Few microphones that would have been available to the Beatles or Bruno Walter or Patsy Cline are still around. Those that are, tend to be legendary — several of the Neumann U and M lines are still made and various Telefunken knock-offs abound. But many 50-year old microphone models are part of the trash heap of audio history.
One survivor is the Sennheiser MD 421. Its “sleek” “razor” design is easily recognizable and belongs to an era that was infused with “technology.” The dynamic large diaphragm cardioid microphone has done tours for decades and at the same time kept a home in studios due to its loving handling of sounds such as guitar cabinets, Leslie cabinets and drums. Any studio worth its salt has at least one MD 421 in the mic cabinet. Deep-throated vocalists and broadcasters have also made the 421 their mic of choice for decades.
Sennheiser has known what they had and have tinkered and updated the microphone over the years, especially when technology made changes possible. The latest MD 421 II keeps the good features while making the mic more serviceable, durable and reliable, the company says.
The MD 421 II has a five-position bass roll-off and the 421’s not-too-high, not-too-low frequency response of 30 Hz – 17 kHz.