Sennheiser 541 vs 441

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Tungstengruvsten, Dec 29, 2002.

  1. Tungstengruvsten

    Tungstengruvsten Active Member

    Sep 10, 2001
    Guelph, Ontario
    Managed to pick up a Sennheiser 441 for $100(canadian even!!) from a fellow, he offered to throw in a 541 for $20 so I said what the I've scoured the web to find out the differences/similarities between the two and can't find a thing.
    All I can see is the body is black(and it's called Blackfire) and it doesn't have the music/speech rotary dial around the XLR. The lo-cut switch is still there though.

    Both were in mint shape, a serial # etched into the side being the only marks....

    So is this basically a 441 without the features? Anyone have any experience with one?


    Also, both of these came without clips-anyone know of a square clip I can use for these?
  2. sign

    sign Guest

    Hi Eric

    I have both mics and I may be wrong, but I have the feeling there's a difference in sound. The 541 has a darker sound and is less hyper cardiod than the 441. Both mics are very good though.

    The clips that came with the 441 are fragile, I have kind of "stage clips", something like the Beyer clips, very "indestructable" clips.

    You can see it in this link:

    Larry Howard

    Happy new year!!
  3. tubedude

    tubedude Active Member

    Jun 20, 2001
    I have a 541 Blackfire... it is the same exact handmade mic as the 441 except for it doesnt have a couple of the switches. It should sound exactly like a regular 441 with all the switches turned out. It was designed for a slightly different purpose than the other one. Very punchy mic though...
    Do you want to sell it and make me a pair? Its rather hard for me to find a black match for this one, as most are the silver regular 441's. I'll give you what you paid for both mics for just the Blackfire (or for either, really). Let me know..
  4. tubedude

    tubedude Active Member

    Jun 20, 2001
    An email to me from Sennheiser a few months back:

    The two mics used the identical capsule and suspension w/ brilliance
    switch. The BF541 was designed with extra moisture protection and no bass
    filter control. The Black Fire series was produced for market who might
    not need all the "bells & whistles" and might desire a low profile on
    stage--mainly sound reinforcement applications. I guess it didn't do so
    well here in the states, so you don't see so many out there.

    All being said, there is no bass roll-off on your mic.
    If you feel you are hearing decreased low frequency response, you may be
    detecting a voice coil rub--the diaphragm isn't moving well with the bass.
    The cost to have the microphone evaluated is $35. If you require a new
    capsule, the cost is no less than $300 for parts and associated labor.

    If you have the opportunity to A/B the mic with an MD441-U (bass control
    set to M) they should sound the same. You may try switching the
    brilliance switch to the left (less brilliant) and see if it helps you to
    get the sound you desire.

    Feel free to contact me for more assistance.
  5. HiString

    HiString Guest

    Hey Tubie,

    If you get that 541, does that mean you may want to sell those 603's? :D

    :cool: (ausrock)
  6. Well you don't have to sell me on a 441, so I'm sold on a 541! I have three 441's, one came in to me with a broken wire, so I have to fix that. These are great mics, and can be used in many more places than one might think. BTW, the support guy I contacted at Senn. is outstanding, all parts are avaialble.. body, switch plates etc, and at actual fair prices.
  7. Tungstengruvsten

    Tungstengruvsten Active Member

    Sep 10, 2001
    Guelph, Ontario
    since it seems to sound alot like the 441 and kicks ass on drums like it, i'll probably be keeping it...fits in nicely with the dynamic arsenal of 441, sm7, re20, d12e on drums...

    cheers and thanks for the info!
  8. sign

    sign Guest

    Keep it, you'll be happy and amazed how a 441 sounds on horns, especially trumpets.
  9. Han .. yeah buddy, horns the 441 is the ticket. Works very nice on guitar amps, and congas too.
  10. sign

    sign Guest

    Yeah!! have you ever wondered why the 441 is so expensive? (twice the price of a 421) :)

    It must be one of the very best dynamic mics of all times.
  11. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    Since 441 & 421 are often being mentioned together I'm indeed surprised about the huge difference in price. Where would a 441 be better when a 421 stopped ? Obviously that additional 17-20kHz range, but is there more ? How does it for instance compare on elec gtr-cabs ?


  12. sign

    sign Guest


    The 421 and 441 are two different cats. The 441 has another sound, both are great mics. Specs don't mean much to me.

    The 421 in hotter sounding, the 441 has more bottom.

    The 421 is cardiod, the 441 hyper cardioid.
    Comparing these mics is subjective, what sound are you after in the first place.

    On guitar cabs (distorted) my first choice would be the 421, for horns it would be the 441, especially when recording a band at once in one room.

    On my website you can hear the 441 on a Marshall cab, close to the grill, soundfragments, rock example 2.

    You can also hear the 441 on trumpet and tombone, jazz example 1.

    Peace, Han
  13. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    Thanks Han (dankjewel Han :)

    The rock#2-example I had heard already while browsing for MD441-info here yesterday - sounds OK, but actually hard to tell how it would translate to 'my' kind of distortion, which is dist/overdrive nevertheless but from another kind (say Twin Reverb with overdrive & verb & the occasional fuzz-pedal thrown in).
    So more 'twang'-oriented, maybe the fuller bottom of the 441 suits this well.

    Some more surfing revealed more and more thinks people do when time & gear is no limitation.

    Saw a few multimic setups for gtr-amps with '57 & 421 I thought but also with '57 & '441 etc. Will try a few. From this I got the impression that it'd be better to add a 441 (have one seen for an OK-price) to the 421 I already have than to get me a second 421.
    Did get the strong impression though the 421 is more widely used/suited for this & that - but that could of course also be related to the fact it's less expensive so more people will have experimented with it.


  14. sign

    sign Guest

    You're welcome (graag gedaan)

    You might also like the Beyer M88 or M69 on guitar cabs. The 88 has more bottom than the 69. Both will give you a very tight sound.

    The 441 is a fantastic mic, but very expensive IMHO and like I said, not my first choice on

    The 421 can sound very hot, almost agressive, you might like that.

    Another mic that sounds quite good on dist. guitars (some will disagree) is the AKG C1000.

    Cheers, Han
  15. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    from Han:

    Forgot to add to my previous reaction:

    I'm wondering that given the fuller bottom of the 441, why isn't as popular for bass-cabs than the 421 ? It's of course not all about the lower-freq limit, but still...

    And by 'hotter', do you mean the higher sensitivity of the 421 w.r.t. the 441 or is the 421 more in your face ?

    You're right, the (subtle) differences between mics may be smaller than my accuracy to descrive in words what I'm looking for - should just spend time with these mics. But to give at least some description, it'd be nice to get a true picture
    of that Twin Reverb in a good sounding room, indirect sound & all. So I understood the 441 being hypercard. it's less suited for more distant micing (please correct me if I'm wrong) but it could be good for closer setup. So next step would be to find a second mic for capturing the room - thinking of a large diaphr. condenser
    (perhaps an omni if the other instruments allow it - or moving that omni closer to the gtr-cab).


  16. sign

    sign Guest

    "Add reply", both at the same time, lol.

    I do use the 441 on bass cabinets sometimes, but I have two AKG D12's, talking about low!

    If you place the mic in the center of the speaker (on guitar) or near the edge, will make a huge difference anyway.

    A room mic? If you're on a tight budget you might like the SP B1.
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I am a big 441 fan as well, and actually like it on distorted guitars, but I tend to favor the 421 for that.

    You asked about the clip, I just had to buy one...US$35 for a piece of black plastic that says "Sennheiser" on it! Sheesh!
  18. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    Just picked up a '441, so now some experimenting with
    a '421, '57 and the '441 can start (on a Fender SF Twin Reverb, but my bass-rig will be visited as well). Read some nice info
    about certain combinations with such mics, I'm sure I can keep myself busy here !

    Recording Electric Guitar
    Myles Boisen
    Electronic Musician, Oct 1, 1999

    (the article is available online (free), but can't find the URL anymore. I guess the above info is enough to google it up)

    The '441 I picked up came with the original box for the clip - I assume yours is a MZA441 as well. It had the original pricetag on it, lets say from 15 years ago: 75 Dutch guilders, let's say, eh, about US$35 !

    Hey, at least those clips haven't gone up in price. Kidding aside, it's expensive indeed. It's
    a fraction of the original new-price of a MD441 itself though, perhaps that's the reason they thought to be able to get away with it.

  19. clintrubber

    clintrubber Guest

    Still have fond memories of a certain studio-visit: for pick-bass a combi of DI and a D12 on a 8*10". Killer sound. reak deep, there was a song with E tuned to D or D# and it sounded way cool
    with this combination

    So for another studio-visit the D12 seemed a good choice. The vibe wasn't there, after having tried a large diag. condenser we finally ended up with a 421. I'm curious to the 441 on bass, will compare it with my 421.

    Looks good, thanks for the info. I'm still in shopping mode for such a mic, still have the idea I should spend a little bit more to have a switchable card./omni... since I'm curiuous to
    an omni for use as a room mic - would like to play with that as well. I saw their B3 at about twice the price.

    Hmm, but close micing of loud stuff would be interesting as well - so it'd also has to have a pad. and so on & on - I'll likely end up here on a so-so mic that has all the bells & whistles...
    OK, skip the pad, could use dynamic mics for close-up to the amp.



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