My Entirely Subjective Review: Beta58a vs. Sennheiser e935 vs. EV 767a
nulldevice
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16th March 2010
Old 16th March 2010
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My Entirely Subjective Review: Beta58a vs. Sennheiser e935 vs. EV 767a

The question of handheld dynamics seems to come up a lot around here. I thought I'd add my experiences to the pot.

I’ve had the opportunity to A/B a few different handheld dynamic mics over the past few days. I’ve put my trusty, venerable Shure beta58a up against a Sennheiser e935 and an ElectroVoice N/DYN 767a, specifically on vocals.

I ran ‘em through matched channels, 2 at a time, on a Metric Halo ULN/2, monitored on a pair of Adam A7’s.

My voice sounds a little bit like a husky Neil Tennant – a kind of head-throat voice. I'd post audio samples but I'm terrified of putting unprocessed vocals out there.

I did two mics at a time, as I only had two matched inputs.


Most of my observations are subjective, so take it as you will. I didn’t run things though spectrum analyzers, so even if I say it sounded “flat” or “colored” that doesn’t mean that I had an anechoic chamber and detailed analyzer handy, so YMMV.

Color/Sound:
The Sennheiser was the flattest. The Shure had the expected proximity effect so it had some boost in the lows as I got closer, and the EV had a LOT of prox effect. The EV overall had a much “thicker” sound, but also had good transitive response so the extensive low mids didn’t get too muddy and only got boomy when I ate the mic and sang in my low range. The Sennheiser had a more extended high end, but sounded a little crispy when I sang some higher parts. The shure was…well, shure-like. The lows and low-mids were slightly more pronounced but not boomy when I ate the mic, and it had a more extended high end than a standard 58. It sounded akind of cloudy in those low frequencies, though.

Gain:
The Sennheiser and the Shure were almost identical in gain. *Maybe* a decibel more here or there on the Sennheiser. The difference between the gain on the those and the EV was dramatic, though. At the same input gain, the EV was a lot hotter.

Rejection:
My rejection tests weren’t the most scientific, but they gave me an idea of how the mics handled stage wash. I basically played some tracks loud through monitors, wandered around with the mics as though I was on a stage, and then saw what each mic picked up. The EV and the Shure were roughly comparable. The EV, being a louder mic overall, was louder with the “stage wash” but the lead was also louder too, so in a real environment they’d likely balance out. The Sennheiser was much washier, but that was also unsurprising, as the EV and Shure are both super- or hyper-cardioid, and the e935 is just cardioid.

Upshot:
My Beta58 has been a stalwart in my live rig for a while – it’s head-and-shoulders above most rock venues’ stable of plain old 58’s. I’ve had the opportunity to use the e935 at a few gigs, and it really stands out for quieter, acoustic kinds of things, because it has a "wide" sound with a nice sparkly high end and no boominess. However, I found it had some difficulty cutting through a really dense mix– the transient response was good enough to make vocals really intelligible but the flatter curve meant it kind of got lost and smeared by the big rock tunes, plus it didn't especially flatter my somewhat nasal voice. This may be due to the fact that the channels and soundguy were both accustomed to plain 58’s, but that’s mere speculation. I’ve not yet tried the EV in a concert setting myself, but a friend’s band uses one. Their vocalist sounds different than I do, but in terms of clarity it works quite well, they get a nice rich vocal sound, although sometimes it can get a little deep and honky for their female vocalist. I’ll give the 767 a shot soon – my voice is in need of thickening so it’ll probably help there.

So there you go. Hope that helps somebody.

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