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RODE NTG5 vs Sennheiser MKE 600 (1 Viewer)

bird noob

Well-known member
Hey Folks,

Looking to step up my bird recording game with an external a shotgun mic and new recorder. Currently using a Zoom H1n. I know the Sennheiser ME 66/67 have long been regarded as the "budget friendly" standard, but they are discontinued and I don't feel like trying to buy one second hand online. I may be comparing two mics of slightly different tiers, but Sennheiser doesn't have anything in between the MKE 600 and Mkh 416 at this time that I can find. Here are some of the main specs:

Sennheiser MKE 600
Price$ 709 CAD (wind screen, pistol grip, ect.) $ 429 CAD (foam screen, hot shoe mount)
Freq range20 hz - 20 khz40 hz - 20 khz
Equivalent Noise1015 DB
Length20.325.6 cm
Weight76 g128 g (no battery)
Internal battery powerNoYes
Low Cut FilterNoYes

What I find appealing about the NTG5 is the slightly wider frequency response, lower noise, lower weight, shorter length (although this may sacrifice some directionality). While it could be nice to have a mic that doesn't need phantom power, I'm not too worried about it, and a low-cut filter could be applied from the recorder. Also, the NTG5 uses a RF condenser which is suppose to make it more resistant to humidity. I couldn't determine if the MKE 600 is RF or DC.

I suppose I am hesitant because I find almost no mention of anyone using an NGT5 for the purpose of recording birds. Maybe this is because it is relatively newer (2019)? As of now, I think I will use it with a TASCAM DR100mkiii (would prefer Sound Devices Premix 3 but I still have to pay rent at the end of the day). Regardless, any set up should be better than my Zoom H1n with built-in mics.

I would consider a parabolic dish also as an upgrade option. I use a very simple one (AOM 5024L HD as an external mic) made with an umbrella with an olympus LSP1 (around 100-130€) and a home made electret battery box and works pretty well. For the money you are ready to invest you could afford a commercial one.

I am attaching an audio of a tree pipit recorded this morning, it was about 8-10m above me. No edits, gain 5.

Here you have a detail of the mic. The acrilic dish has a diameter of 6cm and it is 12cm away from the base. This system is very light and portable.



  • tree pipit_olympus LSP1_Gain 5_AOM 5024L HD.mp3
    2 MB
I don't have experience of using either the Rode NTG5 or the MKE600, but I feel like I am missing something when I look at the new Sennheisser line up.

Whereas the sensitivity of a mic is not the be all and end all, the old ME67 had a sensitivity of 50mV/Pa. Even the ME64 cardiod mic had a sensitivity of 34mV/Pa.

I think the current options from Sennhesisser are;
MKE600 - 21mV/Pa - much less sensitive than the old ME67, and even less sensitive than the ME64
MKH416 - 25mV/Pa - ditto above
MKH418 - 25mV/Pa for the main mic - ditto above
MKH8060 - 63mV/Pa - more sensitive than the ME67 - pretty similar to the Rode NTG5
MKH1070 - 112mV/Pa - way more sensitive than the ME67

Obviously a sensitive mic brings its own problems - handling noise, unwanted environmental noise pickup etc. I am however surprised that Sennheisser now don't seem to have a cheap(ish) directional mic with a reasonably sensitive mic capsule.

The Rode NTG5 has a sensitivity of 66mV/Pa (quoted as -23.5 dB re 1V/Pa), so seems to have a higher sensitivity than the ME67.

If you want to upgrade to get better signal strength, you may be disappointed by the MKE600, but if you are upgrading to get a more directional signal and plan to get you mic reasonably close (which may work better in a noisy environment) then it could be OK.


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