Which Sennheiser microphone is best?
Microphones are essential for any musician, band, vlogger or podcast host. Without one, the audience won’t hear the performance clearly — or at all.
Numerous companies produce quality microphones, but Sennheiser has been at it for over 70 years. The audio electronics company started in Germany, and through years of research and development, the Sennheiser E835-S Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone is consistently rated as the best.
What to know before you buy a Sennheiser microphone
Different kinds of microphones
They might all look the same, but there are different types of Sennheiser microphones depending on what you want to achieve. You can hold all types of microphones, but for long durations or when playing an instrument, it’s best to get a microphone stand.
- Live: These microphones are optimized for the best performance in a live setting, such as in a club, stadium or busking in a train station. The best type for this scenario is a dynamic microphone, which is also a common microphone for electric guitars.
- Studio: Used mainly for recording vocals in a studio session, ribbon microphones are sensitive enough to offer the most natural sound reproduction.
- Vocal: The most common Sennheiser microphone used by comedians, masters of ceremonies or event speakers, condenser microphones are best for talking, as they have a great high-frequency sound reproduction. They are often the preferred microphone for recording acoustic guitars.
- Broadcasting: These are best suited for podcasters, vloggers or television broadcasting. They are often more durable and rugged than live or studio microphones and have a good range of pickup distance and quality.
Microphones are directional
It’s easy to think that you place a microphone in front of a person or instrument, and it will successfully capture the sounds. Typically, that would be the case. But Sennheiser microphones are also directional, with different types capturing sound from various angles.
- Bi-directional: These are excellent at capturing sounds from the front and back of the microphone while rejecting any sound from the sides.
- Omni-directional: As the name implies, an omni-directional Sennheiser microphone picks up vocals or audio from all directions in close proximity.
- Uni-directional: For a more precise experience, a uni-directional microphone can also pick up sounds from the front, and reject nearly all other sounds from the sides and back.
Cabled vs. wireless
Like most modern technology, Sennheiser microphones are either cabled in the traditional way or wireless. The best microphone for you depends on what you want to use it for, but remember that wireless microphones require a rechargeable battery. Traditional condenser microphones use an XLR cable that supplies phantom power to the active electronics. On the other hand, dynamic Sennheiser microphones don’t require phantom power.
What to look for in a quality Sennheiser microphone
Far too many people have said something unflattering or inappropriate over a “hot mic.” That’s the term used when a microphone is switched on or active and will pick up any audio. A good-quality Sennheiser microphone has a switch so that you can manually toggle the power, letting you turn it off when needed.
It can handle high sound pressure levels
A microphone must be able to handle the volume of the audio produced before it starts to distort or “clip,” cutting the signal. Think of it this way: If you hand an entry-level microphone to a serious metal vocalist, the microphone’s diaphragm and sensitivity won’t make it past the first verse before distorting. A favorite among rock and metal musicians is Sennheiser’s MD421-II.
You get the best value if you can use a gadget for multiple things, and microphones are no different. A good-quality Sennheiser microphone is equally proficient at capturing soothing or screaming vocals as in recording acoustic guitars, driving grunge riffs or kicking bass drums.
How much you can expect to spend on a Sennheiser microphone
The price largely depends on the type of technology used, whether it’s wireless and the age of the model. An affordable microphone from Sennheiser costs $40-$50, while a professional studio microphone costs $400-$700.
Sennheiser microphone FAQ
Why do some microphones produce audio feedback?
A. You have almost certainly heard the screeching sound of audio feedback. That usually happens when the user is too close to the speaker. The sound picked up by the microphone is emitted from the speaker, picked up by the microphone again, and reproduced by the speaker. This creates a feedback loop that has everybody covering their ears.
What is a shotgun microphone?
A. In addition to the live or studio microphones, Sennheiser also makes shotgun microphones. These have nothing to do with shooting or rifles but refer to the microphone’s ability to capture audio from directly ahead. It would have been more accurate to call it a “sniper” microphone due to its pinpoint accuracy. It also looks like a rifle’s long barrel.
What’s the best Sennheiser microphone to buy?
Top Sennheiser microphone
Sennheiser E835-S Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone
What you need to know: One of the most used microphones in the music industry, the E835 has a cardioid pickup pattern that isolates the signal and rejects feedback.
What you’ll love: The microphone maintains vocal clarity when singing up close or farther away, has rugged metal construction and eliminates the noise from on-stage handling.
What you should consider: There are rare reports that you have to get very close for the mic to pick up your voice.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top Sennheiser microphone for the money
Sennheiser XS 1 Handheld Dynamic Microphone
What you need to know: This uni-directional microphone is a popular choice for casual users who need an easy-to-use vocal solution.
What you’ll love: Although it’s an entry-level microphone, it gives a professional live sound and uses feedback rejection technology to minimize interruptions. It has an all-metal housing and a silent mute switch.
What you should consider: Some users said that it has a very narrow cardioid pattern, meaning you need to get up close for it to pick up your voice.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Sennheiser Pro Audio E906 Microphone
What you need to know: This is the best microphone for capturing beautiful studio sounds and instruments.
What you’ll love: Its flat shape is designed to fit closely to the amplifier, capturing all the intricate sounds. It has a switch for changing the sound character from bright to dark while still producing a lively, full sound.
What you should consider: It requires a lithium-ion battery to operate and there is no indication when the battery is depleted.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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