Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mic Week - Part 4: Sennheiser e609

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It's Mic Week! We intend for this to be a regular feature and for starters we're going through some of the usual suspects that you'll find in nearly every mic box everywhere.

Today's offering is the Sennheiser e609. I believe the intention was to create an SM57 killer and they've done a fine job of it. If you're used to 57s on guitar amps when you slap on a 609 for the first time it's like meeting an old friend... that's been to the gym and got a nice tan.

The 609 does a great job picking up all the things you expect but it just somehow does a nicer job of it. The body of the sound is fatter. The highs are clearer.  It's hard to describe exactly but in a taste test nearly everyone picks it as the winner.

When I got my first pair I put them out on stage along with my usual 57s with the intent of A/B-ing them and picking the one that sounded better for each player. I put up a 57, then I put up a 609 and said, "Wow!". But then I put them both up together and the heavens opened up. Having a fat mic and a skinny mic on the same cab gives you nearly unlimited sculpting ability without touching the EQ much if at all. It's sped up my sound checks and it's an added level of protection. Blending them is easy even if one of the mics isn't getting that great of a sound. When you're under time pressure on a festival stage it can be a real life saver and it has the added benefit of making guitar players feel like you really care about them. You can read more about our favorite guitar mic trick in the original post.

One of my favorite things about it is that it sounds good just flat against the grill. That means you can get away with just draping the cable over the top of the amp and use a little piece of gaff tape to hold it in place. It also happens occasionally that I'll get some poor keyboard player that shows up with some cheap piece with built in speakers and a non-functioning output jack. Gaff tape and a 609 to the rescue again.

It tends to get used on guitars almost exclusively but it's really a pretty good all around mic. I've used them on back up singers, brass, toms, even violin. But this is only the beginning of the story. Anyone with anything to contribute should click on the comments link and add your knowledge to the pile for the benefit of all the Brethren of the Knob and Fader.

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