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Hey all. I Have a hard time deciding if i shall order the MKH 8040/MKH 30 MS rig or not. Today i record most of my stereo ambiences with NT4 in a blimp into my SD702. Actually i think this sounds really good. Sometimes the XY is a bit to narrow, but it works good simply to widen the tracks with different plugs in post. I also often crisp things up to get it to sound more like the Senns. I know it's noisier than the MKH series, but i rarelly have problems with this, and if i do, it's also possible to fix in the studio afterwords in most cases.

I use it for film, TV, CD releases, (music) and for various stage work like ballet and theatre. I have the money to buy it, but how much will the quality on my recordings improve? I know some of you have used both, so this goes to you guys. Is it worth the extra money, or can i get close enough with what i use now? How do you feel about the difference in clarity and details of sounds being picked up? Do you also find other useful uses for the mid mic, like foley, indoor dialogue etc? (MKH 40 or 8040)

Hope you're not fed up with questions about economic VS expensive gear :)

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Fantastic thread! Thanks for all the great information, everyone -- –  Jay Jennings Oct 5 '11 at 19:11
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5 Answers

I've had an MKH40 for a few months now (and my MKH30 is finally arriving today). It's not the same as the 8040 that you're thinking of purchasing (doesn't have the extended frequency response), but I can say this: you will, and should, find uses for it other than just ambience recording. The MKH series is ridiculously quiet and has a great frequency response. I use the 40 for effects and foley recording a lot; especially when I need to use it in my apartment for a last minute sound need. That particular mic just makes it easier to RX out some of the unavoidable low-level noises from that environment.

Personally, while I do love the mics, I just think it's a lot of money to spend if you're ONLY going to use it for ambiences. Actually, I feel that way for any M/S rig. If you have a need/desire to capture other effects (beyond ambiences) in stereo, or know that you will have uses for the mics in other applications as well (figure 8's can be very handy, by the way)...then it can be a great investment.

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Nice to hear more users of the MKH 40! Always bring them wherever I go :-) –  Christian van Caine Oct 5 '11 at 17:42
    
Love the new verb you've just invented! Might be worth writing to the Oxford English dictionary to submit it. To RX out [verb] - The removal of unwanted artifacts, noise, hiss, buzz and hum from an audio file. Past: Yesterday I rxed out some serious buzz. Future perfect: I hope I will have rxed out all those clicks before tea O'clock. –  Colin Hunter Oct 5 '11 at 21:30
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I have both setups (MKH8040+MKH30) and NT4, and I'm going to sell the NT4 as I just don't use it any more. The Senny setup just sounds awesome, can't say anything more than that. Another added benefit is the small size and light weight of the MS setup. As you know, the NT4's weight is rather heavy.

And yep like Shaun said - you'll find other uses for this setup beyond ambience. Plus having a figure-8 allows for a lot of flexibility for when you start adding further mics to your kit.

Also - I really like the extended frequency response of the MKH8040. I recently recorded various cricket ambiences and when pitched down these simply sound beautifully rich & 'otherwordly'

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Plus one for getting the 8040 over the mkh40. Still waiting for Sennheiser to release an 8030 for the ultimate tiny MS pair.

I'd also suggest looking at a Schoeps MS pair as well. An MK41 or MK4 paired with an MK8. They may have a bit more self-noise than the Sennheisers and cost a bit more, but they sound amazing (less clinical and smoother than the mkh mics imho) and would be my desert island MS pair...and I've recorded with both. Schoeps also has a rep of being bad in humidity, but I've used mine in humid areas (even in the rain) without problems.

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The most important aspects in recording (in order of importance):

  1. The source you are recording

  2. The environment you are recording in

  3. Your engineering skills

  4. Your equipment

If you have #1-3 sorted out and you are still looking to improve/change your recrodings, then you can look at adding new equipment. You can't go wrong with Sennheiser. I have a MKH40, 2 MKH800's, and a 416 and I use them all quite often. I sold my NT4 as it just wasn't used anymore.

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Thanks for taking the time everybody. Unfortunately i can't rent any microphones other than the usual shotguns where i live, so i just have to read reviews and ask for personal experience. No point of checking out mics like these in a store...

Has all of you who have the 8040 in a rycote kit also the MZF filter module? If so, is it almost the same size as the MKH 30?

I use a shotgun for wild foley/fx etc outdoors, so i guess the 8040 would be a nice addition to my other mics for indoor/studio recording.

Even more tempted now. Guess i'll order real soon. Thanks!

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