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Super-Cheap MXL Mics.

I'm a sucker for strange, cheap mics. I picked up a pair of the super-cheap MXL's at Guitar Center. (Same company as Musician's Friend.) Though I have a closet full of Shures, Sennheisers, AKG's, Royers, Neumanns, AT's, etc, I actually went back and bought a second pair to give to a friend.

These are worth the tiny amount of money, just don't expect a fantastic studio mic that will last you for years. They are just something to learn with, have fun with. It's simply not possible to find your own personal way around the world of microphones without trying different things, experimenting and practicing. One valid philosophy is to save up for a few good general purpose mics (414, 4050, +57's, etc.). Another is to play around and experiment with whatever you can get your hands on.

Anyway, both of the MXL's have a ton of handling noise, and are very sensitive to air movement. Definitely invest in a pop screen for the side address, and treat the pencil with serious care. Based on all of 20 minutes of experience, I would say both are certainly usable. Both tend towards brightness, but they aren't spitty. Careful placement will make them work.


Davedog Sun, 08/06/2006 - 09:52
I tried one of those. The roar of the self-noise drowned out any attempt at intimacy I could setup. I suppose for a starter set they would do. Perhaps I had an exceptionally noisy set. They seemed like a perfect example of buyer beware.

Dont misunderstand, I LOVE mics and have a bunch of odd ones too. I really like finding gems that cost nothing and have no qualms about sticking them up in a session. These were not something I could recommend. As always....YMMV.

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 08/06/2006 - 11:39

I got one of those MXL V63M mics for free, and still have yet to try it....I'm not really expecting any great things from it but it was free....
was just wondering what anyone thought of them as far as how they stack up with their counterparts of any ever increasing number of el-cheap-o mics out there. did you find any particular use for them besides a paper weight ?

Pro Audio Guest Sun, 08/06/2006 - 11:40
No misunderstanding here... I really appreciate the info. I tried two sets. You are right, the self-noise is high, but not the worst I've seen from The Attack Of The Clones crowd. The ones I have could pass in a typical home studio, where the ambient is 40+ dB anyway. Certainly, I can imagine with the level of QC they can afford, some might be too noisy.

Also, I'll try them on a few more pre's, to see if load impedance is a factor in the noise.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 08/29/2006 - 22:46
Re: Super-Cheap MXL Mics. !!ALERT!!


I had my MXL 990's freak out tonight when using a really short (~3 ft) cable during vocal trials. Lot's of hiss, spit, unstable whistles... clearly an RF oscillation problem. The noise and harshness went away with a 20 ft cable, or when I swapped to a pre with an input Z
I was putting up a bunch of mics for test when it happened. Both the 990's did the same thing, and none of the other mics, cheap or expensive, had the problem.

It would seem apparent that the MXL 990's need to see some loading to work correctly. Maybe this weekend I'll do some more detailed bench tests, and report.