A few weeks ago I picked up a Sennheiser ME66/K6 combo at a bargain price on eBay. The ME66 is a short shotgun microphone capsule, which fits onto the K6 power unit. The K6 runs off 48v phantom power or from a single AA battery, meaning the microphone can be used with any of the smaller audio recorders which don’t supply phantom power. The microphone makes a nice light-weight alternative for when I don’t want to carry around my NT1-A stereo rig. It’s mono only of course, but unless you have over £2000 to spend on a Sennheiser MKH30/40 mid-side pair, you’re not going to find a low-noise stereo solution that fits into a single Rycote windscreen.
To test the mic out, I took it to our local nature reserve, Dawlish Warren NNR. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the reserve is immediately behind a popular tourist beach, so most of the recordings came out with a lot of human noise. After walking around for a bit I found this Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) singing in a clump of birch trees. You can just hear some quiet conversation from the nearby golf course, and an occasional vehicle, but these are drowned out by the incredibly powerful song of the warbler, which was a good 20m from the microphone. Also audible are Rook (Corvus frugilegus), Blackbird (Turdus merula), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and Linnet (Carduelis cannabina).[audio:http://awildear.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/20090425_willow_warbler.mp3]