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All user reviews for the MXL 990

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Average Score:3.9( 3.9/5 based on 22 reviews )
 6 reviews27 %
 3 reviews14 %
 3 reviews14 %
 2 reviews9 %
Value For Money : Excellent

stompboxjon's review"not a fan of the look"

MXL 990
I wasn’t too sure about the MXL 990 at first just because of its appearance. Most mics that look like this sound horrible and they make them look like this (really goldish and shiny) to attract people then once you get it you realize how bad of a decision you just made. But that wasn’t the case with the 990 by MXL. Now I wont say that the quality you will get will blow your sox off, but for the price that it cost brand new there are few other mics in that range that can even compete with it.


The best thing about this mic is that me having a deep voice sounded great on it, which was a plus because its always so hard to find a mic for my low tones that I sing and hum in. Most mics just don’t pic up the low’s too clean and they end up sounding really muffled. But the MXL 990 specializes in picking up those low tones and base tones. I have not used it on my acoustic or any other instrument yet, but they claim that the MXL 990 is an “all purpose” sort of a mic. I have used it for over a year, but I do not own it anymore now. I have gave it to a friend who needed something to record on and I have a lot of mics so it didn’t hurt me to give him one to use. He loves it and hasn’t complained yet. I just cannot stand the way that it looks, it just seems really cheap looking to me. I am very thankful that it doesn’t sound like it looks, which is pretty much what I thought was going to happy. Overall, it’s a solid mic for a decent price and it will not disappoint you.

James...'s review"Great value condenser"

MXL 990
People should keep in mind. This is a value mic. You aren't going to get $3000 sound quality from it. I just wanted to say that up front. But for the price this thing is great. This is a very cut and dry condenser with no frills at all. However I was shocked at the build quality. It's built quite solidly despite the specs making it appear cheap. It's not cheaply built.


I initially got this for a friend who needed a cheap vocal mic, but during testing it we discovered it had a lot of other applications. Yes it does vocals pretty well. Particularly male tenor vocals. That seems to be the sweet spot. We did not try female vocals on it. It didn't like low male vocals very much. It takes a specific mic to do that well. It's not very forgiving if you have imperfections in your voice. A lot of cheaper condensers are like this. So if you are a bad singer it will show it with flying colors. If you have bad technique this mic can fix that. It's also very volume sensitive and it can peak pretty easilly. You have to play with the levels a bit to get it right. Not a huge issue really since this is a studio mic and you can control the environment.

We also found it was great on dreadnought acoustics and other smaller bodied guitars. The clarity and trueness to the sound was very surprising and this mic beat out a few small condensers we had costing a lot more. This gave us the idea that it might make a good ambient mic because of the clarity, but we tried it for hallway vocal slams and it was too "bouncy". I'm not sure how to describe it but it doesn't fair well as a room mic. Still though, for the cash this is phenomenal. Get one.

moosers's review

MXL 990
The MXL 990 is a large diaphragm, FET preamp based, condenser microphone, aimed at the consumer looking for a condenser microphone for their home studio. The 990 is featured in a mic package with the MXL 991 (a small diaphragm pencil condenser), and has become very popular over the years as it was one of the first microphone packages to be super cheap and easily available to home studio owners. This was actually the microphone package I purchased when I first starting putting my home studio together about seven years ago, although I no longer own these mics. The 990 specifically is a cardioid based mic, with a frequency response ranging from 30 Hz to 20 kHz.


The MXL 990 is quite a popular mic and for a pretty good reason considering the price. It has a pretty decent sound and will pick up pretty much everything in the room as it's quite sensitive. I wouldn't consider it a professional mic, but for recording demos at home, it will get the job done, and I know people will be using it for more than this anyway. It's a good combo with the MXL 991 if you buy them in a pack together as you're getting a good range between the two of them. I've used the 990 for recording vocals amongst other things, and it definitely does have a pretty clear sound even if it's not the richest sounding microphone out there. I think you can buy the 990 on it's own, but if you can still buy it along with the MXL 991 at the same price, I'd recommend doing that if you're looking to get the cheapest possible condenser microphones that don't sound terrible. While the 990 wouldn't be my first choice out there, you can't go wrong for the price.

Anonymous 's review"Weirdest microphone ever."

MXL 990
*Microphones are very subjective. Some microphones that work for some brilliantly may be disastrous on others. It is therefore important to understand the context in which this review is written and take it with a grain of salt, like all reviews on microphones should be treated.*

Except for this one. The MXL 990 is a very popular microphone for one reason. It's cheap. It features a 30-20,000Hz response, and comes without any bells and whistles. No pads. No roll-off switches. That's understandable, since the MXL 990 is stupendously affordable. The diaphragm is also only about 3/4" inches wide, so it isn't a large diaphragm condenser, like many people seem to believe.


The MXL 990 is famous. It's famous because it's cheap. That means every single one of my friends who sort of cares about recording owns one of these.

There's very little to this microphone, because of its lack of frills. You either like it or you don't. Most people who have never recorded with this microphone will enjoy it, but for those of us who have used better equipment, this microphone is somewhat of a running joke on forums when wide-eyed beginner recordists ask for suggestions and bring it up. In the frequency graph, it has a strange rise in the sibilance range and a drop off right before the airiness. It also has a reduction of low-mids, making this microphone sound rather brittle. When I used it, there was a strange effect going on in the lacking mid-range. When I read Michael Joly's mod package for the MXL 990, he mentions a mid-range phase shift. That's just one of the problems that seem to plague this microphone.

You might appreciate it if you've never used a studio condenser before, but the MXL 990 is not exactly a place I would recommend beginning. I would recommend the Audio-Technica AT20-series for some neutrality or the MXL V67 for a more proper definition of high-end.

windigo's review"I've learned that this is a good mic"

MXL 990
Vocals, instruments.
Cardioid condenser mic, super Pro quality.
Testing it is buying it.
Everything has been said already


Four months.

Yes, several, but for its price, it can give a good lesson to entry-level and high-end mics.
Pros: Everything. It comes with a suspension shock mount, plastic case and mic stand (useless except for podcasts).
Its new color: Champagne, although you can also find them in "Gold" secondhand.
Its versatility, a real all-purpose mic to have in your arsenal.
It remains one of my favorites, together with the AKG perception, which are budget-friendly.
Cons: None.
Certainly a good choice. It isn't sold new anymore, except in the United States, which is a pity for many. It's been reissued and is available again in Europe. You shouldn't pass up the opportunity, it's Pro quality for the same price of a B1 or Apex!

Quemar's review"Good, but try it before you buy it"

MXL 990
It works fine with instruments and vocals (although it depends on the timbre of the voice, obviously). This was my first condenser mic and I still use it. It has a particular color, but it's impossible for me to tell you exactly what it is, because I have two and they don't sound the same. One is warm and has a nice color, while the other one is very timid or dull I should say. I even bought another one that is outright lifeless.


I've used it for four years.
I prefer it over some other more prestigious ones.
Pros: Value for money
Cons: It's a bit like playing the lottery (one sounds good, the other one not so...)
But I still recommend it: A mic with this quality and price tag is definitely worth a chance.

Brassplyer's review

MXL 990
I've used it to record voice, horns and acoustic guitar. Is it the greatest mic ever? Possibly not but I believe it represents a substantial bang for the buck. I can only assume those who rate its sound extremely negatively either had a defective unit or didn't really know what they're doing or didn't take the time to work with it to get the most out of it. Here's some examples from things I've used it on. Non-treated room, differing degrees of processing. I think with further experimentation it can sound even better on the acoustic 6 string.

bpmccauley1's review

MXL 990
This is a quality (for the price) condensor microphone. It has a 3/4" gold sputtered diaphram. The frequency response is 30Hz-20kHz, with a 130dB max SPL. Not to mention it comes with a shockmount, mic stand adapter, and a pretty sturdy case.


I've been using this mic for about a year or so. I'll admit that I wasn't really sure what to expect from a condensor mic that cost less and $100, but I love it. This mic is a great value for the price, and the sound is great.
I do alot of acoustic guitar recording along with vocals. The mic is great for my vocals and the gutiar both. When I use it I get a live performance feel from it. I really like that because the sound from the recording is exactly the sound I hear from my voice and my guitar.
When I record my guitar with it I use this mic at the 12th fret and the MXL 991 at the sound hole and I love what I get from it. Using this technique I get a stereo sound without having to record the track twice, makes recording alot easier.
I've uses other condensors, MXL, AKG, and others and to be honest for what I do I love this mic and really can't tell much of a difference from its performance compared to more expensive mics.
I'm really glad that I bought this mic, I couldn't have expected more from it. In fact, it far surpassed my expectations of it. It is my goto mic, even though I have access to much more expensive ones.
This mic is durable as well, after a show once I set the mic case on top of my car and forgot it. I drove off and the case fell on the road. My buddy picked it up for me and after all was said and done the mic was unharmed and still performed perfectly.
In short, buy this won't regret it!

peepsaudio's review

MXL 990
This is a large diaphragm condenser microphone. I got this mic a few years ago as part of a $100 discount package of microphones. They are obviously very cheap and I'll tell you right off the bat that you get what you pay for. This has a standard XLR connection. It requires phantom power to use it. It is a cardioid pickup pattern. There isn't a pad or pickup pattern switch, so that gives it limited versatility. The grille is kind of thick, so that does help a bit with plosives if you want to record any vocals.


I've had this mic for a few years, and have only ever used it a handful of times when traveling so I didn't have to worry about something happening to a nicer mic. It really doesn't sound very good. The bass end sounds thin and under-represented, and the mid-highs are really overdone. Overall the sound is very harsh and unpleasant. The transients seem smeared as well. There is a lack of detail in the ultra-highs, which prevents this mic from sounding smooth. It sounds better than the mic built in to your laptop, but not by all that much. One saving grace of this mic is that it seems to be pretty sturdy. I dropped it off of a desk once and it still performed to the same standard it had before. Clearly this mic is aimed at a beginner's budget studio, and it sounds like it. It's very cheap though, so if you're a beginner just getting started out with recording you could go with this and then upgrade later. I wouldn't get it again, but might recommend it for someone brand new to recording due to the low price.

RickD's review

MXL 990
- What type of microphone? (live, recording, mixed...)

- What technology? (electret, condenser...)

Comes in a plastic case with suspension.


- For how long have you been using it?
I tested this at home and compared it to an AKG C3000 and a Rode NT3.
Also used it on several recordings (vocals).

- What thing do you like most/least about it?
It's cheap, looks good, sound great, comes with suspension & case.
But it's chinese and probably not gold coated...don't think it'll last, but who knows?

- Did you try many other models before getting this one?
See above.

- What is your opinion about the value for the price?
This costs around 50 euros second hand. That's cheap by any standards.
Once you've used this, however, you'll think it's the best value mic on the planet. Possibly even by far!

- Knowing what you know now, would you make the same choice?...
I don't own this, it was lent to me.
But if there is one mic studio i would recommend to anyone, this is it. Without the slightest hesitation!

The best value mic i've ever tried, by far.