Who Is The Sennheiser MKE 200 Microphone For?

  • The Sennheiser MKE 200 microphone is lightweight and just needs to be plugged into a camera or phone to work
  • The MKE 200 creates recordings with impressively high audio quality
  • An extra mobile kit can be purchased which includes a tripod and mobile phone clip
The Sennheiser MKE 200 microphone was made with smartphones in mind, but only those with a 3.5mm jack

Smartphones are so much more than ways to communicate with one another. Phones are now cameras, music studios, editing bays and live broadcasting equipment. However, the hardware built into phones often isn't the best, especially when making high-end content. That's when companies like Sennheiser step in to improve the process with things like the Sennheiser MKE 200. This little microphone is designed to work with cameras and mobile phones to vastly improve audio quality when recording videos.

One Massive Missed Opportunity

The Sennheiser MKE 200 is heavily promoted by Sennheiser to be a microphone that works with smartphones. This is a smart move, especially given how small and lightweight the microphone is. However, the company severely goofed up in one of their efforts to make the MKE 200 mobile-friendly: the included cables.

There are two included cables with the MKE 200, and they're both 3.5mm to 3.5mm cables. This is perfect for a camera that has a 3.5mm jack, but the unfortunate truth about cell phones is that the 3.5mm jack is a dying feature in the smartphone landscape. I can't even remember the last major flagship that included that jack, and Apple hasn't included one with new iPhones for nearly five years now. My wife has an older phone, which is lucky as otherwise I wouldn't be able to use the MKE 200 at all.

The MKE 200 hooked up to a smartphone

Because the MKE 200 uses a 3.5mm jack, that means users can't listen back to what was just recorded without having to unplug the microphone from the phone. There isn't an audio pass-through option with the MKE 200, nor is there an additional jack to plug in a pair of headphones.

Where does that leave the MKE 200? Well, creators who use cell phones for their camera will need to get some kind of adapter. Be warned that not all adapters will work, as the cheap $10 one I bought does not seem to tap into the microphone when recording videos. For a product that is so focused on using smartphones, to the point where the "mobile kit" even includes a smartphone tripod, you'd think it would be able to be used with smartphones right out of the box.

Thankfully, those who want to use the MKE 200 with a DSLR, mirrorless or similar camera should have no issues. Assuming the camera in question has a 3.5mm jack, the MKE 200 just needs to be plugged in to start recording.

Tiny And Lightweight

The Sennheiser MKE 200 is very unimposing. This little microphone is only about two and a half inches long and weighs a quarter of a pound, making it easy to put on a cell phone or camera without being too heavy or bulky. The microphone is also entirely powered by whatever device it is plugged into, meaning it doesn't require any additional batteries or another source of power.

Both the cable and mount can be tightened to not fall out

There are a few design aspects of the MKE 200 that I really love, and some I'm not that big a fan of. In terms of positives, I love how just about everything with the MKE 200 can be tightened to help eliminate user errors. For example, the cable that connects the microphone to another device has threads on the microphone end so it can be screwed in tightly. This means the cable should never accidentally pop out of the microphone, ruining a shot. Similarly, the microphone's base can be tightened so that the MKE 200 won't accidentally fall off a camera or the included phone clip.

In terms of things I am not a fan of, I don't like how the MKE 200's cable attaches at the front of the microphone. This makes the cable dangle down in front of a phone's screen when shooting in selfie mode, making it harder to see what is being recorded. When shooting with a phone's rear camera, the microphone needs to be turned 180 degrees to better capture the audio of a scene, meaning the cable could sneak into frame if the user isn't careful. It's a smaller annoyance, but definitely still something to keep in mind.

How Does It Sound?

Oh right, in all of this talk about the Sennheiser MKE 200's physical features we haven't even brought up the microphone's audio quality. This is really where the MKE 200 stands out, as the microphone can capture audio very, very well.

The microphone inside the MKE 200 is a super-cardioid setup, meaning it is designed to be a directional microphone. The microphone has a built-in shock mount and windscreen to help reduce unwanted noise, and also comes with an additional furry windscreen that can be slipped over the microphone for maximum wind protection.

When recording with the MKE 200, sounds come in loud and clear. The microphone can easily pick up on sounds both loud and soft, as my voice positively booms when holding the microphone on a camera selfie-style. At the same time, it also picked up on keyboard clicking sounds from the other side of a room.

The MKE 200 is small enough to easily fit in my hand

The one downside to audio recording with the MKE 200 is that it does pick up a decent amount of unwanted noise. For example, my apartment's air conditioner could be clearly heard during my tests. Also, the microphone picks up on its own sounds when moving around while recording including dull thumps from the microphone jostling around. It's best to keep movement to a minimum while recording and to have the MKE 200 as tight as possible on its mount.

The Sennheiser MKE 200 really excels in specific use cases. The microphone is great for personal videos or vlog-style content, but should be used in more quiet environments. Recording outside or in a crowded area might sound way too chaotic with how much the microphone can pick up. I'm not sure if I would go with the MKE 200 for more professional content unless recording is being held in a very controlled space.

Mobile Kit

While the Sennheiser MKE 200 is available by itself, Sennheiser is also offering the microphone along with a mobile kit of accessories. We've already discussed these accessories in our Sennheiser XS Lav review, but the short story is these are actually super high quality accessories. The tripod stand is sturdy and durable, and can be collapsed to use in a handheld way. The phone clip has a great grip strength without becoming too tight or hard to open. It can lock in place for security or to help film at a specific angle. All in all, these accessories are super beneficial and aren't cheap add-ons.

Final Thoughts

The Sennheiser MKE 200 is a convenient, powerful microphone, but seems to be having an identity crisis. The microphone was clearly designed to be made for smartphones, but doesn't include the necessary cables to work on most modern phones. Releasing a product that requires additional hardware, especially for all iPhone users, is a strange play to say the least.

The MKE 200 does make a lot more sense as a microphone for a DSLR or mirrorless camera. It shouldn't require any additional hardware, assuming the camera in question has a 3.5mm jack. The cable is more manageable in this configuration as well.

The MKE 200 is available by itself for around $100, and the mobile kit bundle, which includes the microphone along with a smartphone clip and tripod, is available for $130.