Does anyone have any experience with the KMR81i? I know it's mainly a dialogue short-shotgun, but do you use it for any other application? Foley? In combination for a M/S? Ambience?
I've never directly used the 81 as an engineer, but it has been used on several sessions that I've been part off.
I worked with one of the Foley stages on the Sony lot a few years ago. The Foley mixer used an 81. He told me about how he preferred it to other shotguns he's used. I was happy with the results.
One of the recordists on a gun shoot I was on had an 81, though, I can't remember the sound off hand. I also think that an 81 was used on a vegetable abuse or a metal impact session I did several years ago.
I have a good friend who has one, and I plan on borrowing it for some SFX sessions in the near future. I really want to compare the sound directly to my RSM191, which I love.
Also, I'm not sure if John Fasal uses a KMR81 at all, but he often uses a KMR82 (the long gun). He's pretty picky about his mic choices.
I've used the 81i quite a bit and it's a great sounding mic. I also have a Sanken CS3E. The Sanken has a bit more reach and a little more richness on the low end than the 81i but it is definitely a fantastic sounding mic and I would take it over a 416 any day. The 81i does well both on location for dialogue and in the studio for Foley.
I've used it about half a dozen times for ADR and Foley, and then taken those files into the mix. It was chosen to try to match the timbre of the on-set Neumann used in all cases. It sounds great and natural almost all across the spectrum and has great off-axis noise rejection, which is great for poorly treated or hummy rooms. It also doesn't pick up a lot of reflections even in tiny rooms, if you're okay with the tonality you get from having the performer really close and loud. Worked seamlessly for replacing a couple of clipped lines in a standoff scene on one student production I worked on.
Downsides: pattern's extremely tight (as befits a shotgun), which makes it tricky to use for ADR if your actor's really getting into the moment. It's also really, really bright up around the 6000-7000 range and required a little extra de-essing care in addition to the usual sorts of match-ADR-to-Production EQ scooping magic. YMMV.