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Sennheiser 416 users
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MBVOXX
Been Here Awhile


Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 210
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2022 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I started doing VO work for a living...in 1980...only once has an editor asked what mic I was using. And that was a couple of years ago. He loved how it sounded, capturing via Source Connect.
It was the MKH 50. thru a BAE1073>MC77.

On another note: An editor once told me he didn't care what gear I was using as long as the tracks "Didn't sound like crap". Smile
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MBVOXX
Been Here Awhile


Joined: 03 Jun 2008
Posts: 210
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many users of the 416 may not be aware that the sonic footprint of the mic was intended to brighten up the tonal warming effect that tape had on recordings. Applied to the digital recording process, that extra mid/high bump isn't needed. So the 416 will produce a different end result with a DAW. For some, that's the goal. For others, it's an audio artifact that gets in the way.

The mics that followed the 416 were developed to integrate into digital without producing those artifacts. The MKH50 was Sennheiser's next offering and considered to be a replacement of the 416. The Schoeps Cmit 5U and Sanken Cs3e are great examples of shotgun mics that were designed to incorporate better into the world of digital recording. With the Cmit having filter options for adjusting the mic for various environments. And either will work well for VO recording if worked in the sweet spot, about 12 to 14 inches from the mic.

So the 416, although a great mic with a history embedded well into various applications of the recording industry, and still considered to be a robust workhorse for outdoor shoots, mainly for it's ability to withstand harsh conditions, can often be the least effective mic for a VO or booth mic.
But that is also contingent on the specific voice. For some it will work, for others it won't.

Why did Ernie Anderson use a 416 to record his ABC promos? Because he recorded in the control room, with all of the room noise ranging from HVAC to tape machine motors, and he was going straight to tape. One of the reasons he sat next to the editor was that, in those days, being in the room with the machines reduced the downtime of rewind and resync that occured when talent was down the hall in a booth, which also reduced session time for everyone. And the 416 on his voice, in that environment, on that recording format, was a perfect match. If he had been in an iso booth, recording to a hard drive, his voice being digitized and uploaded to an editor and laid into an Avid or Final Cut video sequence, I suspect he would have still sounded great but they would have needed to EQ the harsh mid that the 416 added from his tracks.

just thoughts.
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Jack Daniel
Cinquecento


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 564
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent comments, MBVOXX. Cory Burton has famously discussed (and dissed) the 416 for modern voice recording, and that man knows mics. Like many VOs, I purchased a 416 early on because it was the mic I saw everywhere (in LA, you see it most often, followed by U87s and 103s) and because it seemed to be the default choice. I used it successfully, and thought it sounded great, as the "presence bump" you noted helped my deep voice punch through. No one ever complained about my sound, and all was well.

Last year I did a shoot-out (microphonic, not firearm-ic) at a friend's magnificent studio. Said friend has quite a few mics in his armamentarium. In listening back, we agreed the 416 came in perhaps 4th or 5th out of 9 or so mics. Ahead of it was the sub-$300 sE Electronics 2200 mic, a shockingly good LCD that most beginners can afford.

Though I've gone on and on in the past about how good the 416 is, I no longer use it. I use its cousin, the MKH50, or a 103 for most stuff, as well as the sE 2200. They are at least as good at catching the high end of my voice, and have a much fuller sound. I now hear the 416 as rather thin compared to the others, and use it only when I'm on the road, since it's a tank and does work well in bad rooms.

Much VO engineering "wisdom" is simply tradition or consensus. I have done my part in spreading it, so I know. The 416 will likely continue its reign for some time, until some highly specific use-case such as Ernie's famous one becomes the foundation of the next VO myth.

The next most-overrated mic? I'd say the u87. Please enjoy this can of worms I've so helpfully opened.
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Jack Daniel
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Bish
3.5 kHz


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 3736
Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2022 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After collecting an embarrassing number of "budget" microphones, I bought myself a 416. It works just fine. It does the job... and I stopped looking for "the next best thing". It has doubtless become the cheapest microphone in my collection because this $900 expense has saved me thousands by getting me off the, "Ooohhh! Shiny!" treadmill and stopped me buying any more microphones.... thousands saved!
Sometimes good enough is good enough... and yes, I'm happy to admit that I paid a premium for the "Sennheiser" name on the mic. If nothing else, it helps if I ever want to re-sell it.

... and a call-back to the butt-end of the last century working in I.T. - There were plenty of choices... and big innovations happening nearly every month... but no one ever got fired for buying IBM.
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Bish a.k.a. Bish
Smoke me a kipper... I'll be back for breakfast.
I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls.
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Jack Daniel
Cinquecento


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 564
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Bish, that's really the point, isn't it? Find a mic that works and stop worrying. Most modern mics will be fine for the great majority of applications. It's not like I insist on Mic X when I go to an outside studio. Much more important is a good engineer.

I like playing with mics because I find it an enjoyable pursuit, and because that last 5% of sonic difference matters to my ears, and thus makes me feel more comfortable in session. Whether I'm using my $300 mic or a $1500 one makes no difference to the receiving engineer. They are vastly more concerned about the room quality and the cleanness of my signal.
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Jack Daniel
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Moosevoice
Been Here Awhile


Joined: 16 Nov 2012
Posts: 255
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2022 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been using my 416 for just about everything over the past 7+ years. Occasionally, if there's a read that's needing more intimacy I'll grab my Townsend Labs Sphere and dial in a U87 but 95% of my work (commercials, audiobooks, etc.) is done with the 416.
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10865
Location: Portgordon, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For our purposes the MKH50 is so superior to the 416 that I am reliably informed that when the Lord Our God spakes unto us he uses one, unprocessed!


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Jack Daniel
Cinquecento


Joined: 23 Jun 2016
Posts: 564
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The MKH50 was a real eye opener for me. I've tried all the Senn variants and this one nails it for my voice.
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Jack Daniel
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