Monday, October 10, 2005


Worked with John from House of Blondes on Saturday, mostly doing vocals.

John bought himself a spiffy new Sennheiser MD441 last week, and he brought it to Smoke and Mirrors for its first test.

For those who don't know, the MD441 is kind of the sibling of the famed Sennheiser MD421. The 421 has been seen poking over the rims of countless tom toms over the years, and with its Star Trekish appearance (think Phaser) it's a pretty distinctive mic. Very much beloved.

The 441 is one of those "nearly a condensor" dynamics, with excellent (and very flat) frequency response and a downright "warm" sound. Sennheiser calls it "the most accurate and versatile dynamic mic available," and I'm hoping to get a chance to try it out on guitars and amps. With several bass roll off positions, a brilliance control, humbucking coils, and some nice "leatherette" stylings, it's clearly a cool and serious mic with a real 70's/80's feel. This was Stevie Nick's mic of choice (so I'm told).

It sounded good on John's voice - nice rounded without too much harsh high end. There's a real trend toward brightness in modern mics, and I for one don't always appreciate it, especially when coupled with digital recording. The 441 suffered from none of this, and it looked pretty space-aged (circa '79) sitting in the live room. Fun!

I think it also made John more comfortable and confident. New gear can often do this to an artist - I've definitely noticed that players seem to have more fun when they're trying out a new piece, and it translates to the recording. Purely subconscious, I'm sure, but it seems to make a difference.

We also got to use the Telefunken V77 and the Empirical Labs Distressor. The Distressor, simply put, is the greatest compressor ever built, and worth far more than it's (already somewhat high) price.


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At 2:07 PM, Blogger Tony Alva said...

We used the MD441 for years and it was a great mic.

BTW... Got burned on my original C1 purchase on eBay. Bought another from a store in FL. How does the MD441 stand up against the C1?

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Chrispy said...

It's hard for me to compare the two without running the same source through both.

Off the top of my head, the C1 might be a bit brighter, but again there are a lot of other variables I can't take into account. We'd really have to do an A/B, same pres and compressors.

The 441, however, is a heck of a lot more expensive.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Jackson said...

I though it was neato - the MD441, and the session.

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