Quality comes in 400’s

Sennheiser, the 421

This week on “what mics has Astra got” we come to two more special mics; the Sennheiser 441 and 421. 

It would be easy to get bogged down with raving about how good these mics are, the 441 is probably the finest dynamic mic ever made. Having spent the first week telling you fine people how good the sm57 is, the 441 is better in almost every way! Its super cardiod pattern, its superior frequency response, low end and high end switches make this an all round more versatile mic than the trusty 57. It has excellent feedback rejection and can cope with the highest SPL’s which make it the perfect mic for trumpets and other brass but is equally at home when used as a vocal mic, Stevie Nicks famously used it all the time “back in the day”. On a kick drum I’ve found it to produce an extremely tight, punchy sound which has been excellent for jazz and folk bands which often don’t want a big booming kick. As with all mics, if you have the opportunity to experiment, then try and use the properties of the mic to get the results you’re looking for. Having said that, if we see a trumpet on the tec spec then the 441s are immediately dug out!

The other mic this week is another from Sennheiser, the 421. Almost every great drum recording features these on the toms since its release back in the 60’s. From a live point of view it has since been replaced by other, less bulky mic options but is still excellent at all the usual large diaphragm carded dynamic mic choices. However, for us at Astra, this is our go to mic when it comes to Saxophones. Again, excellent handling of high SPL’s and a warmer sound than a 57 means a sax player can blow their hearts out and this mic will ask for more while continuing to reproduce a clean and accurate signal to the desk. The only downside to this gem is the clip. We’ve resorted to taking our mics to the clips which have a tendency to be weak and fragile. Nobody wants a heavy microphone dropping onto their bell end…