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MD-421 on vocals ... should I be mic shopping again?

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  • MD-421 on vocals ... should I be mic shopping again?

    Was running late for a rehearsal yesterday, and had to assemble my PA very very quickly. Couldn't find my last Beta 58A, so I grabbed the nearest mic at hand....MD-421 II.

    It was a little boomy, so reached around and gave it a couple of clicks at the M-S ring, and it sounded *great*. I can't put my finger on WHAT sounded so great, but I could hear myself in the monitors a lot better than usual. It seemed clearer, somehow. Perhaps a less pronounced proximity effect? I sing with my mouth right at the capsule a most of the time.

    BTW, any problems using these "sideways"? I had the seam pointed vertically, that clip is kind of a pain in the rear. I've seen Brent Mydland use one like that, so I guess it doesn't matter? The PDF doesn't differentiate in the response pattern.

    Given that I can hear the difference between a Beta-58A and an MD421 - any insight as to what I might be hearing that I perceive as more clarity? Does anything sound like a 421 that doesn't have that clip? I'm always worried when I pull these guys out that I'm going to break one. Maybe it's time to look at e935s?

    Yes, my Beta 58As are real.

    Wes
    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

  • #2
    I usually use Senn e835's when I am gigging (performing); one for my sax, and one for my flute/vocals.
    At times I have used my Senn 421 for my vocal/flute mic....usually on indoor gigs.
    I sing harmony parts so the vocal end of things for me is not a priority however, my flute sounds great playing into the 421 as that mic seems to "draw the sound out of my flute" especially from second space G down to middle C. The 421 is my favorite flute mic.

    The 421 looks cumbersome but on vocals it works fine IMO.

    If you sing lead it would be a bit odd to un-clip a 421 (the clip is a pita) and move about the stage while singing...

    Comment


    • #3
      There is a new clip coming out. Available in black or white. Looks like it would solve the clip problem although big.
      Never seen one yet or know any more than this video but it does look interesting. Hoping the price will go down a little....
      Doug

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSGdyFze8HQ

      Comment


      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment
        almost anything would be an improvement over the old holder. I can't tell you how many 'wedged triggers' and duct-taped 421s I have seen over the years...the Wilkinson seems a bit overkill, but the end result does achieve the kind of flexibility you would want.

    • #4
      I like the couple of 421s I have, but they are, IMO fragile and I wouldn't want them on a stage... just an opinion...

      Maybe try out another large diaphragm dynamic with some eq?

      Comment


      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment
        he already stated he couldn't find his Beta58...not the issue.

      • Luckenbacher
        Luckenbacher commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm sorry I wasn't clear.

        My point was that perhaps it was the diaphragm size and eq that was creating the difference.

    • #5
      You think it might be the "large diaphragm"ness that I like? Interesting....I've never really given two seconds' thought to the size of a mic's diaphragm; I usually just look at the frequency response plot and polar diagrams when making a selection.

      Thanks for posting about the new clip. it looks like it will make them difficult to store, but that might be worth it. I use MD 421s on shows regularly. I just love them on saxophones.

      Wes
      Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

      Comment


      • #6
        Yeah, I think there are reasons why different designs use different size diaphragms, and I think that they affect how the mic feels to use sounds.

        One other element is that the beta 58 is a hyper cardioid; I find that the mic pattern really, really affects what I am doing when I am singing. I personally prefer a wider patterned mic.

        I tend to like the mic gain higher than it would need to be if I was right up on the grill, cause I can sing loudly and I prefer to be able to lean into the mic if I want to sing with less force but not change the volume.

        This means that I spend a lot of time farther away from the mic (4"-6"), and so the polar pattern really can change how I'm working.

        Also, (and this might be my own misperception) but I find that "tighter" pattern mics have worse/ stranger properties, especially as you get off axis.

        For instance, I own a senn 416 shotgun and while it sounds really good on axis, off axis it sounds pretty funky eq wise... but I have a schoeps hyper cardiods that sound (as far as I can tell) "exactly the same but quieter" off axis. I think that it's possible to achieve a design goal of "exactly the same but quieter" off axis response... but I think it's probably a trickier thing for mic designers, and so the wider the pattern on the mic is, the more likely it will meet other design goals. Just a guess from a mic user who only has laymans knowledge of how they work.

        All that said, I've been watching a lot of grateful dead live videos and they use 421s on vocals a lot. If you like the mic and own it, why not stick with that?

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by Luckenbacher View Post
          I like the couple of 421s I have, but they are, IMO fragile and I wouldn't want them on a stage... just an opinion...

          Maybe try out another large diaphragm dynamic with some eq?
          This mic has always been completely, utterly nutso to me. Everybody agrees it is a great sounding mic on nearly every source. And there's nothing fragile about the mic itself; you could use it to pound nails.

          But forever it has had that utterly idiotic clip that every user ever has despised. It seems like it would be the most simple fix in the world for Sennheiser to make a somewhat sane mount, but they have never put the slightest thought into that.
          Last edited by soulx; 07-18-2017, 09:54 AM.

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by wesg View Post
            Was running late for a rehearsal yesterday, and had to assemble my PA very very quickly. Couldn't find my last Beta 58A, so I grabbed the nearest mic at hand....MD-421 II.

            It was a little boomy, so reached around and gave it a couple of clicks at the M-S ring, and it sounded *great*. I can't put my finger on WHAT sounded so great, but I could hear myself in the monitors a lot better than usual. It seemed clearer, somehow. Perhaps a less pronounced proximity effect? I sing with my mouth right at the capsule a most of the time.

            Quite possibly - the M-S ring adjusts the low frequency response / roll-off of the mic. On the M (Music) setting, there's no bass roll off, and as you move the switch more towards the S (Speech) setting, there's progressively more roll-off.


            BTW, any problems using these "sideways"? I had the seam pointed vertically, that clip is kind of a pain in the rear. I've seen Brent Mydland use one like that, so I guess it doesn't matter? The PDF doesn't differentiate in the response pattern.
            As long as you're pointing the end of it towards the sound source, it shouldn't be a problem if you "rotate" the mic.

            Those clips are one of the most hated things in all of pro audio... and rightfully so IMHO.

            Given that I can hear the difference between a Beta-58A and an MD421 - any insight as to what I might be hearing that I perceive as more clarity? Does anything sound like a 421 that doesn't have that clip? I'm always worried when I pull these guys out that I'm going to break one. Maybe it's time to look at e935s?

            Yes, my Beta 58As are real.

            Wes
            They're different microphones... plus, you're changing the bottom on the MD421 when you adjust that M-S ring... do you remember what specific position you had it set to? The rolloff is centered at around 500Hz, with each click providing more attenuation below that. Here's a picture of the frequency response plot for that microphone, showing the difference with each switch position...



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            • #9
              There are a couple things I don't care for on the MD421. The first (as others pointed out) is that the clip is a PITA. This is well known.

              The second is that they have a much lower resistance to feedback than my ND767a's do.

              I have owned both for a long time but sold my MD421 which was being used for guitar cab mic purposes (I use an e609 now due to its ease of use). The 767a's sound better on vocals to my ears (and are better than the Beta 58 as well).
              With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

              Comment


              • #10
                I wonder why the 421 sounds better than the shure B58A. Maybe several hundred dollars might be it. Yes I love them for vocals as well. I haven't owned one for some years (due to the clip & fragility issues mentioned above) but they are a truly fine sounding dynamic. Glad to hear they're doing something about that clip after about 55 years of misery . Pink Floyd used MD441's a lot live (I think in the studio they used Lomo 19A21's a lot - obscure pricey excellent studio mics). Yes there are some awesome dynamic mics out there if you're willing to fork out the $$$. FWIW I like the high end Heil Dynamics a lot. Same killer audio but a bit more durable (evidently they addressed the handling noise with the revised PR35 - I have yet to hear one yet).
                Happy microphoning
                J.R. Previously jrble

                See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

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