Sennheiser 416 Microphone

I’ve actually had the Sennheiser 416 short shotgun microphone in the home studio for about a month now. I recorded a couple of political spots with it in late October. And yeah, I like it. At least for commercials and promos.

It has an upfront “in your face” sound to it that seems to adds some crispness and presence to my voice.  And this is with an absolutely flat dry audio chain. No other processing or EQ is needed, which is why a lot of studio engineers like it.

I still need to experiment with it some as to microphone placement.  A common positioning is to have the shotgun tube in front (duh) and above the talent and pointing down so the tip is on axis with the upper lip.  Distance is a matter of how loud the voice is, I think.

I’ve never had one of those big booming voices, never been a “loud talker” and take the “less is more” approach anyway on most projects.  When I’m at an outside studio I can usually tell if some radio guy has been the last talent before my turn.  The engineer has to bring the microphone back in much closer for me.

So I’ll be playing with the new 416 to find the “sweet spot”, just how big that spot may be (not very) and a good distance for the particular read I’ll be doing.

My other microphones include Beyer-Dynamic ribbons which have a very warm sound and an Oktavamod from Michael Joly which I think compares very favorably with other common voiceover mics such as the  AKG C-414 or  Neumann TLM-103 for much less coin.

The very attributes of the Sennheiser 416 for commercial and promo work are what makes me think of using one of my other mics for long form projects. The question is, will narration of, say training material, recorded with the Sennheiser 416, become a little tiring on the ear ten minutes into the program? I suppose it will depend on the project and the copy. It always does.

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