At A Glance: Sennheiser MKH 8070 And MKH 8060

When it comes to providing rugged, great-sounding audio tools for pro users, Sennheiser is no newcomer, with a history spanning more than six decades. In 1956, the company unveiled the MD 82, the first commercial microphone using the interference tube principle—the basis of the modern shotgun mic. Dubbed the "tele-microphone," it was surprisingly effective at long-distance sound pickup, but its low-output, moving-coil dynamic capsule and three-foot length were obvious drawbacks in many production situations. Eight years later, Sennheiser unveiled its first MKH-series condenser element shotgun mics. Improvements in the line have continued ever since, including the industry-standard MKH 816 long shotgun, which garnered a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1987.

At the 2011 NAB show, Sennheiser continued this legacy with the MKH 8060 and MKH 8070, two new MKH-series shotgun models that are offered with either standard balanced XLR analog or AES-42 digital output. The 7-inch compact MKH 8060 has a combination supercardioid/lobar pickup pattern that’s ideal for on-camera or boom use; with its lobar directivity, the 18.3-inch MKH 8070 is intended for long-distance pickup.

One of the goals in creating the MKH 8060 and MKH 8070 was to reduce the coloration of sounds that enter the microphone from sources located to the side of the mic. This is accomplished by using a new interference tube design.

Specs for the MKH 8060 include a 50 Hz to 25 kHz frequency response, 129 dB maximum sound pressure level handling and a noise rating of 11 dB (A-weighted). Weight is just 80 grams. The longer, heavier (300-gram) MKH 8070 has a 45 Hz to 20 kHz response, max 124 dB SPL handling and an ultralow 8 dBA self-noise rating. Both mics require standard 48-volt (±4V) phantom-powering from the camera, recorder or mixer. Neither mic provides a pad or bass rolloff, although an optional MZF 8000 screw-on filter module adds switchable -10 dB attenuation and an LF cut filter (-3 dB at 160 Hz). A matte Nextel finish on all components reduces reflections from lighting.

The MZD 8000 adds digital AES-42 output with remote control of operational parameters.

As with other MKH-series mics, the MKH 8060 and MKH 8070 employ Sennheiser’s Radio Frequency design, where a high-frequency (about 8 MHz) RF signal is applied to the microphone capsule. Sound waves move the delicate mic diaphragm, modulating that RF frequency, which is then rectified to become an analog waveform. One main advantage of this approach over traditional condenser mic transducers is that the RF design can operate in extreme temperature and humidity conditions where other condenser mics would become unusable. Additionally, RF mics are inherently fully floating and balanced, and don’t need a transformer or differential amplifier circuit to provide a balanced output.

Options And More Options

One of the most interesting options for the MKH 8060/8070 is the MZD 8000 digital module, a screw-on analog-digital converter that replaces the analog XLR output with an AES-42 digital output. The MZD 8000 connects to any AES-42-compatible recorder/mixer or Neumann’s DMI 2 portable interface. Besides the MZD 8000 and MZF 8000, numerous other accessories are offered, including a basket windshield, pistol-grip suspension and long-haired polyester fleece wind cover. Also optional are 3- and 10-meter remote cables for separating the mic head from the analog or digital electronics in stealth placement or hanging applications. Estimated Street Price: $1,249 (MKH 8060 system with XLR module); $1,699 (MKH 8070 system.) HDVP

Contact: Sennheiser USA, (860) 434-9190,