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Reviews Categories | Microphones for ham radio | Marshall MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone Help

Reviews Summary for Marshall MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone
Marshall MXL R144 Ribbon Microphone Reviews: 6 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $159.95
Description: Incorporating a Figure 8 polar pattern and a 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon, the R144 offers breathtaking sound for vocal and instrument recordings and is an excellent microphone for broadcast applications. The R144 also performs brilliantly on acoustic instruments, strings, and horns and offers high SPL capability, outstanding side rejection and precise directivity.

• Figure 8 polar pattern for outstanding side rejection and precise directivity
• High SPL capability
• Delivers unbelievably natural sound and stunning realism to vocal and instrument recordings
• Distinctive body design with purple and chrome metal finish
• Includes R144 ribbon microphone, shockmount, carrying case, cleaning cloth, manual & application guide
Product is in production.
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K7JOE Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2016 04:35 Send this review to a friend
Voodoo audio got under a Ben Franklin !!!   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Heard a guy on 40 SSB and he sounded great. He was using a Marshall MXL R144. I went out and got one from eBay for under 100 dollars. Agree with other inputs. For less than a hundred bucks you have a voodoo audio capable setup. I don't run much SSB or eSSB but this thing seems to be just the ticket for smooth audio at a reasonable price. Looks very nice too. I built my own cable. XLR to 8 pin mic cable. For PTT I am using a home made PTT key as I don't like VOX.

Anyway. If you want nice audio, this is the ticket. Better than Yaesu MD-1. Astatic D104, kenwood MC60, electrovoice 664, Collins SM-1, Turner +3 and a lot of other Mics that I've tried. Bob Heil makes some good ham Mics but at this price point this Marshal is hard to beat. Give it a try.

Tip: MXL R40 is essentially same mic but is an OEM for other companies to put their label on or house label perhaps. Sometimes can be found a few bucks cheaper.
KK4PIV Rating: 5/5 Mar 12, 2015 20:32 Send this review to a friend
Great Performance!!! and Value  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been using this with my FLex 3000 and had nothing but great reviews. If you have the capability to do some EQ you can't go wrong for approx. $80. The ribbon mic has a rich sound tht is hard to get elsewhere. It is my preference over the others, Heil, Shure, Radio Shack and etc.
W2TCB Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2013 11:23 Send this review to a friend
Great Mic!!!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I love microphones and have been using this one on my Kenwood TS-2000 for about 6 months. With just a little low freq cut I am getting great audio reports- smooth audio "it sounds like you". Can't ask for more.

W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2013 10:05 Send this review to a friend
"Tie a ribbon around this one"  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an initial review for the Marshall Electronics MXL R144 ribbon microphone, which I have been bench testing for just over one week.

I have long been fascinated with ribbon (velocity) microphones as a class. They are probably best identified with the legendary series of RCA broadcast microphones (various models bearing the “44" and “77" designations). Introduced in the 1930s, these ubiquitous microphones took radio and, later, TV broadcasting through to the end of the RCA broadcast era. They are now collector’s items, and I have had no expectation of ever owning an original. Still, I have wanted to have at least one ribbon in my collection.

Ribbon microphones are difficult to produce, expensive to buy, and finicky to use, but they have excellent properties for conveying voices. When, by chance, I noticed in the earlier E-ham reviews that a true ribbon microphone was available for less than $100, I went for it.

Along with the other dynamic, condenser, and electret classes of microphones in my collection, I put the new R144 through a series of “recording direct to digital media” bench tests of my voice. (See my other microphone reviews for details). I then inter-compared the performance of the various microphones in focused, standardized playback/listening tests.

Initial results show that the R144 produces surprisingly good results in voice recording. There is good articulation in whatever tiny “high end” exists in my voice. The published frequency response curve for the microphone shows about a +4 dB peak near 300 Hz. In use, that peak is certainly noticeable, giving “fullness” and warmth to the low end of my recorded voice! The result may be pleasing for voice recording, but probably is a bit excessive for on-air use. However modern rigs, using either inboard or outboard microphone equalizers, should be able to routinely tame this prominent bottom end without much difficulty.

I did not notice any especially low level of voltage output from the R144 operating as prescribed. My mixer needs about the same amount of microphone gain for the R144 as it does for most of my other mikes.

As noted in the earlier reviews, ribbons are somewhat fragile and require some care in handling and using. That’s not a “breaking news bulletin!” item. So the R144 probably should not be taken out on Field Day or similar jaunts. It is a fixed station microphone, and either a microphone windscreen or external “pop” filter would be a very worthwhile addition.

As with almost all ribbon mikes, the R144 produces a “figure 8" polar response pattern. In a broadcast studio environment two actors could share the same ribbon microphone, standing front and back. In a ham shack, the R144 might pick up noise and reverb from behind as well as a voice in the front. That possibility would need to be planned for.

It’s my “rule of thumb” that “exclusively ham shack” microphones should not cost over $75 in today’s market. The R144 is just a “smidge” over that limit, so its purchase solely for ham use is probably still justified.

The R144 is not a $3,000 or even a $300 microphone, and it won’t support unlimited performance expectations either. It is “American designed, Chinese manufactured,” and of good but not excellent production quality. But within its price class, and with the understanding that some external equalization work on it will be necessary, it will do a surprisingly good job for voice transmission. For those who may want a more rugged, low cost, exclusively-ham-station microphone that could be better suited to “plug and play” operation in the shack, the Audio Technica ATR1300 dynamic microphone (also in my collection) would probably be a better choice.

I’m enjoying getting to know the R144, and may have more to report about it in a year or so.
WB4U Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2013 18:26 Send this review to a friend
Low Price Surprise!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was looking for an alternative mic for the typical "ham" microphones that are, in my opinion, overpriced. The MXL R144 is such an alternative. I found my R144 New on EBay for $86 with free shipping. Overall an excellent bang for your bucks. This mic will need an outboard equalizer or your radio should have EQ you can use to make adjustments. This mic had a very wide frequency range and has a significant boost at the low end. On most ham rigs, it will sound bassy and muffled, so you'll need to take some of the bass out. Once that is done you'll have nice mellow rag-chew, natural sounding audio. I run this microphone with my Icom IC-7600 and for SSB I boost the treble to +5 and lower the bass to -4 and get great audio reports. I've had no issues with RFI and the microphone just plain looks great. As I said, best bang for the buck. New, it comes with the mic and a shock mount to hang on a support boom. It has a standard US thread for microphones. You could also use a desk stand for the mic. Remember, this is not an end fire type mic, it has a figure 8 pattern front to back with the side showing the "8" the front. The general specifications are very close the the Heil PR-781, but with a boost in bass response from about 100 to 600 Hz of 3 to 5dB then mostly flat up to 17KHz and an impedance rating of 250 Ohms compared to the 600 Ohms of the PR-781. The R144 is a studio type microphone for live recording or performances and requires a balance 3 pin XLR male connector at the mic. IT DOES NOT require 48V phantom power. In fact you'll most likely destroy this mic if you apply the phantom power to it. On most modern ham rigs you'll find a mic audio in, a mic ground, and a common ground. This is perfect for the R144, mic audio + to the mic audio connection, mic - to the mic ground connection and the shield to the common ground connection.Of course there is no provision at the R144 for PTT so you'll need to use either VOX or some sort of hard PTT like a foot switch or hand switch PTT. Great mic, great price, great looks, what more could you want.
N2EAC Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2010 20:55 Send this review to a friend
Great Quality at a Bargain Price  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
At the suggestion of several of my fellow hams, I invested the $99.95 in an MXL R144 Ribbon Mic. Yes, a ribbon mic for $99.95. I have used condenser mics and dynamic cardioid mics. Now, I am certainly no sound engineer expert, but as an "average joe" ham, I do know condenser mics are hot and at times difficult to tame and the they are sensitive to hummidity. Dynamic mics are a different animal for me in terms of dealing with background noise and having to eat the mic to avoid the ambient noise. On the down side, ribbon mics don't handle abuse (i.e. being banged around) well at all and like to have a preamp. Traditionally, ribbon mics have been cost prohibitive to buy, but that being said the R144 is a bargain.

Further, the fidelity and specs from R144 are amazing

Type: Ribbon Velocity Microphone
Ribbon Element: 1.8-micron aluminum ribbon
Ribbon Length: 47mm/1.85 in.
Frequency Range: 20Hz -17kHz
Polar Pattern: Figure 8
Sensitivity: -56 dB (0 dB=1V/Pa)
Impedance: 250 ohms
Rated Load Impedance: >1500 Ohms
Max SPL for 0.1% THD: >130 dB @1 kHz
Size: 47mm x 171mm/1.85 in. x 6.75 in.
Weight: 400g/0.85 lbs
Metal Finish: Purple and chrome

I have been using the R144 for several months now. Audio reports have been outstanding and I have now put alll of my other mics back in their boxes. If you are looking for a good rag chew mic at a good price point then this microphone is worth a look.

Best, 73, Ed, N2EAC

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