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How can I power a Sennheiser MKH 110?

I have just bought a Sennheiser MKH 110. i want to use it is a field recording microphone but I don't know how to power it. People have successfully done this with a PP3 9v battery, the mic runs off 8v. I'm a complete novice with electronics but if I knew what components to get and had a shematic, I think I could build a power supply for it.

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  • bibiofi Oct 31, 2008

    The mic doesn't run on 12v T power, it runs on +8v and it has special wiring. The manual for this mic is on the sennheiser site under sevrices and support, downloads, old manulas... but that page is currently under construction. I have the manual in PDF form if you want it?

    This was the link, but it says under construction

    Here is a page showing how 2 x Sennheiser MKH 110s were used on a 9v battery supply:

  • bibiofi Oct 31, 2008

    I use a Nagra IV-S professional analogue tape recorder.

    I use the preamps on the recorder, there are two XLR mic pres with these settings:

    Dyn 50
    Dyn 200

    The cable should be long enough for hand held use, no longer than 3 metres.

    The frequency response of the mic is 1Hz - 20000Hz but I didn't initially buy it to record infrasound so I'm happy with 20Hz - 20000Hz or the closest possible.

  • bibiofi Oct 31, 2008

    Oh, yes, that's the manual i have. 


  • bibiofi Nov 02, 2008

    Hi, thanks for you reply. I have a few things to ask, forgive my naivety in electronics...
    The manual says the current drawn is 8ma, why have you stated it as 40-50ma? Is that figure based on if the zenar regulator is used?

    I have had some help in the meantime and have built a simple box and the mic is working. There is a 220N capacitor in series on the audio output to isolate from the amp, but this causes a bass roll off that starts rather high, about 60 Hz. It also seems to cause a pinch boost around 250Hz. I have taken the 220N off and tested on a behringer mixer mic pre, this seemed to stop the bass roll off and the 250Hz pinch. My multimeter in Logic only goes down to 20Hz and without the 220N, it seemed to respond very well to that frequency in the form of a sine tone coming from a monitor, even though I couldn't hear it! The mic can go down to 1Hz, but as those frequencies may saturate the amp, I will probably need the roll-off but not starting so high up. Can you suggest a solution?

    Also, I haven't tested the circuit in my precious nagra since removing the 220N as I'm not sure if the nagra pre has a DC blocking capacitor built in. If it doesn't, is there any danger of damaging the pre amp by not adding the 220N on the audio cable?

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    I couldn't find a metallised polypropylene capacitor at 1uf, but an audio grade polypropylene at 1uf.

    The voltage rating is 630v - is this an appropriate capacitor?

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    Is the wattage of the 220 ohm resistor important?

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    This is the diagram before swapping the 220n for the 1uF and the series 220 ohm resistor.

    What do you think of this circuit in general, can it be improved on?

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    Hmmm. I don't seem to be able to attach an image.

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    Would a metallised paper class X2 be as good? My local store is out of polypropylene and the sie you suggested have minimum orders of 5.

  • bibiofi Nov 03, 2008

    Thank you for all this info, you're a legend. It's much appreciated. I may be back, but for now, take it easy...

  • tonliebling
    tonliebling Sep 10, 2012 builds the adapter



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Hi bibiofi

If you havent any experience with build electronic circuits, or soldering and the like, I suggest getting on of these. It runs of 2 9volt batts, or mains supply. Is the easiest way to go, and in reality, by the time you bought a decent case, sockets, and bits and peices to build one, you could get this one for $50. Too easy. I CAN build the stuff, but I would go this way. Plus it allows you to use 2 condensors if you want. And it does have the T-power 12 volt supply that the mic requires for operation. Is you need more info, please just ask. cheers


Posted on Oct 31, 2008

  • 6 more comments 
  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Oct 31, 2008

    Whoops, sorry made an assumption that the mic was T-powered. I have also sited the manual here and the connectivity looks easy to manage. Is this the same version(manual) you have. Happy to sort this problem to the bottom for you, but I dont do work for negative ratings like a Thanks for Trying:)

    Upgrade to a FixYa and I work up an entire solution.

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Oct 31, 2008

    ok got all the info I need, just a few details of you.

    1. what sort of recording device are you using,

    2. are you using a preamp(make and model)

    3. what cable run legth are you wanting to use

    4. what frequency responce are hoping to get

    and of course... the rating upgrade.

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 02, 2008

    Hi sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Turned out to have a busy weekend here:)

    Nice rig you are setting up. Few things,the output of the mic is unbalanced,hence the question about cable length. The inputs to the Nagra are quite low impedance, the DYN 50 and 200 being the impedance of the input at 50 and 200 ohms. This is very low by comparison to the MKH110 unbalanced impedance. It may work ok, but could present a potential difficulty in operation(gain required) that could be overcome with a matching transformer. The audio output of the mic also has a DC component of approx 5 volts. This needs to be decoupled with a capacitor. A simple zener diode regulation technique could be employed and operate the mic from Phantom power if you wished. This would still involve a patch box in line with the mic/recorder. So a battery could also be employed and housed in that box.

    As the mic has an input voltage rating of 8v +or- 1v there is also the option directly powering the mic with a minimum of additional circuitry using a rechargeable NiCad or NiMH pp3 with a terminal voltage of 7.2 volts. If you chose to go with a standard alkaline or lithium pp3, then the terminal voltage when the battery is fresh could extend well above the nominal 9volts, so a zener regulator circuit would need to be employed. The battery life would be greatly decreased if regulation was applied. current draw would range to 40-50 ma reducing batt life to approx 6-8 hours for an alkaline battery. I have posted this info back to you, so you can be involved design decisions for the power supply.

    Let me know how you would like to proceed.



  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 03, 2008

    Yes the regulator I had in mind is effectively the same as that in the schematic from the frog listener link. It is very simple, and works in a current share arrangement between what passes through the diode, so there needs to be sufficient current flowing through the zener to allow for some voltage drop through the series resistor AND maintaining good regulation.

    The 220n will definitely cause a roll off of low frequencies particularly into lower impedance's of balanced front ends, or are you using the line in on the Behringer. I would also suggest using a metallised polypropylene capacitor of a higher value, say 1uf. These devices having much better sonic ability and are good choice in critical audio paths, You could also try a 220 ohm metal film resistor in series after the cap to reduce some of the loading caused by the low impedance input stage. Determining the actual roll off could be calculated once you have determined the input impedance you will end up with.

    I would NOT hook the output of the mic to the front end of the Nagra without a capacitor in line. If the input uses a transformer ( I am sure it does, but cant tell you for sure), it may saturate the core of the transformer with the 5 volts across it and cause all sorts of issues, and likewise if there isn't a transformer, you may damage the front end/preamp. .

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 03, 2008

    voltage is not important, cost more and probably double in size. try here I get most of these sorts of part from Farnell. Ebay is a good source for capacitors used by audiophiles also. Probably good only for bragging rights, but if you wanted to go the HiEnd approach... these but probably not worth the extra. Standard metallised polyprops are just fine.

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 03, 2008

    The wattage can be 1/8 w if you like, be sure it is a metal film resistor, not wire wound or carbon as they have inductive properties and noise issues respectively. Any cap will do really, just for this application you need low inductance and good audio performance.

    to tag a picture highlight text to tag, and attach the file to it.

    The device I suggested is a cost effective one, the class x2 ratings reflect the extremity of its operational parameters and that it is capable of working under arduous conditions like spike suppression, motor starting, RF tuning stages. This type of cap although widely used in extreme conditions because of its self annealing properties, has been adopted by the audio guys because of its outright performance and fast response. Many of the devices tagged or rebranded as "audiophile" devices are exactly the same. BUT you pay more for them. You could use a mylar, polystyrene, polyester, or even a silver mica cap for the same job. Metallised polypropylene caps are almost exclusively used to build, or upgrade an audio crossover circuit because of their sonic performance, albeit as only a side product of their design and durability. They ARE more expensive than some types, but alot lower in cost than others when it comes to this somewhat higher capacitance non-polar requirement

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 03, 2008

    oh and the maplin device would be just fine.

  • Graeme Ross
    Graeme Ross Nov 03, 2008

    ....lastly :) I would not use a paper cap for anything:) Didnt know they still made them. Used for Motor circuits and the like, they stopped using them in audio gear when valves went out of vogue. They have a nasty habit of going leaky



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