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MD421 broken or not?
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triple_dre
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#1
4th April 2012
Old 4th April 2012
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MD421 broken or not? *sound samples*

I recently got an MD421-2 off ebay, even though the sticker must have come off because it doesn't say so on the mic. But I guess it's correct since it has no low cut switch of any kind.
Immediately after receiving it I stuck it in front of a guitar amp.
A pretty low-end heavy guitar amp I might add.
Listening back to the track, it seems like the mic is lacking a lot of low end. For some reason it sounds kind of thin.

However, I have no previous experience with MD421's, this is the first time I'm actually using one. So I have no clue what it's supposed to sound like.
Looking at a frequency inspector I see a lot of 100hz but below that it drops off rapidly. At first I thought hmm that's the low cut filter. But then I realized, mine doesn't have one!

Then I started reading about it and found that it's somewhat of a common problem that 421's lose their low end if they start to die.

I am seriously in doubt wether it is defective or not. Because after all, there isn't much below 100Hz on a guitar anyway.

So what do you think. Is that the natural sound of an md421? (strong focus on mid and especially high's?) and is it just me beeing shocked by not hearing my guitar thru that honky sm57? or is there actually a shot of it beeing broken?
#2
4th April 2012
Old 4th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triple_dre View Post
At first I thought hmm that's the low pass filter. But then I realized, mine doesn't have one!
(I believe you mean high pass filter)

Also, if it's an MD421, it does have a high pass. It's located at the base, near the XLR connection. It should be a 5 position rotary switch that goes from S ('speech', high pass enabled fully) to M ('music', no high pass)
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4th April 2012
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There should be a sticker on the mic under where the clip goes in... and there should be a rotary switch at the back of the mic near the output XLR connector [unless its a cream colored one - in which case I'm not sure if it has that rotary switch or not].

If it doesn't have the sticker and the rotary switch... then if very well could be a "Chinese knockoff" microphone. I am pretty sure I heard of those being made / confiscated as well as Shure 57 & 58 knockoffs.

FWIW - I've rarely found 421's to be great for guitar... unless you really love a festival of 3kHz in the sound in which case they're awesome.

Hope this is of some assistance.

Peace
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triple_dre
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4th April 2012
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Yes I meant high pass/ low roll off switch or whatever you want to call it.
Not all MD421's have them. And it is a cream-colored one
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I have two that suffer from the same symptoms: lack low end. Also the filter switch is stuck - in M position but they sure don't sound "m" :D I was told that people has succesfully removed the variable hipass filter and replace with this: Sennheiser XLR-Connector f. MD 421 / 441 - Thomann danske Cyberstore

Supposedly fixed the problem for them. I want to try myself but I'm not good at soldering and you have to look out because the wires from the capsule to the filter are very thin and prone to breaking.
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4th April 2012
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There is lots of black and cream colored 421s without the bass switch around, some have been modified, some came that way stock.

People tend to replace that switch assembly with the aforemetioned sennheiser kit, no more switch (wich is really not that useful anyways) - no more switch problems.

Great as a complementary mic on some guitars, very nice on toms and can work on kick as well.
Just one of the great microphones out there, and this for a long time.
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5th April 2012
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Have two cream ones with the Music/Speech switch as well.
Ones lacking low end as described earlier.
Need to send it in for repair.
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5th April 2012
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I recorded some very short samples.
Put my sm57 and the md421 in question on my 18inch floortom. The difference is night and day. I am pretty sure it's broken.. waddayathink?
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 tom sm57.mp3 (150.4 KB, 116 views)
File Type: mp3 tom md421.mp3 (150.4 KB, 114 views)
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5th April 2012
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except for the loss of bass that MD sounds pretty clean id say.
have the filter circuit bypassed and see whats going on, any tech should be able to perform that mod in a minute or two.

dont give up on her, MD421´s are great microphones.
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5th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFZ DUDE View Post
except for the loss of bass that MD sounds pretty clean id say.
have the filter circuit bypassed and see whats going on, any tech should be able to perform that mod in a minute or two.

dont give up on her, MD421´s are great microphones.
Well that's the thing, it doesn't have a filter. it sounds like it has the low-cut engaged, but them md421-II's don't have one apparently.
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5th April 2012
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ouch.
in that case id say either send it to your sennheiser distribution company or to an experienced mic repair guy.
i really suggest Peter Drefahl in Germany, he usually does stuff in no time and at affordable rates.
He has probably seen more 421s than any of us..
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5th April 2012
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Thanks for the tip.

I will discuss this with the seller first, see what he has to say about it.
Let's hope we can work something out.
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good luck
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If you have a Tuchel-DIN plug version, you may have the wiring wrong. It is the opposite of the AKG DIN wiring. If you do have it wrong, the result is a very thin sound.
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5th April 2012
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Wow good one!
Do you know the correct wiring schedule?

1-3
2-2
3-1

or something like that?
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5th April 2012
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depends on if it is small or large tuchel.

large tuchel is 1 positive / 2 negative and 3 ground, small tuchel is 1 positive / 2 ground / 3 negative
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5th April 2012
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Hmm that's not it.. seems to be wired properly.
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off to the doc id say.
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