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Sennheiser 409/609/906 audio clips
Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

Sennheiser 409/609/906 audio clips

Here are some simple audio bites to audition the sonic differences between the original Sennheiser MD409 and the recent variations: 609 Silver, 609 Black, and the e906.

Just a simple guitar riff A chord. Not a highly scientific analysis. Just some quick test clips I cut last year to quickly hear the differences.

Recording chain would be:

Fender Strat >Tech21 Trademark 10 amp( EQ set to flat position) > Mic > Great River NV - UA2192 - Samplitude V8.

Each clip is only a couple of seconds long, but you can hear the differences pretty easily. Hopefully this will help out with some of the folks who ask about comparisons of these mics.

The e906 has a 3 position switch with settings for top shelf boost, flat, and top rolloff. Apparently to better emulate the various models all in one mic.
Attached Files

409.mp3 (44.9 KB, 37254 views)

609 SILVER.mp3 (43.3 KB, 31585 views)

609 BLACK.mp3 (42.9 KB, 28830 views)

906 FLAT.mp3 (43.3 KB, 34581 views)

906 BOOST.mp3 (44.1 KB, 29529 views)

Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

last one:
Attached Files

906 ROLLOFF.mp3 (47.3 KB, 23263 views)

Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear

i'll have to give these a listen when i get home
Old 4th May 2006
Gear Addict
frontierfran's Avatar


thanks Kyle! these are great!
Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear
Jeff16years's Avatar

hey thanks a lot!! I've been wondering about the 906 compared to my 609 silver.
How confident are you in the mic placement being the same?

By the sounds of whats here I think i like the 609 silver.
Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

mic placement was pretty much the same. i had the stand locked in place and just pulled the mic out of the clip to switch 'em out.

i prefer the 409 the best for its smooth midrange and depth. the 609 was too fizzy in the high end for my tastes.

the main revelation was that the 609 was really NOTHING like the original mic.
Old 4th May 2006
Gear Maniac
Chunky Karma's Avatar

To me the 906(boost) sounded similar to the 609 silver. The 906 (rolloff) sounded similar to the 609 black. The 906 flat was the closest to the 409 but I still preferred the 409. Thanks for posting those.
Old 4th May 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

Originally Posted by Chunky Karma
To me the 906(boost) sounded similar to the 609 silver. The 906 (rolloff) sounded similar to the 609 black. The 906 flat was the closest to the 409 but I still preferred the 409. Thanks for posting those.
I think that's the idea Sennheiser was shooting for with the e906 but their description and marketing of the 906 was somewhat vague. With several versions of the seemingly same mic, things were getting confusing.
Old 4th May 2006
Gear Addict
frontierfran's Avatar

i like the 906. it had nice clarity and detail in the boost, and the flat was nice too with a dash of scoop, but not as "dulled"hi-cut as the 609 black.
id love to hear these against the MD421 just for kicks.
Old 5th May 2006
Lives for gear
theblotted's Avatar

i prefer the 906 also.

sure, 409 is smooth.. but almost dated. maybe i'm high.

i own the 609 silver. now i know what i'm missing out on.

thanks for the clips.
Old 10th May 2006
Lives for gear

i finally got around to listening
the 609 silver sounds ****ing awful, the black is even kind of bad. i guess since i can't afford a 409 my next guitar mic will be a 906...
it'll be good for live recordings. just drape it over the top of the cab!
Old 24th May 2006
Gear Maniac
corworld's Avatar

Thanks a lot for this comparison. I see 409's going for $400 on ebay and I now know why. I do agree that the 906 (flat) is the closest. The 409 sounds like you tracked to 2" analog. It sounds so warm. To bad there is no way to get a EQ setting to make the 906 sound more like this. The 906 does have a very usable sound. As for the 609, I'll stick to my 57.
Old 24th May 2006
Gear Addict

Thanks for these.

I would have liked to hear the same rhythm played on the guitar. Would have made it more 'objective'.

Good job though. rock on
Old 24th May 2006
Gear Addict
WEAPON_X's Avatar

anybody ever compared an audix i-5 to the sennheiser 609/906 ? any comments especially on the i-5 vs 906?
thanks !
Old 24th May 2006
Lives for gear
nukmusic's Avatar

Kyle, have you tried the 906 on toms?
Old 24th May 2006

I never realized just how hyped (not bad, but hyped) the midrange is on the 409.

For live use, I guess a parametric EQ could make the 906 sound like the 409, but for recording, I don't know how well it would translate.

Of course, placement is still going to be almost as important as which mic in this series, so for $100 the 609 silver would probably do fine....


Old 24th May 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

Originally Posted by nukmusic
Kyle, have you tried the 906 on toms?
no but I've used the 409s both live and in the studio with great results. I would think the 906 should work pretty well.

i was actually turned on to the 409s by a drummer who used them on his toms for live gigs. he had an unused one on a gig once, and I stuck it on my guitar rig and never looked back. he wouldn't sell me one so i ended up finding my first 409 in NYC and paying $450 several years ago.
Old 24th May 2006
Gear Head

I'm liking the 906 flat. I have 2 609 blacks. I knew they were dark ,but wow.

Great post Kyle, thanks!
Old 25th May 2006
Lives for gear
adamcal's Avatar

for me:

609 black is too dark

409 is OK but needs a bit more highs

609 sliver is OK but needs a little less highs

and the 906 can be made to sound pretty similar the older ones, so is the most versatile choice.

the 906 in Flat position with a little mid poke would be more like the 409

PS, I use 609 silvers on toms sometimes and quite like them.

also remember the 409 was a $400 mic, the 609 a $89 mic.
Old 25th May 2006
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De chromium cob's Avatar

I have a 409 and have been wondering about the 906.....Now I'll have to pick a couple... Thanks- good post.
Old 16th June 2006
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ben_allison's Avatar
Thanks for the clips.

Real big differences!

Here's what I came away with:

409 - very scooped. Sounds like it's been eq'd

609 black - so wolly and dark -- no detail or any high freq. to speak of

609 silver - a bit better, but man those highs are spitty and spluttery -- almost sounds like there's some clipping

906 - my fave...kind of like the pluses of 609s and the 409, but without the minuses. I liked it best with the boost engaged. Good cut to it, but less weird phasey anomalies throughout the mids and lows of the spectrum.

Thanks greatly!

Kyle, which mic capture the amp better for you? You were in the room with it...what tells a better story?
Old 19th June 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar


if you're asking which mic most accurately captured the sound of the amp, that would probably be the 906. The 609 was too fizzy and cheap sounding and the Black model was too wooly. I don't hear the 409 as scooped though. It has more midrange depth and smoothness than the others. All in all, it sounds like a more expensive mic, but then, IT IS! It also smooths out edges in gtr speakers, and is really great for taming things like a screechy Marshall/Celestion combo, but it's not a 100% accurate representation of the sound coming out.

My main reason in shooting out these mics was to find a suitable replacement for the 409 in miking my guitar rig when I play live shows. After a couple of scary occasions where it went missing (usually packed in another band members bag by a stage tech), I decided to retire it to the safety of my studio. I chose to keep the 906. It stays in my live bag, while the 409 is what I use for various recordings.
Old 24th June 2006
Gear Nut
ARude's Avatar

...Uh, I have a 609 [black] that I use all the time on guitar cabs. Mostly I record more traditional blues, R&B, Roots Rock, etc. But my 609 doesn't sound ANYTHING like your posted sample. I think there may be something wrong with that mic. Mine sounds warm and punchy. Every guitarist that I've recorded LOVE's it. I usually hang it through the handle on a combo amp aimed right at the junction of the dust cover and the cone.
Old 25th June 2006
Lives for gear
Kyle Ashley's Avatar

Hi Al,

are you saying your 609 black sounds nothing like the 609 black sample i posted? i had 3 609 silvers to play with and 2 of the black models. they were all very consistent. i had no trouble with the black model sounding warm and punchy. it was warm to the point of being murky.
Old 26th June 2006
Gear Nut
ARude's Avatar

My 609 doesn’t sound murky, it sounds flat and before I get accused of flaming I thought your samples were very useful. I been considering adding a 906 to my mic case any your samples made me decide to write the check.

I like flat. If I want a presence peak, I’ll put it there and I can pick where and how much. Same goes for roll-offs and other EQ. I like linear transducers.

It occurs to me that it might not be the mic itself but the preamp. All dynamic microphones are sensitive to loading by the preamp. They are all after all, a transducer with specific impedance loading requirements. Dynamic mics sound differently [to my ear] on transformer coupled inputs vs. transformer-less inputs. For that matter I hear subtle to gross effects from different brands of input transformers. I typically use my 609 on transformer-less preamps.

Blue has addressed the loading problem by placing a preamp in the “Ball” mics. The jury is still out on how effective this solution is. I think that part of the charm of dynamic element mics is its variable tonal “colors” into various preamps. Differences make horse races and good recordings.

I find the “ultimate combination” assertion humorous, ears are WAY too subjective. Shelly Yakus had an SM 57 that he carried around for snare drum recording. It was defective in a way that sounded good to Shelly…

And BTW: Dynamic mic elements and speakers [similar technology] DO wear out. Mylar gets brittle, rubber surrounds degrade, etc.

What puzzles me more, with the resurgence of ribbon mics that are notorious for their impedance sensitivity and high-gain preamp requirements, why more manufacturers [other than Royer] haven’t thought of putting preamps in their ribbons… hummm…
Old 23rd September 2006
Gear Head
ampguy's Avatar


is the 609 black really that dark?

I liked the 906 a lot.
Old 14th October 2006
Lives for gear

We had a 609 Silver and an original 409 (the same EXACT 409 used for the vocals on "Balls to the Wall" cool eh?) on our little mic shootout yesterday, and the 409 sounded much better, smoother. I'm going to get a 906 or two.
Old 10th November 2006
Lives for gear
taturana's Avatar
i actually liked the fizziness on 609 silver.... i can see how it could be used with another mic (s?) to make a great sound... i know these are mp3 files, but i liked the 609 silver best, the 409 and the 906boost ... the others were too dark...
Old 10th November 2006
Lives for gear

Cool thread. Thanks Kyle!

I too liked the 906 best. I thought the 409 sounded notched in eq and a bit dull. Maybe it works better in a mix, but it's not so hot on it's own in this example.
Old 11th November 2006
Gear Maniac

With the exception of Kyle, who was there, we can't tell which mic sounds the most like the amp, because we don't have a point of reference. Having said that, I think the 409 sounds totally rawk with its midrange goodness. Thanks for posting these!

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