Sennheiser e604 Tom And Snare Drum Mic Review

 

My first experience with the Sennheiser e604 was pretty much by accident. A friend of mine was looking to record an entire drum kit and needed some suggestions on a set of mics for the toms and snare that wouldn’t go beyond his $400 budget. At that price point, my first thought was three Shure SM57s -- a low priced mic that is known for being a great bang-for-your-buck piece of gear (and often used to record toms and snares). Once we were at the shop, we noticed a set of three Sennheiser e604s sold specifically as tom and snare mics. At around $350, the price was definitely right so he decided to take the plunge. A few years later, I decided to take a closer look at the mic for myself. Read on for my review of the Sennheiser e604.

The Features Of The e604

At its core, the e604 is dynamic microphone built for toms and snares, boasting a pretty good frequency response range of 40Hz-18kHz and an output impedance of 350 ohms. The tight cardioid polar pattern helps it capture the direct sound source of your instrument with very minimal (if any) bleeding from surrounding sounds. If that reads like jibberish to you, not to worry -- just know that it will definitely get the job done when it comes to recording or amplifying your kit. While the e604 was built with toms and snares in mind, its actually known for being a pretty versatile piece of gear, able to handle wind instruments, guitar/ bass amps and more.

As far as build goes, this baby is as rugged as it gets, not to mention amazingly small (so small, in fact, that it actually fits in the palm of my hand). The glass-composite housing is made to take a beating, whether it's from the occasional drop on the floor or an accidental hit from a stick. In fact, my buddy is still using his original set 5 years on and aside from a few scratches and dings, they work as good as the day he bought them. Unless you go submerging it in water for hours on end or run it over repeatedly, a Sennheiser e604 mic should easily last you years.

Each e604 mic also includes an attachable mic clip, allowing you to directly mount it on the rim of the drum head. The clip itself allows for a good amount of movement, letting you position your mic at just the right angle or distance between it and the drum.

e604_2Sennheiser e604 Dynamic Tom And Snare Mic @ $139.95 / Three-Pack Available @ $ 349.95

The frequency response and cardioid pick-up pattern are optimized for drum sets and other percussion instrument miking, while also producing exceptional results on all forms of brass and woodwind. An integral stand mount screws directly onto mic stands and included clip attaches the mic to the rim of the drum. Very high sound pressure level handling, in excess of 160 dB, is combined with a balanced, clear, low distortion signal similar to a high-end studio condenser microphone. Lightweight voice coil provides extended high frequency and rapid transient response. A tough reinforced glass fiber body takes the knocks and shocks and suppresses impact noise.

 

The Sound Of The e604

When it comes to recording drums one of the trickiest parts is dealing with the toms. More specifically, it's getting them to sound nice and full while remaining clear and "professional," for lack of a better word. With the e604, I was easily able to get them sounding crystal clear, not to mention with plenty of headroom left over. In fact, one of the strongest aspects of the e604 is just how well it handles hard percussive sounds. Sure, that essentially what drum mics are supposed to do well but the e604 does it in such a way that it captures many of the little nuances and intricacies of your toms while remaining nice and deep with virtually little to no feedback or distortion.

When placed at just the right distance and angle from the toms, you can get a very full yet balanced sound, that "just right" spot that allows it to mix perfectly with the rest of the kit without being too overbearing or risk getting drowned out. If you prefer your toms with a bit more airiness, you can easily get that too (just play around with the distance).

As for the snare, the results were just as impressive. I was easily able to get everything from a high attack sound with plenty of snap to a smoother, more subdued response that still meshed nicely with the rest of the kit. Compared to an SM57, the sound was much crisper and detailed, giving it a more natural feel.

When it comes to any mic, there's no "one size fits all" as each has their own character and handle sound sources differently. The same is true for the e604. While it might not be the right fit for every sound or situation, it certainly has enough versatility packed into it that most drummers will find plenty of usable sounds from this little mic. Whether you're into rock, blues, punk, reggae, metal or country, you'll find a lot of use for the e604, even if it's not your main drum and tom mic.

Final Thoughts ...

If you're in search of a great tom and snare mic, I can't recommend the Sennheiser e604 enough. Combining great tonal response, a tough as nails build, surprising versatility and a price point that is hard to beat, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better mic for the money (and that's not even taking into consideration the savings on buying the three-pack set). Whether you're a long time fan of the tried and true SM57 or are in search of your first drum mic, you owe it to yourself and your sound to take a good look at the Sennheiser e604. You won't regret it!

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