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.
Okay. So it’s in front of you, the e 845, still with its brand new smell. Maybe it is your first stage microphone. Or the first one that doesn’t just sound just like an average beginners microphone. Some tips for a good partnership:
Not all speech microphones are the same. Depending on the directional characteristic and transducer principle, every design and every principle has its peculiarities.
1. Don’t. Cover. The. Basket.
It is not cool. It doesn’t make anything better, it makes lots of things worse. The e 845 doesn’t just have a top inlet, but a bottom one too. It is the fine ring that you see when you unscrew the basket. We have designed it in such a way that it is well protected against moisture. A hand on the microphone covers this bottom outlet. It shifts the acoustic properties and increases the likelihood of feedback. Don’t do it.
2. Close up
The favorite thing that sound engineers say to newbies on the stage? “It won’t bite.” What do they mean by that? Put your lips as close as possible to the basket. In this way, the microphone can capture the whole volume of your voice. Through the proximity effect, you thereby also achieve more substance in the lower ranges. The e 845 is, incidentally, very generous and is tolerant of a variety of distances. The microphones of the 900 series respond considerably more sensitively to users speaking into the microphone correctly. And that correct technique always, always, always, starts close to the basket.
3. Don’t point it at me
The e 845 has a supercardioid pick-up pattern and thereby focuses primarily on the area in front of the microphone. Take care what you point the microphone at on the stage. While you are dancing on the stage, you only need to shimmy over to your monitor wedges and everyone in the room will soon be enjoying some excellent feedback. To the floor, good: Up to the sky: super. At your face: rarely wrong.
4. The switch
The on/off switch on the e 845-S is completely silent in operation. In our opinion, it is the most copied microphone switch in the world. That might have nothing whatsoever to do with know-how, but we just wanted to tell you, because we’re a bit proud of the fact.
The old stars like Frank Sinatra had “microphone technique”: they knew exactly how you should move in front of a particular microphone or what distances were right with which songs and when. Practice. Train yourself in the use of your microphone whenever you can. Take ownership of the distance, ensure good monitoring and get used to the possibilities available to you – so that your focus on the stage is not on technique but on heart and soul. Best of luck!