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Paging Unca Toad ... How's The MD409?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by MT Spaces, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. How's that Sennheiser MD409 working out for you? Are you still using it? I'm thinking about getting a Model e609 Silver ... looks like it is an updated MD 409 like you showed in a past thread. The 609 looks to be reasonably priced at about $110, fairly light / skinny / small, decent freq range, supercardioid dynamic, and (what I'm most attracted by) front-address with a big "FRONT" label on the working side (for dummies like me :p ). Here's a PDF for those of you that don't know about the mic: http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pdf/spec/276668.pdf

    Background ..... I got tired of futzing with cable ties, shock cord, asparagus rubber bands ;) , etc. trying to securely angle my Shure Beta 58A (5 bucks at Salvation Army :D ) up thru the string afterlengths and hang the working end between the bridge feet. The whole "wrap the Shure in a towel and stuff it behind the tailpiece" thing wasn't cutting it for me. And I don't want to spend a small fortune on H-Clamp type of devices and real spendy mics. I don't think having protruding clamps, mics, cords, etc. would work very well for me since:
    1) I like to move around a lot in close quarters with the other musicians when I play.
    2) I'm pretty rough on equipment and like things to be tucked in as much as possible.
    3) I lay my bass down on its side during breaks or a cappella numbers.
    4) I need to be able to quickly and easily shift sound gear to my other bass when needed.

    I came up with some super-cushy foam pipe insulation from work to get the mic head closer to the belly between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard. FWIW ... it is Armaflex unslit 7/8" ID x 1" wall thickness shaped with a sharp bread-slicing knife :) . Works pretty slick but I think a "front-address" mic like the Sennheiser would be better and really home in on the body of the bass while keeping outside bleed to an absolute minimum. I can quickly remove the foam mic holder (and for that matter, the Rev II pick-up) when I'm running unampped or when I want to move stuff over onto my other Kay.

    Do you think the Sennheiser face that close to the bass belly (would be about 1 inch with my current "high-tech design") would be a problem or a good thing? I have a Coda III 2-channel so I can control low troubles with the HPF and can do some eq'ing with the 3 knobs. Does anybody else here have any recommendations for other suitable sturdy slender front-address dynamic mics that could work with my 2 buck home-made mic holder? Thanks!

    P.S. Toad, if you would like one of my hi-tech mic holders to test drive ... I would fashion one up special for you (with extra length on both ends so you can custom cut for your Cleve's "sweet belly spot" and tailpiece) and send it out ASAP to pay homage to your infinite wisdom and greatly appreciated rank humour :D . Anybody else wants one ... I would entertain PMs and think about buying a new sharp bread-slicing knife :) . I can tell you right now it won't cost as much as a H-Clamp.

    Attached Files:

  2. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I hardly ever use a mic these days. Most of the time I'm happy with the sound of the pickup through the amp.

    When I do use a mic I always use the 409. I've tried the other two newest versions and they don't sound the same at all. The 409 is richer and darker. Very nice all on it's own.

    All the same combined with a pickup the new versions sound pretty decent. I used the cheap one whichever that was on a couple gigs and really liked it quite a bit mixed with a full circle. I've thought about getting one again and trying it out as I think the brightness of it was even more useful in a mix with a pickup than the 409, although the fidelity wasn't near as good.

    That's quite the rig for that mic there. To much foam for my tastes but I'm sure it works well. My asparagus bands are still working well when I need them. I don't think they'd work near as well on an SM57.

    What an interesting combination of strings on that bass...
  3. Thanks T ... might have to keep an eye out on FleaBay for a vintage 409 .
    Actually I rarely do the "mic only" gig. I mostly use the Rev II pickup into the Coda with an out to the PA system but outdoors I like getting some air when I can with a mic so maybe the "new-and-improved" Senns would work for me.
    Thanks for the support (I think :eek:). Actually there ain't too many contact points from the foam to the body of the bass if you could really see it. Bridge contact is real minimal. I don't feel like there's a whole lot of damping going on. My Edirol recordings so far have confirmed that. Plus ... when the knobs really get twisted up ... I'm thinking a little bit of tailpiece damp isn't a bad thing :D .
    Yep ... Gamut Pistoy Heavy G, Pistoy Medium D with a Tygon tubing "mute" at the bridge, Pistoy Light Plain A (Jason Sypher's orphan string), Garbo E. But that's 'nuther story .. not quite ready to post on the never-ending Gamut thread yet. More playing and recording is in order before I can say too much useful stuff. I can say that the Pistoy Plain A is the real deal for what I'm doing (pizz old bluegrass/country sound) and no windings to worry about. I can play notes on this A up to 9 Gb and that's what I get ... Notes ... no frills, growls, harmonics, buzzes ... big and cushy like the seats in an old Lincoln Continental :D . Beyond 9 Gb thar's no guarantee ;) . Plus there is a wonderful fingerboard click when I want it. The low C is fairly monstrous. Only have had the big ole A on for about 3 days now.
  4. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Dear Uncletoad,

    Let’s see what kinds of things you’ve said re: these types of gizmos and the broader topic of mics for DB in the past.

    There’s this.

    And then there’s this.

    Orbiting moon lander. Love it.

    Now, given your proclivity for sardonic and grandiloquent speech, I just can’t fathom why you did not take this opportunity to comment on the immensely phallic nature of this beast from the wilds of Montana.

    Bobby K., 11 points out of a possible 10 for creativity pal.
  5. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I prefer the unusual target. That's obviously a dick. It's to easy.
  6. Hey Now .... Who you callin' a beast AND a dick fellers :D ?!? Don't any of you side-hill dodgers out there even think about stealing the design of my foam "member" ... there's a Patent Pending ;) .

    Before I order a mic .... does anyone out there really know the difference between the Sennheiser e609 and the more expensive e906 ? Seems like they both have the hum-compensating (jump on that one somebody) coil, 40 to 18K Hz response, super-cardioid front-address pattern, and similar size and weight. If I'm gonna pay $80 more for a 3-position sound filtering gizmo circuit that I will never use on my double bass, then I think I'll pass on the e906. Peck Time .... you out there somewhere? Paging New Zealand. You use the e906 don't you?
  7. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    It's the sound that's different. It's pretty widely agreed that the current production versions don't have the same great sound quality as the classic MD-409. Why Sennheiser discontinued this mic, I don't know. I'd highly recommend finding a real 409 if you can, otherwise I'd consider another mic such as the Audix D2, which sounds great and sells for under $130.
  8. Thanks a lot RG .... I will check into things further. I just found this little discussion at GearSluts:
    One guy says (about the e906 with the 3-position filter circuit):
    "I haven't heard these yet, but (supposedly) it can do ALL THREE sounds; 409, 609b and 609."

    I can tell you right now I ain't spending what looks like $500+ bucks on a vintage MD-409. For the kind of stuff I do and my frequency of using a mic .... that just wouldn't pan out. Not to mention I already blew my wad on 3 Gamut Pistoy strings :rollno: . I will re-consider the D2 since I recall a past thread praising it for DB.
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Mighta been me. I use the D2 and an H-Clamp for going to the pa and I couldn't be happier.
  10. Oh Yea Fingers :) .... you're the guy. I downloaded specs, prices, etc. and I'm looking pretty hard at that mic too.
  11. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I wouldn't buy that MD 409 for that dough either. Nice sounding mic but it ain't all that.

    I think I paid $200 for mine and I was annoyed at that.
  12. Hi Bob! Yeah I've got the e906. I've never tried the cheaper 609, so I can't comment on that.
    I do have an AMT condenser setup with 'super' preamp, and an Exploraudio H-clamp, and I prefer just rubberbanding the e906 between the bridge legs for ease of use and noise rejection. For small gigs I plug the 906 straight into my AI amp. for bigger gigs with PAs I have been going FOH with the mic, and monitoring with my pickup.

    I'm a big fan of dynamic mics on DB now- it's pretty much plug and play. I think the fancy condensers (like AMT) work best with good soundmen/ or time to soundcheck.
  13. Allll Rightttt Peck :) Thanks Abunch ..... Ain't It Grand? .... NZ is just around the corner as far as TB is concerned. Gotta visit your Mountains of Frodo someday .... Looks a lot like MT where I live, except you also have an Ocean (or six) next to you. We might be able to fit 1.5 New Zealands into our state's boundary ... but we are not blessed like you with any sea-level towns anywhere in our state ;) .

    I'm still thinking that the front address / super-cardioid deal with the Senns we are talking about is a very good thing for feedback rejection if one can also control the proximity effect to your advantage (which I feel can be done with the AI Coda HPF and the 3 "not-really-so-parametric" knobs). I like dynamic mics a lot so far. We might even ditch the AT central vocal / instrument condensor mic since it picks every darn thing from every darn direction (a blessing and a curse .... Welcome to the World of Compromise). What's that you say ??? ... "Good soundmen / Time to soundcheck" .... What novel ideas (which we never seem to have either of) !

    OK .... Back to the issue ... Do you ever use the 3 settings available on the e 906? Got any opinion on what I quoted above from the electric guitar banging guy when he said: "I haven't heard these yet, but (supposedly) it can do ALL THREE sounds; 409, 609b and 609." Do you think the 3 settings are useful ?
  14. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Although the Sennheiser MD-409 is a great mic, there's no way I'd pay that kind of dough for one. The e906 is a maybe to me, and even that is pushing it price wise. There are other mics I like as much or more, such as the Audix D2, that cost less.
  15. Hi Bob, thanks for your kind words. I aim to visit the USA one day, next time you're in wellington- come round for a cuppa!

    Now I am ashamed to admit that I have only used the flat setting on the mic. Although I once used it with a vocalist with the treble boost, and my impression was that it was a very bassy sounding mic compared with a sm57.
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm totally digging mine, but I only paid about $219 brand new (something like that, I'll have to dig out the receipt).
  17. Pardon me Ed ..... but which of the mics we have been talking about do you totally dig? The MD-409? Your opinion would sure weigh in on my decision here. Thanks.

    OK everybody, there's 3 of these MD-409s being sold by the same guy on fleabay right now. Let's all get out there and bid each other up :D:
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yup 409 lemme see if there's a bad pic I can post

  19. Check it out folks .... the sharks are circling :D . One 409 is up to $255 ... other 2 are still down around $150 as I type. Something like 12 hours left to go. What a trip .... vintage-shmintage :p ..... just like Antiques Roadshow.

    Edit: All 3 at $250 now .... Yahoo! Too much for me ... I'm outta there :D.

    Edit: Final report .... all 3 mics went for about $415 each. Woof ... The Mad Dog 409 must be a heckuva mic. I think I'll spend about 1/4 of that for now on some other mic and probably never know the difference anyhow :p .

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