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Sennheiser MKH 8060 vs. MKH 416 for sound effects recording

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Hi everyone,

 

I currently own/ use a Sennheiser MKH 416 for sound effects recording.

 

Despite being a classic, proved and durable microphone, some might say that it's technology is outdated and that it's quite noisy compared to newer similar models - especially the MKH 8060, which is often considered as the successor of the 416.

 

I've read a lot about the comparisons between those microphones, the pros and cons etc. (mostly related to dialogue recording) and I'm wondering if it would be worth to replace the 416 with the 8060 (in the sense that it's not possible to own both but the 416 could be returned and exchanged with the 8060 for the usual surcharge, as the 8060 is a bit more expensive than the 416).

 

A lot of people seem to recommend getting the 8060 nowaydays instead of the 416, and owning both doesn't make a lot of sense in my case (I'm not a professional, so a backup mic is not vital; I'm usually recording with one microphone only).

 

The main concern for me is the self-noise, as this has been bothering me the most...comparing the 416 with a NT1A really makes the self noise of the 416 very obvious (although this comparison could probably make a lot of mics sound bad regarding self noise). 

 

From what I've gathered, these seem to be some of the pros of the two micophones when directly compared:

 

8060:

 

+ Less self noise (11 db(A) instead of the 13db(A) of the 416)

+ Hotter output (combined with the lower self noise this could probably make a very noticeable difference)

+ Better roll-off/ off-axis

+ Smaller/ lighter

+ Better indoors

 

416:

 

+ Very durable, "bullet proof" (although maybe the 8060 is too?)

+ Better rejection/ directionality

+ Not as sensible to handling noise

+ Not as sensible to wind

+ Well-established/ proved

 

 

Is there an obvious choice for sound effects recording? Am I missing some relevant differences between the two?

 

 

 

 

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To say that the 416 is "outdated technology" is not true IMHO. It's still probably the most widely used mic in the world, aside from Shure SM57/58.

Out of curiosity; what is the reason you want to use a shotgun mic with interference tube for sound effects recording?

 

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I think both mics are wrong for sfx recording, and my very own personal opinion is that both are wrong for pretty much anything. 

If you must choose between those two, I‘d pick the 8060

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

I think both mics are wrong for sfx recording

I’d agree with this. 

 

What kind of SFX are you recording? 

 

For exterior ambiences and such I would generally want stereo of some sort. 

 

For interior foley and FX sounds the Neumann KMR-81 is my go-to.  

 

-Mike

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When I record SFX and ambiance’s, I generally use my Schoeps MS setup. I do think a 416 is good to have because it is robust and anything you record with it will likely fit better sonically with whatever films your FX end up in. But I can say this: I spent some time at the Foley Stage on the Sony Pictures lot and they use the KMR-81 for a good amount of what they do there. They use a shotgun only because a lot of the noises they record involve actions that may damage the mic, so with a shotgun they can back the mic away from the source. That said, if I were doing a lot of SFX recording I’d have a few different mics because, just like having a set of different sized wrenches, not one tool is going to be the right one every time. 

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40 minutes ago, JonG said:

That said, if I were doing a lot of SFX recording I’d have a few different mics because, just like having a set of different sized wrenches, not one tool is going to be the right one every time. 

 

What Jon said.

As others have noted, what sort of FX are you recording that require such a quiet mic?

Also, even 13db self noise is quiet. I use a mkh 40/30 m/s pair and find self noise (mkh30 is 13dbA, mkh40 is 12dbA) isn't generally an issue unless my locations are VERY quiet, under 32dB SPL I start to get a bit of mic noise. (yep some of my recording locations are under that)  Make sure you're not cranking the h/phones too loud as that can give the impression that you have more self noise than you actually do. Don't forget often what sounds noisy in h/phones is often ok on speakers.  Well, depending on what you're recording.. 

 

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On a few episodes of tonebenders people mentioned the 416 as a strong choice for sfx. If I recall correctly it was mentioned that most Foley studios use a 416. In one episode there was a pair of German sfx recordists with much more modern mics that ended up adding a 416 becouse of the character.

 

I think it all depends on what you try to record! The 80xx series is interesting becouse it can capture ultrasound if you are into that sort of thing.

 

I am also curious why you want a shotgun. Is it to isolate the sound source from other sounds when you are outside? Then Sanken CS3e is also worth considering. Otherwise a MS rig is quite cool for sfx if the surrounding sound is ok.

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Thanks for the interesting answers!

 

as Mattias Larsen mentioned, the 416 seems to be a very popular choice among sound designers for sound effects gathering.

There are plenty of sound effects libraries that were recorded with a 416 (although not necessarily only with a 416), so to me it never seemed to be an unusal choice to be honest.

 

A few examples for sounds I'm recording:

 

Hits/impacts (such as shutting a door, punching/ hitting a trashcan etc.), additional sounds such as screeches, falling rocks etc., but also some quieter and more textural sounds (dripping water/ dirt, lighting a match, …) ...so also sounds that might be better categorised as Foley. But they are all sounds that will be processed, mangled with and layered in a daw (sometimes with synthetic Elements) to create sound effects.

 

A shotgun is nice for recording outside because it's easier to isolate one specific sound source; I wouldn't use the 416 to record ambiences or anything like that of course. I think that usually the self-noise of the 416 shouldn't be an issue when recording outside, since even if it's possible to get really close to the source, the surroundings will be picked up to a certain degree.

 

But in case the 8060 is just a more modern/ improved version of the 416, that sounds very similar and does pretty much the same things just a bit better, then it would make sense to replace the 416 with the 8060.

And I already own the 416, but I might have the option to exchange it with a 8060 without losing any money (except the additional cost for the 8060).

 

And I agree that I will have to extend my microphone selection, but since they are rather similar, owning the 416 and the 8060 probably doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Hahaha, a great thread! 😀 

 

When I first heard the 8050, I stopped because it was more "sizzle and boom" (LF and HF) than I wanted. Maybe the response of the 8060 is different. 
Spekter, when you compare the 416 to the NT1A, are you doing real work or just listening for selfnoise?  When doing real work, if the self noise is a problem, then move on, but don't sell your MKH416. You may come running back to it. 

 

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I have a KMR81i and MKH60 (x2) and appreciate the different tonal characteristics.

 

Have you considered a 60 vs. the 8060? I know they have some tonal difference, but having the pad and cut/boost switches on a 60 can be very helpful.

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41 minutes ago, Ty Ford said:

Spekter, when you compare the 416 to the NT1A, are you doing real work or just listening for selfnoise?  When doing real work, if the self noise is a problem, then move on, but don't sell your MKH416. You may come running back to it. 

 

Only listening to self-noise; the NT1A is known for its low self-noise (5.5 db(A) IIRC) and I wanted to know how that sounds compared the 416s 13 db(A) and how drastic the difference is :) Because sometimes the numbers can be misleading as there are other factors that might contribute to how noisy a mic sounds. To me it seemed that the majority of the noise that makes the 416 sound quite a bit noisier than the NT1A (as it also is on paper) is produced in the low-end.

 

To be honest, in most cases it won't be anything that can't be cleaned up in post-processing, but getting the best/ cleanest recording in the first place is always desirable.

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I love my 8060 for outdoor dialogue, but you have to be careful with it for sound effects...it runs hot, and anything really loud goes red, which is taken care of by the -10db pad module, but that also has a mild rolloff so overall it isn't ideal for what you want.

 

However, stereo 8040s FTW!

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54 minutes ago, ronmac said:

I have a KMR81i and MKH60 (x2) and appreciate the different tonal characteristics.

 

Have you considered a 60 vs. the 8060? I know they have some tonal difference, but having the pad and cut/boost switches on a 60 can be very helpful.

That is a good point actually. If low selfnoise is the goal, a 60 is even lower than a 8060. But for recording impacts the selfnoise is hardly a problem.

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When I record outside FX it's usually either a Schoeps XY rig or a Sennheiser MKH60/30 MS combo. Neumann RSM 191 was probably my favorite but a bit clunky in the field due to it's power/ steering box. I used 416s for this in the past but find self noise and comparatively low output to be a problem with natural ambiences. Having said that I would not dismiss the 416 outright since there are things that IMHO only a 416 can do. I find that impact sounds, punches, ball bounces and hits, baseball glove catches, pretty much anything at a rodeo,  etc. really benefit from the thunderous response of a 416, the 60 and others don't even come close. There'll always be a place for the good old 416.

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4 minutes ago, Werner Althaus said:

I used 416s for this in the past but find self noise and comparatively low output to be a problem with natural ambiences. Having said that I would not dismiss the 416 outright since there are things that IMHO only a 416 can do. I find that impact sounds, punches, ball bounces and hits, baseball glove catches, pretty much anything at a rodeo,  etc. really benefit from the thunderous response of a 416, the 60 and others don't even come close. There'll always be a place for the good old 416.

 

Thank you for that reply; my impression also has been that for loud, punchy and in-your-face stuff, the 416 is a very good choice; but I'm not sure if the 8060 would be maybe just as good, but with the additional bonus of lower self noise.

 

For recording ambiences, a different (stereo/XY/MS/ORTF) setup with a pair of different microphones that have lower self noise will be better suited of course; although maybe the 416 could be used in a MS setup.

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If I am in a hurry a figure of eight on top of a shotgun can get the job done, but I much more prefer a hyper or card mid. Maybe a fig of eight with the 416 could be a step before saving up for another mid mic.

 

For ambiances I really prefer ORTF or Spaced Omnis out of what I have tried so far.

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It sounds like you bought your Mkh 416 brand new.

 

Honestly, I would trade that for an Mkh 8050. It's a popular mic among SFX recordists. Frequency response up to 50kHz, which is great for heavy pitching. It also picks up a lot of details at a very low noise floor, which is nice for subtle foleys. I just recently recorded some climbing foleys (handgrips, footsteps, falling rocks and sand). It worked great. Had the CMC641 next to it but went for the 8050.

 

You can later on buy an Mkh 30 for MS and have a very versatile and compact stereo setup.

 

Once you start diving into the ultrasonic spectrum, the Sanken CO-100K could be interesting aswell.

 

The Boom Library guys use this 8050/30 MS setup all the time (since you mentioned them in your last topic).

 

Schoeps and DPA are two other popular choices, but imo the Colette series lacks low end for heavy SFX and the figure-8 is limited in its frequency response (16kHz). Can be great though for subtle foleys and ambient field recording. DPA has no figure-8 mic at all, which is a bummer. Still very popular for high SPL recordings and car rigs.

 

If you plan on recording (location) dialogue or instruments, Schoeps and DPA are probably the better choices.

 

And If you really want, you can pick up an Mkh 416 down the road for half the price on the used market, but buying it new is pretty much a waste of money (zero resale value). Same goes for the Mkh 30.

 

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Yes, I bought it new, but for a reduced price (roughly 300€ off), so I shouldn't loose too much money in case I try to sell it some day.

But I can't give it back or trade it for an 8050, only the 8060 would be available for that (maybe).

 

The 8050 seems to be quite different than both the 416 and the 8060 and could be an interesting addition or replacement in the future (or well, whenever a good deal comes up :) ).

 

FWIW, the Boom Library guys also use the 416. ;) But I can definitely see how the 8050 is geat for Sound effects recoridng, especially with that frequency range.

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On 1/11/2019 at 2:25 PM, spekter said:

FWIW, the Boom Library guys also use the 416. ;) But I can definitely see how the 8050 is geat for Sound effects recoridng, especially with that frequency range.

 

That's true, but they also have two of those and I assume they use them mostly for multi mic sessions like gunshots, explosions, cars etc. (although I remember reading somewhere that the 416, was their first mic). But for mobile setups, I'm pretty sure they take the 8050 over the 416, unless better rejection is required.

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1 hour ago, OnTheSoundSideOfLife said:

 

That's true, but they also have two of those and I assume they use them mostly for multi mic sessions like gunshots, explosions, cars etc. (although I remember reading somewhere that the 416, was their first mic). But for mobile setups, I'm pretty sure they take the 8050 over the 416, unless better rejection is required.

 

Yeah, that's possible. Here is a list of their gear with comments (it's from 2016 though) https://www.boomlibrary.com/blog/advent-day-18-2016/

 

Well, now I already have the 416. But I think I will try to exchange it for the 8060, because I think the lower self-noise is going to be more beneficial in the long run and I don't really see that many advantages of the 416 when compared to the 8060...the only thing I'm worried about is what thennanymoh mentioned above:

 

On 1/10/2019 at 4:32 PM, thenannymoh said:

I love my 8060 for outdoor dialogue, but you have to be careful with it for sound effects...it runs hot, and anything really loud goes red, which is taken care of by the -10db pad module, but that also has a mild rolloff so overall it isn't ideal for what you want.

 

I've not read about this elsewhere (and it also depends on what "really loud" means), but this could be an issue that the 416 probably doesn't have. However, this also sort of supports what Werner Althaus wrote.

For a lot of loud and punchy stuff, maybe the 416 is better than the 8060 afterall; when recording outside, the higher self-noise of the 416 might not be an issue afterall, and for recording really quiet stuff or ambiences, probably neither the 416 or 8060 are really suited.

 

On 1/10/2019 at 8:14 PM, Werner Althaus said:

Having said that I would not dismiss the 416 outright since there are things that IMHO only a 416 can do. I find that impact sounds, punches, ball bounces and hits, baseball glove catches, pretty much anything at a rodeo,  etc. really benefit from the thunderous response of a 416, the 60 and others don't even come close. There'll always be a place for the good old 416.

 

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On 1/11/2019 at 2:04 AM, spekter said:

 

 

A few examples for sounds I'm recording:

 

Hits/impacts (such as shutting a door, punching/ hitting a trashcan etc.), additional sounds such as screeches, falling rocks etc., but also some quieter and more textural sounds (dripping water/ dirt, lighting a match, …) ...so also sounds that might be better categorised as Foley. But they are all sounds that will be processed, mangled with and layered in a daw (sometimes with synthetic Elements) to create sound effects.

 

If those are the sounds you're recording and complaining that the mic is too noisy, you're doing something wrong and it's your recorder or a faulty mic. BTW, what is your recorder? Please don't say a zoom (the F series is ok, H not so much) 

I've used multiple 416's over the years with various professional recorders and never had that mic sound noisy with those sort of sounds. Something is wrong somewhere & you need to investigate more before spending money on a new mic. 

Just my opinion and as always I reserve the wright to be wrong. 

Grant. 

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Yes to the above and it also doesn’t make a lot if sense to me that some would say, or at least imply, that the 8060 can’t handle loud sounds as well as the 416. 

Both mics‘ max spl is within a dB of each other, so basically the same. Same with sensitivity, both very similar. The output of the 8060 may be hotter, but then you just need to gain down on your recorder. That would be a good thing. This would help you especially when recording quiet sounds (and in my opinion that is far more demanding in every aspect of your recording chain than loud sounds), because there will be less hiss added from the recorder‘s preamp.

 

Contrary to what Grant above may have implied, I think a good mic is a very good starting point to improve your gear. I would definitely buy a great mic before I‘d buy a great recorder. Both 416 and 8060 will do you well and I would stop worrying about it. By the time you find your recordings lacking something or hyping other things, you get your next great mic. A great mic is hardly ever a waste of money. 

 

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