New or Old MD421

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by fromwithin, Feb 18, 2004.

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  1. fromwithin

    fromwithin Active Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    Im looking to pick up a 421 on ebay but was wondering if anyone has opinions on whether the older models are better than the newer ones.
  2. shortyprs

    shortyprs Guest

    I have a newer 421mkII and an older u-5. The u-5 is a much smoother, nicer sounding mic. The mkII has a hyped high end that sounds tinny (is that how you spell that?) to my ears. I haven't found much use for the mkII. The u-5 is great.
  3. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    I have several of both. The newer mics are "slightly" brighter and the older mics put out a slightly hotter signal. Not enough difference to worry about. Anyone who can use and EQ can use both types on the same kit and you'd never know the difference. Both great mics.
  4. shortyprs

    shortyprs Guest

    Hmmm. Wonder if my mkII is broken. I bought it used. The high's have a harshness that still doesn't sound as nice as the u-5 when I EQ them out.

    Hey tripnek, any special frequencies that you always hit with your newer 421's? If there's hope, I might pull mine out of the closet and try it again.
  5. fromwithin

    fromwithin Active Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    i've heard similar comments about the harshness in top end of the mkII's, i always figured maybe it was desired sound because they're often combined w/ other mics (i wanna get one primarily for mic'ing up cabs) but i hadn't heard of the u-5. thx for info so far and i'm definately going to look more into the u-5. anymore opinions would greatly be appreciated. :)
  6. sign

    sign Guest

    There are a number of differences between the older grey 421 and the MK2.

    Most significant is the coil, the old 421 has a copper coil and the newer an aluminium coil, which is probably the cause of more brightness.

    I like them both, great and very versatile dynamics. You can record the sound of a sleeping ant as good as the sound of a 100 mm gun with them.
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Here is the official word of the differences between the 421 and 421 II.....

    Greg Beebe at Sennheiser wrote a while ago in response to this question. He said:

    "There are four significant differences between the MD421-U and MD421 II.

    Easier positioning:
    -The metal inner chassis has better distribution of weight.
    -The bass roll-off is contour fitted to the housing making the mic
    shorter and more "stylish"

    More durable:
    -Housing is made of polyacetals: a glass composite
    -Basket is hardened stainless steel

    More immune to the elements:
    -The acoustic components are enclosed in the inner chassis making he
    mic less sensitive to dusts and humidity.

    Easier Servicing:
    -Individual components can easily be replaced
    -Self-sealing acoustic connections: no adhesive or sealing compounds

    The MD421 II does sound different. It has improved transparency,
    thus a more natural sound. We changed it because of improved technologies.
    New materials and production techniques which enable us to manufacture at
    eve closer tolerance.

    Coincidentally, this was not the first time we changed the MD421. We are
    constantly striving to improve our products. Over the years, the MD421 has
    seen upgrades in the housing, output connector, basket and capsule

    In my personal opinion, the MD421 II has been accepted, for the most part,
    as the replacement for the original. However, as you know, there are die
    hards who swear by the original. Interesting enough, the biggest complaint
    on the original was the clip. I've not receive one complaint about the
    clip since the redesign. I attribute this to the mic being more balanced.
    Now the clip pivots on the mic's fulcrum point."
  8. sign

    sign Guest

    The clip sucks big time, the worst clip in mic land.

    I have six 421's and only one original clip, the other five were home made from old Radio Shack (broken) clips and funny enough, not one of these five clips gave any problem ever so far.
  9. tonio

    tonio Guest

    Thanks for sharing !
    I have the mkii, which can be either good or bad, as in any mic of course!
    It matters in how you use it to the best advantage.
    The new mkii may be silibant in the HF , but that's what I look for in certain situations- and it always provides. Don't know what the original model sounds like, maybe I'm missing something? I think not.
    It 's how you use your tools.

  10. missilanious

    missilanious Guest

    kinda sounds like the arguement between the old U87's and the new U87Ai.
  11. mig27

    mig27 Active Member

    Feb 15, 2002
    Berlin, Germany
    for what it's worth, I did a 421 shoot-out the other day.

    we had 12 of these suckers in my studio, black, grey, old and new - all kinds you can think of.

    it is true that the old ones have a slightly smoother tone.
    also, we found out that they all sounded different, sometimes in a very obvious way when it gets to the older ones.
    some of the grey ones sucked big time - in other words, they were half broken.

    then there is this one "golden" 421 with a super fat bottom and silky smooth trebles, perfect for crooner vocals and meaty guitars.
    it's a beaten up grey 421 with sennheiser "script logo": the body has a large crack and the mic is missing one half ot the grill. :d:

    in other words: try before you buy when you're in the market for grey 421's.

  12. chessparov

    chessparov Active Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    Orange County, CA
    A pro AE whom I respect very much, Ty Ford, did a detailed review of the MKII vs. the "old" type on his website (sorry don't remember it offhand).
    If you use one of the search engine websites like you'll find it easily.

    The pre-MKII 421's have a thick sound.
    The MKII's really bring out sibilance in many singers, and are thinner-definitely NOT natural.

    Sennheiser saved money on the MKII by using a different manufacturing process.
    They were unable to use it for the MD441, and
    get a reasonably close quality of sound BTW.

  13. fromwithin

    fromwithin Active Member

    Oct 2, 2003
    thx guys, this info helped a lot! :D

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