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Comparing Two Shotgun Microphones: Sennheiser MKH 416 and DPA 2017

Comparing Two Shotgun Microphones: Sennheiser MKH 416 and DPA 2017

Guy The Tech Guy
Shotgun Microphone Comparison
When comparing two stellar contenders in the shotgun microphone arena—the Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3 and the DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone—audio professionals are offered a glimpse into both legacy excellence and innovative engineering.

Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3

Sennheiser MKH 416

This Sennheiser shotgun microphone has been a stalwart in the film, radio, and television industries, especially valued for outdoor applications. This microphone’s design is particularly robust, featuring a short interference tube that aids in producing excellent directivity. It operates on a pressure gradient receiver with a supercardioid/lobar pattern at frequencies above 2kHz, making it adept at focusing on sound sources in highly ambient environments. Its RF condenser design grants it high immunity to humidity, an essential feature for consistent performance across various climates. Low self-noise and high consonant articulation further enhance its suitability for capturing clear, intelligible speech in noisy settings.

DPA 2017

On the other hand, the DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone* stands out with its extraordinary durability and precision in sound capture, especially in challenging environments. The DPA 2017 combines a linear off-axis frequency response with efficient off-axis rejection, ensuring that sounds are captured authentically and naturally, even from the sides or rear. This mic excels in delivering a balanced, natural sound without the coloration often associated with off-axis noise pickup, which can be critical when capturing the ambiance of a scene. Its compact and lightweight design does not compromise on robustness; the brass construction with a black chrome finish ensures durability against mechanical impacts, moisture, and temperature variations.

DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone

The primary distinction lies in their operational strengths. The Sennheiser MKH 416 is famed for its resilience and reliability, especially in outdoor filming where conditions predict unpredictability, somewhat akin to braving an uncharted planet in a sci-fi epic—think of the rugged landscapes often encountered by the crew in “Star Trek.” Meanwhile, the DPA 2017’s technological advancements offer unparalleled sound clarity and consistency, making it akin to the high-tech, sophisticated gadgets often seen in the hands of “Mission: Impossible” agents.

Curtis Judd, Location Sound Mixer (credits include Mad Max: Fury Road, Top Gun: Maverick):

“If you’re looking for just one mic to cover most of your location sound needs, the 416 has been the industry standard for years. It just works.”

“…The 2017 is recognized as being the most durable microphone in history…Its acoustical performance sets it apart from any competition. It has efficient off-axis rejection combined with an off-axis frequency response that is much more linear than most similar shotgun mics on the market…”

Both microphones offer unique advantages: the MKH 416 for its proven track record in harsh filming conditions and the DPA 2017 for its superior sound quality and adaptability across diverse recording scenarios. The choice between them may ultimately hinge on specific needs: the MKH 416 is ideal for professionals who value a tried-and-true tool that withstands the elements, while the DPA 2017 is perfect for those who prioritize sound fidelity and innovative microphone technology.

Specification Sennheiser MKH 416-P48U3 DPA 2017 Shotgun Microphone
Type Shotgun interference tube microphone Shotgun microphone
Polar Pattern Supercardioid/lobe pattern Highly directional
Frequency Response Focused on directivity across frequencies Balanced off-axis frequency response
Acoustic Principle Pressure-gradient receiver with short interference tube Extremely directional pick-up with interference tube
Directivity Very high directivity Extremely directional
Self-Noise Low self-noise level 13 dB(A) low self-noise
Humidity Resistance Highly immune to humidity Resistant to moisture, temperature, and condensation
Transducer Principle RF condenser microphone Not specified
Dimensions Ø 19 x 250 mm Compact, lighter than competitors
Weight 500 grams Lighter than many competitive mics
Sound Field Hypercardioid at low and medium frequency, above 2kHz approaches a lobar pattern Directional pick-up pattern with balanced off-axis pickup
Output Connection Standard XLR connector Not specified
Supply Voltage 48 V phantom power (P48) Not specified
Color Matte black finish Black chrome finish
Accessories Included Supplied with MZW415 windscreen Not specified
Consonant Articulation High Not specified
Feedback Rejection Excellent Outstanding
Durability Durable, resistant to harsh environments Extraordinary durability, reinforced construction
Testing and Reliability Proven track record in harsh conditions Thoroughly tested for robustness in harsh environments

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