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Sennheiser Electronics Corporation MKH 20

Pricing & Availability

  • MSRP: $1,499


MKH 20 Documentation

OmnidirectionalSennheiser Electronics Corporation MKH 20

Omnidirectional Pencil Condenser Microphone

The MKH 20 is an omnidirectional pencil condenser intended for orchestral recording applications.

The mic uses Sennheiser’s RF Condenser technology, which uses a low polarization voltage and loose diaphragm tension to produce a very low self-noise (10dBA), high-sensitivity (25 mV/Pa) transducer.

Along with the RF design, the MKH 20 shares a basic capsule design with the MKH 30/40/50. It is a 20mm (OD) capsule, with a 15.5mm membrane made of 3.5-micron Mylar.

The mic features a switchable diffuse-field equalization option, which essentially provides a smooth high-frequency boost (+6dB at 10kHz peak, ramping up from 1kHz) to make high-frequency reproduction sound more realistic when the mic is used for ambient recordings in a large room.

[The MKH 20’s] diffuse-field equalization compensates for the moderate increase in directivity which the microphone will exhibit at higher frequencies and should be switched on when making recordings outside the so-called reverberation radius (i.e. microphone beyond the point where the level of the reflected sound is higher than the level for the direct sound).

This feature should be switched off where the share of the direct sound will predominate, [because] the high frequencies would otherwise be over-emphasized. With the switch in this latter position, the microphone will exhibit a linear response curve for sound impinging from the front.

As suggested by the description above, the microphone’s native polar response is omnidirectional below 2kHz, but its side and rear sensitivity is attenuated above 2kHz. That is, the microphone becomes more directional at high frequencies.

When placed near to a source, the mic would have an exaggerated high-frequency response if the “diffuse field EQ” switch is engaged. Conversely, when placed far from a source, in a location where a significant share of high-frequency audio is coming from off-axis (due to room reflections/reverberation), the microphone would sound unnaturally dark without the “diffuse field EQ.”

The mic ships with the MZS 40 shockmount, the MZW 41 foam windscreen, and a “pressure build-up ring.” The ring is not adequately described by Sennheiser, but we presume it to be a rubber doughnut that slides onto the end of the microphone to change the directivity of the microphone in a frequency-dependent way.

The Sennheiser Electronics Corporation MKH 20 is also known as: MKH 20-P48, MKU20.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Omnidirectional (25 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
  • Pad: -10 dB (Via Switch)
  • Filter: Diffuse-field EQ (Via Switch)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 15.5mm
Capsule diameter: 20mm
Diaphragm gauge: 3.5 microns
150 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 142 dB
Self-noise: 10.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
100g (3.53oz) 153mm (6.02'') 25mm (0.98'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 48±4v

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