone is incredibly versatile and well-suited for a wide variety of applications.

  • The Sennheiser MK 4 is a great sounding microphone with a very natural response which makes it a great choice for a wide variety of instruments and vocal types.

  • The microphone is extremely quiet, and rejects undesirable sounds quite well.

  • It is an extremely well-engineered microphone that is offered at a very affordable price point. It matches the performance of microphones that cost four or even five times as much with ease.

Cons

  • None


To purchase--


If you are interested in purchasing the fabulous Sennheiser MK 4 microphone, please visit the company website, so that you can find an authorized dealer near you. Also, I will provide you with a link to the page on the company website for the Sennheiser MK Series of microphones, so that you can learn more about this excellent lineup of products for the educational space from Sennheiser.



We would like to take a moment to thank Ms. Stephanie Schmidt of Sennheiser GmbH & Co. for giving us the opportunity to enjoy evaluating the wonderful Sennheiser MK 4 microphone for The Recording Session Vault website-- an educational website project.










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