Professional Sound - August 2017 | Page 22

PRODUCT TESTS Sennheiser MK4 Digital Cardioid Condenser Mic By Adam Gallant T he Sennheiser MK4 Digital is a traditional MK4 large diaphragm condenser with a built-in preamp and A/D conversion designed by the trusted folks at Apogee. Featuring a 1-in. gold- plated diaphragm, it is very well suited for speech/voice, acoustic guitar, strings, pia- nos, and any instrument that covers a broad frequency range and calls for a detailed reproduction. The microphone’s character is neutral with a slight bump in the high end from 4 kHz to 10 kHz.   Connectivity This microphone (alongside a handful of other Sennheiser models) has been digitally adapted in partnership with Apogee to meet the demands of mobile recording for music production, podcast recording, video blogging, and other digital content recorded in the field. The MK4 connects to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, PC, or Mac via an included cable – Apple Lightning or full-size type A USB to a gold-plated, latch-locking Hirose ST series connector on the microphone end of the connection. The cables provided in the kit are a little over 40-in. long.   Software Apogee has developed an incredibly useful application that pairs brilliantly with the MK4 Digital. The recording software, called Apogee MetaRecorder, handles microphone gain control, file storage, and file manage- ment. This little application is for iOS devices and delivers a host of functions for easily naming takes, scenes, and tagging con- tent. The display is clutter-free and cycling through takes a simple swipe up or down. The software was designed to be very easy to operate but also contains a handful of advanced file management features that high-end field recorders rely on for data management in post production (such as fast searchability and sync-ability from your video editing software). Further information on the Apogee software can be found via the Apogee 22 PROFESSIONAL SOUND Knowledgebase at knowledgebase. Apogee also has the Maestro software, used specifically to configure the micro- phone’s gain for use in other iOS DAWs. The mic can be monitored via Maestro, but recording and data storage is handled else- where. For Logic, Pro Tools, and GarageBand users, the microphone will be recognized by your Mac, PC, and iOS DAWs as any other audio interface would be. The latency is system dependant and the gain controls are handled via System Properties or the Maestro app.   Mobility  Bringing only this microphone and your iOS device to a location recording session will yield the same sound quality as larger, more cumbersome set-ups (which would gener- ally include a preamp, interface, laptop, and all the cabling and power requirements that go along with that). For the traveling music, podcast, or video content producer, the MK4 Digital is a one-stop solution that will lighten your equipment load dramatically with no loss in quality.    Simplicity Adapted for extremely fast, plug-and-play use, the MK4 Digital is a no-hassle way to immediately get recording in the field or at home. Without the need for a standalone preamp and/or interface, the MK4 Digital also represents a great cost value when compared to a full interface-based set-up.   Specs The MK4 Digital is a rugged, internally shock-mounted condenser microphone built in Germany. Its frequency response ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. With the Apogee digitally-controlled preamp at minimum gain, the max SPL is a very useful 141dB, making it a good choice for a mono drum room mic. At max gain setting, the noise level is a very quiet -79dBFS(A). The pickup pattern is cardioid and the micro- phone is a well-built 485 g in weight. The digital conversion extends from 16-bit, 44.1 kHz to 24-bit, 96 kHz and, to my ears, stacks up to my RME converters when it comes to voiceover and acoustic guitar tests.   In Use I am a big advocate of the analog MK4 and MK8 microphones and have plenty of ex- perience with both via XLR to my RME and Antelope interfaces. After voiceover and acoustic guitar tests, I can safely say the MK4 Digital recorded via the MetaRecorder on an iPhone stacks up when A/B’ed with my full, PC-based Pro Tools recordings at matched 24-bit, 96 kHz resolution. For podcasting, interviews, Skype conferencing, and mobile music production, the MK4 Digital is a super simple and fast way to get really great- sounding results. Adam Gallant has worked in all facets of digi- tal audio production, from music composition to location and post audio for television and film. He currently owns and operates The Hill Sound Studio in Charlottetown, PE.