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Summer NAMM 2009: MXL Mics (Video)

MXL's Multiple Microphone Launch
MXL Microphones have launched a number of new microphones, among them two ribbons. The first, the R77, is a mic that they describe as being “reminiscent of RCA ribbon mics of the 1930s”. It’s got a striking vintage look to it, with polished chrome and gold-coloured grille and yoke-style mount, and the manufacturers say that it can be used on a variety of sources, from acoustic instruments to horns and percussion.

According to the MXL technical data on the microphone, its figure-of-eight polar pattern has very precise and deep off-axis null points, and its frequency response, for a ribbon mic, is relatively flat across the range of audible frequencies. A limited edition of the R77, the ‘L’-suffixed model, comes fitted with a Lundahl transformer, which offers a different tonality and character to the standard version. The R77 costs $600, while the R77L costs $700.

The second of the two new ribbon mics from MXL is the R144. This enters the market at a considerably lower price point than the R77, at just $160. Aimed at the budget-conscious customer, it provides the smooth sound that’s characteristic of a ribbon mic at a price within reach of the typical home studio user. Its frequency response isn’t as wide as the more expensive R77, and it can be driven into distortion at a lower sound pressure level, so is probably better suited for use on acoustic instruments rather than loud sources such as guitar amps and brass.

A number of condenser mics have also been launched by MXL: the Gold 35 is a fixed-cardioid large-diaphragm condenser that costs $995. Billed as being “more than a microphone”, it has an unusually large 35mm capsule, and has a gold-plated body! The V89 is another fixed-cardioid condenser mic with solid-state circuitry. It’s described by MXL as being “a go-to microphone for all your studio work”, and at just $400, apparently performs as well and sometimes better than mics costing considerably more money.

Finally, MXL have launched a special edition of its acclaimed V69 tube condenser microphone. The V69XM has a transformer-balanced output stage, giving it much more punch in the low mid-range compared to its transformerless sibling. MXL say that, where the V69 has been popular as a vocal mic for modern pop, rock and hip hop recording, the ‘XM’ model will be more suited to spoken word and broadcast material, thanks to its beefier low end. It costs $600.

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