Hands-On Review:Evolution 900 Microphones

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Workhorse mics—racehorse quality

By Lane Dodson



evolution 900 Microphones

Sennheiser’s evolution 900 Series mics are at the high end of Sennheiser’s evolution Series, customized to perform specific tasks for musicians. Yet, like many musicians, most have the versatility to perform a number of jobs on the side. I received a selection of evolution 900 Series mics to evaluate their performance in the studio and in a live setting.


Get your kicks


In the studio, many projects start with laying down drum tracks, so the e901 and e902 kick drum mics seemed like a good place to start. The e901 is a half-cardioid boundary layer condenser microphone with a built-in preamp. This type of mic is also called a PZM; it is distinguished by a unique broad, flat profile; and is designed to be placed on any flat surface. It’s great for many situations where a regular stand would be impractical, such as recording moving performers on a stage or dealing with multiple sound sources. It’s also excellent for recording grand piano.


I placed the e901 on the pillow inside my 20" bass drum, and with minimal EQ adjustment I was able to get a pleasing fat and round kick sound with a quick attack that punched hard. Placing it just in front of the bass drum on the floor, it added a nice "roomy" quality to the sound, adding reflected sound from the walls and other surfaces. The mic works well hanging on a wall—I recorded multiple percussionists gathered around it with excellent results. The e901 impressed with its flat, natural-sounding response and lack of coloration.


The e902 is a more conventional bass-frequency-optimized mic with dance floor-filling impact. A more directional mic than the e901, the cardioid e902 comes with an integrated standmount and excels as a kick mic. It conveyed both the deep bottom end and high-frequency impact accurately.



Sennheiser E945 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone, e902 Dynamic Kick Drum Microphone, e906 Dynamic Guitar Amp Microphone, e904 Dynamic Instrument Microphone, e901 Cardioid/Boundary Instrument Microphone, And 935 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Sennheiser E945 Supercardioid Dynamic Microphone, e902 Dynamic Kick Drum Microphone, e906 Dynamic Guitar Amp Microphone, e904 Dynamic Instrument Microphone, e901 Cardioid/Boundary Instrument Microphone, And 935 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone




Vocal excellence


The e935 cardioid vocal stage microphone’s smooth black form has a nice substantial feel to it—its hand-friendly shape and hefty weight assure you that, like the other evolution 900 Series mics, it was designed for years of heavy stage use. The e935 has the high output that vocalists are looking for. I brought it to a rehearsal with a nine-piece salsa band, and the mic did a superlative job, allowing the lead singer to be heard clearly over a four-piece horn and three-piece percussion section while delivering finely detailed, silken sound quality. It gets five stars in my book.


The e945 is very similar to the e935 with frequency response enhanced at the high end and a slightly tighter polar pattern that rejects off-axis sounds very well, making it a good choice for bands that often perform on crowded stages. On the other hand, if your vocalist moves around a lot, you might want to consider the e935 with its more open polar pattern.


Blue collar condenser


The e914 is an unassuming-looking cylindrical condenser mic that handles a plethora of jobs effectively and musically. Some of the applications in which it excels are acoustic guitar, as an overhead for cymbals, percussion, drums, orchestras, and grand piano. With a three-position sensitivity switch, three-position bass roll-off/cut-off, and an exchangeable capsule, the response of the e914 can be customized for many different instruments and placements.


On acoustic guitar, the e914 was exceptionally clean, with precise response that picked up the separation of the strings beautifully. Suspended overhead, the e914 was very accurate in picking up the subtle differences in cymbal colorations. On a set of congas, the mic captured the full range of slaps, open tones, and bass hits of all three drums accurately. If you add one mic to your collection this year, the e914 should be a leading contender—you’ll find yourself using it again and again.


Catch a cab


Some players have resorted to using two or more mics to reproduce both the high-end sizzle and low growl of a guitar cab. The e906 Dynamic Guitar Amp mic reproduces the entire range of guitar cab acoustics with accuracy. The warmth and overdriven qualities came through very well with the e906. It never stripped away the unique character of the amp. The flat design optimizes the response when suspended by an XLR cable in front of a guitar cab.


Percussion discussion


The cardioid pattern e904 is designed specifically for drum and percussion applications. Its compact, lightweight body is fitted with a standmount and rim clip that fasten onto any drum rim, taking up minimal space. Mounted on my drum set’s toms and snare, the e904 provided full-spectrum punch on the toms and captured both the subtle high-end frequencies and fat midrange of the snare.


All in the family


When it comes to capturing your music, microphone choice is crucial. Sennheiser’s evolution 900 Series mics have all of the hardware you’d expect to find in a top-shelf line—gold-plated XLR connectors, reinforced metal bodies that resist handling noise, and top-quality components. With Sennheiser’s precision German engineering and advanced design, plus decades of experience in pro audio, the evolution 900 mics are a family of microphones that let you put your best music forward.


Features & Specs:



  • Super cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 40-18,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 2.0 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)


  • Cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 40-16,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 2.8 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)


  • Half cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 20-20,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 0.2 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)


  • Cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 20-18,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 0.2 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)


  • Cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 40-18,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 2.0 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)


  • Cardioid pattern
  • Freq. response: 40-16,000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 2.2 mV/Pa (at 1kHz)