Sennheiser MK 4 Review – Ultra Tough Mic With Neutral Sound

Ask anyone in the industry to list some of the top brands in the space, and there will be a high chance of Sennheiser capturing a spot. This juggernaut of a brand has a superb reputation, and its microphones are among the best in the business, especially after acquiring the legendary microphone manufacturer Neumann.

That expertise is on full display with the MK4. An outstanding large diaphragm condenser microphone that is ideal for a studio setting.

Sennheiser MK 4

Sennheiser MK 4 Microphone

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Studio Vocals


Live Vocals














Table of Contents

The Sennheiser MK4 has all the hallmarks of a quality studio microphone. Accurate sound, rugged construction, and slick styling. But while it is among the best options, it also has some minor flaws.


Selecting the right condenser microphone for your studio space can be challenging. You have to factor in all potential use applications and balance that with whatever budget you have to work with. In many ways, the Sennheiser MK4 might be your ideal choice. Let’s take a closer look.

Sound Quality

The Sennheiser MK4 features a large 1-inch diaphragm with a cardioid polar pattern. This makes it ideal for side-address applications like voice-over work and vocal recordings.

While these are the primary use cases, the MK4 is also a capable option for other tasks in a studio setting.

Sennheiser MK 4 Sound Profile.

An excellent microphone for vocals but also impressive with instruments.

The first thing that struck me with the MK4 was the surprisingly accurate sound. I’ve had the chance to test a lot of microphones, and often, there is a certain level of colorization present. The MK4 has a smidge of color, but it is far more restrained compared to other options in this price range.

The MK4 shines with vocals and voice-over work. The level of detail and transparency is superb and will appeal to people who want the most authentic recording possible. There is a minor bump between 1kHz and 2kHz, but for the most part, the response is exceptionally flat.

As with many condenser microphones, the Sennheiser MK4 is not an ideal choice for live vocal work; nothing stops you from using it for live applications. There is an internally shock-mounted capsule that does a reasonable job of minimizing structure-borne noise. Still, a microphone like this is generally too sensitive.

“Exceptional capability to capture clean and vibrant vocals and voice-over performances.”

Usually, a neutral response can lead to slightly brittle or dry recordings, but that is not the case with the MK4. It’s accurate but not lifeless. The high accuracy also makes it an excellent choice for some instruments.

With an impressive showing for voice-overs and vocals, I was eager to see how it stacked up for some of the other typical applications for studio microphones, and the MK4 passed with flying colors.

When it came to recording guitars, the MK4 was quite impressive, especially with acoustic guitars. The high detail and accuracy capture every detail. It also held up exceptionally well with electric guitars.

Most instruments with reasonable volume levels translate well, and those who want a clinical base recording will be pleased with what the MK4 offers.

While the performance for instruments and vocals was excellent, the MK4 is also a reasonable option for drums, albeit for some applications. The Max SPL of 140 is relatively high, but it might not be the best choice for aggressive kick drums.

The Sennheiser is a stellar example of a well-thought-out microphone that meets the brief: an accurate sound that retains character and enough versatility to handle various tasks.


The Sennheiser MK4 offers up a fairly standard 20Hz-20kHz response, but as mentioned, it is very neutral across this range.

I’ve already mentioned the minor bump towards the top, but there is also a roll-off beginning at 110Hz that does impact the lower end, but it doesn’t become dramatic until you move below 50Hz. For most recording applications, this response should make little difference.

As for technical components, the MK4 features a large 1-inch (25.4mm) diaphragm with a gold-plated finish. It’s not just for show. Gold is an excellent electrical conductor, which makes it the ideal material for condenser microphones.

Sennheiser MK 4 Specifications.

The MK4 features a large diaphragm and low self-noise.

The Max SPL of 140dB is decent enough, but other microphones have a higher ceiling. You are better off with a different mic if you need a microphone to record loud instruments.

The MK4 also features low self-noise at just 10dB. It might not be the lowest, but it is quiet enough to handle softer recordings, including whispering and ambient noise.

The Sennheiser MK4 has an impedance of 50 ohms, so be sure to match it accordingly with an appropriate interface, and as with most condenser microphones, you’ll need 48V of phantom power.


The appearance of the Sennheiser MK4 is slightly polarizing. Many people praise its aesthetic design, but I’ve also seen people criticize its appearance. I find the design to be both eye-catching and functional.

The silver finish contrasts nicely with the black grille, and the overall shape and dimensionality complement a condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern. I also like how the gold plating on the diaphragm is visible through the grille, which gives it even more character.

As with many aspects of life, design is subjective, so take my opinion with a grain of salt and assess it for yourself.

Three-quarter view of the Sennheiser MK 4 microphone.

An attractive combination of silver and black elements.

Beyond appearance, there are some notable design decisions. The main thing to highlight is the lack of additional features for a microphone at this price point.

Other microphones might offer multiple polar pattern options or have built-in pop filters. Other microphones might also provide performance switches or a pad for recording louder instruments—none of these extras feature on the MK4.

I don’t see this as a massive drawback, for what it’s worth. This highly capable microphone excels at specific tasks and doesn’t try to be a jack of all trades.

“Sophisticated and intelligent design both aesthetically and technically.”

The MK4 offers a focused design mentality that seeks to achieve optimum recording quality for vocals and instruments. If I were judging the design strictly on whether it achieves this, the MK4 would pass with flying colors.

However, some might want a bit more versatility. If you are in that camp, there are some enticing alternatives at around the same price.

As for connectivity, the standard model features an XLR connection point. A USB version was available for a while but is no longer available. If you are shopping for one in the secondhand market, check which version it is. I always prefer to work with XLR-based microphones where possible, so aim to pick that one up.

Build Quality

Sennheiser has an excellent reputation for quality, and the MK4 is a shining example. This is a superb microphone with rock-solid build quality and premium components.

The metal housing is a welcome departure from the sea of plastic cases that have become the norm. It’s ultra tough and also adds heft, which inspires confidence. The grille is equally robust and does an excellent job protecting the diaphragm.

Sennheiser MK 4 Build Quality Details.

Outstanding build quality from one of the world’s leading audio brands.

As per usual, this is when I would like to mention that no matter how tough a condenser microphone is, they are still sensitive devices you’ll need to handle carefully. Don’t go throwing this around your studio.

My only gripe would be the included mic clamp. It’s not bad, but equally, it doesn’t match the supreme quality of the microphone itself.

But overall, this is about as tough as they come for a condenser microphone. Excellent finish and durability from a German company that does not take shortcuts regarding its technical design and manufacturing processes.


The Sennheiser MK4 is a large diaphragm microphone, so it will be a little wider than some other microphones on the market by default. But when you compare it to other condenser microphones, it falls within an average range where it isn’t excessively large but also not overly slim.

Sennheiser MK 4 Dimensions.

The metal frame adds some extra heft to the MK4.

The rugged metal casing adds extra weight to the microphone, bringing it up to 1.07 lbs. (485 grams). It’s not cumbersome by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s still worth mentioning. Aim to use a high-quality boom arm or stand for maximum stability.


I’ll admit I’m a little on the fence regarding the value proposition of the MK4. On one side, I can’t get over how good this microphone sounds, especially for its price point. This microphone is easily one of the best options in this price bracket and even gives some more expensive microphones a solid run for their money.

But on the other hand, the lack of extra features is disappointing. So are the included accessories. The pouch is decent, and the mic clip is reasonable, but there is nothing to write home about. These are just standard inclusions that most microphones offer.

Sennheiser MK 4 Accessories.

The MK4 comes with a small amount of included accessories.

If you want to add a shock mount to your setup, you’ll have to pony up some extra cash. Luckily, there are combo offers out there that make it a more attractive proposition.

Considering all that, I still lean towards giving the MK4 a high mark in the value department. Performance always trumps extra features and accessories, and the MK4 has an undeniable sound that makes it worth every dollar. 

Customer Reviews

It is quite a challenge to find negative reviews for the Sennheiser MK4. The vast majority of people score this microphone 4 or 5 stars, and after using it myself, it is easy to see why.

A small percentage is more critical, but context within this price bracket is vital, so I think some might be a little too harsh. Looking into the industry-wide opinion, it’s clear that insiders also rate the MK4 highly, and I’m happy to throw in my favorable recommendation along with them.

Go For Gold

Gold is an excellent choice for the diaphragm of a condenser microphone due to its exceptional electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance.

The metal’s high conductivity ensures efficient signal transmission, which helps deliver accurate sound reproduction. Gold’s resistance to corrosion also prevents degradation over time, ensuring the microphone’s longevity and consistent performance.

A photo highlighting the gold plated diaphragm of the MK4 microphone.

Gold is a common material component of condenser microphones.

Gold also helps minimize unwanted electrical interference, resulting in cleaner audio recordings. Nothing can be more disheartening in the studio than a muddy recording, so anything that helps in this area is much appreciated.

When you consider gold’s combination of conductivity, durability, and resistance to corrosion, it is no surprise that it is the go-to material for diaphragms in condenser microphones.


I have no hesitation in recommending the MK4, but I also appreciate that it might not be the right choice for everyone. Below, I quickly assess a few other options worth considering.

Shure SM27 Review

The MK4 is a reasonable choice for live vocals, but it isn’t my first choice. If you want a studio-focused condenser microphone that can pull double duty for live performances, the SM27 is worth considering.

  • Excellent all-rounder capability for various studio and live tasks.
  • Dependable build quality and low self-noise.
  • Not as neutral as the MK4.

Audio-Technica AT2050 Review

For those who want increased versatility, the Audio-Techncia AT2050 is a feature-rich option that maintains an exceptionally reasonable price point.

  • It has a warm and rich sound profile that complements vocalists well.
  • Features multiple polar patterns and a pad.
  • The colored output might not be ideal for purists.
Audio-Technica AT2050 Microphone

Audio-Technica AT2050

Shure KSM32 Review

If you have a larger budget, the KSM32 from Shure is another superb-sounding condenser microphone with a cardioid polar pattern.

  • Extremely neutral and accurate sound profile for clinical recordings.
  • Integrated 3-stage protection within the grille to minimize plosives.
  • Substantially more expensive than the MK4.

Should You Buy?

If it wasn’t clear from the review, I’m a big fan of the Sennheiser MK4. This is a superb microphone that features excellent sound quality. Some might prefer more color, but I appreciate the neutrality on offer here.

The reliability and rock-solid construction is also an aspect I cannot praise enough. In a world of disposable short-life products, I’m so happy to see a company like Sennheiser continue to make products that can become staples within your studio for years.

While it might not have all the bells and whistles of some other condenser microphones, the MK4 is a highly capable mic that deserves to be on your list of options.

Sennheiser MK 4 Microphone

Sennheiser MK 4

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Picture of Article by Patryk Biernacki
Article by Patryk Biernacki

Patryk has been immersed in the world of music since the early 90s. This coupled with his creative talents, drove his passion to become an expert writer in the music industry. He constantly researches and tests new products, and enjoys playing with all types of gear in his spare time. Electronic music runs through his veins and he absolutely loves DJing in his home studio.

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