Not For Everyone
After years of using trusty old Shure SM and Beta 58 microphones at gigs, I began to grow curious as to whether there was a better mic out there for my voice. After trying out various mics at gigs (AKG D5 & C5, Shure SM86 & Beta 87a, Audix OM5 & OM7, Sennheiser e835 & e845), I was led to explore the Sennheiser 900 series by the recommendation of a few friends. So, I borrowed an e945 and e935 and compared them pretty intensively (back and forward for a few hours a day) for about two weeks.
First off, don't let anyone tell you that Shure is the "industry standard," and therefore the best choice. Yes, Shure is a time tested favorite. But if you research the touring rigs of chart-topping artists, Sennheiser will come up at least as much as Shure. Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera...the list could go on and on. Bottom line, if you insist on putting any importance on "what the pros are using," Sennheiser is as good as any.
Second, don't let ANYONE tell you that the 935 and 945 are the same, minus the polar pattern. They sound quite different from each other, and a voice that sounds great on one could sound totally uninspiring (or downright unpleasant) on another. I personally found that my voice benefitted from the e945's extra clarity and presence, along with the tight and responsive lows (it sounds way more ballsy than any Shure that I've tried). My bandmate, on the other hand, sounded piercing on the 945ówe were both literally cringing when he sang anything in his upper register. The much warmer e935 was perfect for him.
The moral of the story: this mic sounds like no other, and with the right singer it can be the perfect choice. The presence is not overdone like I found some competitors to be, and it far more pristine and clear sounding than any other mic I have tried. However, you really need to try a range of mics to decide if it's right for you, because no mic is flattering on everybody. I hope to never sing live into anything else now.