Item: Sennheiser e865, Hand-held Condenser Microphone
Price: £219 (UK), $249.95 (US)
Quick Singer Assessment:
The Sennheiser e865 is a great live vocal microphone for under $300. Keep in mind that you will need phantom power to run it.
At a Glance
Sennheiser’s e865 is a hand-held electret condenser microphone with a super-cardioid pickup pattern. It is designed to be rugged for the stage and intended for use on lead vocals when you want a natural, detailed sound that shows off the nuances of the singer’s vocal performance. It has excellent feedback rejection and is available with or without a switch (e865 / e865S). The e865 comes with a standard microphone clip and a carrying pouch to help protect it from scratches in your gig bag.
The e865 offers a much truer and detailed sound than you would achieve with many typical stage dynamic microphones. That said, like most stage microphones, there is still a slight presence boost to help vocals cut through the mix without much need for any additional EQ. Its proximity effect is well controlled to give you a largely consistent sound when you vary the distance from the mic while singing and it can capture very loud singers without distortion.
Considering the price and performance there is little to fault with the e865. It is worth noting that, like most condenser mics, it requires phantom power (12-48v) to operate – so you may want to check your mixing desk can provide it before thinking about buying one.
Audio-Savvy Reviewer Says…
The e865 is a well-built, good quality microphone (as you would expect from Sennheiser) which, compared to their substantially more expensive e965 stage condenser, offers great value for money. Although it is not quite in the same league technically as the e965 (or other live condenser mics such as the Neumann KMS 105), it costs around half the price and is certainly not half the quality.
The sound is nicely balanced and with well-defined lower mids that can help to bring out the natural tone and richness in a voice. Its consistently of tone over distance enables you to balance your level when you are singing at various levels without your vocals starting to sound too thin when you need to back off the mic a bit. Overall, the e865 is a great mic and certainly worth auditioning if you are looking for a stage condenser mic for under $300. – Chris Kennedy
Manufacturer’s Website: http://en-uk.sennheiser.com/
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Chris Kennedy is a songwriter, producer multi-instrumentalist and freelance journalist from the UK. He has performed extensively over Europe and written and produced over a dozen albums. Chris also has a passion for music technology and was the principal product reviewer and tech expert of the original Voice Council magazine.