Gearank – Music Gear Information for Live Performance or Studio

Sennheiser MD 421-II Dynamic Cardioid Microphone

93
GEARANK
93 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.
$399.95
Sennheiser

Gearank Recommended

The MD 421-II appeared on our recommended list for Vocal Studio Mics from April 2021 until July 2022 when it was out-ranked by the Lewitt LCT 440 Pure, Shure SM7B and Electro-Voice RE20.

It also appears on our list for Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar which it has done since April 2021.

Overview

The Sennheiser MD421 II is a dynamic mic that’s designed to handle really loud sound sources, so much so that the they don’t even list the max SPL of the mic. They just mentioned that 160dB may cause some issues, but it’s a sound level that’s very hard to find in real world situations.

With its high SPL handling and its five position bass roll-off switch, this mic can capture any sound source, from loud snare, to guitar and bass amps – used by pros like Kurt Cobain, Elton John, Owl City and many more. Interestingly, this mic also works really well with vocals, specifically for rap, scream, shout and other loud vocal styles.

If you are planning on recording vocals mostly for rock music and similar musical styles, or if you’re looking for a versatile high SPL dynamic mic for recording, then get the Sennheiser MD421.

From ” The Best Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar – Small & Large Diaphragm”

Although designed with loud sound sources in mind, the Sennheiser MD 421-II’s large capsule (for a dynamic mic) enables it to capture nuances better than most dynamic mics. While the SM57 dynamic mic emphasizes percussiveness, the MD 421-II has a richer and smoother sound which brings out the bass strings more on acoustic guitars.

The MD 421-II works well with playing styles involving a lot of low string plucks. The mic adds girth to to larger bodied acoustics and fattens up smaller, thinner sounding instruments.

Rhythmic techniques like body taps are also accentuated, making a convincing kickdrum-like thump to these styles.

Something I rather dislike is the MD 421-II’s mic clip design. There are third party accessories that address this but do note that any modifications done to the mic will void the warranty.

For rhythmic guitar playing as popularized by players like Andy McKee, the MD 421-II is sure to add some thump to your performances. The mic’s frequency response also adds body to smaller acoustic guitars.

Pros

  • Captures low notes of acoustic guitar with richness and smoothness
  • Large diaphragm captures nuances better than other dynamic mics
  • Excellent for rhythm guitar

Cons

  • Poorly designed mic clip

Rating Source Highlights

WebsiteSource*Rating Value
GearspaceOnan85/100
Audiofanzinestompboxjon80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm’s adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Sennheiser MD 421-II Frequency Response chart:

Sennheiser MD 421-IIfrequency response chart

Specifications

  • Type: Dynamic
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 30 to 17,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Maximum SPL: 160 dB
  • Five position bass roll-off switch
  • Power Requirements: None