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View Full Version : Senaps guide to old, not so famous, dynamic mics



Senap
November 14th, 2006, 12:43 PM
Oki doki

First off, I just want to mention that I'm in no way an expert in this field and if you think I'm talking out of my cornhole just let me know. I would love to know more about this subject.

I've bought a couple of dynamic "sleeper" mics the last two years and found out a thing or two about the different "not so known" models from Sennheiser, Beyer and other german manufacturers, so I thought that I should share my experience to you Wombies before you bid and buy.

I'll skip the usal suspects in this thread. Everybody knows about the 409, 421, 441 blah blah blah...

Let's start with Sennheisers.

So you want a classic vintage Sennheiser MD409 for that classic guitar sound? Get ready to fork up at least 300 bucks for a 409 in good condition. If your lucky.

"But mom, I want one!!!!!"

ppsssst!

There's cheaper 409's out there. But they're wearing a disguise...


Echolette 409
Made by Sennheiser for Echolette. The exact same mic as Sennheisers 409. If you see this one on a flea market or an on line auction for cheaps, knock everybody in sight out and get it.

Sennheiser MD-403
Classy 50's looking mic with the same capsule as the 409. These can be expensive on ebay but I've seen them go for less than 100 bucks an smaller auctions. I got mine for about 150 bucks in mint condition and with a Berlin City sticker on it. Has probably been sitting on a shelf in Berlins City Hall for about 40 years. Sounds great on amps and toms. And it looks fabulous.
Mine came with a new XLR but the original has a DIN-connection at the end of the cable.
One downside. You can't use it with a clip/clamp. Screws straigt on the mic-stand. Hard to place in front of a guitar cabinet.

Sennheiser MD-407
This little feller looks really cheap with a beige plastic housing. Don't let the looks fool you. This also has the classic 409 capsule. These usually comes with a non-balanced 1/4-inch plug at the end of the cable and needs to get a balanced XLR-connection. Kind of tricky if your not familiar with the opening and fiddling with old mics. I have a great guy in Germany that fixes stuff like this pretty cheap. PM me for his adress.
People who sells these on auctions usually don't have a clue what they have and you can get these really cheap. I got mine for about 40 bucks.
One downside. You can't use it with a clip/clamp. Screws straigt on the mic-stand. Hard to place in front of a guitar cabinet.
I've seen this mic branded as a Luxor Radio and The Fisher ST-10 too. Made by Sennheiser.

Sennheiser MD-408
Gooseneck version of the 409. A little less bottom end than a 409 but sounds great. This is great on toms, snare and percussion and is easy to place in a tight drum setup. I've seen old pics of Mick Jagger singing through one.
This one has a male Klein Touchel connection at the end of the "neck". You'll need a short Touchel to XLR cable. Easy to solder if you have a female Klein Touchel. See attached chart.
I'm not really shure but I think I've seen this one branded as Telefunken too.

WARNING! Don't get this one mixed up with the similar looking MD418 which is a crappy sounding conference mic with a transparent plastic "saturnus" ring around the housing. I found out the hard way...
If you run across one really cheap it could look cool as a talkback mic. A crappy sounding talkback mic...

Sennheiser MDS-1
Two MD 409 in a stereo configuration. Cool looking mic. They can be unmounted and used as two seperate mics.
I've seen these branded as Grundig GDSM-200. Made by Sennheiser. Exactly the same mic. Usually goes for about 300 bucks.... but hey, you'll get two 409's!

All these 409 clones can also be used as spare parts if you have a real 409. Sennheiser have no intention of making these great mics again. They care more about money these days, not quality.

Lets move on to other Sennheiser models...

Sennheiser MD-21
This little feller can be used as a hammer. Or defence weapon. This would kill anyone with a direct hit. Really. The most sturdy construction ever. First made in the early fifties as a reporter mic, it is still done today. From Sennheisers site:

"The indestructible design of the new microphone was impressively demonstrated at the Industrial Fair in Hanover in 1954. "We set up a round wooden board, about 5 feet in diameter, on which we had fitted ramps at regular intervals. An MD 21 suspended on a short cable was placed on the board, which was then rotated quite fast. The microphone was dragged up each ramp and could be seen crashing down onto the board again and again," said Fritz Sennheiser describing the unusual demonstration.‹‹€››"It was sensational - at that time, microphones were delicate objects and had to be handled carefully." And even today, the extremely low percentage of repairs for the MD 21 - 0.4% - speaks for itself."

Sound? well......... I have gotten great guitar tones on small combos with this mic and I have gotten terrible results on toms..... you never know.... But somehow I just love this mic. Comes in either blue/grey metallic or beige/white/grey (like the old 421's) or black if it's a newer one. The old ones either have a Klein (small) Touchel or a Gross (big) Touchel connector. You need a short Touchel to XLR cable. See attached chart. If you're lucky, some of them comes with a cool sturdy steel tablestand. A little bit hard to place as there is no clip/clamp. Stand screws directly in to mic.

I have seen these branded as Grundig GDM-21 in a gold metallic housing. Same mic, made by Sennheiser.

Sennheiser MD-421
I know.... this needs no introduction. Probably one of the best allround dynamics around.
The older beige/white/grey can also be branded Telefunken.
However, there's other versions of this as well. If you'll find a MD-521, it's a 421 without the speach/music hipass filter.
Then there's the MD-422. This is supposed to be the successor of the 421. I've seen them from time to time but they're rare. I have no doubts that it's a great mic. Anyone?

There's also some confusion about the Black Fire branded Sennheisers. The Black Fire series is exactly the same as the other models but was made for the consumer market. The regular Sennheisers was made for the live/studio/radio market.

Moving on to Beyer Dynamics...

Beyerdynamic Soundstar X 1 HLM
Cool looking 421 copy with a 50's twist. It sounds different from a 421. More low mids and not as much top. I've gotten great results on 4x12 cabinet. Great as a sidekick to a more top endy mic. Tuchel connector. These usually goes for under 100 bucks. A bargain if you ask me.
Downside: Same idiotic clip-construction as the 421. What the hell were they thinking?

There's also the Beyer Soundstar Mark II that looks more like the usual Beyer mic. (M88, M69 etc) I remember that ol' Slippy mentioned these a while back as a great mic on guitar cabinets. Anyone?

Beyer also has a lot of ribbon mics that are suppose to be great like the M-500, M-160 and M-260. Some of these Beyer ribbon mics and dynamics is also rebranded to Revox and Strässer. Look out for them if you want a Beyer ribbon but don't want to fork up 500 bucks....


Moving on...

So you want a vintage AKG D12? Or a new capsule for you old loved D12? Steep eh?

Look out for a Echolette ED12 instead. Same mic made by AKG.

Other than that I have not seen any other of AKG's dynamics rebranded. Not that I know of... anyone?
I think it was mainly Sennheiser and beyer that did mics for other companys.

...which brings us to


UHER
Right now your thinking "what???"
Well.... it's hard to find anything about these mics on the internot. Back in the day UHER made reel-to-reels, microphones and accessories for reporters. Most of the mics where crappy plastic mics for the consumer market. However, there's the UHER 500-series M537, M538, M539, M534 etc which are great mics. Probably made by AKG. Or Sennheiser or Beyer. Can anyone shed some light on this mystery? Anyway, they sound great on guitar cabinets and drums.

Rule: If they have a Tuchel connector, it's the good ones. If they have a 1/4 inch cable it's their budget series.


It would be nice if you wombies shared your experience with old "sleeper" mics.

Thats it for now. I've attached a JPG with some pics of the mentioned mics and a chart if you want to make your own Tuchel/XLR cables.

Enjoy, and as I said before, please correct me if you find errors in this information.

Senap

Edited cause you cant write P*R*I*C*E*Y here.... he he he....


227

otek
November 14th, 2006, 01:44 PM
Senap,


Thanks for all the great info.






..... You IDIOT. Now there's not gonna be ONE of those mics left on the market!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


Seriously, awesome stuff.


- otek

malice
November 14th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Shhhhhh,


Senap, dude :Uh oh:



malice

Senap
November 14th, 2006, 02:19 PM
he he..

go get 'em!

malice
November 14th, 2006, 02:21 PM
You deserved you rep ratio going up, buddy ;)

malice

Senap
November 14th, 2006, 02:26 PM
You deserved you rep ratio going up, buddy ;)

malice

Merci!

r.baby
November 14th, 2006, 10:57 PM
I'm totally with you on the MD21. I've got a couple of Sennheiser ones and a couple of Telefunken ones. I've also got a Grundig one which is GOLD COLORED. Unfortunately that one doesn't work (the cable has been pulled out, and it doesn't have a connector. And I can't for the life of me figure out how to take the damn thing apart. Sigh).

Another one: Coles (or stc) 4037. It looks scary and cool at the same time, and it sounds ... well it actually sounds quite good. Like an MD21 but way better lows.

Senap
November 15th, 2006, 10:16 AM
I'm totally with you on the MD21. I've got a couple of Sennheiser ones and a couple of Telefunken ones. I've also got a Grundig one which is GOLD COLORED. Unfortunately that one doesn't work (the cable has been pulled out, and it doesn't have a connector. And I can't for the life of me figure out how to take the damn thing apart. Sigh).


I know. It's the Fort Knox of mics. It wouldn't open if you dropped it from the Empire State Building. I wouldn't attemp to open one myself. I don't know where you're located, but if your i Europe this guy is great at fixing old dynamics and ribbons:

www.vintage-microphones.de

Who's good in the states? Anyone?

I forgot to mention that all the Grundig branded MD21's have a fixed cable and not a connector in the mic like the Sennheisers.

oudplayer
November 16th, 2006, 05:39 PM
great stuff, senap.

I'd add some of the odd Beyerdynamics to the list - beyer m59 and other weird old square beyers.

Also, the Sennheiser 504 is nice - you can find beat up ones for cheap on ebay typically.

The audix cd-21 is a cheapo vocal mic that's good for percussion and toms, too.

Senap
November 16th, 2006, 05:46 PM
great stuff, senap.

I'd add some of the odd Beyerdynamics to the list - beyer m59 and other weird old square beyers.

Also, the Sennheiser 504 is nice - you can find beat up ones for cheap on ebay typically.

The audix cd-21 is a cheapo vocal mic that's good for percussion and toms, too.

Great. Keep 'em coming.

Bob Olhsson
November 20th, 2006, 02:37 AM
AKGs were rebranded as Norelcos in the US during the '60s. I have a Norelco D-12. The D-24 was the most common one.

nobby
November 20th, 2006, 03:50 AM
AKGs were rebranded as Norelcos in the US during the '60s. I have a Norelco D-12. The D-24 was the most common one.

And when you were done recording you could shave your face with it (http://www.philipshomestore.com/category.asp?menu=norelco) :Wink:

Senap
November 20th, 2006, 11:09 AM
AKGs were rebranded as Norelcos in the US during the '60s. I have a Norelco D-12. The D-24 was the most common one.

I had no idea. Good info.

I reckon that the rebranded Revox, Strässer, Echolette, Luxor and Grundig mics are more common in Europe.

Skwaidu
November 21st, 2006, 07:06 PM
Cool stuff, Senap! Thanks for sharing all of this. ;)

otek
November 22nd, 2006, 04:43 PM
I have to mention an old favourite of mine.

The Milab F-69 is a fave on electric guitar - unfortunately discontinued years ago. Packs the clarity of a 57 but with a little more girth, as well as a different midrange emphasis.

binaural turbine
November 22nd, 2006, 07:10 PM
this ought to be made into a sticky. Great stuff, senap. Thanks :Thumbsup:

barryw
February 15th, 2007, 07:55 PM
I'm totally with you on the MD21. I've got a couple of Sennheiser ones and a couple of Telefunken ones. I've also got a Grundig one which is GOLD COLORED. Unfortunately that one doesn't work (the cable has been pulled out, and it doesn't have a connector. And I can't for the life of me figure out how to take the damn thing apart. Sigh).



Sorry to hear about your sick 'Grundig MD-21'. FWIW some variations exist: I have two of those 'gold' Grundigs and one has the fixed cable, the other a DIN-3. IIRIC the latter is also the one that happily calls itself a MD-21 i.s.o. a GDM...


OK, but onto opening these mics: have you seen the two small spots at the capsule-rim ? Press the little 'sticks' inside and open the mic.

And please then let me know how to close the mic again after you're done... :Roll eyes:

Maybe replacement-sticks could do it (remove the old ones).

Bye!

magicchord
February 15th, 2007, 09:27 PM
I wish I could find a couple of Shure SM53/54.

Nicer, flatter, & more extended than the 57.

otek
February 16th, 2007, 05:46 AM
I wish I could find a couple of Shure SM53/54.
Nicer, flatter, & more extended than the 57.


You should try a Beyer 201 then.....

Senap
February 16th, 2007, 09:54 AM
You should try a Beyer 201 then.....

Ditto. I've tried it on one occation. Sounds great.

Looks like a SDC:

1187

fantomas
February 19th, 2007, 05:53 PM
is it the GRUNDIG GDM 310 useful or or its a toy mic?
All the grundig mics are rebranded mics or most of them are crap?

I am asking this because here in Argentine i see a lots of grundig mics.

otek
February 20th, 2007, 11:03 AM
Some of them are naturally gonna be crap.

Senap gives a pretty good guide to some of the good ones.

Some may be considered crap, or sounds like crap in a "regular recording mic" sense, but may have some kind of gnarly sonic signature that's cool nonetheless.

Some just look cool, and may be worth a few bucks as an ornament.

Some also require fixing, modification and/or soldering, which may be worth taking into account also.


otek

Senap
February 20th, 2007, 02:29 PM
is it the GRUNDIG GDM 310 useful or or its a toy mic?
All the grundig mics are rebranded mics or most of them are crap?

I am asking this because here in Argentine i see a lots of grundig mics.

I haven't tried this specific model but I looked it up:

1216

It looks like a "cheap consumer-market reel-to-reel/reporter" kind of thing. It would surprise me if this model sounded great. However, great is a sublime and sketchy word when it comes to creative recording.

It could be just the right "dirt"-mic in front of a drumkit or as a second mic for a lo-fi guitar track. Who knows...

If you could find one really cheap go for it. In a worst case scenario it makes for a great looking talkback mic. Or a cool looking doorstop.

fantomas
February 20th, 2007, 07:04 PM
i have the opportunity to buy a grundig gdsm-200 very cheap, my question is do the come with din5 connectors or din3 per capsule?.
Because the seller told me this came with din5.
And i need to build a cable adapter to test it with my minidsc.

ffaudio
February 20th, 2007, 10:34 PM
UHER
UHER 500-series M537, M538, M539, M534 etc



Are the 514, 515 and 516 in the same boat?

Senap
February 21st, 2007, 10:25 AM
i have the opportunity to buy a grundig gdsm-200 very cheap, my question is do the come with din5 connectors or din3 per capsule?.
Because the seller told me this came with din5.
And i need to build a cable adapter to test it with my minidsc.

I'm pretty shure it has a 3-pin DIN connector. Make a DIN to XLR adapter. Same layout as small tuchel. See the chart in my first post.

I'm not sure I understand why you need to test it with your minidisc? Do you want to use it as a on location stereo mic for your minidisc recorder?

Try it with a DIN to XLR adapter with proper preamps first. If it's in good shape it's excellent mic's. Especially on guitar cabs and drums/percussion.

Senap
February 21st, 2007, 10:30 AM
Are the 514, 515 and 516 in the same boat?

Probably not. Uher mics with a plastic housing and a thin permanently attached cable are cheap reporter mics made for their consumer grade reel-to-reel market.

But as I said before.... you never know if it's a wolf in consumer clothing.. :Wink:

fantomas
February 21st, 2007, 05:14 PM
I'm pretty shure it has a 3-pin DIN connector. Make a DIN to XLR adapter. Same layout as small tuchel. See the chart in my first post.

I'm not sure I understand why you need to test it with your minidisc? Do you want to use it as a on location stereo mic for your minidisc recorder?

Try it with a DIN to XLR adapter with proper preamps first. If it's in good shape it's excellent mic's. Especially on guitar cabs and drums/percussion.

I wanna test it with a minidisc to know if the mic works with the seller right next to me because he is not related with audio stuff he just sells old things .
of course i wanna use it with electric guitars and maybe some toms or snare drum.
I have one more question i saw a chart with the frequency response and the mds1 is 70-15000 hz while the single md409 goes a litlle lower to 50 hz is this a difference of a couple of db or is there a huge rolloff in the stereo version?

Senap
February 22nd, 2007, 10:49 AM
I wanna test it with a minidisc to know if the mic works with the seller right next to me because he is not related with audio stuff he just sells old things .
of course i wanna use it with electric guitars and maybe some toms or snare drum.
I have one more question i saw a chart with the frequency response and the mds1 is 70-15000 hz while the single md409 goes a litlle lower to 50 hz is this a difference of a couple of db or is there a huge rolloff in the stereo version?

You're absolutely right. I know for sure that the 409 and the MDS-1 has the same capsules/cartridge (as well as the 403, 407 and 408). The difference in frequency response probably has to do with other things such as the transformer or the housing. The MDS-1 and the 408 has a smaller housing than 409, 403 and 408. Maybe somebody with more knowledge than me about the electronics of microphones can explain this.

However, I'm certain that the MDS-1 will work just as well as a 409 on guitar, snare and toms. Maybe the difference will be noticeble on a 18" floor tom...

Sennheiser could have done this on purpose since it's a stereo-mic and was aimed at speach/movies/broadcast.

I couldn't find a specific chart for the 409 and the MDS-1 so that we could compare the roll-off. This is probably the chart you're talking about:

1237

fantomas
February 22nd, 2007, 04:58 PM
Exactly thats the chart i saw.
Thanx man keep on posting this great info.
Do you have similar info about good condenser mics rebranded?

Senap
February 22nd, 2007, 06:22 PM
I don't know that much about rebranded condensors. Don't think there are many eccept the Telefunken Neumanns and the Siemens branded AKG's (I'm I right here?) Or was that Siemens branded Sennheiser SDC's.....

And of course the 1.234.568 different chinese-made cheap condensers with different names and identical interior.

Maybe I could do a test. I have an 18" floortom that I could try all these "409" mics on. I don't have the MDS-1 but I could give the 403, 407, 408 and a real 409 a go. Maybe with a snare too. And guitar.

I'll try to find some time this weekend to do a proper test.

otek
February 22nd, 2007, 07:15 PM
Maybe I could do a test.

If you do, please post some sound clips right here in this thread.

That would be an awesome guide if people are looking for these mics used.


otek

Senap
February 22nd, 2007, 10:34 PM
If you do, please post some sound clips right here in this thread.

That would be an awesome guide if people are looking for these mics used.


otek

It would. I'll try to do it this weekend. And while I'm at it I'll throw in the other odd mics that I have too.

Immanuel
February 22nd, 2007, 11:13 PM
the 409 and the mds-1 have different sensitivities. So if the capsule is the same, the electronics definitely are not.

fantomas
February 22nd, 2007, 11:42 PM
I just bought a grundig gdsm-200 in perfect condition almost new just a very little bit of oxide in one grill.
Right now i am finishing my little studio but when i have the opportunity i will post some clips so we can compare the different variations of the 409 capsule.

I will record a guitar amp, a male voice, a snare, rack tom, floor tom, and maybe an entire drum kit in a stereo overhead setup.

I believe this grundig and the sennheiser mds1 dont have a transformer output. Does the original md409 has a transformer?

Tanx Senaps, thank you very much.

Senap
February 23rd, 2007, 10:16 AM
the 409 and the mds-1 have different sensitivities. So if the capsule is the same, the electronics definitely are not.

You're probably right. I'm going to contact my german repair guy and see if he could shed som light on this. Sennheisers site is not going to help. They only have proper information on their recent product-line. And a Google search is not going to help. I've tried.

Senap
February 23rd, 2007, 10:20 AM
I just bought a grundig gdsm-200 in perfect condition almost new just a very little bit of oxide in one grill.
Right now i am finishing my little studio but when i have the opportunity i will post some clips so we can compare the different variations of the 409 capsule.

I will record a guitar amp, a male voice, a snare, rack tom, floor tom, and maybe an entire drum kit in a stereo overhead setup.

I believe this grundig and the sennheiser mds1 dont have a transformer output. Does the original md409 has a transformer?

Tanx Senaps, thank you very much.

Congrats!

It will be hard to compare your test with mine due to different amps, snares, pre's, room and what not, but it'll be interesting anyway. Let's do it. You'll definitely going to hear the "character" of the specific microphones.

About the transformer thing, as I said I'll try to contact my german expert.

Senap
February 23rd, 2007, 02:00 PM
Here's what Mr German Expert said:

As far as I know: You are right, they all use the same cartridges. But some mics are transformed to high impedance and some are not. The high imp. models sound very different and you should take out the transformers. Normally the low imp. models don't have a transformer and they are connected directly at the cartridge. They all sound kind of different because of the housing. The housings effect the sound a lot. The output varies because of different cables and lengths. In the older days, they had bad cables, some are unbalanced.
The other problem is, that all these mics are 30 years old or older and time and humidity did a lot to the capsules.

slabrock
February 23rd, 2007, 03:47 PM
Thank you, Senap.

This is a very valuable thread for me. I have several of the mentioned mics in my mic cabinet, for instance 2x Sennheiser MD21, Sennheiser MD403, Sennheiser MD408, 2x Beyerdynamic X1N, Telefunken D11C, Grundig GDM312...

...and i always prefer Shure Unidyne III's (which i have 5, 2 pistol models) to SM57.

Thing is, since i'm always using vintage mics anyway, like the old D12 and a RCA74 ribbon, people i work with tend to think i'm always doing a retro job. I really have a hard time explaining that these are, indeed, valid mic choices that only look little funny and that's why i could afford to buy them. (For instance i got the both MD21's and a prima MD403 for a Rode NT3 "because Rode's are good and these are just old junk".)

I didn't have any hard facts to support my mic choices, i only tried and tested and found these good. Plus i could build a decent mic cabinet with over 60 good-sounding microphones for very little money.

Now i've got some better known mic codes to drop, when the assisting engineer next time sneers on my 403 or X1N's.
:D :D :D

Thank you again, Senap,

Slabrock

Senap
February 23rd, 2007, 04:36 PM
Thank you, Senap.

This is a very valuable thread for me. I have several of the mentioned mics in my mic cabinet, for instance 2x Sennheiser MD21, Sennheiser MD403, Sennheiser MD408, 2x Beyerdynamic X1N, Telefunken D11C, Grundig GDM312...

...and i always prefer Shure Unidyne III's (which i have 5, 2 pistol models) to SM57.

Thing is, since i'm always using vintage mics anyway, like the old D12 and a RCA74 ribbon, people i work with tend to think i'm always doing a retro job. I really have a hard time explaining that these are, indeed, valid mic choices that only look little funny and that's why i could afford to buy them. (For instance i got the both MD21's and a prima MD403 for a Rode NT3 "because Rode's are good and these are just old junk".)

I didn't have any hard facts to support my mic choices, i only tried and tested and found these good. Plus i could build a decent mic cabinet with over 60 good-sounding microphones for very little money.

Now i've got some better known mic codes to drop, when the assisting engineer next time sneers on my 403 or X1N's.
:D :D :D

Thank you again, Senap,

Slabrock

Hey, who want's a silver 99 buck 609 from Banjo Mart when you could get 407 or a 408 for the same kind of money at a flea market?

I recorded a couple of songs with a rockbilly band. Small Fender combo and a MD403 on all songs. Sounds exactly like it should. Great little mic that is.

And the Beyer Soundstars are great for a seventies rock sound on a 4x12 cabinet.

Senap
February 23rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
Have anyone tried the Beyer M55. It looks like a MD21 ripoff...

Just curious.

1248

Senap
February 24th, 2007, 04:36 PM
Here we go folks.

I spent yesterday evening with a case of cold Carlsberg lagers and a couple of old mics. After some thinking I came to the conclusion that to make this understandable and easy to listen to I have to talk in a microphone. In english with a swedish accent. And record it.

Oh god. :Roll eyes:

Anyway. In the three examples I just shout out the mic used (hurdy burdy) before the hitting and the sloppy guitarplaying for everyones convinience.

Here's the technical blah blah blah's:
All the mics went through a Universal Audio LA-610 preamp without eq and compression in to a RME Fireface 800 and Cubase SX3 at 24 bit/44,1 Khz.

I normalized all takes to -5 db to make every part even. One can be fooled by loudness and think that a microphone sounds better just because it's louder...

Only a Waves L1 was used for dithering when bouncing. No limiting.

All files was converted to 192 kbit/s MP3's in iTunes.

FLOOR TOM
The floor tom used was a 18" 70's Fibes brushed copper/glassfiber. This floor tom can move air and has loads of low end. Good for checking bottom end frequency response. Two Moongel's was attached to control resonance. Mics pointed at the center about 3 inches from the rim.

SNARE
Late 60's Slingerland. Mics pointed at the center about 5 inches from the rim to get more of the drum and not just a close snare top kind of sound.

GUITARS
My beloved Orange Graphic 120 is broken so I had to use a Peavey 5150 instead. The guy that owns this recorded some parts here 4 months ago and haven't picked it up yet cause he apparantly thinks that this is a free warehouse where you can store stuff that you don't have room for in your apartment. What is it with musicians? I swear to god, I'm selling it on ebay for about 100 bucks if he doesn't pick it up next week. Or just keep it and tells him that his ex girlfriend picked it up last week. That could be interesting. Sorry for the rant...

The cabinet was a Peavey 4x12. The guitar was a Gretsch Duo Jet with Filtertron pickups.

All mics pointed straight at the cone.

I doubletracked the guitar riffs. Maybe to hide my sloppy playing. I dunno. Maybe that was stupid but I like to hear rhytmguitars that way.

What else... oh the microphones!

Here's a pic of the contestants:

1261

From top left: Sennheiser MD-403, Sennheiser MD-407, Sennheiser MD-21, Beyerdynamic Soundstar X1 HLM, Beyerdynamic M69, Uher M539, Shure SM57.
Front: Sennheiser MD-408, Sennheiser MD-409.

I included the SM57 first in all the tests just for reference.

My next post will include the test-files...

Senap
February 24th, 2007, 04:41 PM
Test files:

1262

1263

1264

otek
February 24th, 2007, 10:56 PM
Senap, this is awesome stuff. Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to do this test! :D

It's fascinating how much useful stuff one can procure used, for dirt cheap, over the internet and elsewhere.

I'll be back shortly with some random commentary.


otek

Senap
February 25th, 2007, 03:12 AM
Thanks otek.

Here's my conclusion.

On toms I liked all the 409 clones the best (403, 407 and 408). The Beyer Soundstar is a little dull and the Uher is crap.
The Beyer M69 sounds a little too toppy and cold. Can't find the right word but I didn't like it.

On snare I must say that I like all of them accept the Uher and the Soundstar. The MD21 surprised me. Crisp and snappy.

On guitars it's a little harder. Everything is relative. But I like the Soundstar. It sounds a little dull but at the same time really warm. It should work well on a doubletracked rock track. It has that "warm pad" feeling.

And the 57 always performs. Ortman would be proud.

fantomas
February 25th, 2007, 04:37 AM
Yes the md21 surprised me as well.
The conclusions i made are almost exactly as yours. But i find the 57 too fizzy for electric guitars.
The beyer disspointed me

otek
February 25th, 2007, 01:03 PM
It's important to remember that we always, always, always are talking about context.

Unless of course you're recording a snare drum solo. :grin:

And even then, some snares may still benefit from other mics, or at least a "standard" like the 57 in combination with other mics.

Here are a couple of scattered thoughts about the results:

Drums

The Shure SM-57: The "standard median" which serves as a very good point of comparison. Did pretty much what I expected it to. Consistently had the highest frequency mid-emphasis of all the mics.

The Sennheiser 409: Another "standard". On some sources, it sounded a bit softer than the other Sennheisers, which tells me it might have slightly better transient response; at -5dB normalization, it seems to need more level compensation.

The Sennheiser 403 seems to have a lower midrange peak than the 409 or the 407, a bit more basketball "ping" on the tom and a bit more throaty crack on the snare. It is also slightly less open up top.

The Sennheiser 407 was very similar to the 409 across the board, with its high-mid emphasis slightly lower and a tad less openness. Other subtle differences were detected, but most could easily be attributed to discrepancies in placement.

The Sennheiser 403, 407 and 409 all have a nicer mid-to-low midrange on the tom than the 57 IMHO.

The Sennheiser 408 Gooseneck to me had a tad higher mid emphasis than all the other Sennheisers, bringing out the stick attack more in the tom and snare. It almost sounds a little "compressed", like it was clipping or bottoming out ever so slightly.

The Sennheiser MD 21 thinner in the bottom end than the other Sennheisers (maybe less proximity effect?), and with a slightly different midrange emphasis, maybe around 1-1.5K.

The Beyerdynamic Soundstar was the darkest of the contestants, but it also seemed to have quite a bit of low end rumble going on - more solid than most of the mics in the 50-60 Hz range. Nonetheless, its dark top end probably makes it better suited to ambience miking. It also seems to suffer from a pretty meager transient response.

The Beyerdynamic M-69 seemed to have a pronounced low mid coloration, it accentuated the "roar" of the top head movement more than any of the others, to my ears. I also found it to be one of the most usable mics on this particular snare, second only to the 57.

Finally, the UHER M539 was by far the most obviously colored of the bunch, It seems to have a pronounced peak around 500 Hz. That, combined with the subdued low end, makes it my least favorite for drums.


On guitar


Again, both the Shure SM-57 and the Sennheiser 409 perform as expected, a bit more fizz and high mid clarity on the 57, a bit more girth and warm punch on the 409. I love to combine these two mics.

On distorted guitar, mic colorations are more obvious than on almost any other source. Not surprisingly, the difference between the 403, 407 and 409 is even more accentuated, with the different midrange emphasis offered by the three mics. The 407 is again very similar to the 409 but with a bit more fizz and a tad less bottom, the 403 has a distinct midrange coloration which seems to be a narrower peak, which earlier caused basketball pinginess in the floor tom and a particular brand of crack in the snare. It is also markedly thinner in the low end.

The 408 Gooseneck's high-mid emphasis comes to play again, giving it a very distinct, fizzy quality, probably in the 3-5K range. It appears slightly thinner than the 409, but much of that may also be the high mids fooling the ears.

The MD 21 seems here like a more subdued version of the 408, with less "barbed wire", but with no huge differences in the low mids. It reaffirms the impression of having less proximity effect, and being quite a bit thinner sounding in the bottom end than the 409. On the other hand, the 1K emphasis mentioned earlier gives it a unique flavor, and makes it sound a little more up front.

The Beyer Soundstar is still the darkest sounding mic of the contestants, and hearing it on guitar really brings home my earlier point of its weak transient response. Still, it has quite a bit of power in the low end, so combining it with a brighter, thinner mic may in some cases give good results.

The M-69 was a bit unexpected at first, but comparing my notes on drums it makes sense. It has a strong low mid emphasis which earlier helped bring out the roar of the tom head, and I hear it working now on the bottom octave of the guitar. Could be a very cool sound in the right context.

Finally, the UHER. The 500 Hz mid coloration is actually much more pleasant on guitar, though I would probably dread using it on a Vox AC30 - may be overkill!!! :lol: Transient and low end response are lacking a bit, so again this is one of those mics I might use in combination with others.



There. Some random thoughts, I hope they at least somewhat made sense.

otek

otek
February 27th, 2007, 08:41 PM
It just occurred to me that probably the best testimony to how much context factors in to all this is looking at the listening/sound evaluation process that preceeded my previous post.

Now, it sounds like a put a huge amount of time into it. I didn't.

But as I was listening back and forth to the different mics, my subjective take on their individual sound characters kept changing so wildly that for a while I wasn't sure I was gonna post at all.

You see, I kept getting cheated. If for example, I listened to the Sennheiser MD-21 before the Shure SM-57, I developed one subjective set of opinions about the sound, but if I then switched and listened to the Beyer Soundstar before the SM-57, I got a totally different set of opinions.

If I listened to the M-69 before the 407, and didn't cross-reference any of the other mics, I might have missed the fact that the 407 and the 409 are in fact quite similar-sounding.


And so on.


As it stands, I was listening to the mics back and forth in different combinations several times before I felt sure I was hearing what I was hearing.

This is naturally easier when you are trying out mics for recording, because you only have to reference what you're hearing to the song. There is a fixed reference, not a set of different subjective observations with "a floating baseline", i.e. nothing to gauge the sounds against.

You can also try this experiment on yourselves. Notice how different you're hearing the various mics depending on the order you listen to them in.



otek

allears
September 27th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Dear Senap,

Great post, many thanks!

As I own a few Uher M534 mics, I know the pinout is different from the din (small tuchel) on you picture. The M534 is not displayed there, so here's some additional information.

For the M534, PIN1 is not connected. Ground is connected to the plug's shield. 2 and 3 are signal+ and signal-, or vice versa.

If anyone knows this last piece of information (which one is +/-), it would be more than welcome.

Take care,

Allears

ckerian
September 28th, 2007, 10:03 PM
I have 3 of the echolette branded 409's and love em. i paid either 125 each or 125 for all of them. I cant remember. A few years back a drummer destroyed one so i put a 609 capsule in it. I wish there was some other way.

sighh..

I'd almost be wiulling to trade these 3 mic's to someone who would take care of them and has 3 or 4 md421's that i wont feel bad about destroying on drummers. actually since the "accident" with them i bought a pack of audix sht mics just for drummers that dont deserve "the golds" and for the record I love them on guitars and toms, and kick, and really love them on loud and aggresive vocals.

ckerian
September 28th, 2007, 10:10 PM
Senap,

I am listening in headphones and how are you getting the width? this sounds like 2 mics on these guitars. great tones though dude. your amp might have something to do with it. love the sound of everything. Listening on 7506's.

never mind. ya double tracked. cheater. hehe.

Molly's Lips
October 14th, 2007, 12:43 PM
Anyone ever heard a Sennheiser MD402? They pop up on ebay for dirt cheap...

dannycasio
October 16th, 2007, 02:13 PM
Hi,

Can anyone tell me if there is a difference in sound between the MD421 N and the MD421 HL? I've just had to get rid of my 421 N and replaced it with a HL. I haven't been able to try it yet as I'm still looking for a cable for it but am interested to know the differences between the two mics.

Cheers

Molly's Lips
December 27th, 2007, 10:49 AM
There's also the Beyer Soundstar Mark II that looks more like the usual Beyer mic. (M88, M69 etc) I remember that ol' Slippy mentioned these a while back as a great mic on guitar cabinets. Anyone?

It's also known as an M-300 or M-400, I think. One has an on-off switch and one doesn't, I'm not sure which is which. I picked one of these up for $40 earlier this year (broken on-off switch, windscreen smells like every kind of cigarette known to man).

I can second that it is most fucking definately a great mic for guitar amps.

To my ears it is quite full sounding for a dynamic, but not at all in a hyped way. Also the lows tend to stay pretty balanced, even when dealing with boomy 4x12s. There is a guy on Gearwhores who has stated many times that this mic sounds extremely similar to an SM7. I don't own an SM7, so I can neither confirm nor deny that claim.

Molly's Lips
December 29th, 2007, 06:39 AM
Here's a sample of some guitar recorded with the Soundstar MkII.

Amp was a Marshall dsl100 into a 1960a cab with G12T-75 Celestions. Mic'd right against the grill slightly off center and slightly angled away from center. Left guitar track was an old Squire, right guitar track was a Les Paul Studio. Absolutely no processing on the guitars except for the 16bit dither.

Cary Chilton
December 29th, 2007, 01:27 PM
I agree with Otek, the Senn MD69 was excellent on the snare.

For Guitar, sm57 is ok, the 409 was alot darker than I thought it would be, but blended it would rock. I also noted the 409 really picked up the cab sound and the lows accurately. I really liked the Beyer M69 on guitar, too!

I wonder how the Beyer M88 and M201 would compare???
If you ever have time in the future, Senaps, I would really appreciate to hear the 88 and 201 sound recorded in the same fashion.


Thanks for the clips! Really opened up my ears to the wildly different EQ's of each mic! The Senn 408 -goose, really sounded like most modern heavy guitar, CLA style.

Cary Chilton
January 9th, 2008, 06:58 PM
Anyone, I am interested in buy a senn 409. The buyer says it is from the mid 80's. Is that ok, or do you recommend a more vintage year?

Please reply soon if possible!

THanks ;)

pootkao
March 23rd, 2008, 09:43 PM
Did anyone ever try out the Grundig gdsm 200?
I'm curious about those.

This has been a helpful thread, guys! Thanks for your work.

lebouche
March 23rd, 2008, 10:29 PM
Anyone, I am interested in buy a senn 409. The buyer says it is from the mid 80's. Is that ok, or do you recommend a more vintage year?

Please reply soon if possible!

THanks ;)

Still waiting eh...
OK well I'd recommend the '86.

Webs
March 23rd, 2008, 10:42 PM
Really, Lebouche?

the '85 has that remarkable "je ne sais quoi" to it that I find hard to resist...

:Wink:

hoodedman
December 14th, 2008, 08:29 AM
Damn I can see this thread is going to cost me a lot of money as I go an yet another vintage mic buying spree.
I am running out of cupboard space as it is.

:Cry: my poor wallet :Cry:

otek
December 14th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Damn I can see this thread is going to cost me a lot of money as I go an yet another vintage mic buying spree.

Actually, the whole idea with this thread is to not spend as much money - these mics get passed over by a lot of people because they don't have the marquee name and pedigree, and therefore can be picked up for relatively cheap.


otek

Brendo
December 14th, 2008, 12:36 PM
buying 1 $2000 mic and buying 100 $20 mics is still the same financial outlay, otek....

otek
December 14th, 2008, 03:06 PM
buying 1 $2000 mic and buying 100 $20 mics is still the same financial outlay, otek....

But imagine the size of the drum kit you can cover.


otek

Brendo
December 14th, 2008, 03:20 PM
100, in weedywet's case.

otek
December 14th, 2008, 04:32 PM
100, in weedywet's case.

Aaah, trick question: Weedy would never use dynamics except for the kick. :D


otek

Brendo
January 31st, 2009, 05:58 AM
Aaah, trick question: Weedy would never use dynamics except for the kick. :D


otek

Hence 100!

Why is this thread not sticky in the gear forum like I thought it would be?

otek
January 31st, 2009, 11:55 AM
Hence 100!

Provided the kit is nothing but a kick, yes. :D


otek

weedywet
January 31st, 2009, 09:21 PM
it's funny.


when people say "i like to use a U87" or other relatively pricey mic, a lot of people feel it's being all elitist, and the inevitable response is " well you shouldn't NEED that expensive mic"

but here, when the discussion is based on the premise that you could have that ONE expensive $2000 mic (or the 100 cheapies) shouldn't it seem at LEAST as ridiculous to say "well i can't just use that one great mic. I NEED 20 mics"???

otek
January 31st, 2009, 10:03 PM
it's funny.


when people say "i like to use a U87" or other relatively pricey mic, a lot of people feel it's being all elitist, and the inevitable response is " well you shouldn't NEED that expensive mic"

but here, when the discussion is based on the premise that you could have that ONE expensive $2000 mic (or the 100 cheapies) shouldn't it seem at LEAST as ridiculous to say "well i can't just use that one great mic. I NEED 20 mics"???


First off, dude: we're just giving you a hard time. :D

Second, I don't think the OP's suggestion was to get 100 cheap mics in lieu of one expensive mic. He merely pointed to a number of lesser-known mics that are out there and can be had for dirt cheap. If that's not your thing, then hey - no biggie.

I wouldn't use them unless I was looking for something cool, different and not very natural-sounding. To this end I also own things like a children's toy with a built-in speaker, mic and FX unit, and two old telephone handsets wired with XLR's.


otek

EyreSpace
February 1st, 2009, 11:35 AM
I also own things like a children's toy with a built-in speaker, mic and FX unit, and two old telephone handsets wired with XLR's.


otek

Moist Pro!:lol:

Brendo
February 11th, 2009, 06:23 AM
Anyone ever heard a Sennheiser MD402? They pop up on ebay for dirt cheap...

Anyone?

Tim Halligan
February 12th, 2009, 01:03 PM
Anyone?

Nope. I don't recognise the model number...

Not even the Sennheiser website has heard of an MD 402.

Go figure...

:Roll eyes:


Cheers,
Tim

Tim Halligan
February 12th, 2009, 01:18 PM
OK...


There's a couple on evilbay right now...both currently around the US$100 mark...


Looking at the pictures I have a vague recollection of them...

Usually they come standard with a DIN (NTTAWWT - I have an old Beyer88 with a DIN plug) plug, usually for attaching to something like a Uher (Uh-huh...had one of those to...waaaay back in the day....) journalists recorder...it all looks very press-conferency or maybe Super8-stylee.

I'm thinking "avoid"...I think the frequency response is nowhere even close to the same postcode as flat. However, that may in fact be prezackly what you're after, so...what do I know...

:D


Cheers,
Tim

eagan
February 13th, 2009, 07:52 AM
An old friend of mine, a former co-conspirator in all kinds of assorted 8 track and 4 track sessions (ranging from serious best possible efforts at straight band recordings to flat out mad science experiments) used to have the philosophy that if the price was reasonable, ANY microphone was worth buying.

The premise being, even if it turned out to be a tad weird, at the right time in the right circumstances, weird works.


JLE

Cary Chilton
May 20th, 2009, 09:08 PM
hey, is a blackfire 521 really equal to a Sen 421?

otek
May 20th, 2009, 09:12 PM
hey, is a blackfire 521 really equal to a Sen 421?

The Black Fire 521 IS a Sennheiser.

It's just a cheaper version. AFAIK they're essentially the same, but the 509 lacks the filter switch.


otek

Cary Chilton
May 21st, 2009, 11:10 PM
The Black Fire 521 IS a Sennheiser.

It's just a cheaper version. AFAIK they're essentially the same, but the 509 lacks the filter switch.


otek

ok cool to know. THanks O!

Senap
May 22nd, 2009, 06:57 PM
ok cool to know. THanks O!

...witch you don't really need. A real 421 has M (music) or S (sprechen/speach), either a 5 way switch or just S/M if I remember correctly. In a studio situation I would have that on M all the time. And in that case, the 521 works exactly like a 421. So there....

BTW.... this old thread is still living.... waddayanow...

:Surprised:

Brendo
May 22nd, 2009, 06:57 PM
Cheapskates never die! They just run out of money.

Terje
January 7th, 2010, 03:48 PM
...years later...harhar


...there's the UHER 500-series M537, M538, M539, M534 etc which are great mics. Probably made by AKG. Or Sennheiser or Beyer. Can anyone shed some light on this mystery?

Yes I can...they were made by AKG!

John Eppstein
January 9th, 2010, 09:45 AM
Cheapskates never die! They just run out of money.

Temporarily.

John Eppstein
January 9th, 2010, 09:55 AM
Thanks otek.

Here's my conclusion.

On toms I liked all the 409 clones the best (403, 407 and 408). The Beyer Soundstar is a little dull and the Uher is crap.
The Beyer M69 sounds a little too toppy and cold. Can't find the right word but I didn't like it.

On snare I must say that I like all of them accept the Uher and the Soundstar. The MD21 surprised me. Crisp and snappy.

On guitars it's a little harder. Everything is relative. But I like the Soundstar. It sounds a little dull but at the same time really warm. It should work well on a doubletracked rock track. It has that "warm pad" feeling.

And the 57 always performs. Ortman would be proud.

I have a pair of Fisher branded 407s that came with the original Sennheiser boxes. Great mics.

When I worked for Bill Graham's FM Productions sound dept. in the late '70s the Beyer M69 was our standard vocal mic - we used it on Anne Wilson of Heart and a lot of other people. It's essentially an M88 with a less expensive diaphragm material.

With the M69 you need to make sure the mic has not been dropped on its face. If it has it can crack the plastic phase plug and push it back against the diaphragm, which makes the mic sound thin. With care it can usually be pulled back out and glued in place.

Used to have the Grundig GDSM200 back in the '80s before anybody knew they had the 409 capsule. Great mics - used toi use them on toms at The Mab. I currently have a set of similar Grundigs that appear a bit newer, with a slightly smaller, squared off shell. Have not tried them yet, they still have the original DIN connectors.

fantomas
December 16th, 2011, 02:41 AM
What about the Grundig gdm15, does it have a md409 capsule?

They have a similar look to the md403 and md407.

i have found this pictures of the inside, it doesnt look like an 409 but i am not an expert.

http://www.elektroakustika.cz/images/grundig/gdm15_6.jpg

http://www.elektroakustika.cz/images/grundig/gdm15_7.jpg

Le chef
December 16th, 2011, 07:00 AM
Just wanted to mention the great all-arounder AKG D-222. A lot of guys who have heard my 222s fell in love with its sound & got some on eBay.

It's got 2 capsules, one each for the Hi's & Lo's (giving it pretty good freq range) and (somewhat like EV's variable D design) exibit very little proximity effect. I've used this everywhere from bd to wurly, gtr & vox with great results. Pretty much a desert island mic like a RE20 but with its own voice. It's got a kind of "dry" tone to it with good mid definition, almost papery on drums.

The downside is that they're "relatively" fragile (hey, I've put them in bd repeatedly...) & unvariably the bass capsule will fail. To make matters worst most techs are reluctant to service them since they're sort of a bitch to service too...

My solution was to get as much as I could for as low as possible.
I got 6 for free! :-)
I'm down to one fully working mic... :-(

Keks
January 4th, 2012, 02:06 PM
Sennheiser MDS-1
Two MD 409 in a stereo configuration. Cool looking mic. They can be unmounted and used as two seperate mics.
I've seen these branded as Grundig GDSM-200. Made by Sennheiser. Exactly the same mic. Usually goes for about 300 bucks.... but hey, you'll get two 409's!


Browsing this thread and googling the different types of mics, I stumbled over this.
Funnily enough I have pair of those at home,
I inherited them with a bunch of assorted stuff from a sort of relative when I was. like 16.
I had completely forgotten them.
They were in a box in the attic.
Found 'em, but it took some time.

There was a Philips EL 3752 and some smallish table mic amongst them, with DIN plugs, respectively.
Gotta find new plugs and a safe way to wire them...

Them MDS-1 have guitar plugs, and they sound fine, so far...
:beer::beer:

All the best,
the keks

alcaphone
October 28th, 2012, 10:44 PM
Grundig GDSM200 (Sennheiser MDS-1) vs Sennheiser MD-408.
408 cartridge seems to be smaller (but probably just because of missing aluminium housing), rear vent holes are slightly different. But both microphones sounds almost identical.

lofiaudio
November 1st, 2012, 09:04 PM
Just want to say thank you to the fine Mr. Senap - this was one of the first threads I stumbled across here and I promptly proceeded to outfit my mic locker to the gills with these awesome dynamics.

MD421- of course, gotta have a few, MD21, 403, 405 (don't think this one has been mentioned but it's the same front-adress, ball style windscreen as the gooseneck 408, but with a normal (small) silver mic body) , etc etc as well as a few old Unidyne 545s and a Beyer M88, and my guitar sounds have never been better.

For cheap, trashy room sounds, the RFT dm622 omni dynamic is good fun too! ALso along those lines check out the American D-22, which probably looks a lot better than it sounds but can be had cheap. Another cool mic is the American DR-332 which is an interesting switched ribbon / dynamic combo. I scored one that was re-ribboned by Steven Sank at Talking Dog, and had the dynamic section taken out of the signal path. It is now a truly beautiful mic both to hear and to look at!

Digressing from dynamics for a second The beyer M260's are also awesome ribbons, great on guitars and drum overheads, and a good bit cheaper than the more popular 160's.

Thanks! Awesome thread! :beer:

alcaphone
November 9th, 2012, 04:08 PM
I finally realize how to open Grundig GDSM202 (with a little force ;-)
So here it is, looks more like the MD408 in comparison with GDSM200.

raffaelestefani
September 30th, 2016, 06:29 PM
Just bought a GDSM 200 in perfect shape.
it has some shorter cables with a little transformer in the male connectors, but if I attach those, it stops working. Any clue of what's the use of those shorter transformered cables?
thanks

Raffaele