Unmatched pair:
Sennheiser e609 vs e906

Over the past couple of decades, the shape of microphones for guitar cabs has really settled nicely into the classic side-address form, made famous by the now-legendary Sennheiser MD409.


Early model – The table microphone, MD 407, was the original model from which the MD 409 arose.

Form factor: snug

Both of these guitar amp microphones – e906 and e609 – share the same side-address, flat shape.

This makes them neat (compact) for stage use, which is especially useful in helping to unclutter the stage. Not only does this look clean, it also removes the risk of a wayward leg of the roaming singer knocking the microphone out of position.

For many years, the go-to mic for guitar amps was Shure SM57 – but as you can see in the image above, there is a large portion of the microphone body that ‘pokes out’ behind the capsule.

The end-address SM57 (while sill being recognised as a legitimate guitar amp microphone) doesn’t do the job anywhere near as neatly as either e906 or e609.

But how do these three microphones compare for sound?

Performance: SM57 vs e609 vs e906

Before we get too deep stuck in subjective listening results, we have already proclaimed our love for the high performance and versatility of e906 – including how and why it almost sounds like the venerable MD421 when used on toms.

Why we like SM57

Because we’ve got a nice mix of both young and also (ahem) ‘experienced’ staff at Factory Sound, we’re prone to a bit of “back in the day” chatter.

There is almost no argument that for any pub gig around Australia from the late ’80s until the mid ’00s, the mic for guitar amps was Shure SM57. For larger shows, sometimes there were other microphones, but far-and-away the most popular (for good reason) was SM57.

The sound signature of SM57 is midrange-to-upper midrange poking out, with not too much in the way of low frequencies or high frequencies evident.

Really, it’s the ‘classic’ sound of pub rock that many of us grew up with. For the ‘oldies’ among us, our ears are often ‘tuned’ to the sound of a guitar amp with SM57.

But it’s now 2022 – seriously high performing PA systems have shrunk in size and relative dollars. Musicians often play with in ear monitoring. For a guitarist with their sound drilled into their ear canals – can they do ‘better’ than SM57? Well, try e906 and you’ll know. There are also more ‘tops and bottoms’ available for the FOH engineer with e906.

Do I need SM57 in my microphone kit?

ABSOLUTELY YES if you’re doing a heap of different gigs – including recording drums. SM57 is still right up there as #1 for (live or studio) miking the top of a snare drum. It’s also pretty trusted for stage percussion (bongos, congas), and there are plenty of horn players who have been playing in front of a ’57’ for years.

However, IF you’re ‘just’ trying to mic up your guitar amp, take a peep at e609 (below)…

Why we like e609 Silver

First of all, Sennheiser e609 Silver is a great sounding guitar amp microphone.

It’s got the same shape as the best guitar amp mic going around – e906 – meaning you can stick it up nice and close to the amp without it “sticking out” too far (as you’d have with SM57).

Where does e609 sit, compared with SM57?

Put very simply, e609 was designed with one thing in mind – to gather the sound of a guitar amp.

Compared with SM57, a Sennheiser e609 gives you a little more in the high frequencies and a little cleaner in the lower mid frequencies. If you’re wanting to grab the sound of your amp, e609 is a great place to start.

Aside from the obvious benefits to having the ‘new’ guitar mic shape, e609 picks up more of the tone your guitar rig – fingers, guitar, pedals and amp – produces. However, with more power comes greater responsibility. It’s up to you, the front-of-house engineer (or studio engineer) to do the right thing with those extra frequencies, making sure there’s enough space for the whole band to be heard.

Priced around the same mark as SM57, Sennheiser e609 is definitely a better first choice as a microphone for guitar amplifiers. Should you want to mic up a snare drum or other similar instruments, SM57 gets ‘the nod’ for versatility.

Why we love e906

Let us count the ways!

Even if you don’t take into consideration the extra features you get with e906, being the “switchable presence filter with three sound characteristic options: one to boost the presence range, one for ‘normal’ presence and one to attenuate the presence range“, the performance from e906 capsule is truly a class well above that of either e609 or SM57.

In fact, as we mentioned in our e906: way more than a guitar cab microphone article, the performance of e906 is way closer to Sennheiser MD421 than the similarly shaped e609, or the Shure SM57.

The new Industry Standard for guitar amps

There is definitely a reason (aside from the microphone shape) as to why e906 has really become the Industry Standard for guitar amps over the past 20 years. It didn’t happen overnight, but it most certainly did happen!

THE VERDICT – SM57 vs e609 vs e906

Which one should you get?

If your main task is sticking a mic infront of a guitar amp on stage and if you have the available funds, 100% the best choice is e906.

If you are choosing between the similarly priced e609 and SM57, the choice is pretty simple (in our opinion).

Choice 1 – if you need a mic for guitar amp, choose e609. It has been designed for exactly that application, with the right shape and a great sound to get the job done. It excels in the STAGE environment.

Choice 2 – if you need a well-priced ‘all-rounder’ for your next instrument mic, it’s a coin toss between either either e609 or SM57. Don’t be fooled by the side-address shape of e609, it will still work admirably for toms, horns, percussion and (of course) guitar. If you record drums, or need a stage mic for drums, lean towards SM57 because it’s still industry standard for snare drum.


GOODBAR – Complementarily Compact

Have you been sneaking a peak of the “gooseneck stand” in some of our images?

Let’s take a closer look at the fabulous GOODBAR.

GOODBAR helps shrink your stage footprint, by sliding into position either under the combo amp, or between the head and cab.

They’re easy to position, hold the mic in exactly the right spot (thanks to a nicely-sized gooseneck) and work for either the e609 / e906 shape, or also the SM57 / MD421 shape.

Even better for guitarists who like to carry their own gear to ensure the hard-earned and often expensive tone they’ve worked so hard to achieve is always reproducible, GOODBAR slips nicely into your gig bag alongside an e906. No need for a bulky microphone stand. They’re lightweight and will happily fly with your to the next interstate gig.

Special thanks to our friends around the corner at Deluxe Guitars for letting us have a play with some of their fabulous amps.

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