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Review: Sennheiser e865, Stage Condenser Microphone

Sennheiser e865

This stage condenser microphone offers impressive performance for its price.

Item: Sennheiser e865, Hand-held Condenser Microphone
Price: $270 (US), £170 (UK)
Mic Rating: 5/5

At a Glance: Sennheiser’s e865 is a hand-held electret condenser microphone with 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 show 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.

High Notes: 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.

Off Pitch: 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.

VoiceCouncil 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 KSM 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 are singing at various levels without your vocals starting to sound too thin when you need 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.

Manufacturer’s Website: http://en-uk.sennheiser.com/

Other Reviews:
audiofanzine.com | amazon.co.uk | bhphotovideo.com

Chris Kennedy is the principle technology reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about this work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.

  • Bruiser

    I’m leaning toward this mic. I have no live experience as of yet and have only thus far used an SM58 and the AKG D5 in rehearsal. I think a condenser may ad some depth to my vocal. The under 300 price works for me as Im not sure how long this will last, lol, and the fact its German built. its for a rock n roll cover band.

  • Bruiser

    but then i have read that dynamic mics are better live than a condenser so I’m confused, lol

  • keith

    I cannot think of any popular stage dynamic mic that comes even slightly close to good condenser like a 104. Like watching a video on an iPad vs. a large flat-screen tv. Different worlds, spend the extra and get a much more detailed, accurate and easy to love 865 or 104/105.

    You’ll have zero regrets and wonder why did you wait so long to get it.

  • Bruiser

    thanks for your advice. the 104 is out of the question sadly at this stage. I only heard an old Neumann mic once, it was the singers, but it was a beautiful thing. the 865 here is $269 the 105 is $750. Bear in mind I have never done this before so I need to tread warily on mics lol.
    if it was up to the better half ill be using the D5! :)

  • Bruiser