The Hahnel Mk200 is a unidirectional microphone for dSLR and video cameras. It comes with twin AAA batteries and a dead cat sock in the box. The Mk200 has a range of 70 – 20,000Hz, a -10 to +10dB switch, a maximum SPL (sound pressure level) of 120dB, and a peak signal indicator.
Unique about the Hahnel Mk200 is that it has double shock mounts. The first generation of this microphone had shock mounts only on the microphone barrel. The Mk200 also has a shock mount on the hot shoe adapter. Believe me when I say this makes a huge difference. Contrary to the Mk100, the Mk200 was just as shock-induced noise free as the more expensive Rode VideoMic Pro.
The Hahnel Mk200 is small, with a nice design. It’s a super cardioid design, with a 14mm electret condenser capsule for uni-directional pickup. I tested the Mk200 in different circumstances and found it to perform very well. Compared to the VideoMic Pro, its sound “booms” less, which gives it a nice natural sound quality for anything from interviews to not-too-loud music. If you want a microphone to record a metal concert, you’d be better off with something entirely different. The lowest frequency my test mic could capture was 57Hz, well below the low end of the advertised range. The highest was 18,600Hz, somewhat below the advertised range high.
The microphone records most sound from the front with a typical falloff from around 90 degrees left/right, but I wouldn’t use it for nature recordings where you must really target a narrow field of sound in front of the microphone at large distances. For most purposes, though, the mic’s sensitivity is quite satisfactory, even at its 0dB setting.
If you need to increase the sensitivity, you can switch to +10dB (or decrease to -10dB). The included dead cat sock enables the microphone to be used outdoors in windy conditions.
The sound quality of the Mk200, its small lightweight design and battery stamina (up to 100 hours is claimed) make it a good choice for most video sound recording purposes or for plain sound capture — e.g. to create your own sound bank or to have background noises available of different environments.
The Mk200 connects to your camera or audio recorder with a 3.5mm mini jack. It costs approx. 130.00 Euros.
I ran a simple voice test with the Mk200 and the VideoMic Pro. Using a Zoom H4n with the VideoMic Pro connected to channel 2 and the Mk200 to channel 1, I spoked straight into the microphones, which were about 20cm apart. Settings were identical on each mic, i.e. 0dB, no low cut filter applied. I was at a distance of approx. 50cm. The screenshot shows the spectrum.
The spectrum shows the Mk200 picking up slightly more noise (but barely noticeable), and having a slightly less signal pickup at 0dB. The VideoMic Pro also has a more bass-rich sound, while I would describe the Mk200 as more neutral sounding, with my voice a tad thinner than it really is.
The good news about this is that you can always add bass later, but removing it can result in slightly more noise being added in post-production. If I were asked to choose between these two microphones I would have a hard time deciding.