iPhones are pretty damn good for shooting video. Even with spectacular video quality bad audio will ruin you. People may put up with slightly less than ideal image quality but they won’t keep watching something where you can’t understand what is being said. With that in mind you are using an iPhone as a serious filmmaking or video tool you will want to add a mic to that setup.
On-camera shotgun mics have done wonders for small form factor cameras, so that is a good place to look for a mic for your iPhone. For a specific pick the iPhoneographers have discovered the Sennheiser MKE 400 and think it might be the best around.
While normally seen on mirrorless cameras, the MKE 400 is available in a Mobile Kit that comes with a clamp and mini tripod that make it easy to get shooting with a smartphone. If you want to use the mic with a phone then this is the kit to pick up.
Getting into the mic, it is a nice compact design and has some degree of wind protection integrated into it. There are a couple switches for simple gain control and turning on the low-cut filter. It also has a power button but will actually turn on/off automatically with your camera/device.
At the front is a 3.5mm output for connecting different cable types. Power is reliant on two AA batteries. And, there is a headphone output and volume adjustment.
Being a kit, the mic will come with a phone clamp, Manfrotto mini tripod, two cables (one for cameras and one for smartphones), a fuzzy windscreen, and a carrying pouch. Without the fuzzy attached it is a very clean-looking mic.
While the Sennheiser does have a headphone out you may still prefer something like the Rode AI-Micro for getting multiple inputs and a headphone jack. Good news is even with this device you will still have the auto on/off function on the MKE 400.
The real trick is whether or not it sounds good. They compared to the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro – a fairly well-reviewed mic.
He believes the Sennheiser sounded a bit fuller and has better off-axis rejection. It does certainly sound good in the examples. With a little bit of post-processing you should be getting some good stuff out of it. As for downsides, the fuzzy windscreen kills the mic’s sleek aesthetic and it doesn’t have any sort of shock mount.
Battery power is a positive or negative depending on personal preference. Using two AAs means that you can just swap them out whenever you need to get up and running again. However, rechargeable integrated batteries are convenient and create a slicker product. Could go either way.
What do you think about the MKE 400? Looking for a new on-camera mic?
- Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone (B&H, Amazon)
- Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone Mobile Kit (B&H, Amazon)
- Rode AI-Micro USB-C Audio Interface (B&H)
- Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro Shotgun Microphone (B&H, Amazon)
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