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Does anyone here own an MXL 144 ribbon mic? If so, what are your impressions?


TheJackAttack Tue, 11/09/2010 - 20:22

Oktavamod has a mod for it already.
[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.oktavamo…"]Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly[/]="http://www.oktavamo…"]Award-winning microphone engineering from Michael Joly[/]

Like all things, you generally get what you pay for. There is a reason an R144 is $100 and a Royer is $800 or more. I'd think you would be better off looking at Cascade ribbons if you wanted a starter ribbon. Better yet just skip the starters and go for the Beyer M130/M160 combo. I'm thinking I'm going to look into a Cloudlifter from Cloud Microphones even though the True preamps have enough gain for Royers and others.

TheJackAttack Tue, 11/09/2010 - 22:08

The MXL ribbon is all over the place for about a C-note. If you have the money to burn then you might get lucky. Otherwise you would be $100 shy of the $700 for the Beyerdynamic M130 or the $220 for the Cascade Fathead II. The Cascade has some fans here and elsewhere so it at least has a track record. Check out [[url=http://[/URL]="http://recording.or…"]this[/]="http://recording.or…"]this[/] thread from our Microphone forum.

soapfloats Wed, 11/10/2010 - 00:57

What John said.

I own the Fathead IIs. I love them, as my only ribbons (minus my POS Nady RSM5s).
The Beyers top my mic wishlist, barring an SM7b or another 421 or two... (GAS!)
I like the idea of a Royer, but like the idea of owning two Beyers for slightly more.

I also own (have owned) MXL: 990 (x2), 603s (x2), 2000
I've since sold my 990s, and the others barely see the light of day.
Don't get me wrong - the 603s (decent pencil condenser) and 2000 (decent vocal mic) have served me well and made some fine recordings (and cheaply, at that).
Still, there's a reason I don't use any of them unless I have to.
And I have a rather modest (but nice) mic collection.

The MXL may be a find, or it may be like the above-mentioned mics.
I've learned to save my money for a known buy, unless the cost warrants the chance.

BobRogers Wed, 11/10/2010 - 05:03

I started out with the Cascade Fat Head pair and have since acquired the Beyer 130 and 160 and the AEA R84. I have not had a situation where I use all five in the studio, but I use the Cascades in situations where I don't want to risk the more expensive mics. For instance, I use one of the Fat Heads just about every Sunday to mic the violinist in our church praise band. I have the Cascade Fat Head II Blumlein pair in gold. Nice fit and finish - doesn't "feel" like a cheap mic. A lot of bling value. Makes a big impression on people who don't know much about mics.

anonymous Wed, 11/10/2010 - 15:47

One of the problems I face is sourcing mics, since I live in a small town near Toronto, but it is enough of a drive that I limit my travels there. Sure, anything can be ordered, but returns or service is always problematic. My regular supply of such gear is Long and Mcquade. They are very competitive in price and have a good return policy. The downside is that I am limited to what they carry. In any event, I will stay on the hunt for better mics. While on the subject, what about the AT 2020? The price is right, and I found a few good reviews, including one in Mix magazine, but a first hand report might be helpful. This mic is about $110 at L&M right now, and well within the budget.

TheJackAttack Wed, 11/10/2010 - 16:45

The AT build quality is generally quite good. There is a big difference between the 2000 series and the 4000 series. I think the 2020 will be a step up for you but you'd be better off with ab SM57 or two. For acoustic guitar you should be looking for a SDC (small diaghram condenser) and a LDC or a pair of SDC. As starter the SM57 is a mic you will ALWAYS find a use for no matter how many mics you own.

Davedog Thu, 11/11/2010 - 13:05

Audio Technica mics are serious professional gear. They do offer low-cost budget models of their upper crust stuff and the sound quality is it should be. For quality control, they are the best I have ever seen. And they're a fairly big and diverse company. Their return policy is not to be believed often resulting a new mic replacing something gone bad even out of warranty!

The 2020 is a nice starter mic. It will be a LOT better than what you are working on now. It will also likely stay in the mic locker longer than something that just gets you over the edge as you will always find a use for it somewhere when recording on a multiple mic situation. It could be the best under $100 condenser available.

fourone3 Fri, 11/12/2010 - 08:29

I recently tried it out on acoustic and electric (distorted) guitar. I thought it wasn't too bad with the acoustic, but I did not like it much on the electric.

I also used the KSM313 on electric, distorted, guitar. I absolutely loved that. I'm saving me monies for that one.

But, for the price of the R144, it wasn't horrible. See if you can find a local place to let you try it out for a day or two.

usurearz Thu, 02/20/2014 - 11:44

I've used the r144. You can get a decent result depending upon the source (trumpets good, overhead maybe, guitar cab, certain singers, or for MS recording with a little processing)

BUT you definitely need a higher output preamp. A cheapo will not due (unless you have someone pull it apart and put it back together better). I've heard that replacing the transformer helps tremendously but I don't know whether additional money spent on it is worth it or whether you'd be money ahead to go another route (more of a lower mid range piece, maybe).