e 900: evolution reaches a peak

2004 saw the start of the first field tests of what was then the new ‘evolution 900’ family. This time, the developers at Sennheiser did not rely merely on measurement results and experience in electro­acoustics but also on “golden ears”: in numerous field tests, the series’ sound was adapted for professional stage use. With 3 vocal and 6 instrument microphones, the premium series covers a substantial proportion of common live applications.

The practical e 906 transmits the sound of your guitar amp in an authentic, direct manner – and can adjust flexibly to your style. Find out how it works here.

If you take a look at the ratings for the e 906 in online stores and forums, you immediately notice the numerous good ratings. But why is it actually so popular? “The e 906 incorporates all our decades of experience with guitar microphones”, explains portfolio manager Sebastian Schmitz and continues with a smile: “We’ve developed a few decent models in the past.” One of these “decent” guitar microphones is the MD 409, which still enjoys legendary status among sound engineers and is not infrequently referred to as ‘the best guitar microphone that there is’. Its ability to capture warm, dreamy guitars and pithy metal riffs equally well was also the aim when developing the e 906. And naturally also the easy handling – thanks to its shape (its nickname being “guitar briquette”) the MD 409 could be simply hung on its cable in front of the speakers. A blessing when it comes to set-up and on small stages.

A harmonious family

The Sennheiser engineers were already trying to meet these demands when developing the e 609 silver; however with the e 906 there was a further requirement. It needed to blend in harmoniously with the new 900 microphone series. This required particularly fine tuning, because: “We designed the 900er series as a family. Every special microphone ought to deliver an outstanding sound in the band mix even without EQ. This means that they need to not only reproduce their respective instrument well, but also fit perfectly into the overall context,” explains Schmitz. To achieve this, the e 906 was rigorously measured under live conditions and carefully adjusted. In field tests it was then possible for sound engineers to try out and evaluate the new e 906.

"The microphone – without using an equalizer in the mixing desk – reproduced the precise nature of the amplifier sound (Fender Twin) via the PA. This was felt to be ideal by all sound engineers present. The switch for equalization on the microphone was in the central position."

"The e 906 was tested on guitar amplifiers (Fender Bassman). The amplifiers stood on the stage floor and for this reason were set to a sound very rich in higher frequencies. For this situation, the “bright” position was perceived as being very agreeable. In the “moderate” position, the sound of the amp was transmitted very neutrally."

"The feedback from the field tests was consistently positive. This confirmed our impression that, with the e 906, we are filling the shoes of the MD 409."

Copes with every style

It quickly became clear during development, however, that for the e 906 to capture various styles of music, a huge amount of flexibility was required. To satisfy these requirements, the guitar microphone was given a three-stage switch for the sound characteristics. In the first stage, the presence range is lowered, which supports warm and soft sounds as for example in jazz or blues music. In the “moderate” position, the presence is not changed, it is ideally suited to classic rock. The third stage elevates the presence range and thereby gives aggressive and energetically played, distorted metal guitars the right sound.

Traditionally practical

Few changes, however, were made to the popular, rectangular form: “Lots of users have said to us about the MD 409: ‘The thing is immensely practical. Simply hang it in front of a speaker – and you’re ready to go. Please keep it like that!’ This is why, when designing the e 906, we haven’t tried any new tricks. There are some properties of microphones which quite simply can’t be improved upon.” explains Sebastian Schmitz.

And so the legendary MD 409 has found a worthy successor in the e 906 – which also explains the countless positive ratings by users.