If you're looking for an all-round, all-purpose vocal mic, Sennheiser is bound to be near the very top of your audition list. But what if you could buy a very affordable Sennheiser that lets you control a TC Helicon pedal as well? Mick Wilson investigates.
Firmly established on the gigging scene for over a decade, The Evolution range of vocal microphones from Sennheiser has made a name for itself by punching well above its weight, considering their price points.
The e835 fx is no different in that respect, but has another trick up its sleeve by adding a Mic Control button, allowing control over all supported TC-Helicon vocal effects units. When holding the mic in your hand, the non-latching button sits neatly under your thumb and is simplicity itself to use. I tried it with the TC-Helicon Harmony Singer reviewed in this issue and it doubled up the footswitch action straight out the box without any set-up at all.
Getting the button to perform other tasks, such as preset selection, looping, tap-tempo, hard-tuning etc. would depend on the functionality and features of the unit being used. In these cases, choosing what you want the button to do would all be accessed from the menu/setup functions of whichever TC-Helicon unit that you were using it with.
The weight and feel of the microphone belies the fact that it is the entry-level model of what is already a budget-conscious range. The steel body design is similar to that of most vocal mics, with a tapered handle and finished in a blue/grey metallic paint. Protecting the capsule is a sturdy flat-topped wire basket that can be unscrewed easily for cleaning or replacement.
Rather than having a completely flat frequency response, the e835 has a slight presence boost at the top end, giving a little bit of ‘air’ but without coming across too harsh and will certainly helps cut through on a live stage.
Sennheiser claims that this model has ‘minimal proximity effect’ - reducing the amount of bass boost that can happen the closer you get to the capsule. I did try this and, although there is still some increase in the low end, it was less pronounced than on some microphones of this type. The e835 has a regular cardioid pattern, which works well and should be more than adequate in rejecting feedback at normal stage levels. If you want to go down the supercardioid route, then you’d need to look further up the range and dig a little deeper into the band funds!
Deciding on which model to add the Mic Control button must have been a difficult one for Sennheiser, but on the whole I think it has made the right choice. I imagine that the kind of musician or vocalist that is using a unit to add harmonies and effects to their voices would not be doing so on an arena tour, so this is definitely one for the gigging muso budget. That said, if I were to walk out onto a big stage and ended up standing in front of this mic, I wouldn’t be too upset. It looks and feels professional and delivers a sound way beyond your expectations.
Even without Mic Control, the e835 represents excellent value for money, especially in the crowded dynamic microphone market and performs extremely well. If you were looking for a microphone to add to your live setup and one that would serve you just as well in a project studio, you should definitely put this on the short list.