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Reviews Categories | Microphones | Marshall MXL-990 Vintage Style Studio Condenser Microphone Help

Reviews Summary for Marshall MXL-990 Vintage Style Studio Condenser Microphone
Marshall MXL-990 Vintage Style Studio Condenser Microphone Reviews: 24 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $70
Description: The MXL 990 has changed the way project studio recordings and live amateur radio audios are being created. Until now, condenser microphone prices have been out of the reach of most working musicians and amateur radio operators. Production breakthroughs have brought the MXL 990 into the price range of the home recording enthusiast and amateur radio operator. The 990 is a true, phantom powered, condenser microphone with a 6 micron, 20 mm. gold-sputtered diaphragm. The MXL 990 has a high quality FET preamp and its output is balanced. The sound and the appearance of the MXL 990 is reminiscent of the classic vintage vocal microphones of yesterday. 20 mm. Gold-sputtered, 6-micron, low distortion diaphragm, FET preamp with balanced output. Supplied with shock mount and mic stand adapter. Legendary MXL sonic characteristics, Comes in rugged carrying case.
Product is in production.
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KG6YV Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2008 09:09 Send this review to a friend
Superb sound for ~$50.00  Time owned: months
I bought the MXL990 to try with my Yaesu FT 2000 and Ft 1000D. I already had a Shure SM58 in line feeding both. First of all not all stores carry the 990 anymore, I found it @Musician's friend for ~$55.00.

- The setup I use includes the mic feeding a Belari tube preamp feeding a Behringer 1052 Tube Composer (compressor/limiter/gate) then straight into the transceiver's.

- General Observations: This mic is sensitive and smooth throughout its useable frequency range. It doesn't appear to have any major "humps" in response. The mic is clear and articulate through the midgrange and highs, very transparent, no veil or muddiness in the low bass.

- EQ settings: On the FT 2000 I use the same EQ settings as on the SM58. (100hz/BW2/-10,900hz/BW2/-10, 2100hz/BW4/+8). On the FT-1000D I use a W2IHY box only utilizing the tone controls. I leave the bass at 19 o'clock, treble to 3 o'clock.
- Performance:
1. On air comparisons with the Shure SM58 indicate that the MXL 990 is a good bit more transparent and articulate.
2. The MXL990 does not appear to exhibit the exagerated proximity effect of the SM58.
3. General audio reports from contacts are excellent, even some "wow"s when I run the audio BW on the FT 2000 to 3K. The FT-1000D has INRAD 2.8K filters and reports are "super audio". Doing an A/B comparison with the Shure 58 people prefer the Marshall although they say the Shure sounds fine. The Marshall seems to be significantly more transparent and articulate according to those who give me reports. What bass it has is also confirmed to be tight not muddy.


This mic costs a lot less than
- Yaesu MD1A8X ($200)
- Heil "anything" ($200-$350)
- SM58 (~$130)

Although I do not have a Heil to compare, I think this mic is a steal given its performance. I almost wish I had a Heil (don't want to pay the $$) so I could run a blind comparison....

Oh, and the microphone looks like a vintage ribbon mounted on a boom if you are into appearances.

My recommendation is to try it before spending big bucks on a microphone. For $50.00 you can't lose.

KX5JT Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2008 02:40 Send this review to a friend
Wow!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading the reports on this large diaphram condensor microphone and checking the price, I figured I would give it a try. WOW. I am not trying to achieve ESSB. I do like to sound good during ragchews. My Kenwood TS-570 limits TX bandwidth to only 2.4 Khz but I figured why not try to sound the best I can within those parameters. I aquired a Behringer VX-2000 Ultra Voice (compressor, expander, de-esser) on eBay for less than 100 bucks. It feeds the phantom power needed to the MXL-990 and does some nice light processing. I feed this via a balanced TRS cable into my Behringer UB-802 mixer which provides a 3-band EQ and some level control. This is fed into a W2IHY iBox and into my TS-570. I am getting unsolicited great audio reports now. I give this mic with it's awesome full range flat response a definite 5.

de KX5JT
KC0GSB Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2007 21:45 Send this review to a friend
Great Mic & Great Price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I saw the 990 on sale for 50 bucks, including the mount, and figured I couldn't go wrong for that price. I removed the PR-40, didn't change the EQ, and gave it a test. It blew me away! It actually sounded (to me anyway) better than the PR-40. I said to my self "No way"! The Heil cost me over 200 and that was without the spider mount. I kept testing between the two trying to convince myself that I didn't spend that 200 in vain. But guess which mic is now hanging from the boom. Maybe it is just my voice, but the 990 seems to be the best non-ribbon or non-tube microphone I've got. It does need the 48v that the Heil doesn't, but I've got several tube pre-amps so that's no problem. Oh well, it didn't come in a nice wood box like the Heil. Hey, this microphone is the real deal and the price is also a real deal. By the way, it also includes spare bands for the mount. You will not regret buying this mic.
KQ4KK Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2007 07:21 Send this review to a friend
A Real Big-Boy Microphone  Time owned: more than 12 months
I think I paid $59 and free shipping from MusiciansFriend. A value. Sounds great, full body, works great on my KWM-2A or 756Pro. Of course you have to feed it 48vdc like a real studio mic. I'm using a Berringer 803, that also cost around $60. Another value, if you add lots of RF chokes to all the cables coming and going. I love Heil mic's. Have lots of them. The 990 is a great, cheap addition to any shack.
W4MY Rating: 5/5 Apr 21, 2007 23:42 Send this review to a friend
Worth the Effort  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
After hearing the MXL-990 on the air it sparked me to read the reviews here and then I had to try it out. An order to MusiciansFriend with the outboard phantom supply and pop filter I was on my way 4 days later spending less than $100.

I mounted everything via the included isolation mount (a necessity IMHO) on my Heil topless boom and made all my cables. That takes some extra effort. If you buy all pre made cables thats fine, just more expensive. Every time I go to a hamfest I make sure I stock up on the connectors for all my radios so I can do things like this when I get the urge!

I wired the new mic via my 2-band W2IHY EQ/Noise gate to my FT-1000MP. Not that this is really necessary, but the W2IHY makes setting the levels a snap and inserting PTT.

I had to "re-learn" on how to speak into this mic. 8-12" away is the norm, not close up, it is very sensitive. So thats the other thing you have to watch out for with a condenser, its very sensitive. One time the phone rang in the other room and the guy I was in QSO with asked if I needed to step away and answer the phone! A quiet shack is a necessity.

Audio reports have ranged from "pleasent full sounding" to "fantastic".

Bottom line, for a condenser, this inexpensive unit would be tough to beat at twice the price. Properly applied, I think it sounds as good or better than the ham specific mics in the $300-400 range (you know the ones I'm talking about)But don't run out and buy one without thinking it through. A condenser is not the best choice in some situations.

I couldn't be more pleased with the results. And to think I did it all for less than $100 is icing on the cake.

73 Marty / W4MY
KE4ZHN Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2007 00:49 Send this review to a friend
Hard to beat for its class  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I got one of these as a gift from a friend and hooked it up to my 756Pro. Man! I run no outboard eq`s or audio crap at all and get excellent reports on the sound quality of my rig with this mike. I simply adjusted the internal menu settings on the Pro and of course run a phantom supply for powering the element. This is a great sounding mike for the price and it is clean and crisp on the air. I also use an AKG C1000S at times and this mike costs over double what the 990 does and nobody can tell the difference on the air. Only a slightly different menu setting is required to make them both sound excellent. This is now my favorite mike and its a pleasure to get on the air with it and not have to run all sorts of junk between it and my rig to sound good.
VK4JAM Rating: 5/5 Apr 1, 2006 21:37 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased the microphone after reading the reviews of this microphone on e-ham, and also several reviews on other music related sites.

I fully agree with the comments from KC8YXH: "On the air, this mic will make you clear and with great presence as anything you can possibly buy".

I have compared this with the expensive desk microphones from Yaesu and Kenwood, and there is simply no comparison. You will not regret investing in this microphone. Great value for money for excellent on-air audio.
W4TME Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2006 10:14 Send this review to a friend
WOW! The Heils are in their boxes  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
WOW. That is all I could say once I got the MXL 990 EQed properly and running with my two rigs. It sounds so natural and smooth compared to the Heil PR-20 that I have been using for years.

I decided to try out a large diaphragm condenser type mic to compare the difference between it and the dynamics I had been using. I don�t go after the ESSB sound and I don't have any fancy audio processing gear and except for the W2IHY EQplus, which primarily functions as the mic preamp with a little compression and downward expander thrown in for good measure.

After looking at lots of large diaphragm condenser mic reviews on the web, I was about scared away by the prices until I ran across a review of this mic on a audio recording web site. The reviews were stealer. I figured for $35 (and $35 for the shock mount) what did I have to loose?

I added an in-line 48v phantom power supply and connected it to my Pro II. A little minor fiddling with the EQ and it was sounding fantastic in the monitor circuit. I started making some QSOs and started receiving great reports. I have the 48v phantom power supply setup so I can easily switch it off in order to use non-powered mics. I plugged in the Heil PR-20 (reset the EQ) so I could do a side-by-side mic comparison. The on-air reports indicated that the MXL 990 was "more mellow and easier to listen to" than the Heil and it had more presence too. I also received unsolicited reports of "great sounding audio". It has also proven good in busting DX pileups too.

I then connected it to my SDR-1000 and did a side-by-side comparison with the Pro II. This time the SDR-1000 won hands down.

Don't get me wrong, the Heil is a very good mic, but for 1/4 the price of the PR-20, this mic sounds al lot better to me than the Heil.

Is a condenser mic right for you? Maybe. Maybe not. It does need a preamp and phantom power (easy to find), so it isn't plug-n-play, but if you want that large diaphragm vocal sound this mic can not be beat.

As noted in the summary, the PR-20 is back in its 20th Anniversary box resting comfortably on the shelf.

WA2MGB Rating: 5/5 Nov 30, 2004 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Marshall MXL-990 Great Mic DISCONNTINUED!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had read the previous reviews on this mic and decided to give it a try. Well, it is an great value at 59.00! The Muscians Friend is the only source at this point sine the mic has been disconntinued! Warm sound, with nice clarity. With a a little EQ it's a knock-out. Great for AM work. Takes a little more mic gain than the Behringer B1, but otherwise no complaints. Get one while you can....
WO7T Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2004 11:12 Send this review to a friend
Why spend more?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Glad I found these MXL-990 reviews in my research on condenser mics, as I'm getting wonderful audio reports from a microphone that looks wonderful mounted on the boom.

It is hanging mounted bare, as I've had no need for Pop Filters or Mic socks.

It has been tried on Kenwood and Yaesu HF radios so far, and no regrets at all. Sounds superb in SSB and AM modes. I can't see spending more $$, as I can't believe I'd sound any better.

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