Canadian Musician - May/June 2021 - Page 25

Sennheiser MD 435 & MD 445 Vocal Microphones

ROAD TEST

By Drew Robertson

With a new capsule based on the acclaimed MD 9235 capsule , the new MD 435 and MD 445 from Sennheiser bring legendary performance to a wired form factor that has been needed for quite some time .

Traditionally , the MD 9235 capsule is reserved for the far more expensive 9000 Series of wireless handheld microphones and as an upgrade addition to the 6000 Series of wireless handhelds ; however , the newlyminted MD 435 and MD 445 offer access to the same sonic qualities as their famed forbearers and in two distinctly useful styles of polar pattern : standard cardioid for the MD 435 , and a higher-rejection supercardioid for the MD 445 . Not to say that the MD 435 does not also offer acceptable off-axis rejection as well , just don ’ t expect the surgical tightness and punch you can achieve with MD 445 .
Build quality & technical specs Both microphones are constructed of a durable metal alloy and coloured a standard flat black for life on stage or in the studio . The all-metal construction gives each microphone noticeable heft in the hand at 329 g , while the semi-textured coating means they won ’ t slide out of your hand at the wrong moment . The simplistic construction also means service to either microphone is easy , as just one screw allows the XLR connection to be removed if it becomes damaged . Additionally , the capsule grille is easily removed by simply unscrewing it to access the actual capsule underneath . Speaking of the capsules , they are constructed of a unique aluminumcopper wire and spring-shock-mounted to help reduce handling noise while still retaining a rich , nuanced sound over its 146-dB-wide dynamic range . Both microphones are capable of sustaining an earth-shattering max SPL of 163 dB , so have no fear of placing them on loud amps or drums as you will damage your own hearing long before you hurt these mics . In short , both the MD 435 and MD 445 were built for life on tour and will deliver rich , clear sound for as long as you care for them .
Sound quallity Moving on to what we all want to know — what do they sound like ? In a word , authoritative , and I mean that in the best possible way . The testing conditions were less than kind and both mics had no trouble cutting through the test mix . The rejection and tightness of the MD 445 allowed it to capture the full tone of the lead guitar without picking up the rhythm amp just a few feet away . In a secondary test , I put the MD 445 on snare duty with the goal of giving it more control and punch while rejecting the sound of the hi-hat as much as possible , and once dialed in , I was quite impressed with my results . The MD 435 does not have the same tightness , but it ’ s no slouch either . Using it on vocals during the same session kept the lead vocal upfront and powerful . Overall , I am quite impressed with the clarity in both microphones and , in particular , just how punchy the MD 445 can be when used appropriately .
MD 435 MD 445
Conclusions These new entries from Sennheiser are a bold statement in the world of high-performance live performance microphones . To be able to get the famed clarity of the original MD 9235 capsule in a wired form factor at less than the cost of just the original capsule itself is a fantastic bargain . Their solid construction and powerful sound will be at home on any stage . An exceptional trick to pull out of the mic locker in a tight situation is , specifically , the MD 445 for use in an on-stage environment when it is not just loud but crowded to boot .
As great as they are live , though , in a studio environment , they will not be underutilized either . The MD 435 is a fantastic vocal mic choice in the right situation , while the MD 445 can be used for those tough noisy drum or guitar situations . My only criticism is a lack of mute switch on either mic , but I understand Sennheiser ’ s choice to limit moving parts and keep things simple , both for construction and maintenance purposes , as they are built tough for a life on stage . If you are looking for a durable and long-lasting stage microphone that doesn ’ t skimp on the sonic quality , then look no further than the MD 435 and MD 445 .
Drew Robertson is an audio engineer , live sound tech , and educator based out of London , ON . He can be reached at RobertsonAudioPost @ protonmail . com .
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