Last month, 200 comedy lovers piled in (socially distanced, of course) to witness another round of ‘Return of the Craic’ – a regularly sold-out, outdoor comedy event which Headliner has exclusive access to. This time around our A-lister is Irish stand-up, Ed Byrne, with host and warm-up comic, Jarlath Regan kicking off proceedings. And this evening, it’s a Sennheiser/Korg combo running the show. Let’s dive in...
Ed Byrne is set to continue his If I’m Honest tour which was disrupted as a result of the current pandemic from February next year. As he treats us to a taste of his one man show he says: “While I wouldn’t normally play a shithole like this, I’m just pleased to be out of the house!” A line which prompted the first bout of much needed hysterical laughter.
A line made even funnier by this venue’s classy aesthetic: The Plough is an idyllic space, boasts a great little stage, an amazing woody campfire aroma, fabulous food, and a wine cellar stocked with some of the finest wines in all Christendom.
A feature of all of the Return of the Craic events so far has been the regular wet and windy weather but our robust compact sound system has had no problem making sure every word and those all important punchlines have been clearly and consistently delivered. As with all previous events at The Plough, the core sound system remains the same featuring coaxial dB Technologies LVX XM15s which don’t seem to mind being rained on; and the very compact and fully- featured Korg Soundlink MW-1608 console.
This is such a reliable and transparent little system; it requires very little EQ, and can be set up from car boot to show in under an hour. Readers of Headliner’s new Spotlight Journal publication will know that I recently had a look at and reviewed Sennheiser’s brand new MD 435 and MD 445 dynamic microphones; and with live events being particularly thin on the ground (and with this event giving me free reign on equipment selection), what better opportunity than to use them in one of the vocally harshest environments available?
Just to recap: the MD 445 is Sennheiser’s flagship dynamic vocal microphone and has a super- cardioid pickup pattern; and the MD 435 is the new cardioid flagship dynamic.
Comedians often use mic technique to emphasise points, or to create a particular voice or character - and when making use of the proximity effect and coming in close, it’s not unusual for some dynamics to break up or distort. Sometimes it’s down to the correct gain structure, other times it could be the capsule’s inability to cope with the high SPL.
Again, sometimes this is caused by the mic being cupped, and there being nowhere for the air to move over the diaphragm and through the capsule; sometimes it’s a combination of both. These possibilities are reduced in these two Sennheiser mics by their ability to cope with SPLs of up to 163dB, their incredible off-axis rejection - even more noticeable in the MD 445, which forces the performer to stay on the mic allowing for far easier gain setting.
These make for a couple of pretty high-end, abuse-proof microphones. The next point I couldn’t possibly overlook and probably the first thing I noticed when I started reviewing them is the large diaphragm format, and just how good these mics sound.