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Noise test: Sennheiser MKH 8060 vs 416 – no big difference?


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I just received a secondhand Sennheiser MKH8060, and did a quick comparrison between it and my old MKH416.

I was expecting a big difference in self noise, but in the recordings the difference isn't that big I think. I recorded into my Sound Devices MixPre-6 at around 45 dB gain.


Here's my test: https://youtu.be/cqa-U8GqBz0


What do you think, is my microphone alright? :)


Thank you.


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I'd definitely get your microphone looked at, a 70's design, tweaked in the 90's has no right to be competing with a new 2012 design it should be noticeably noisier, it can't be allowed to undermine our confidence in never ending progress and expenditure .....:)

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I can hear a very clear difference of noise level sitting in my bed with a towel covering my ears on my 30 year old gdr speakers. the 8060 wins clearly to my ears!


I know an sound enginer who was complaining that the 8000 series has a higher self noise than the MKH 40/50/60's and so on...

But noise levels are funny. my sanken cs1e has as much self noise as my probably 40 year old sennheiser mkh416T.

Still the sanken is a great mik and my first choice when it comes to documentary allrounder needs! 


Self noise in general is not that big of issue, imho...




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Similar gain is NOT a good place to start. In order to test properly, you'd have to have someone speak into both mics to make sure the level of signal was the same, then listen for noise. That's because different mics have different sensitivities. If the 416 is 4 dB more sensitive, then adjusting the gain down four dB will also reduce the selfnoise. 

Even though YouTube's stuff, the 416 selfnoise is louder by at least several dB, based on raw listening on my MacBook Pro. There's also some spectral difference between the two, with the 416 sounding more hissy. 

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the MKH8060 has a hotter output as well  (63mV/Pa)  vs MKH416 (25 mV/Pa)
So you will need to apply less gain from the 8060 to get to the same level as the 416 

At the same gain settings 
MKH416 Equivalent noise level 13 dB 
MKH8060 Equivalent noise level 11 dB 


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The 416 is a classic for a reason.
It's able to deliver on almost every condition.
Shortcomings? Most likely off axis and indoor sound. Never really bad, but far from ideal.

The 8060 on the other hand, at least in my eyes, does sound better. Off-axis is more natural, it's practicaly noise-free and lightweight, too.

Shortcomings? Most likely low frequency pick up and handling noise. You need a HPF either on the mic or at least on your mixer and a good shockmount. Nothing is for free...
You prefer a most natural pick up pattern that's still hot - here you are.

I'd prefer a 8060 in a heartbeat, but the 416 is a safe bet and prooved to be a workhorse for decades. Can't go wrong with it!

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