Choosing a talkback mic for FOH mixing

Sennheiser e835-S is rock-solid, clear-sounding, dependable and well-priced. It’s made in Germany, it won’t let you down

There’s an important piece of equipment that every FOH (front of house) engineer should take to a gig.

Your talkback mic:

Of course, there are a heap of different options out there, but really, we’ve done the ‘hard’ work for you and chosen one.

Far-and-away the most requested engineer’s talkback mic (as asked for by a myriad of our customers about to embark on a tour) is…

Sennheiser e835-S

What makes e835-S the first choice for talkback?

Sennheiser e835-S is, like their higher spec’d microphones you’d likely find on the artists’ stage, proudly – and robustly – made in Germany.

e835-S is not quite a tank, but it is most definitely rugged enough to handle a tour or twenty per year, for many years of dependable service.

The on/off switch is smooth and silent, while the capsule is easily good enough for clear communication with the artists on stage. In fact, the e835 capsule is happily found on many stages as a good quality capsule for vocal performers.

(We prefer the e935 or e945 handheld microphones, or MMD935 and MMD945 wireless capsules, but more on that later).

The importance of your talkback microphone

For many years, the best prepared FOH engineers always brought their own mic to a gig. However, over the past half-a-dozen-or-so years, two things have really accelerated the uptake for this tool to be on-par with your own headphones as essential backpack items.

1 – The Spicy Cough / COVID

Yeah, no-one wants to be using a shared festival talkback mic. Yuck.

2 – Performers using in ear monitoring

One of the major benefits for a performer wearing in-ear buds for monitoring is hearing protection and stage sound isolation.

Guitarists can jam with the drummer without fear of cymbal sting in their ears.

This has changed communications between FOH and the stage, however, and it’s a little more difficult for the engineer to yell “kick please” and expect anyone on stage to be able to hear anything.

For small-to-mid sized gigs, performers are often mixing their own ‘ears’ using any of the relevant apps paired with the digital mixing system.

Larger gigs will have a monitor engineer taking care of the band / performer ears and wedges.

Where there is not a dedicated monitor engineer, the talkback mic (fed striaght to the performer’s ears) becomes really handy during sound check, especially when it’s asking a guitarist to move their amp microphone a little bit, or asking the bass player to flick the ground switch on a DI box.

Sennheiser e835-S, with it’s smooth and silent switch, is especially handy, because the FOH engineer can keep their own channel open and sending to all the ears, simply flicking the switch ‘up’ with their thumb when it’s time to talk.

Are there other options for talkback?

Of course! A variety of comms systems are available for large-scale operations.

There are also heaps of other microphones out there with a switch on them.

But like we said right up the top of this article, ‘we’ have done the hard work for you – by listening to what the other engineers are using.

Sennheiser e835-S is rock-solid, clear-sounding, dependable and well-priced. It’s made in Germany, it won’t let you down.


Ah, nearly forgot. Want to sound how e835 compares to some other capsules?

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