New dirt-cheap tube mic from Marshall: MXL V69

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by k.w.blackwell, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. k.w.blackwell

    k.w.blackwell Active Member

    Mar 2, 2001
    Some of you might have noticed Marshall had a newer mic out not long ago named the MXL V69, a tube mic listing at $399 and being sold by some for under $300. The official Marshall web site had some incredible (literally) specs for the thing, include single digit self noise. Such incredulity was bluntly expressed on RAP not long ago. I kept asking around to see who had heard it, including Harvey, but no one new diddly. After a short while, the Marshall web site no longer showed any specs for the V69.

    I finally got more info on this mic. Marshall decided to redesign the mic's preamp board at the last minute (even recalling those that were shipped) due to something that they didn't notice at first and which *might* bother some folks, but which ultimately wasn't necessarily a major problem. I won't go into details, as they are irrelevant for everyone except those folks who bought one of the original mics (some of whom refused to send theirs back in the recall).

    Suffice it to say that the redesigned version has slightly higher noise floor (in line with other tube mics) and a bolder midrange. But none of us heard the first one, so who cares about what they changed?

    On to my point: they just got their first shipment out last week (export) and we all should be able to get them in another 2 weeks or so. I'm not sure if this is a new price barrier breakthrough on a tube mic, but it sure is cheap. The V77 costs more, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a better mic for any particular application.

    Why am I telling you this? Well, first of all, I am considering buying one, but perhaps someone out there reading this will want one even more than me, get it before me, try it, and tell us all how it compares. And if I get one before you, well, you all have no reason to trust anything I would say about it, right? I would normally discuss this on RAP, but at the moment I'm feeling this is a more suitable forum since Harvey did a full review of the original MXL mics, and this is Harvey's forum.

    And besides, Harvey, you should be getting one from Brent to try out. You might want to ask him about the details I didn't reveal above, as it is a mildly interesting story. But if you do get one, Harvey, please let us know as soon as you can manage it how this mic compares. You're still the pope, even if you can't qualify as a "bottom feeder" anymore. :)

    If anybody else gets to try these out, please let us know what you think.
  2. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Finally, a question about a subject I know a little bit about.

    Unfortunately, I don't know anything about this new mic, except they had some production problems with it and I'm not sure it's shipping yet. I'm trying to get out of the reviewing business if at all possible, except for a few things.
  3. brucelivolsi

    brucelivolsi Guest

    I'm sorry I don't know anything about the V69, but I'd love to try one! I've had a pair of 2001's (that shipped with the 603) for about a year now. I'm very happy with the sound of the 2001. I use one in my digital home studio and one for a recorded weekly radio program. I've had numerous comments from studio clients complimenting the vocal sound. For my money, the MXL 2001 is so awesome, I'm ready to consider buying a third mic from Marshall - a tube mic like the V77 or maybe the V69.
  4. Wayne Butler

    Wayne Butler Guest


    Along the MXL line, have you heard anything on the V63M, which I'm assuming is a MARS special. Is it a 2001 or a V67? Have you heard it?

    The one I opened up didn't have the transformer or the same board as my V67. The board actually looked similar to the board I got from Scott.

    I finally got rid of my C3000's and figured the MXL's would probably sound better anyway.

    I sent my two 603's back to Brent and he did his magic on 'em. They're very quiet and very close on sound and output to each other.
  5. kylethompson

    kylethompson Guest

    It is insane how cheap reasonably good microphones are getting. The SE Electronics SE5000 tube mic is one of the best of the chinese condensers I've heard and it's 300 from Bayview. I A/B'd it with an AKG Solidtube and it was way better. A much higher output, sweeter high end but slightly higher self noise.
    Or, if you're the adventurous type, try the Royer mod to the Marshall condenser!
    Please let me know what you think of the v69 when you get it.
  6. jeronimo

    jeronimo Guest

    What about the SE 3500 and other SE mics compared to Marshalls?
  7. kylethompson

    kylethompson Guest

    I don't have all that much experience with the Marshalls, but I use the SE mics everyday. The 3500 is probably my favorite new mic out there for under a $1000, followed by the SE500. The SE3500 was designed as a TLM103 ripoff and it sounds very good. I don't have a 103 to ab it with, but I suspect that the 103 is a bit more nuetral. The 3500 has a little hype in the highs that I really like, but that probably makes a little less flexible. Though for $149 (the 3500) and $300 (the 5000) it's almost criminal not to give them a listen.
  8. k.w.blackwell

    k.w.blackwell Active Member

    Mar 2, 2001
    Well, I've got to admit that I've been tempted to just go ahead and buy one now that they're showing up on ebay for less than filament audio sells them. But a little voice inside keeps saying, "Wait, you could be spending those dollars on mics that you know are gonna be keepers."

    Truth is, I have a more pressing need to pick up some high quality small-diaphram condensers. I'm still kicking myself for missing out on a pair of Schoeps CMC5's with MK4's that went for about $1000 on ebay a couple of weeks ago. ;)
  9. k.w.blackwell

    k.w.blackwell Active Member

    Mar 2, 2001
    Originally posted by Keith W Blackwell:
    Update, just in case some lurker cares:

    I bought a couple of Marshall MXL 603s's, and a R0de NTK (from Ken Avant). The NTK is admittedly $200 more expensive than the MXL V69, but it's gotten a great rep already as a no-regrets great value. I would love to report to you all how these compare to other mics but I really don't have anything to compare with; these are the best condensers of their respective kinds I've ever worked with, which ain't sayin' a lot. So I won't waste bandwidth beyond saying that I am very pleased with these mics, so far.

    I am still very curious to know how the V69 stacks up against the competition, so if any of you finds out, please let us all know. I doubt they can come close to the seriousness of the NTK, but since you can 2 of them for the price of an NTK plus $50 or so, they might very well be a good choice.

    Now that I've got 2 SM58's, 2 Beyer M201's, 1 ATM-25, 1 R0de NT-1, 2 Marshall MXL-603s's, and 1 R0de NTK, along with a couple of modified RS PZM's (plus a nice little "pen mic" I made), I figure I can make do with those until I can pick up a decent figure 8 mic and a nice ribbon mic (probably both the same mic), and maybe a used EV RE-20 or Beyer M-88 at a great price. If I can ever figure out how to make money with this hobby, I'll spring for a couple of Schoeps CMC5's with 2 MK41s and one MK8 (yeehah). Yeah, Dream On. At least I sold the old C1000s's (helped to finance this latest purchase!). That's worth celebrating, right?

    By the way, I am disappointed with one aspect of the NTK: the cardboard box it came it (with a plastic carry-handle) is too flimsy to trust, and I can't cram the shock mount in there at all. Is there anywhere to buy one of those nice-looking flight cases (like the SE mics come in) that would fit the NTK? I suppose the cardboard box will do for storing the NTK when not in use in my little "studio", but I'm nervous about carting this thing to other locations.
  10. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Marshall did call me a few weeks ago and asked if I would look at / listen to their new tube mic and I said I would. They said they'd ship me one, but I haven't seen it so far.
  11. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    For a cheaper, better case for all those mics that come with either a glorified condom or a cardboard box, check out harbor freight tools. Their site is - If you search on "case" you will get a lot of other stuff, and several different sized aluminum cases. Here is a link to a good size for 1 or 2 condensers with/without shock mount for $11.

    You'll probably have to cut your own foam... Steve
  12. k.w.blackwell

    k.w.blackwell Active Member

    Mar 2, 2001
    Thanks muchly! Looks like exactly what I was asking for. Very helpful. You know, I've tried cutting foam for such a thing before using a serated CutCo knife, and the results sucked. I'll have to keep it simple, I guess.

    By the way, Harvey, Brent told me he was going to send me something (not a mic, but anyway...), and I never got anything from him. That was before I started this thread. Doesn't matter by now; but if it was Brent, you might want to follow up by asking him if/when he actually ships it. Maybe he's got too many irons in the fire and occassionally loses his "to do" lists. :)
  13. I've gotten great results cutting foam with an electric carving knife.
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