The Sennheiser e906 is an affordable, supercardioid dynamic microphone tracing its ancestry back to the well-regarded, and now pricey, MD409. While it might not match its predecessor on every aspect, it comes with very useful added features and plenty of sonic potential – not to mention a much slimmer price tag. Other Sennheiser mics aside, the e906 has plenty of competition among the crowded instrument mic market. Today, we're taking a closer look at the e906 to see just how much value and quality Sennheiser managed to pack in this little mic.
The first thing that comes to mind when taking a look at the e906 is definitely its irregular shape and miniature size. While it might seem a bit odd at first, this design makes it well-suited for recordings that require mics positioned in tight or cramped spots (for example, when recording toms). It also has a good weight to it and feels pretty tough, two good signs of quality mic construction.
The e906 boasts an ultra-tight supercardioid polar pattern that works great for eliminating bleed, although the drawback to this is that it makes the mic particularly sensitive to small movements. In order to negate this problem, make sure you listen to the mic after any change in placement because even minor movements can result in a noticeable difference to the sound capture. Other than that, the e906 is fairly easy to use. But by far, the most useful feature on the e906 is its three position switch. With this setting, you can affect the mics overall presence – either cut, boosted or left neutral. The e906 also handles transients and SPL without difficulty.
The e906 was specifically built as a versatile instrument microphone that works well with a number of sound sources, but it does shine best with some more than others. On guitar speakers, for example, the e906 produces amazing results. The natural tone comes through clearly without a hint of distortion or artifacts. Placing the mic in order to find a balanced source that was also a breeze. Overall, the e906 gives off a sound that is very lively and full. And with the three-position EQ control, you can easily brighten or darken the tone in a very noticeable way. It's almost like having three different mics in one. It's not just useful for recording situations either. When used live or when a full band is playing along, the e906 is easily able to isolate the guitar speaker source without any added sound.
But as great as it works as a guitar speaker mic, it's more impressive when used on a drum kit, particularly with the snare and toms. Due to their narrow pattern, good off-axis rejection, crisp and snappy sound, the e906 excels in this capacity, especially with the presence boost switched on. Not to mention its small size and ability to get very close to the drums (and out of the way of errant drummer hits) makes this mic an ideal choice. The e906 is useful both on top and bottom of toms and provides a creative and cost-effective way to double mic them (which in a home studio is a total luxury). Another place this mic sound great at is the bottom snare, where their rejection, brightness, size and tone are well-suited.
For the curious, the mic is unsurprisingly bad for vocals. The very tight polar pattern is completely unforgiving for vocalists that move more than a few inches and the sound itself comes off as a bit throaty and shrill. Long story short, it's classified as an instrument mic for very good reasons.
While the e906 is not perfect, it is easily one of the best in its field with many more positive aspects than drawbacks. Aside from its sensitivity to movement, the e906 is a great instrument mic that is very easy to use and can sound downright amazing when paired with the right sound sources. For the money, you might even want to add two or three of these to your mic locker as they are that useful. You won't regret it.
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