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opinions on Marshall MXL 990 condensor mic


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I'll have one in my hands tomorrow or the next day, I'll let you know. FWIW the guys over on Hervey Gerst's Prosoundweb forum love it. You'll hear some bad things about the MXL mics but the only bad one I've heard is the 2001 (yuck!). I have a pair of 603's that are killer. Casey
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hmmm - even though i am just a small project studio and have watch every penny, i really have to wonder about all these very inexpensive mics out there now. i mean, let's see - i'm going to spend $3000 on a DAW, $1500 on a nice preamp, $1000 for software and plugins, another thou on converters and word clock, $1700 on monitors, and then, right at the most critical link in the entire signal chain, i'm gonna spend $79 for a microphone? that just doesnt make much sense to me... i'm only barely satisfied with my neumanns, royers and gefells, and would love to have the money to buy some schoeps or DPAs. i've owned lots of less expensive mics like neumann TLM103s, rode NTKs, SP C1s, AT4041s, rode NT5s, etc, and i cannot imagine being happy with anything that costs under $100 except for a sm57 for certain percussion parts.

jnorman

sunridge studios

salem, oregon

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There is certainly good logic to your argument, but these aren't science project mics from some pre-teen's garage. The Chinese have been building their own mics and reverse engineering german mics for about thirty years now but only recently have they been allowed to export to other countries. In some places they have right out impersonated other mics but at least in the US they have simply provided their parts and resources to US entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of thirty years experience and low manufacturing costs to bring great mics to the market in the US. As far as my ears are concerned, they sound pretty good. Look at the reviews the studio project mics are getting - that's chinese work in there. Casey
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your points are valid casey - and i can recognize that some of these mics might be quite useable in rock/pop applications with thick mixes. however, in the classical music work that i do, i have found that only the most neutral microphones will provide the kind of accurate response that is required for solo and small ensemble recording. from my experience, mics that have accentuated high frequency response generally sound shrill on instruments such as oboe, violin, flute, horns, etc. though i have made some pretty decent recordings of pianos and acoustic guitars with mics like the SP C1 and AT4041s, even there i really prefer a flatter mic such as the gefell M300, because it is so much easier to add a bit of high end to a flatter mic than it is to get rid of a harsh high end from a more hyped mic. however, i will add that whatever mic you can find that works for a particular vocal is the right mic to use, regardless of price or maker.

jnorman

sunridge studios

salem, oregon

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jnorman, what do you think is the best gear to record URB, either arco or pizzicato? ( I should add- I'm looking more for a really good, warm sound rather than necesarially exactly true to life)
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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I got the 990 for christmas.I am very pleased with it,so far.The only thing I've done so far is vocals on it.I wouldn't be affraid to use it as an overhead for drums.Maybe I'll get a chance this week to try that.I'll let ya know how it goes. :wave:
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[quote]Originally posted by cg1155: [b] The Chinese have been building their own mics and reverse engineering german mics for about thirty years now but only recently have they been allowed to export to other countries. In some places they have right out impersonated other mics but at least in the US they have simply provided their parts and resources to US entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of thirty years experience and low manufacturing costs to bring great mics to the market in the US.[/b][/quote]If I invest $70 in a mic and it falls apart, its not a big deal, but the bigger issue is, what kind of components are used in a mic such as this to be able to sell it for $70? Is the gold sputtering on the diaphragm simply a cheap gold plating that will corrode and wither after a couple of months use?? Is the wiring simply scrap that has maybe a 1 year shelf life at best??
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matt - way back in the stone age when i was an apprentice at deep south studios, i was taught to use a U87 in wide cardioid on acoustic bass, and that is still what i prefer. i would recommend a good tranny-based preamp which can react appropriately to the full low-end spectrum of that instrument. the newer U87ai's are a bit hyped compared to the older U87s, and may not be the best choice, but still and excellent mic for this purpose. i have used a rented AT4060 on bass a couple of times, and it was very sweet (that seems to be a pretty damn good all-around mic). iused a rode NTK once in a pinch, and it was wonderful at the bottom, but too hyped at the top, but was useable nonetheless. all things being equal, i guess something like the DPA 4006 (omni) would be probably the very best of all choices, with a schoeps mk2 a close second. the schoeps can be mounted on the bridge, and mixed with a more distant mic for a very rich effect. but even the little km184 will do a passable job on this appplication. i have also seen guys use old RCA ribbons on bass, though they tend to need some top EQ for my taste. keep fairly close to the body with any mic - 16-18" maybe. placement varies based on what you are doing - lower, near the body for general classical sound, up higher for more contempirary jazz work. here is a link to a discussion a while back at 3D forum - http://www.3daudioinc.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000233

jnorman

sunridge studios

salem, oregon

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Ahh classical, that's another beast entirely and I wouldn't step foot in there. [quote]If I invest $70 in a mic and it falls apart, its not a big deal, but the bigger issue is, what kind of components are used in a mic such as this to be able to sell it for $70? Is the gold sputtering on the diaphragm simply a cheap gold plating that will corrode and wither after a couple of months use?? Is the wiring simply scrap that has maybe a 1 year shelf life at best?? [/quote]It's my impression that the costs are lower because of economy of scale and lower labor costs in China - the factories that are making them (and there's only about 3) are selling the parts through several american third parties (groove tubes, studio projjects, MXL) as well as other foreign markets and of course the domestic market. I've seen several posts from Allen Hyatt (studio projects head guy I think) and he has always stated that quality is their number 1 concern. All the reviews I've read (except for the MXL 2001 - this mic is not great, but not horrible) have remarked on a general consistency from unit to unit that is acceptable and a build quality that is at least average and in the case of some mics quite a bit above average. Of course, the only way to be satisfied is to open one up yourself. Casey
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I don't have the 990 but I do have the MXL1006 LD and a couple of the MXL1000 SD condenser mics. I love them. The 1006 and the 1000s have traveled some and all came through with flying colors. The 1000s have been used outdoors in all kinds of weather with no apparent problems or degradation. I also have the Fox dynamic mic. The MXL sound and quality of build,that I've seen so far, has convinced me to purchase additional MXL mics. I don't think I'll be disappointed in anyway.

 

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Well, my girlfriend picked me up a 990 this past holiday. The package is good. It comes with the mic case, spider shockmount, mic clip, and of course, the mic itself. When I first got it, I opened up the mic. It looks like it's transformerless. The work inside was pretty clean. Just like a guitarist has his lick that he'll play on guitars to test them out, I usually hook up a mic flat, and sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" through it. I used the Sytek. The 990 was really tuned in to the sound of my breath, which was kind of cool. It definitely has that "prefabricated" eq thing going on, but in a smoother way than many of the other chinese mics. The top was not "tizzy." My next test was micing up my 30's Gibson L50, a "f-hole acoustic" for those not familiar with the model. The L50 has a beatiful sound full of rich octave, and fifth overtones. Notes just decay into the sweetest overtones. I've always had a hard time preserving that "harmonic effect" and actually getting it into the recording. Setting up the 990 about a foot away from the guitar, angled towards the upper bass bout, I got a strong tone full of harmonic content. At the same time, on chords, I felt that the 990 didn't deliver true clarity of every note. For example, the KSM 44 just killed it in that regard; I could clearly hear every note in the chord, and still get the strong harmonics. With the 990, there was a tendency for the notes to mush together a little, but in a sonically pleasing way...much like the effect of tape saturation. As a matter of fact, I recorded a little 30 second acoustic sample to play for some different people, and a lot of people actually thought I had recorded it onto tape. I definitely write it up to that "lack of clarity." I don't know if you would notice it on a solo instrument though. That's all I've tried it on so far- it's been a busy holiday, but I'm going to use it more extensively on a session later in the week.

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