MXL microphones are not the biggest brand in the world of audio. They’re relative newcomers and although the brand was formed over 30 years ago, the likes of AKG and Shure have been around for far longer and have a bigger range of products. That said, MXL is making quite an impact.
Our MXL 770 Review hopefully shows a brilliant condenser microphone which offers great value for money and is an option for both professional and home studios.
The MXL 770 has become very popular due to its low price. A look through some of the other 770 reviews shows that people tend to be very surprised by the value on offer from the brand. Being a small diaphragm condenser microphone it is better for recording than it is for live uses. This microphone has become very popular with those looking to record vocals and other voice-based applications such as podcasts. It is a good entry-level mic. It is also good for instruments such as guitars and piano.
The MXL-770 has a 6-micron diaphragm which is “gold spluttered”. It doesn’t have the quality of something like the AKG C414, but it is a fraction of the price. It has a low-end roll-off for getting rid of bass rumble sounds and only focusing on the useful frequencies for vocals and instruments. You probably don’t want to use this on a bass guitar or a bass drum, but it can work for drum overheads and has developed something of a reputation for music genres requiring quite hard vocals such as rap, metal and rock music. This is due to the fact that it has a strong low-end, and naturally gives the sort of sound that rappers and metal vocalists are looking for. If this isn’t what you want, don’t fear, it can easily be removed with EQ and leave a bright high-end more suited to pop or acoustic music.
Being a condenser microphone, this requires phantom power (48v) which can come from a mixing desk or from an audio interface. It has a -10 dB cut for those who need to record louder audio and it generally is a very versatile mic.
Putting The MXL To The Test
We’ve found some videos online which put this microphone to the test. Of course, this review is very positive but the best way to check a mic is to hear examples of recordings.
As you can hear, female vocals are a strength of this mic. In fact, any vocals can be recorded to a decent standard on the 770. Its cardioid pickup pattern ensures that it doesn’t pick up any unwanted background sounds and when combined with the correct acoustics the recording can be very clean and crisp with a clear high-end.
MXL vs USB
This isn’t a USB microphone. Many people who have turned to home recordings and experimenting with podcasts or vocal recordings use mics such as the Blue Yeti or Blue Snowball. Their USB technology is pretty good. The MXL is a little more complex to set up, but due to its inbuilt pre-amp and ease of use you can plug it into an audio interface and be recording very quickly. You don’t need a degree in audio production to do this and it shouldn’t be too daunting for beginners.
The model also has a bigger sibling, the 770X. This is available at a much higher price but does have some added benefits including more polar patterns including omnidirectional (great for podcasts) and it comes with accessories. The package currently available has a cable, a shock mount, and a pop filter. This microphone is built with better components and does have a clearer sound, but as you would expect the price is much higher. Whether you opt for the 770 vs 770X largely depends on what you are looking for from your microphone.
We live in an age where budget products are starting to reach quite a professional level. The fact that microphones under $100 can now give a realistic home studio option is something that was unthinkable a decade or two ago. Affordability is definitely the main reason we think so much of this microphone. Are there better mics out there? Absolutely, but for the money, it is hard to find an upgrade. For some, the fact that this is not a USB microphone will be seen as a disadvantage. If you already have an audio interface this is not an issue.
For home recordings, YouTube videos, podcasts, vocals or band demos the MXL 770 can provide a great sound at a pretty low cost, and for that reason, it gets our recommendation for those looking for an affordable microphone.