Sennheiser MK4 Mic Review

Today we're looking at the Sennheiser MK4 XLR Condenser Microphone, which is a great way to get into the Sennheiser / Neumann condenser mic ecosystem. 

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen, with the gain set at 11:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $300.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Carrying/Storage Pouch

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount (5/8" & 3/8" threading)

  4. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~-32dB

  4. Self Noise: 10dBA

  5. Impedance: 50-ohms

Performance / Features

The build quality of this mic is good. I'm legitimately running out of things to say about all these mics. Most of them have an all metal body and a metal grill. This mic is no different. It has no switches for a padding or high pass / low pass, but on the bottom you'll find an XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. This has a minor roll off beginning at 150Hz, and a much more drastic roll off beginning at 50Hz. The low-mids are flat until you hit 1kHz and it boosts 1dB with the peak at 1.5kHz which then returns to flat at 2.5kHz where it begins it's presence/treble/air boost beginning at 2.75kHz and ranging all the way up to 10kHz, where it gradually rolls off the air, where it is neutral at ~14kHz.

The overall performance of this mic is great for the price. On electric guitar, this mic sounds a bit dull because it's not over boosted anywhere, but I think fo that as a good thing when recording. On acoustic it sounded stellar with a good body and plenty of shimmer on the top. For singing it had a nice and airy tone, and on spoken word it had plenty of clarity that could be offset beautifully while utilizing the proximity effect. Additionally the off axis coloration around 90-degrees is not unpleasant like many cheaper condensers, which will yield a much better sounding recording if you're in a reverberant room. 

Pros

  • Nice, fairly subtle coloration

  • Good off axis coloration

  • Pretty hot output signal

  • Decent job at background noise rejection

  • Respectable 10dBA self noise

  • Good built quality

Cons

  • I personally don't like the look of it.

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Conclusion

This seems to be a great all purpose microphone as it worked well on everything I tested it on. I think where it really shines is on voice over. The thing I have loved about the Neumann condensers I have tested is the proximity effect. This microphone offers that buttery smooth low end that helps off set the boosts to the presence/treble/air, and it sounds stellar for that considering the price. 

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Sennheiser MK4
US: https://amzn.to/2Jz9ims
UK: https://amzn.to/2t0Iv7k
CA: https://amzn.to/2HGDuWL
DE: https://amzn.to/2HFmBMh

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV

Samson C01 XLR Condenser Mic Review

Today we're not looking at another microphone from Samson, the C01.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 12:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back around $75 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Plastic Storage Box

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount

  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter

  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 40Hz - 18kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Hyper Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~ -33dB

  4. Impedance: 200-ohms

  5. Max SPL: 136dB

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is perfectly fine given the price. It has an all metal body as well as a sturdy metal mesh grill, and a good amount of weight to it coming in at 1.1 lb. On the front of the microphone you'll find a blue LED light that lights up when phantom power on your interface is turned on and on the bottom you'll find the XLR port. 

The frequency response is listed as 40Hz - 18kHz. The bass frequencies begin to roll off at 150Hz but peak again at around 95Hz before rolling off the remainder of the low frequencies. The mids and presence fluctuate quite a bit with a minor boost around 600-700hz, a peak at around 1.7kHz, 2.7kHz, and 5.5kHz, with a broad boost from 6Khz to 12kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is Hyper-cardioid. This means that the front is sensitive and the rear of the mic has a small lobe of sensitivity with the dead spots around 112-degrees. 

The overall performance of this mic lacks. As far as a vocal mic it seems to lack significantly in the low frequencies, sounds a bit nasally, and has some minor sibilance issues as well. On the electric guitar, I had to put the mic right on top of the amp to get some low end in the guitar, but it did end up sounding fairly decent. The acoustic on the other hand sounded brittle in the high end. Something that was not listed on the specifications sheet was the self noise, and when I was testing the mic, it seemed like a fairly big downfall of this mic. Finally, the tone of the mic all around was somewhat harsh and become painful to listen to after lengthy listening sessions. 

Pros

  • Pretty good build quality

  • Comes with a storage box

Cons

  • Subpar performance with self noise

  • Lacks in the low end

  • Sibilance issues

  • Harsh tone that became painful after long listening sessions

C01Freq

Conclusion

I was somewhat let down by this microphone. I have really enjoyed the majority of Samson mics on the market, but this one didn't meet my expectations. The frequency response left a lot to be desired in that it left the voice and guitar sounding thin and harsh. The self noise also makes this unusable for professional applications as well.

Due to how competitive the mic market is, I don't think I can recommend this mic. There are too many mics in this price range for me to recommend a mic that doesn't perform amazingly.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Samson C01
US: https://amzn.to/2JgDkHs
UK: https://amzn.to/2EdQZvt
CA: https://amzn.to/2pZmnJ5
DE: https://amzn.to/2pZZPZu

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV

Neumann TLM 103 Review

Today we're not looking at a budget microphone, we're looking at a high end mic from Neumann, the TLM-103.

For this review, I have the mic connected directly to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen), with the input gain set at approximately 10:00. I have done no post processing on the audio, it is all raw, but the audio was slightly boosted in final cut pro X to simply make the audio easier to listen to. In the review I also include a test on the Audient ID4 to see how the mic sounds through a Class A Mic Pre.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back around $1,100 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Wooden Storage Box

  2. Microphone

  3. Microphone Mount

  4. 5/8" to 3/8" Stand Adapter

  5. Documentation

Specifications

  1. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

  2. Polar Pattern: Cardioid

  3. Sensitivity: ~ -33dB

  4. Impedance: 50-ohms

  5. Max SPL: 138dB

  6. Self Noise: 7dBA

Performance / Features

The build quality of this microphone is what you'd expect out of a mic that exceeds $1,000. It has an all metal body that feels meticulously machined. It has a metal mesh grill that does feel a little bit weak (but it's not like this will be on stage taking abuse) and this thing has a good amount of weight coming in at 450g.

The frequency response is listed as 20Hz - 20kHz. It begins to roll off the bass frequencies at around 65 or 75Hz, and then remains flat all the way up through around 3.5kHz at which point it builds to a 4dB boost from 6kHz to 15kHz at which point it rolls off the remainder of the air hitting around -6dB at 20kHz. 

The polar pattern of this mic is cardioid. At 2kHz and 4kHz it has a fairly wide response that is almost omnidirectional but slightly quieter at 180-degreed. As a whole this thing picks up a large amount of ambient noise. 

The overall performance of this mic is excellent. The mic offers a very smooth tone, even though it has a broad boost from 4kHz - 15kHz. Additionally, this microphone has an excellent proximity effect that you can use to your benefit to beef up your voice or offset some of the boost in the presence/treble/air. The self noise of this mic is also only 7dBA, so it is quiet. This means it offers a dynamic range of 131dB which is more than you could ever need, but it's nice to have. However, it does tend to pick up a lot of ambient noise, so if you're in an untreated room, this may have a negative impact on your recordings.

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Pros

  • Very smooth frequency response

  • Great proximity effect

  • Low self noise of 7dBA

  • Dynamic range of 131dB

  • Great build quality

  • Handles processing very well

Cons

  • Picks up a lot of ambient room noise

  • Very expensive

Conclusion

I was very impressed with this microphone. On the electric guitar it provided a fairly accurate representation of the guitar amp, but it added more bite and attack due to the presence & treble boost. The acoustic guitar accomplished a sound I am always looking for, a nice full body without sounding muddy or boomy with a nice shimmer on the high end and good attack from the guitar pick. For singing, this thing sounded amazing. It really cut through the mix and sat forward without sounding shrill or harsh and the smooth tone made it sound very pleasing. For spoken word the presence/treble/air boost offer great clarity, while remaining clean sounding, and then if you need a bit more bass you have the buttery proximity effect to use. 

If you're a voice over artist or a musician and you're looking for a brighter microphone that is very pleasing to listen to, this is a great option if it fits within your budget, and I'd 100% recommend it.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Neumann TLM103
US: https://amzn.to/2IT9gSa
UK: https://amzn.to/2upKG8m
CA: https://amzn.to/2I8Raur
DE: N/A

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
US: http://amzn.to/2vDFbzK 
UK: http://amzn.to/2w8O2f6 
CA: http://amzn.to/2wKGKfG 
DE: http://amzn.to/2hbtxsV