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Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

Sennheiser MD 441

4.45 4.45 out of 5, based on 14 Reviews

Perhaps the apogee of dynamic microphone design


25th February 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by edva

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

The Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic "vocal and instrument" microphone is, in my opinion and that of many others, perhaps the finest dynamic mic ever produced.
The mic was introduced in the magical year of 1966, and continues to be manufactured today, in Germany. It is very expensive for a dynamic mic, at retail, but a lucky shopper can sometimes find a nice used one for about half off, at which price it is a very good deal indeed.
For those who like detailed descriptions, may I quote from the manufacturer's web page?
"The MD 441 is acknowledged as the most accurate and versatile dynamic mic available. It has a nearly textbook perfect super-cardioid pattern, a five-position low frequency contour switch, a two-position high frequency switch, a critically damped internal shock suspension, and a hum bucking coil. Perfect for vocals and virtually every instrument."
As an owner and user, I will say that it is a very good sounding mic, which can give usable, or better, results on almost any source. The mic is very quiet, and has excellent rejection of bleed from other sources. The tone is crisp for a dynamic, clear in the mids, with tight, warm lows, and very well balanced across the spectrum. Though not completely transparent or un-colored, it could certainly be called accurate, and has an overall high quality and pleasing sonic signature.
The contour switches provide options, though I generally use the mic in the flat position. I have also read on blogs that the mic sounds cleaner with all the switches removed or bypassed somehow, but have no personal experience of that. As said, it is clean enough in stock trim.
The mic is extremely well built, a work of art really, but of course the little troll who lives under the bridge at Sennheiser and designs the mic clips worked his spell on this one too, and it is the only weak link in an otherwise golden chain.
The MD 441 is perfect on flute, live or in the studio, great on live vocals, I use it whenever I record banjo (it happens to the best of us), makes me feel good, if I used an under snare mic this would be the one, and really if I could only have one dynamic microphone, sorry 57, it would have to be the MD 441.
If you come across one in good shape for a decent price, I highly recommend this mic, especially for the uses mentioned. Plus, it is so cool looking!

  • 4
28th February 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by spurratic

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

I came across this mic when a local studio owner and original gearslut passed away 2 years ago. This owner collected gear his entire life and I was a former employee so his sons generally give me first crack at any studio gear they are selling.

The clip is very fragile, in fact when I purchased the clip had been epoxied right to the mic ( which works well if you don't intend to use as a handheld ).

The sons kept telling me this was a vocal mic that Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks used, but I already owned several vocal mics. I read on gearslutz that it is a fabulous snare mic so I decided to give it a try.

I couple of weeks later I was visiting a pro studio just outside Toronto to do some producing.... So I decided to bring the mic along. We used on the snare with brightness lift on and roll off flat. The engineer went nuts. He said that this was the best snare mic he had used in his 20 years! He tried to buy it from me for twice the price I paid but I said no way.

Since then I use exclusively as a snare mic. I did try a bit on vocals but really didn't feel that it was as much of a character as in snare. A bit subdued on vox (unless that is what you age going for). On snare it captures subtle brush hits, the crack of the stick on a coated head.....and the full depth of the drum. It is also superb at canceling out the hats which is worth every penny.

Finally, I think this is a mic that really ages like wine. The one I have is from the early 70's I believe and based in what I have read, I have the feeling that it has really mellowed over the years to the state it is in now. Perhaps why I don't find it to shine on vox.

A MUST have for drums, this is the mic that your clients will really be wowed by.

28th February 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by RFZ DUDE

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

I have been working with 441´s for like 10 years now, being located in Germany makes it quite easy to get one at a more realistic price, they typically go for something between 200.- and 350.- Euro used over here, compared to the 900.- something that Sennheiser asks these days.

When taking the 441 apart it is clearly visible that this is a very well made, high-end dynamic microphone.

The 441 excels in most any discipline, it is a KILLER on close-mic´d guitar amps and just as well on drums - overheads, toms, snare, bass drum - anything.
I do love the 441 on 15" bass cabinets straight to the cone.

I have a good number of classic microphones and the 441 is really on my top of the list, gets much more use than my ´67, ´87, TLM171, PL20 and so on.

Being a hyper-cardioid microphone the 441 excels in situations where bleed is a concern.

Have been using the mic in quiet music / reverberant rooms situations to get away from overly roomy sounding material and that worked out really well.

The 441 is a mic that i would choose any-day over all those cheap-ish far-east made microphones that money can buy today.

It is really sensitive & doesn't require lots of gain.

A TLM-103 or Brauner Panthera are by far more unrealistic sounding microphones in my opinion.

Dont overlook all the dynamic classics of the past (and present), especially in todays high-resolution digital world these are tools i couldn't do without.

28th February 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by xfreddex

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

The MD441 is one of my favourite dynamic microphone.

Compared to the classic SM57 it sounds fuller and more open, more "hifi". It has almost a condenser like extended hi end that is very smooth.

I sounds great on drums. Especially on snare, but also on toms, hihat and inside the kick. But my favourite application is on electric guitar cabs. A single MD441 can yield a very full and rich sound. I've also used it on vocals with great results. I very rarley use my SM57 since I got the MD441 (and my beyer M201).

It's expensive for a dynamic, but it's not hard to find on the used marked for a decent price. It's very well built and looks great. Has sort of a retro sci fi look to it.

Highly recommended!

29th February 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by e12

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

Sennheiser is a serious company and I believe it does not need a detailed introduction.
I have one of their MD441 U Dynamic Super-cardioid microphone, which I’ve got from a gear trading. I can say it exceeded all my expectations in every moment I tried it out. I was initially intended to sell it (because it has a higher value than the monitor speakers I was selling and ended up trading), but since I’ve heard it I just gave up to not have it. Actually, I would like a couple more…
The MD 441 U street price is around $899. It’s a metal body with black leatherette finish and a nickel-plated sound inlet basket mic. According to the factory, it features a shock-mounted internal capsule resulting in even signal response in close position applications. It has a very useful 5-position low frequency roll-off switch (at the connector ring) and 2-position high frequency contour switch. They say the output stage features a hum-bucking coil, suppressing noise and hum caused by bad cables, grounding and things like that. They also say it has a great feedback rejection (I couldn’t verify) and low sensitivity to handling noise (that is true). You can see and hear clearly it's very different from a regular dynamic microphone.

The most important thing I can say here is it just works wonderful to almost every application in the studio.

It sounds great on drums (specially snares and toms), where it has proving to really have great off axis rejection (it saves the mixing engineer day).

On the vocals it does a great job too. Not comparable to a tube mic neither a FET condenser, but just different. It puts a special “crispy” texture in the vocals and it has this internal pop filter, providing room for high-pressure voicing vocalists to sing close to the capsule. Sometimes, this can sound great (as it does in some rap artists).

My bigger surprise was recording bass. I wasn’t thinking it would beat the other mics (used for comparison), but it did. It was the better bass sound with no doubt. Everybody in the studio felt the same. After that I never use another mic in front of a bass cabinet. In the guitar it is kind of nice too.

Conclusion:
The Sennheiser MD441 U is a very unique fine piece of gear. I recommend every studio to have one or two of them, although it cannot be your primary vocal or acoustic guitar/ piano microphone. I could notice it has some characteristics that make it similar to the Electrovoice’s classic RE-20, but I can say it goes beyond that (I have both). It's high frequencies response is almost as good as a condenser mic. If I had to keep just one, it would be the MD441. It’s not what I call cheap for a dynamic mic. Despite this, $899 appears to be a very fair price to have the technology they need to apply in its special construction. The need for a special clip-mount is a concerning thing (as it's a squared body), but we can live with this.

Go try it yourself!

Att,
Marcelo Fruet

  • 1
29th March 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by monkeyxx

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

I got a vintage black MD441 U3 I think, the one with the presence switch but no low end roll-off. Even used, these microphones command a sizable investment, compared to other high end dynamic microphone usual suspects. I can't hear exactly what's happening with the boost switch, it just sounds more "present" to me, a little bigger sounding, slightly louder, so I just leave it on all the time. It's a fairly subtle difference. The general sound quality this mic provides is smooooooth and pretty without any kind of peaks or hype. It seems to put across a good high end too, for a large dynamic. Not overly bassy.

The first place I tried this was on vocals and acoustic guitar. It ended up being my favorite dynamic mic I have tried on acoustic guitar, and one of very few I would actually ever want to use instead of a condenser, the others being several Electro-Voice models with Variable-D like the 660, RE15 and PL20.

On vocals it sounds pretty good, but, like a dynamic mic on vocals. Which can be great, but, will not always be the choice when high end large condensers are available. It is perfectly usable though, but won't have the same kind of presence as a condenser. A bit of a thicker sound, and perhaps better than a condenser in a weird or bad or acoustically untreated room.

I got a really excellent alto saxophone sound with this mic, a toss up between it and the 2247 SE Peluso.

On tom toms I got a great sound too, better than a lot of the cheap "drum mic" dynamics I tried. I didn't have more than one so I paired it with an M88TG to cover the other tom, that mic sounded great too. Have not tried it on snare drum (yet) or kick drum.

Another favorite use is electric guitar. This microphone has a property of rarely sounding bad on anything. On electric guitar I find a lot of mics sound good on this or that amp, or with this or that clean tone or distortion sound, but along with again the EV mics, I find the MD441 always to provide a musical sound on a guitar cabinet regardless of other variables. Very versatile and "safe."

I really appreciate the build quality of this mic. You can tell a lot of care went into the design and construction...it's an impressive specimen. I hear complaints about the clips on these. Mine didn't come with one, so I ordered the solid rubber/plastic black colored clip, which is very rugged, and I would recommend to anyone that has had issues with the clear plastic one. The black one holds the mic very securely and seems impossible to break.

28th June 2012

Sennheiser MD 441 by James Meeker

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

The Sennheiser MD441 is a top end dynamic microphone. For dynamic mics it pretty much doesn't get any better than this. Things can get "different" but I honestly can think of another dynamic mic that I would consider "better" than the 441. It's solidly constructed, easy to position, sounds great, has a wealth of filtering options, a useful brilliance switch, takes high SPL without fuss.... the only negative might be its cost. But hey, quality like this doesn't come cheap!

The first thing you need to know about the 441 is that it's a super cardioid microphone with a very tight pick up pattern. The off-axis rejection, as noted in an earlier review, is very good. Coupled with its 5 position high pass filter and brilliance switch, the 441 is one of the strongest choices for close miking percussion; not only does it sound great, but bleed is minimized compared to many other choices out there. However, drums are just the beginning of the 441's usefulness--it has served as Stevie Nicks' main vocal microphone for decades (stage and studio), it sounds awesome on guitar cabs, bass cabs... pretty much anywhere. Heck, they even sound incredible on ride cymbals and high hats. The usefulness of Sennheiser's design is awe inspiring.

A word of caution about the 441's 5 position filter, which I've seen a lot of people in the field tend to ignore; the first setting is pretty subtle, it'll cut off some sub-bass and rumble. However, when you get to the 2nd position or higher expect to see a fair amount of low end getting cut off (according to the frequency spec on the 441, position 2 starts around 400hz; 5 creeps up to 500hz). I wouldn't consider this the "best" implementation of a HP filter, but it works. With very few exceptions I've rarely gone past "2", and normally have it off or use the "1" setting. On the other hand, the brilliance switch can be very useful, especially for kick drums, toms and snares. It just adds to an already bright, present signal to often be exactly what you need. There have been many times that I've not needed any additional EQ added to the top end thanks to the 441.

The base sound of the 441 is cleaner than a lot of dynamic microphones. It still sounds like a dynamic, but with a touch more clarity across the entire frequency spectrum, and tons of presence and upper mids. This is a great mic to put on dark or dull sources. Although I've used the term "bright" a fair amount it does describe the MD441 fairly well--it may very well be the brightest dynamic microphone on the market.

My personal favorite application is kick drum, where the low end is well represented, the midrange remains unaccented and true (unlike a D112), and the slap/smack/click well defined. Because of its tight pattern and off-axis reject further boosting of the top end isn't a problem--cymbal/hat bleed has been minimized. Granted, the 441 doesn't really accent or add to the low end, so anticipate having to boost a little down there on almost all occasions. The 441 can work well with another, boomier mic, like a Yamaha Subkick, to great effect; it also compliments the U47FET very, very well.

Bottom line: the Sennheiser MD441 is a classic dynamic microphone: sounds great, easy to use, versatile, long lasting, and fairly unique. Every well-equipped mic locker should have 3-5 of these. They are just too friggin' useful to ignore. If I had to pick something to complain about I'd say its huge form factor can make it difficult to position at times (attention Sennheiser: shrink this design and sound into something smaller, please!). My personal favorite dynamic microphone of all time, the one I can't do without.

16th June 2013

Sennheiser MD 441 by LIsound

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

Buy this mic
If you don't own 1 or 2 of these, buy this mic!

Buy it NOW....

Snare
Floor tom
HORNS!
guitar
vocal

Dynamic mic
Always fit the bill....

Had a MD 421 out for the horn player from LITTLE BUSTER AND THE BROTHERS OF SOUL one night, he happened to bring another sax player with him, i didn't have another 421 available as i had used the rest on the toms and did't have time to re-mike the stage,,, so i went in my mic locker and had a pair of 441's in there that i was keeping minty... Busted the matching pair out for the 2 saxes who sat like melting butter in the mix all night....

Buy it now!
Get a pair,,,,

21st August 2013

Sennheiser MD 441 by jetam

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

This is the best dynamic microphone. Amen.
It is one of the best microphones for saxophone and works great on flute, clean guitar (on the cab), rhodes.
It's also good on kick drum, toms, snare, vocals, speech, brass and pretty much everything.

It sounds really natural, which is usually a good thing, but sometimes you might want something dirtier.
If I had to have only one mic which would have to be a dynamic one, it would be the MD441.

It's has a really high gain before feedback.
It takes EQ very well.

It's expensive, but I think that many hi-end condenser microphones are more overpriced from the engineering point of view.

It has a switchable treble boost and a five position bass roll-off switch. I haven't seen a dynamic mic with more features.

The old transparent clip was bad, but the new MZQ 441 is fine.

14th October 2013

Sennheiser MD 441 by Magenta_rules

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

The 441 is a great mic for many applications. I use it often on Snare, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Sax and it often works when nothing else works. The Price is a bit hiped bu you get a classic microphone which is really helpful on many sources. For me it is truely a Studio standard.

3rd November 2013

Sennheiser MD 441 by frans

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

.. don't forget to point the back of this mic to a drumset, a few feet away - it makes a very good room mic. The coloration off axis is - contrary to most other mics - friendly. The bottom line for every microphone is how does it hear the sounds around it, not only on axis. There are a few mics with good on axis sound, less with good off axis sound .. and now on top of it a narrow and defined polar pattern. I can't think of even 10 mics who do that. Not that every microphone needs to have all that, but when you use more than a handful mics together, this one will do a good job.

5th October 2014

Sennheiser MD 441 by root

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

My MD 441 (made in the 80's) needs upwards of a clean 50 to 65 dB to be as good as it can be. I find it to be so much smoother than my 3 Unidyne 57's when it comes to electric guitar. I've also gotten excellent results on 5 string resonator banjo, mouth harp, flute & recorder too. Can be used w/ hardly any bleed from other sources nearby.

5th October 2014

Sennheiser MD 441 by Sjoerd

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Sennheiser MD 441 dynamic mic

In the past I have used two 441 even for organ recordings. It was a great improvement compared to two 421's. Nowadays I use condensor mics.
But I still use 441's as spot mics in classical recordings sometimes. Special for cello and bass it works very well.

 
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