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advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

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advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby Ulysse » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:20 am

Hi there!

I'm looking for a pair of good microphones to do stereo recordings, use as drum overheads, location recordings and sampling.
I stumbled upon a pair of used Sennheiser K3U/ME40 mics. These consist of the preamp handle and the ME40 super cardioid capsules. The battery for the preamp is not included (but phantom powering is no problem). This model seems to be about 30 years old, I don't know if I can easily find replacement batteries

Has somebody worked with these mikes?
Would you recommend them?
Is ~90£ a fair price?

Thanks for your input!
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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:26 am

I'm sure John Willett will pop up soon with full info, but they're well respected mics and £90 for a pair (or even £90 each) seems like a good deal.

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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:18 pm

Ulysse wrote:I don't know if I can easily find replacement batteries

The batteries are still available:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Duracell-V403PX-Alkaline-Battery-Blister/dp/B00432N904/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1329912595&sr=1-1-fkmr0

or:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Varta-Professional-V28PXL-battery-145mAh/dp/B005D77B1Q

The handbook for the preamp body and ME40 mic (as well as the other sytem capsules) is here: (the english text is about half way through)

http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/old_manual.nsf/resources/K3N.pdf/$File/K3N.pdf

You don't need the battery if you have phantom power (although you will still need to switch the mic on).

It's a decent mic. Not the quietest mic on the planet and has a low-ish output level, but would be fine for drum overheads and general stereo atmos recordings/sampling. £90 for a pair sounds a good price to me.

hugh
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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby Ulysse » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:30 pm

James, Hugh, thanks alot for your opinion.
For the moment, the pair of SDC I have are Samson C02s which I find quite noisy through my motu ultralite's preamps.
Do you think the K3/ME40 is a worthy upgrade from the samsons?
Or would you rather save this money for investing later in, say, a matched pair of Rode nt5?
best regards,
Ulysse
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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby mpeg2 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:25 pm

I have one of these and I can confirm its excellent quality and very low noise. It has a super-cardiod pattern but is very sensitive to windblasts when used on close voice-work. I suggest working 40 to 45 degrees off-axis and using an effective foam filter if using on speech. I have activated mine using 4 x LR44 button-cells which fit nicely into the space provided for the original 5.6V (Mallory PX23 according to the label inside) battery. I've got no idea at this stage how long they will last.
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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby John Willett » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:24 pm

mpeg2 wrote:I have one of these and I can confirm its excellent quality and very low noise. It has a super-cardiod pattern but is very sensitive to windblasts when used on close voice-work. I suggest working 40 to 45 degrees off-axis and using an effective foam filter if using on speech. I have activated mine using 4 x LR44 button-cells which fit nicely into the space provided for the original 5.6V (Mallory PX23 according to the label inside) battery. I've got no idea at this stage how long they will last.

I would use a proper PX23 replacement battery or 12-48V phantom power if you can.

The ME40 was nominally a cardioid and not a super-cardioid, by the way.

But the K3 system, as you say, is a good microphone and was only replaced by the K6 when they made Mercury batteries illegal (the PX23 replacement took a while to come and has no Mercury).
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Re: advice on buying Sennheiser K3 U ME40

Postby mpeg2 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:45 am

My suggestion on using button cells was a suggestion for quick checking and will not harm the microphone. I have been running mine for several days now without any noticable voltage loss. Its been in its box for at least twenty years and on powering it up it ran perfectly. A point in this regard is that now we have such ease of access to high quality preamps, monitors etc, it's great to be able to hear now just how good many of these classic old mics really are.

Searching the net reveals significant difference of opinion on the pickup pattern. I am unable to open the link above to the manufacturers manual to verify.
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