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Attaching LS-P4 to Shotgun Mic (ME 66) (1 Viewer)

NorthernHarrier

Active member
The search function is not working for me, so I have to start a new thread.
I have not yet received my LS-P4, but today I bid on a ME 66/K6P combo on a well-known auction website and manged to get them, and a foam windscreen, for around $150. Now, I need to swing into action fast and buy a female XLR to 3.5mm connector (3 feet long? 6 feet long, so I can put the recorder in a pocket?), I think.

I could use some advice on which XLR to 3.5mm connector would be a good value (hopefully on Amazon or someplace where there are values to be had), and also could use advice on how to attach the LS-P4 to the mic. Is it OK to buy a connector with a plastic XLR connector socket, rather than the metal ones?

I have been reading the threads here, wherein people mention using elastic bands to attach a recorder to the mic. Which bands do you use? Is there something that works very well to keep the recorder attached to the mic without damaging either, and without the recorder possibly falling off? Or, would it be better for me to keep the recorder in a pocket and extend a six-foot connection cord to the mic in my hand?

I appreciate the assistance - any advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

- Jeff
 
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NorthernHarrier

Active member
Correction: I bought a ME 66 and K6, not a K6P. The auction page described the power module as a K6P in the title, but the description and photos indicated it is a K6, and will take a battery.
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
I personally use the Sennheiser KA 600 XLR Female to 1/8" TRS Male Connection Cable for my ME66/K6. It's just under $20 new. I use it for direct into camera sound (Nikon d850 or Z7). It's wired as unbalanced into both L&R. I mostly use the ME66 shoe mounted on the camera or on an arca-swiss C clamp over a long lens, so the short coiled cable was what I wanted. If you're going to have the mic a distance from the camera, something else might work better. It's on the expensive side for one of these.

My understanding is the LS-P4 mic jack is a 3.5mm mono jack, so I think this cable would work ok for it, but please double check.

Marc
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I personally use the Sennheiser KA 600 XLR Female to 1/8" TRS Male Connection Cable for my ME66/K6. It's just under $20 new. I use it for direct into camera sound (Nikon d850 or Z7). It's wired as unbalanced into both L&R. I mostly use the ME66 shoe mounted on the camera or on an arca-swiss C clamp over a long lens, so the short coiled cable was what I wanted. If you're going to have the mic a distance from the camera, something else might work better. It's on the expensive side for one of these.

My understanding is the LS-P4 mic jack is a 3.5mm mono jack, so I think this cable would work ok for it, but please double check.

Marc

Marc: thanks for your comments. I bought both 3-foot and 6-foot Cable Matters XLR female to 3.5mm TRS unbalanced cables. I think they should work fine. They produce dual-channel mono output, which will work fine with the recordings I'll make. If I find later that I want a higher quality cable, I can always upgrade.

I also bought some thick rubber bands to attach the recorder to the mike, although I could also put the recorder in a pocket. I purchased the Sennheiser case for the mike, because it was fairly inexpensive and I have nothing else suitable for carrying the mike and power module.

I think I have what I need to test the mic, when it arrives in a few days, and also to begin using it. Thanks, again, for your help.
 

davpen

Well-known member
Just as a caveat here, I was a bit disappointed with my own experiments with the ME66/K6 with Olympus LS recorders, and found the results not massively better than those of the recorder on its own. I later read something which made be wonder if the XLR-3.5mm cable I was using was of the wrong impedance, but the science was beyond me, and I'd already got rid of the mic by that time.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
Just as a caveat here, I was a bit disappointed with my own experiments with the ME66/K6 with Olympus LS recorders, and found the results not massively better than those of the recorder on its own. I later read something which made be wonder if the XLR-3.5mm cable I was using was of the wrong impedance, but the science was beyond me, and I'd already got rid of the mic by that time.

Interesting. I had no idea that the impedance might be an issue....I appreciate being warned of your experience, as I will look into the issue and see if I need a different cable that might work better than what I have.

Thanks very much,
Jeff
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I personally use the Sennheiser KA 600 XLR Female to 1/8" TRS Male Connection Cable for my ME66/K6. It's just under $20 new. I use it for direct into camera sound (Nikon d850 or Z7). It's wired as unbalanced into both L&R. I mostly use the ME66 shoe mounted on the camera or on an arca-swiss C clamp over a long lens, so the short coiled cable was what I wanted. If you're going to have the mic a distance from the camera, something else might work better. It's on the expensive side for one of these.

My understanding is the LS-P4 mic jack is a 3.5mm mono jack, so I think this cable would work ok for it, but please double check.

Marc

I like the look of the KA 600, but Sennheiser says the XLR female connector is balanced - which I thought would not work with the LS-P4. The K6 power module that goes with the mic has a balanced xlr output, but I thought from reading posts here that I needed an unbalanced cable. Apparently, what I really need is a cable with a balanced xlr female connector on one end, and an unbalanced 3.5mm male connector on the other end. Like the KA 600.

Or, perhaps I'm not fully understanding the electronics. The instructions for the LS-P4 don't indicate explicitly whether the mic jack is stereo or mono. They say that, when the Rec Mode is set to stereo, recording with an external mono mic records on the left channel only; when Rec Mode is set to mono, only the input from the left channel microphone is recorded when using an external stereo mic. I think that means it's a mono jack. So, the KA 600 should work. I like the right-angle plug - maybe I should get one of those.
 
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marcsantacurz

Well-known member
The KA 600 is meant for use with smartphones or other devices that have a 3.5mm stereo jack.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/ka-600

It does not send a balanced signal to the 3.5mm jack. It works with my Nikon DSLR just fine, sending a mono signal to both L&R channels.

The issue you may have with the LS is I think the 3.5mm jack is mono not stereo, so I don't know if it does something funny with the stereo plug. I doubt it, but don't really know.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
The KA 600 is meant for use with smartphones or other devices that have a 3.5mm stereo jack.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/ka-600

It does not send a balanced signal to the 3.5mm jack. It works with my Nikon DSLR just fine, sending a mono signal to both L&R channels.

The issue you may have with the LS is I think the 3.5mm jack is mono not stereo, so I don't know if it does something funny with the stereo plug. I doubt it, but don't really know.

I'll find out when the ME 66 arrives - I just ordered a KA 600. If that does not work correctly with the LS-P4, I'll try the unbalanced cables I bought earlier. Thanks for the information about the KA 600. It isn't terribly expensive, and it will probably work with the LS-P4 and K6/ME 66.

Jeff
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
What I found is that no one publishes the actual wiring diagram of their adapter cables or says how it is wired in unambiguous engineering terms. That's why I went with the Sennheiser cable, I figured they would do the right thing for their mics.

Anyway, I hope it works out for you.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
What I found is that no one publishes the actual wiring diagram of their adapter cables or says how it is wired in unambiguous engineering terms. That's why I went with the Sennheiser cable, I figured they would do the right thing for their mics.

Anyway, I hope it works out for you.

Thanks! I received the ME 66 and K6 today. They are in better shape than I expected, and the package includes the Sennheiser foam windscreen. I am waiting for the KA 600 cable to arrive (expected tomorrow) to test the microphone. The Sennheiser carrying case also arrived - I'll hang on to that, also.

I don't want to risk trying the CableMatters cables that might have an unbalanced XLR connection. I sent an email to CableMatters, asking whether they think their cables will work, given that the XLR connection on the K6 is a balanced connection. It appears that I will have to wait until at least Monday for a response from them.

In the meantime, I will go out tomorrow morning early and try to find some birds braving the cold air - so I can test the internal mic capabilities of the LS-P4. It was too windy today. I bought some small wind screens for the recorder mics. I'll report here about whether the KA 600 ends up working. Thanks again, for your help.

Jeff
 
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NorthernHarrier

Active member
Went out with the LS-P4 this morning to a local park with birds, to test the internal mic performance. I am pleasantly surprised by the performance of the internal mics, with recording level set to high and the zoom mic feature on the highest level. The recorder was sensitive enough to be picking up birds way off of the front/center focus area. The recordings sound very good.

Received the Sennheiser KA 600 cable later this afternoon. I just recorded classical music in my apartment with the volume on the radio turned to a low level, alternating between using the Sennheiser ME 66/K6 and using the recorder's internal mics. What I found is that the Sennheiser mic definitely is more sensitive than the internal microphones on the recorder. However, I need to keep the recording level setting on the recorder on medium, rather than high, when using the Sennheiser microphone. If I use the high recording level setting with the Sennheiser mic, the pre-amp in the recorder leaves a steady wind-like noise throughout the recordings.

Having heard the background pre-amp noise using the ME 66, I went back and listened to the recordings from this morning using the recorder's internal mics. It is now clear that the faint, but steady wind noise I hear in the recordings from this morning is not wind noise as I had assumed - it is the pre-amp noise from having the recording level set to high.

Based on all the above, I think I'll keep the Sennheiser mic. I am guessing it will give me somewhat cleaner recordings in the field in which I can minimize the effects of the recorder's pre-amp on the recording by setting the recording level to medium.

Maybe one of you can tell me if you think I am correct in my assessment of where the noise is coming from and whether my decision to keep the Sennheiser ME 66/K6 combo makes sense. I didn't pay a huge amount for it, it is in good shape, and it seems to work - so I think it is a keeper for more recording attempts. After all, it was only 30 degrees F. this morning out there, with the winter birds still predominant. There will be more opportunities to see what the Sennheiser/LS-P4 combo can do as the weather warms and more birds arrive for the nesting season.
 

Borjam

Registered User
Supporter
There are two important parameters in a microphone: Sensitivity and internal noise. Internal noise is not so important in this application (if you are recording nature sounds there is plenty of noise around!) but the higher the sensitivity the better, as it will greatly reduce the impact of your preamp internal noise.

The ME66 has a very high sensitivity (one of the highest in the shotgun microphone business) and, at the same price, a very modest price. Its sensitivity is comparable to that of much more expensive models such as the MKH70 and MKH8070 (>1500 euro).

It doesn't have a lovely sound to record movie dialog, etc. But certainly it's an effective microphone for nature recording. It's a nature recording favourite for a good reason :)

Now for your next goal: wind protection. I can vouch for the Rode Blimp. At 200 euro it's not too expensive (compared to high end Cinela and Rycote models) and it's really effective.

P.S: Wind noise on microphones is actually like low frequency thuds. And that's the kind of problem you can prevent with proper wind protection.
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
There are two important parameters in a microphone: Sensitivity and internal noise. Internal noise is not so important in this application (if you are recording nature sounds there is plenty of noise around!) but the higher the sensitivity the better, as it will greatly reduce the impact of your preamp internal noise.

The ME66 has a very high sensitivity (one of the highest in the shotgun microphone business) and, at the same price, a very modest price. Its sensitivity is comparable to that of much more expensive models such as the MKH70 and MKH8070 (>1500 euro).

It doesn't have a lovely sound to record movie dialog, etc. But certainly it's an effective microphone for nature recording. It's a nature recording favourite for a good reason :)

Now for your next goal: wind protection. I can vouch for the Rode Blimp. At 200 euro it's not too expensive (compared to high end Cinela and Rycote models) and it's really effective.

P.S: Wind noise on microphones is actually like low frequency thuds. And that's the kind of problem you can prevent with proper wind protection.

Thank you for your informative comments. I was hoping that the foam windscreen included with the mic would be sufficient. It looks like the Sennheiser product intended for this mic. I gather from your comments that you think not.

200 Euros is quite a few USD. I think I’ll try the foam windscreen outdoors, then decide about which alternative to buy after saving a few bucks.

I definitely detect the wind noise thuds in my recordings using the recorder alone yesterday. I bought tiny foam and fur windscreens for the recorder but did not use them in my foray yesterday. I’m looking forward to trying the Sennheiser mic outside. I’ll keep the Rode Blimp on my list for my next investment.
 

iveljay

Well-known member
Borjam is pretty well spot on.

However to clarify the external mic input on the LS-P4 is stereo - the instructions are not helpful here but a stereo mic will record distinctly different left and right signals and not just a 2x mono. A mono mic will just record to the LH channel unless you use a suitably wired cable. I use external stereo mics for some recordings as they are more portable than two monos wired into a single tsr connector via a stereo splitter.

Always remember that with any pre-amp noise Audacity has a function that will remove it leaving a fully viable bird recording. I have used it to rescue recordings from really terrible rigs. Just remember that the software has to be run twice, once with a nice clean sample of the noise and secondly to delete the noise from the entire recording.

Wind noise is not as easy to remove with Audacity and hence the need for the various windscreens.
 
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NorthernHarrier

Active member
Borjam is pretty well spot on.

However to clarify the external mic input on the LS-P4 is stereo - the instructions are not helpful here but a stereo mic will record distinctly different left and right signals and not just a 2x mono. A mono mic will just record to the LH channel unless you use a suitably wired cable. I use external stereo mics for some recordings as they are more portable than two monos wired into a single tsr connector via a stereo splitter.

Always remember that with any pre-amp noise Audacity has a function that will remove it leaving a fully viable bird recording. I have used it to rescue recordings from really terrible rigs. Just remember that the software has to be run twice, once with a nice clean sample of the noise and secondly to delete the noise from the entire recording.

Wind noise is not as easy to remove with Audacity and hence the need for the various windscreens.

Thank you for the information about the mic on the LS-P4. You're right - the instructions aren't very helpful in that department.

I have briefly experimented with Audacity to try out the Noise Reduction tool - and now feel that I will be able to use it on the recordings I want to keep. You're right - I did have to remind myself to apply the sample to the entire recording.

After going out on this past Sunday to try the LS-P4 on its own, I realized upon listening to the recordings that the noise reduction in Audacity will not work to reduce wind noise in most circumstances. I guess it might be more effective if the wind is howling steadily throughout the recording, but in that case the conditions for quality recording are not great, anyway.

Using the ME66, I will also need to learn to use Audacity to reproduce the recorded left-side track on the right track. I've read about how to do it - but have not yet done it myself.

I'll look forward to learning how to use the equipment and Audacity more effectively. Thanks for the help,

Jeff
 

marcsantacurz

Well-known member
The K6 has a bass roll-off filter @ 100 Hz that I usually use. It really helps cut down wind noise and other noises while leaving bird calls alone. That, combined with a windscreen really help.

Marc
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
I'll Try It

The K6 has a bass roll-off filter @ 100 Hz that I usually use. It really helps cut down wind noise and other noises while leaving bird calls alone. That, combined with a windscreen really help.

Marc

It took me some time to actually determine which position the bass roll-off filter switch was in on my K6. Maybe my old eyes make it difficult. I will try switching it on and listening to the results.

Last evening, I decided to open a recording from last weekend and apply the Audacity noise reduction to a brief, obvious bit of wind noise. The noise reduction worked very well, once I adjusted the various parameters with the sliders to positions that were effective at reducing the wind sound. I think I'll be able to take out some of the worst wind noise, now that I know how to do it with the software.

Yesterday I also ordered a windscreen that includes a fur cover, which I think will be more effective than the foam-only windscreen I received with the microphone. I'm looking forward to trying out the Sennheiser mic this weekend.
 

geastrum

Member
It took me some time to actually determine which position the bass roll-off filter switch was in on my K6. Maybe my old eyes make it difficult. I will try switching it on and listening to the results.

Last evening, I decided to open a recording from last weekend and apply the Audacity noise reduction to a brief, obvious bit of wind noise. The noise reduction worked very well, once I adjusted the various parameters with the sliders to positions that were effective at reducing the wind sound. I think I'll be able to take out some of the worst wind noise, now that I know how to do it with the software.

Yesterday I also ordered a windscreen that includes a fur cover, which I think will be more effective than the foam-only windscreen I received with the microphone. I'm looking forward to trying out the Sennheiser mic this weekend.



Thanks for alerting me to the bass roll-off filter setting. I've never carefully checked what frequencies it affects. I've kept it ON, assuming that it wouldn't affect the birds I'm recording.

However, a couple of nights ago I was standing by my bedroom window hoping to hear a Great bittern (Botaurus stellaris) that I know is present some 4.4km (3 miles) from my home. The great bittern's deep, loud 'boom' is strongest around 167Hz and its sound can travel very far. A neighbour of mine has heard it from his house, but the conditions need to be ideal. It was a calm, quiet night, but I didn't hear anything. I then brought out my ME66+K6 combo and headphones to hear see if it could help me pick up the sound. But I still couldn't hear it. So I still lack this species on my yard list.

However, I just now found a good graph in the K6 spec sheet at the Sennheiser site showing the effect of the bass roll-off filter:

https://assets.sennheiser.com/global-downloads/file/2447/K6_GB.pdf

It shows that the bass roll-off filter begin to kick in already at 1000hz.
At the Great bittern's frequency of 167Hz, it produce a -6dBV reduction. At 100Hz, a -10 reduction. I don't have a good intuitive sense of how much this means in real life. But for my quest to hear a distant bittern through my bedroom window, any reduction at these frequencies seem less that ideal!

Hereafter, I will turn the bass filter OFF.
 

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