Recording

Sennheiser E609 Silver, July 2003

INSTRUMENT AMPLIFIER MIC 5/14/2004 8:00 AM Eastern

Years ago, I had the pleasure of recording guitar genius Ronnie Montrose. In anticipation of his arrival—and to save time—I set up about six different mics: condensers, tubes and dynamics. When Montrose showed up, he said that he had a favorite mic and asked if we could try that, as well. He pulled out a Sennheiser MD 409 dynamic with a flat-bar mount that slid into a slot cut into his amp, putting the mic about an inch in front of the grille and toward the edge of the speaker cone.

We tried them all, and sure enough, his mic won out over everything else! I became an instant convert to the mystic 409 cult and was greatly saddened when Sennheiser (what were they thinking?) discontinued the 409 a few years later. Later, Sennheiser came out with the Evolution 609, which resembled the original but wasn't the same.

Fortunately, with the debut of the new E609 Silver, the magic is back. Like the original, it's a side-address design so it can be simply hung over an amp, suspended by the cable (with three inches of duct tape to secure it) and be exactly in the sweet spot. With its high-SPL handling and supercardioid pattern to eliminate any bleed, this one's ready for anything.

On a variety of amps—Marshall, Fender, Ampeg, Yamaha and even funky Danelectro—the E609 Silver was spot-on, particularly when combined with a distant tube mic. The Sennheiser provided the punch, fury, growl and edge, with the room mic adding a smooth hugeness. Yeah!

But it's not just for amps: The E609 Silver was also great on bass amps, toms, trumpets and trombones. At an affordable list of $199.95, this one's a great addition to anyone's mic cabinet.

Sennheiser USA, www.sennheiserusa.com