Jim Anderson with a Sennheiser MKH 8020New York (June 25, 2010)–Jim Anderson, professor at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and past-president of the AES, recently put Sennheiser MKH 8020 digital microphones through a trial period in both student and professional applications.
“I think Sennheiser is an innovator in this technology,“ said Anderson. “I was introduced to the Neumann Solution D system a few years ago and have been very impressed with the performance of Sennheiser’s digital microphone technology ever since. Since receiving the MKH 8020s, which are small diaphragm/omni mics, I have used them on my last three or four projects as a prominently featured microphone.”
Describing his first experiences using the Sennheiser MKH 8020, Anderson recalled, “As soon as I received the MKH 8020, I did some listening tests with the students. I had them on a piano up against six to eight of the very best microphones we owned, and honest to God, they decisively blew everything else away. I was so impressed with the bloom of the bottom end of the piano. As with the Solution D, the MKH 8020 does not introduce any color and seems to be sonically faithful to the original source; this pure response tends to make the mixing process much easier.”
Anderson quickly put them to use in a student applications: “As soon as I got the MKH 8020s, I brought them into class. I explained, “I am going to do something really dangerous and open up some brand new technology none of us have ever tried or heard before.” We recorded a rock/jazz ensemble using the MKH 8020 digital mics as drum overheads, and the impression was, ‘We just don’t need a snare mic.’ The snare had such a depth and fatness from just the overheads that it was as if there was already a mic on the snare. The first thing we noticed was that when the gain was tuned up, the signal just got louder. You didn’t hear the thermo noise of the microphone increase whatsoever and the noise floor was non-existent.”
Since then, he’s used the MKH 8020s in a professional recording session as well. “I just completed fabulous project with a Latin artist named Pedro Martinez for Calle 54 Records, recording at Avatar,” Anderson noted. “We used the 8020s on all the percussion instruments, and Pedro, who plays the congas and uses a lot of percussion, came over and said, “I can’t believe the sound of the congas. They sound amazing and this is the most natural I’ve ever heard them sound.” His new record is very percussion heavy, and the 8020s captured all the air, all the attack and all the power we needed to hear off every instrument. It all comes right off the mic and we didn’t even have to apply EQ to achieve a great sound.”
“They have quickly become a go-to microphone for me, and are now a permanent part of my repertoire. I am now sold on the whole idea of using digital mics, and also using them in concert with other mics. They are just amazing.”