MKH-416 or the CS3e

Baker Park

New member
Hi all....some insight from the trenches please. Under what circumstances would you choose one over the other. That includes high RF environs, indoor or out, weather, and the world of hard knocks in the news/doc arena.

I am definitely NOT looking for the over all top rated mic here. What I want to learn is what are their strong and weak points if both were in the kit.

Thanks again for the lesson.
I have both the 416 and Sanken CS3E and although the Sennheiser is a good bullet proof mic, the Sanken is the first one I'd take out and my current favourite. It is a hot mic and does capture dialog from a distance. It doesn't tend to colour it when it is off axis. I'm using it now about 80% of the time. 2 thumbs up.
Wow!!! I thought the 416 would be the one for pulling dialog out of the barrel. I was sure the Sanken with its soft sides would get dissed on that score. Interesting.

I have heard rumors that the CS3 is not as robust as the Senns. Any thoughts???

Rippie...what are you doing???? You are going to die young keeping company like that!!! Isn't it amazing how much of this industry is needless chaos. (Not the good kind) Thanks for sharing.
You have got to fill in the blanks... How can I bask in a 14 hour spring day car ad with a bunch of friends if I know not of your misery. :))

day 2, and 10x worse.

The sanken is the ONLY thing letting me get usable sound on this show.

I hate to say it, but as a sound guy I always like hearing crap stories like this... otherwise, when this sh*t happens to me I take it personally.

It is truly amazing how little respect the sound dept. gets on productions UNTIL POST... then it's "why does it sound like this?"

Rippie's got TOP-END kit too... so... :)

... yeah... it's great when the rest of the crew thinks proper booming is 6' overhead.
i just wrote a long post about some of the experiences but decided to delete it.
No need to vent.

I will say Matt, when you say the "rest of the crew".
I work with most of the other dept's all the time and they were nothing but supportive.
They tried to do whatever they could to help out, and they were getting
the blunt end as well.
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i just wrote a long post about some of the experiences but decided to delete it.
No need to vent.

I will say Matt, when you say the "rest of the crew".
I work with most of the other dept's all the time and they were nothing but supportive.
They tried to do whatever they could to help out, and they were getting
the blunt end as well.

You must have been working with a more professional set, or at least a couple of people who understands how frustrating it is to get good audio. They appreciate the little things that you do, and most of all appreciate you for even having an audio guru on set. 'Nuff said.
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All I know is the perfect place to put the key light is wherever you thought you were going to boom. :)
I like hearing the "ugly" set stories. They help me in two ways. One-somewhere in the re-telling I will get an insight into how the situation was handled, be it working with or around difficult people on the set or using a mic technique that beat a bad situation. Second -and this is the jewel in the rough- it reminds me how serious you all are about getting good sound. No one on set can "see" what we do. Usually there is pressure. Those in charge are often insecure, overly "motivated", and think of sound as a post issue not a high priority on set. These stories make me smile, shake my head, and yet fire me up to go as far as I can the next time. I am in great company.
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hmmph... there are days when it's great and days when it SUCKS.

Rippie's experience is nothing new... on some gigs people seem annoyed at the "inconvenience" of having to deal with sound.

I shoot also... stills and video. I stepped in for some guys in Beverly Hills when I was out with the FM crew... as cam2... later they told me that they relied heavily on my stuff... and in the edit just considered it cam1. I prefer cam to sound... it's the difference in people kissing my ass instead of kicking it.

To be a good sound guy you pretty much MUST be an a@@hole... they can hate you on-set or hate you in post... and it's much better to be pushy on-set.
I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but it was pretty recent that I worked a corporate thing for McDonald's... these guys wanted to do interviews... at an OPEN... and BUSY... McDonald's! We set our people up within 8' of the order counter... and used that as a BG!...

Well... it was cos11 lav and CS3e boomed as tight as the DP would allow... which wasn't tight enough for my taste, but whatever... anyway... 2 weeks later I get a call asking why I didn't use a lav... because they could hear babies crying and other nat sound... FORTUNATELY I CYA on my own A... and SHOWED the producer what I was doing when I was doing it... BECAUSE of the whole absurdity of shooting an interview in a busy McDonald's...

Anyway... my guess is that they expected the sound to be as clean as a 60 Minutes interview... and were surprised when... whatta'ya' know... you could hear all the stuff I TOLD them they'd hear... of course nobody remembered the comments at the time stating the obvious... that yes, when a baby is crying 10' away... it's a significant part of the soundtrack, etc.

If anything... it's a flattering endorsement of the CS3e... that the isolation difference in a LAV... vs. boom... was too hard to tell apart.


I feel your pain Rippie... but the guys that HIRED me have hired me back since then... and we've had excellent results to quell any concerns about my standard of quality.
I wish there was more of this stuff on here... I really do treasure it. Tim used to put up some great to read.

Back to the post... is there anything you guys pull the 416 out over the Sanken for other than its resilience. I am not dissing this mic.. I am just want a clear picture of when you pull it out of the kit.

Next comes cos-11 vs b6. Sorry I work out here alone and don't have a good mentor to take me down these break time break downs. Thanks.
Hey Baker,
I have both cos-11's and b6's.

Both have their place.
Between the 2 I personally use the cos-11 probably 95% of the time over the b6
but having the b6 available when i do need it is a lifesaver.

Cos-11's - great in a tie, rugged, sound wonderful (for a crappy lav) plenty of ways to
attach it to a person.

b6- obviously its size, 9 times out of 10 when I use it, I pop it out of a button hole
and tape it to the back of the actual button. (starchy shirts, wardrobe that is noisy no matter what you do) better to get it out into the "air".

the b6 in my opinion is worthless outside unless you start putting some major wind protection on it, and then its as big or bigger than a cos-11.

If i had to choose one it would be the cos-11
I agree on all that... the B6 is a nice sounding lav... but it's mostly "special use" and I can hide a COS11 often enough anyway... with fewer noise issues. The COS11 is my lav of choice.

The MAIN reason I wouldn't buy a 416 is because of the new NTG-3... I can't see myself spending the $1K for a 416... ever again. (I bought one, enjoyed it, but now the game's changed because of the new option.) If I wanted a 416 I'd buy an NTG-3 for half that... from Guy (dvestore)...

If you can afford a CS3e, then I'd get a CS3e... if you really can't... then get an NTG-3 and put the other five hundy in the CS3e kitty and buy it later.
You covered my mic doubts and lav use questions in two posts. Thanks. I have a CS3e and like it a lot. I recently had some doubts after a tough crowd shoot where we were getting short sound bites. One of the post guys was unhappy with the track and insisted the 416 held close was the only way to go. I think the problem was I was unsure of the camera op and held back to much, not the mic. Live and learn.

The cos11s are definitely my go to lavs how ever I just picked up a couple b6s and am on the front end of putting them to use so thanks for sharing your approach. I bought both in black ...are there other colors that are more useful choices?

Thanks again guys I wish you lived closer.
The worse the environment, or the higher the desired isolation, the closer the mic must be. As you put the mic ever closer you continuously pot down the mixer... which is "potting down" the ambience, be it crowds, room echo, etc. at the same time you keep the desired sound constant.

Imagine a bare light bulb that gets your subject to a proper f 5.0... it does this from 10' away... but you don't want to light up the whole room... so you bring the bulb ever closer... and continuously dimming... until the bulb is right at the face and super dim, but you still get an f 5.0 on his face... while the rest of the room is dark.

With audio that is the goal MOST of the time. (Mr. Obvious here... but I like the analogy.)

If the DP doesn't want the bulb that close then he must accept some of the "unwanted room" will also be "seen" on cam.
I'm due for some comparisons like that... there are several people that would like a clip showing the differences... I'll try to get on that this week... perhaps by Friday.

I don't expect the NTG-3 to BEAT a decent hyper for interiors... so that is unlikely... but it might do better then you (or even I) expect. There's no doubt that the NTG-3 has the same qualities that let a 416 or a CS3e do interiors... but BETTER then a decent hyper? That remains to be seen...

As I say all the time... PATTERN is my single most important reason for buying and recommending mics... and that's one of my biggest reasons for liking the NTG-3 so much... but does it BEAT a hyper? Tune in later this week for some real world comparisons... by Friday maybe... :)