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Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

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Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:26 am

I have a Sennheiser e835 that works great with my voice for punk and blues, but I'm after something with just a bit more oomph for recordings.

I've discovered the MXL 440 in a pack with a shockmount for £89 (GAK) and an MXL 990 with shockmount for £79 (Amazon)

What benefits would either of these have over my dynamic e835? Would I be wasting my money? Which of the two MXLs would you recommend?

It's also worth noting that I've listened to YouTube videos of the 440 and it sounds fantastic. I only discovered the 990 today so haven't had a chance to look it up. There is an SOS review of the 990 which basically said it was good, but quite typical of its manufacture.
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:05 am

I've just received word from GAK that the MXL 440 pack has been discontinued!

So that brings me back to the MXL 990. Would you guys recommend it over the Sennheiser e835 for vocals?
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:59 am

Is your room well treated? I use SE-H1s (amongst others) for live vocals and they sound very nice. If I need separation when recording a guitar/vocalist in the studio I'll use an H1, close miked or if more separation is required a Beta 57 (with a fig 8 on the guitar to benefit from the null rejecting as much vocal as possible).
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:01 am

My room isn't treated at all. I'm not able to do that. Would you recommend the MXL 990 over my Sennheiser e835?
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:14 am

You would be much better to use a stage vocal mic then, if you want a more refined sound the SE-H1 is a very good choice at the price (around £100 street). You can work very close so minimise the amount of room sound that gets recorded. A LDC placed, typically, a foot or two away will pick up much more of your untreated room (unless you do some temp treatment with 'Reflexion Filter' type device and some duvets).

Did you read that SoS article by the travelling VO artists I linked to in another post? I'll try to find it again and link it on here.
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:16 am

So would you say in an untreated room there's no chance of using a condenser mic?

I guess I can stick with my Sennheiser then.

Why would an untreated room make a difference? Sorry for the stupid question!
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:37 am

It's worth noting, I have two rooms I record in. One is my studio, and is very sparse with furniture so it's a bit echo-y.

The other is my living room and is filled with furniture etc. This has absolutely no reflections audible. I usually record my vocals in the living room and in a past recording it didn't have any ambience or reflection whatsoever.

Would I be able to use the MXL 990 in the living room as a compromise?

I really badly want a condenser!
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:44 am

Thinking about it, I'm pretty confident I could use a condenser in my living room.

What say ye, good people of SOS?

(Sorry to spam)
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby blinddrew » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:34 pm

Record in the living room, with a few hung duvets and you should be fine with the condenser.
*** Warning! Broad generalisations follow! ***
In terms of why Sam is recommending the dynamic for the untreated room, it's primarily down to how you use the mic. LDCs are designed to be used at a bit of a distance from the mouth 6-12" or so (adjust to taste!) which means that they will inevitably pick up reflected signal as well as the direct signal. Dynamics are designed to be used close to the mouth so the ratio of direct to reflected sound is much higher. Hence room treatment is less essential.


(Hmmm, can something be more or less 'essential'? Or is it either essential or not? Discuss.)
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:37 pm

Thanks Drew!

I found this gem: https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advi ... ing-vocals

So as well as duvets in the living room, I can use my two mattresses in the studio as well? And then also use duvets for extra security?
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby ore_terra » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:36 pm

you can use matresses, duvets, towels, the dog, the cat... just make sure you got enough room left to get in :D :D

I do the duvets thing as well for vocals, but my studio is not too bad so I only use them behind the singer and after the mic as well. not on the sides.

regarding mics, my Audix OM6 got me impressed about how good it is isolating: we recently moved to another practice room that is still untreated and sounds like a bathroom. I normally record rehearsals with a multitrack recorder and 1st practice I thought I would get nothing "usable" that night. I swapped mics from song to song, just to try (SM58, beyer M88 and the OM6), and the results are really impressive.

plus the overall sound of it, the low proximity effect... I'm in love with that mic.
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:01 pm

OK! I've had a long chat with someone who has built acoustic treatment before as part of his job (he works in the construction/handyman industry).

I've given him all the relevant details and he assures me a simple mattress behind me in the studio will be sufficient.

I know I can trust his word as he's done this before! :thumbup:

I may also get some kind of shield for behind the mic!
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:03 pm

Also I may have been over the top about how echo-y the studio is. My bassist bandmate has assured me has never noticed any echo
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:28 pm

garrettendi wrote:Also I may have been over the top about how echo-y the studio is. My bassist bandmate has assured me has never noticed any echo

Casual users won't notice - it is only when you get a really experienced recording engineer or acoustician in the room that you'll find out how good it is. Acoustic treatment is absolutely essential and I'm not sure that you're getting good advice from your friends at the moment.

One thing you could try is to sing into your existing mic from 30-50cm away, after increasing the preamp gain and listen to the acoustics. Large diaphragm mics tend to pick up even more of the room than small diaphragm mics (although this is a very sweeping generalisation) but trying your mic at a distance will give you some clues as to how the room really sounds.
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:30 pm

The SE-H1 is a capacitor mic, it is based on a slightly modified SE2A SDC pencil mic with a slightly lower sensitivity, two additional pop shield elements and silicone rubber damped suspension. It is a cardioid so does not reject as well as a super/hyper cardioid like the Audix OM6/7 and the Beta57/58 but because it is designed for close miking it rejects room noise much better than an LDC (which are all either cardioid or switchable with cardioid, omni and fig 8 patterns).

If you really want an LDC then try recording your voice with the Sennheiser 30-60cm away (it won't sound it's best like that and will probably need a lot of gain) and see how much room noise is evident. If you were using the Sennheiser up close in your previous recordings that will eliminate a great deal of room ambience which would explain why you weren't hearing any in the recordings?

edit, great minds (well your's at least JP).....
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:31 pm

James Perrett wrote:and I'm not sure that you're getting good advice from your friends at the moment.

Are you referring to the mattress advice?
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:37 pm

Come on now, you're spoken for, no 'mattress talk'........
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:39 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Come on now, you're spoken for, no 'mattress talk'........

I know. I'm sorry. Please don't tell my fiancee! :o
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby garrettendi » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:42 pm

I'll be moving home shortly after getting married this year, so proper acoustic treatment is going to be out the question :thumbdown:

Plus there's the expense and the fact my fiancee will want things to be as open as possible decoration wise.

So does the mattress idea not hold any merit?

(Ssssshhhhh let's have our mattress moment! :shh: )
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Re: Sennheiser e835 versus MXL condensers

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:49 pm

Yes, mattresses, duvets etc work fine as improvised acoustic treatment.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-voiceover-on-road
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