Saturday, April 7, 2007

MXL Shipping New USB Microphone

Some people love them.
Some people hate them.
I think they're OK.

I can't say I've ever loved the sound out of an MXL mic, but I do have an MXL beater lying around in case I need it.

What I'm not sold on is the idea of a plug-n-play USB Mic. I regard it as the audio equivalent of a TV/VCR/DVD combo. Sure it takes up less space, but none of the individual components are going to be any good, and if one piece breaks you can't fix it.

Well now MXL is jumping into the scene with the MXL.008USB.

I've set up clients to remote record, set up home studios, and have NEVER come across a USB mic I like. I've tried Logitechs, the Snowball (which I hate), and the only one that comes close is the Samson C01U, which doesn't really succeed, but is any inexpensive way to start recording on a large diaphragm condenser.

I guess the thing that bothers me most, is the sound quality IS usually decent, but they're billed as being "so much easier" for non-techie types to use. I find this to be misleading. Sure they are easier to transport and take up less space, but cabling can be harder if you want to record farther than 10 feet from your computer (which you should be doing), and there seem to be a lot of software issues.
The mic will show up as an audio interface, but controlling the mic needs to be done with hard to find plugins (why I hate the Blue Snow-Ball). Also you'll never be able to grow beyond it.

MXL is pricing their USB Mic at $199.99. For the same price (with a little shopping) you could get an external USB sound card and an arguably nicer mic like a Nova. Want to add a nicer mic later, you'll still have the sound card. Want to add a mixer, mic preamps, limiters, effects, instruments, all of this can be done FROM your initial $200.

If you like MXL's kit then this could be for you (but if you know MXL's mics well then you probably already have one). If you need a good USB mic then I'd recommend going for the Samson (at less than half the price of the MXL). Ultimately though, I think you could do better than either.

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