About this Voice Over Microphone Comparison
We put the Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun microphone up against the Neumann U87 Ai to hear the difference on both male and female voice-over.
These are industry standard voiceover microphones, used on many major voiceover productions all over the world.
If you've ever heard any professional voice over or voice acting on video games, in films, on TV, or in commercials, there is a pretty good chance that it was recorded with either a Neumann U87 or a Sennheiser 416.
Talents: Greg Johnson and Laura Young
We regularly use both the Neumann U87 and Sennheiser MKH 416.
The Sennheiser 416
While we can't say there's a clear "winner" we find the 416's shotgun polar pattern to be very useful for capturing talent that don't work the mic close. When they do, we get a nice tone that cuts through with some intimacy but you also have to be cautious of excessive sizzle.
Because of the high-frequency "brightness", the 416 tends to work better on men than women. A de-esser and high frequency roll-off during the edit can counter this affect.
When used close on either, it offers a nice low midrange compression and punch that is very pleasing. This is somewhat the magic of the 416.
It's an excellent microphone that is worth the cost.
The Neumann U87 is no slouch. If you're reading this you likely know it's well used for music recording and voice over alike. We of course like the U87 but find that it either works really well on a person or just lays flat.
Thankfully it works really well on a lot of people!
One beautiful thing of the U87 is that it takes EQ quite well which is good because it does have a little midrange honk on some voices.
The Neumann U87
The dynamics hold true to the source and the balance relative to frequency response is very good across the spectrum. This is likely why it's easy to eq. We can't say the same for some '87 clones.
One thing for certain is that the cost of the U87 is rather expensive. Other great mics exist that rival it at a similar cost or cheaper.
While we reach for the U87 more often, over all the Sennheiser 416 offers the better value.