Tag Archives: The Best Dynamic Microphone

Sennheiser MD441-U Another Classic Dynamic Microphone! (1971 to the present)

Following on somewhat from the theme of the previous post.

Sennheiser MD441-U

Sennheiser MD441-U Grill

Launched in 1971 as Sennheiser’s flagship dynamic the MD441 has remained in production ever since. Famous users include David Bowie, Stevie Nicks and Elton John. It is a superb example of German design and engineering, and even today has few competitors. However, a microphone of this quality does not come cheap. A new MD441-U will set you back around £700.00 !

Cool Mic Dave!

When AKG produced the remarkable D224 (c1967) they went to great lengths with their twin capsule design to eliminate proximity effect, and create a wide, flat frequency response from 30Hz-20 kHz, regardless of distance from source. With the MD441 Sennheiser took a rather different approach. Whist the frequency response is similar to the AKG (30Hz-20kHz), Sennheiser allow the user of the MD441 to have creative control over proximity effect and also high end brilliance.Sennheiser MD441-U Frequency response graphs

This is achieved using a five position bass roll-off switch and a 2 position brilliance switch. This provides a choice of 10 different frequency curves to suit the needs of a wide range of applications!

The Sennheiser MD441 User Manual below explains very thoroughly the operation and characteristics this extraordinary dynamic microphone.

Sennheiser MD441 Manual.

Sennheiser MD441-U

So What Does It Sound Like?  CLICK HERE for a drum clip illustrating the wide frequency response, dynamic range and highly detailed transient response.

CLICK HERE for Tenor sax and clarinet.

In Conclusion
Whether you choose heavy metal guitar at full volume, or a solo violin, a baroque recorder, or a baritone sax, the MD441 delivers! There is little to distinguish between what goes in and what comes out! It sounds remarkably natural on a wide range of acoustic instruments and the human voice. The Sennheiser MD441-U has all the subtlety normally associated with a high quality condenser combined with the smoothness and punch of a great dynamic. If I was only allowed one microphone in my ‘desert island’ studio this would probably be it!

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AKG D224E (circa 1968) The Best Dynamic Microphone Ever Made?

AKG D224E

The AKG D224E is an extraordinary combination of revolutionary design and high quality engineering, which conspires to challenge  preconceptions about the capabilities of a dynamic microphone. Not only does it have the expected performance of a quality dynamic:-

  • ability to handle high SPLs,
  •  fat, punchy midrange,
  • tonally smooth high end,
  • no requirement for external power,

BUT…………….. It also has all the characteristics of a good condenser!

  • Wide flat frequency response 20hz to 20Khz !!
  • Excellent transient response.
  • Tight, uniform, cardioid polar pattern.
  • Sound arriving from any angle of incidence is completely uncoloured.
  • Rear attenuation is -20db at all frequencies, giving excellent rejection characteristics.

AKG D 224E Leaflet

IN ADDITION

The D224 (in common with the D200, D202 and D222) does not exhibit proximity effect.

This AKG Brochure below, from 1970, gives detailed technical information and fully explains the design of this extraordinary microphone.

AKG 2 Way Mics 1970

So what does it sound like?                                                                            On the morning this mic arrived from my usual supplier (ebay) the sun was shining (as it always does when a new mic arrives!) and the birds outside in the garden were singing loudly. I set up a mic stand outside my back door .

Click here for my first recording with the D224.

Here is another sound clip recorded at a live Rock’n’Roll show. It demonstrates the ability of the D224E to handle high level transients and reject unwanted sounds.

Click here for Rock’n’Roll Guitar.

Over the coming weeks I will add some more recorded examples. I really do like the sound of this mic!

P.S.

As with the AKG D222, the accurate off axis response of the D224 has , over many years , been perfect for politicians who don’t tend to talk straight ( into the mic)!

Tony Blair AKG D224

Notice the use of the additional pop shield, to prevent wind (and hot air) imploding on the low end capsule!

P.P.S.  If you are a fan of the D224 you may also be interested to check out the Oktava MD-186.