Sennheiser’s latest stage mic puts one of the company’s premium wireless capsules into a conventional wired mic format. We put it to the test.
Sennheiser’s MD 435 is a dynamic, cardioid‑pattern microphone, tailored for live performance. It essentially takes the company’s MD 9235 cardioid pattern capsule — a popular choice for wireless systems at the pro end of the live sound and broadcast markets — and builds it into a conventional wired microphone, featuring a distinctive Sennheiser outline and a satin‑black finish.
With the aim of delivering better transparency and clarity than typical stage vocal mics, Sennheiser build their MD 9235 capsule using a lightweight aluminium‑copper voice coil to reduce the inertia of the diaphragm assembly, and thus extend its high‑frequency response. A spring capsule‑mounting system is used to minimise handling noise, and there’s also a hum compensation coil to help cancel out any electromagnetic interference. The capsule’s forgiving cardioid pickup pattern allows users to work at varying distances and angles from the microphone without drastic tonal changes, while still providing adequate feedback protection.
The mic comes with a stand clip and a soft, zip‑up pouch. You also get five spare pop‑reducing foam inserts for the basket, which is a nice touch as you can wash them out in sanitising fluid or even mouthwash to make them reusable. The basket unscrews in the usual way, so changing the foam inserts is very easy and takes only moments.
In comparison with some of my other very reputable live mics, the MD 435 managed to sound that bit more organic and well‑balanced, with open‑sounding but smooth highs — very classy indeed.
With a maximum SPL handling of 163dB, you’d probably need to shoot this mic to upset it! The mic has a sensitivity of 1.8mV/Pa, and is specified with a 40Hz to 20kHz frequency response. Those figures don’t come with a ‑dB qualification, but a look at the mic’s response graph shows it to be around 3dB down at 100Hz, with a broad peak around 6kHz before rolling off above 16kHz or so, which is impressively extended for a dynamic microphone. Its equivalent noise level is specified at 17dB A‑weighted, and its dynamic range at 146dB A‑weighted. The mic has the usual balanced XLR connection at the base, measures an overall 47.5 x 181 mm, and weighs 350g, making it comfortable for handheld use.
My tests confirmed that the MD 435 is a very polished‑sounding microphone, and very much worthy of the professional market at which it’s aimed. While not totally immune to popping, performers who have mastered basic mic techniques should have no problems, especially if a little low‑cut filtering is used on the desk. There is some level change as you move the mic around or drift off‑axis but this is easily controlled and is certainly as good or better than most competing microphones.
Tonally the mic has a very full, almost warm sound, balanced by clear transients, and while it is hard to put your finger on exactly what you are hearing, in comparison with some of my other very reputable live mics, the MD 435 managed to sound that bit more organic and well‑balanced, with open‑sounding but smooth highs — very classy indeed. A lovely microphone that should suit a wide range of voices. Given the long lifespan of dynamic microphones, it still represents good value even with its premium price tag.
A classy microphone with a balanced and neutral sound. It’s not cheap but it’ll last, and would be well worth considering if you’re looking for a step up in quality compared with the usual suspects.