Review: Sennheiser MD541 Blackfire Dynamic Microphone

I've been looking to replace my "all-arounder" recording mic (a Sennheiser MK4 condenser) with something that worked better for my application -- a need for close positioning and lots of outside-noise rejection. I needed a dynamic but I wanted one that would be great and still grab all of the detail one usually associates with condenser mics.

I'd settled on wanting a Sennheiser MD441 because of their fantastic reviews and also their excellent specs. I spent a long time hunting and found this mic to sate my desire. It's a (1980s?) "Blackfire" version of the MD441 and is, essentially, the same mic but with a less-conspicuous finish (all black) and lacking the bass-cut adjustment ring at its "butt-end." I find that a boon, though, as things like that often get bumped into weird settings when handling the mic. It still has the high-boost switch, however, which turns-out to be a nice feature for tracking banjos to retain their liveliness.

I have to say that this mic meets all my expectations and then some. As long as you're using a nice preamp (I use Apogee), it sounds awesome. If you were using a preamp that didn't have much in the way of clean gain, however, I could see it as a bit of a drag as it needs a lot of it.

Sonically, it's very flat and captures more detail than I'd ever expect a dynamic to grab. It also rejects off-axis noise like nuts, which means there's not a lot of irritation from a bad room or random noise in proximity to your recording.

Anyhow, you'll be hearing this tomorrow on clips of several very cool instruments that I couldn't snag pictures of this afternoon and you can let your ears decide what to think of this piece of kit for yourselves. I'm sold -- and I'm tempted to get another one for my live rig!


Unknown said…
good luck with it Jake,all your music sounds great to me , your the modern day Pete Seeger.....