This mic is a definite classic, and you would be hard pressed to find a decent studio that didn't have at least one of these lying around. There is more than one version of the 421, and this is the original that is no longer in production. That said, there are a ton of them floating around in second hand sales. Many argue that this one sounds better than the newer MD 421 II
, but in my opinion they are quite similar. There is a difference, but it is slight. It is a dynamic microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern. It has a unique method of clipping on to stands, which is helpful when you are mic'ing up a drum set. These come with a roll-off filter that is switchable to a few different settings, but if you're mic'ing drums or bass, two common applications for this mic, you probably will want to leave that alone. It connects with a standard XLR mic cable.
I have been using these ever since I got started with recording. They sound great on pretty much all drums except the kick drum, although I know people who even use it there. The real selling point is using these on toms though, as they really shine in that situation and that's what these mics are primarily known for. They aren't so great above around 6k, so you wouldn't really want to use these for vocals or anything that you want to sparkle. But anything that you want to have some real substance and bite would do well to do be recorded with a 421. These mics are relatively cheap to come by, so they are definitely worth picking up. They are a great value considering the awesome sounds you can get through these. I couldn't imagine recording drums without them, so I would of course get them again.