e 600/800: Within everyone’s budget – above the norm

At the end of the 1990s, the evolution series changed Sennheiser at all levels – from development through to sales and distribution. Whereas hitherto the German brand had been known for its – rather high-cost – broadcast and studio solutions, the engineers were now also developing microphones for live stages. How does one combine high standards, one’s own experience and the possibilities offered by automated production? The answer to this was demonstrated from 1998 onwards by the e 600-series instrument microphones and the vocal /speech microphones from the e 800 series. As a result, legendary but previously expensive prototypes from the MD series suddenly also became available at prices which – finally – was within the budget of a much wider group of the population. Here, “evolution” was not simply a name but a philosophy. Models whose performance people were not satisfied with were overhauled within a short space of time and reissued. Shortly afterwards the e 900 series arrived to crown the evolution range; these products provided workflow, sound and a robustness which also satisfied the very exacting demands of live performances.

The way in which the e 604 is arranged around toms and snares already makes a crucial contribution to the sound quality.

Properly miking one’s drum set has never been more affordable – the three-piece set of e 604s for drums is a more than solid start for a good drum recording. Three tips for the first setup on toms and snares:

1. Where does the microphone go?

A good question. Using the handy clip, the microphone is attached directly to the edge of the drum. In purely acoustic terms there is hardly any position which would be more or less suitable. Many of the positions in the lower semicircle (from the perspective of the drummer) are ruled out because the mic would simply be in the way of the sticks. Precisely where you place the mic depends on the set-up of your drum kit. Ensure that you can take a relaxed position while playing and that the cymbals cannot bump against connectors.

2. Don’t keep your head down!

The microphone head at the drum edge should not be oriented vertically at a 90 degree angle to the skin. In this position the mic doesn’t hear the impact but emphasizes the “singing” of the skin. In most applications, that is not the desired sound. To be able to record the “attack” sound well, align the microphone half way between the center and the edge (half of the radius). Here you will generally find a good compromise between “singing”, lingering sound and impact. If any doubt, of course, try it out and make a decision according to the style and the music.

3. Keep it nice and low

The natural enemy of the tom is the cymbal above it – and the natural enemy of the snare is the hi-hat. Only from the point of view of miking, of course. The issue is the phenomenon of bleeding, that is to say undesirable components from neighboring sound waves. For this reason it is recommended that the e 604, on the holder device, be brought down as near to the skin as necessary rather than leaving it in the highest standard position. In this way, the ratio shifts to the benefit of the tom and the snare.