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MXL 990 Review: Microphone Features, Performance, Pros & Cons

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MXL 990 Review

When searching for the versatile condenser microphones for beginners you might end up seeing MXL 990 Microphone in most of the lists.

MXL 990 is known as one of the most recommended versatile microphones for beginners. There are many people who have eyes on this microphone, if you are also one of them, then you are on the right page where I am sharing the practical review of MXL 990 Microphone.

I have tested this microphone by myself at my friend’s studio. He has been using it since Nov 2019. That is why I have a good experience with this microphone to put out some opinions on this.

MXL 990 Microphone Review

MXL 990 is the pressure gradient condenser microphone. This is an analog microphone you are getting at a nominal cost. MXL is the brand in the microphone world since 1980 founded by Leonard Marshall. The goal of this company has always been to produce high-quality microphones at affordable rates.

They have been very consistent and disciplined with all the quality microphones they are producing.

MXL 990 is one of the industry’s most groundbreaking microphones. Due to it’s price, this is the first microphone preferred by every beginner in the music, sounds or recording industry.

This is also one of the most recommended microphones for vocals and podcasters to start their journey. Being the versatile microphone this mic has got enough praise from industry top experts too.

Features of MXL 990 Microphone

The very first thing you will notice after a look at any microphone is the design. Not everyone but most people tend to prefer well-designed microphones. MXL 990 has got the vintage body style with different coloured finishes. The design is very plain and simple. Yet most of the users are not that great a fan of this microphone’s design. 

There are four coloured variants in this microphone. You can choose from Green, Champagne, Coral and Midnight. You are not going to get the premium look at this pricing point obviously but this is quite a decent look according to me. 

MXL 990 is the large-diaphragm condenser microphone. This is also one of the most versatile cardioid pattern condenser microphones in this price range.

990 has the core feature of FET preamp with balanced output. FET preamp is the device in which output current depends on the input voltage. FET preamp will help to boost the consistency and the reliability of your microphone. Having a FET preamp is a great feature in any condenser microphone.

As I described above, this microphone has a fixed cardioid polar pattern. Which works perfectly for vocals and recordings in the studio.

990 is the XLR Microphone. That means you cannot connect your microphone directly to your computer neither can you connect the XLR cable to the computer. You will need the phantom power supply in order to get started. You just cannot use it without a phantom power supply.

It does have a larger capsules which has their own advantages when it goes with the condenser microphone.

MXL 990 has the frequency response range of 30hz to 20KHz paired with a maximum sound pressure level of 138dB which is decent max SPL. As the SPL is a bit lower this mic cannot handle high SPL sources neatly. You can not expect to work well with high SPL sources like drums and guitars.

This mic can be good for the acoustics as I have tried playing acoustic guitar. With some changes, you can get a decent output. Not the top-notch one but a decent one. This mic is primarily built for vocals and studio recordings.

MXL 990 Microphone: Technical Specifications

MicrophoneMXL 990
TypeLarge Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Frequency Response30Hz to 20KHz
Maximum SPL130dB
Impedance200 ohms
Polar PatternFixed Cardioid Polar Pattern
Phantom PowerRequired
Weight1.54 pounds (0.7 kg)
Dimensions6mm x 130mm
Frequency Response30Hz to 20KHz
Get it from hereCheck Price on Amazon

MXL 990 Microphone: Frequency Curve & Polar Pattern

MXL 990 Microphone Frequency Curve & Polar Pattern

MXL 990 Microphone: Performance

990 will give you the expected output in your vocal recording and studio recordings. 990 might only fail you in high-end sources if you are expected much. Sound can be overly bright and harsh for some applications.

MXL 990 has the silky smooth high end, tight solid low and midrange reproduction. Perfect for any singer to record the sound in the quiet room. This microphone has decent noise cancellation. If you are going to record this in the studios then you are going to have almost no issues. If you are in a bit of a noisy section, consider some noise cancellation factors too. Not to worry too much about this as noise cancellation is quite good. Yet if you want the 100% perfection in the output sound consider this.

If you point it down it will work perfectly for the room noise cancellation.

990 has 200 ohms of impedance and less than 3.0 mA of current consumption. 15mV/Pa is the sensitivity of this mic which gives you a rich tone and decent sensitivity.

The dimensions of this microphone are 6mm x 130mm and weigh around 1.54 pounds which is approximately 0.7kg.

  • The MXL 990 Microphone is a large-diaphragm condenser microphone that captures sound with a wide frequency response
  • It has an all-metal body and comes with a shock mount, XLR cable, and carrying case
  • The MXL 990 Microphone is able to capture vocals in close proximity or at a distance
  • It’s great for recording guitar cabinets, drums, pianos, brass instruments
  • You can use it as an overhead mic on the drum kit or acoustic guitar amps to get more of the room sound
  • It also works well as a spot mic on acoustic guitars or other solo instruments such as violin or saxophone
  • MXL 990 is a professional microphone with an integrated shock mount
  • The mic has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and produces a rich, full sound
  • It’s perfect for recording vocals or acoustic instruments, as well as amplifying the electric guitar
  • The MXL 990 features a low-cut filter that reduces distortion from plosives such as “p” and “t” sounds
  • This microphone is ideal for use in home studios, but can also be used on stage during live performances
  • It includes a 5/8″ thread adapter which makes it compatible with most stands and boom arms

If you purchase it from Amazon you will get the shock mount and stand with it in the box. So, no need to get a shock mount from elsewhere.

MXL 990: For whom is this mic?

You have now known all the features of this microphone. Now comes the question, is this well suited for you?

You have to roll out and test out some things and check if this suits you or not. I believe choosing the best microphone is really important and it is going to be with you for a very long time.

According to me, MXL 990 microphone is for those who are much more into studio recordings, acoustic instruments, podcasting, and normal room recordings. Also, this is for beginners who want to dive into this.

If you are a professional guy/girl who wants to make everything into sounds and music, you might need to consider a different one.

The primary reason for building this microphone is to make it for those who want to get an affordable studio mic with various other uses too. That is why this is the versatile mic. You can use it on various sources. [Considering to be aware of high SPL sources]. 

This microphone is perfect for those who are just starting out and looking for decent sound output. 

If the sound and the output is the only your preference and you want to top-notch crystal clear sound quality I will suggest you check out the other microphone from 10 Best Microphones For Singing Or Recording Vocals

For the better and easy assistance on this microphone. I am concluding some of the pros and cons of this microphone.

MXL 990 has all the necessary features but it lacks some of the additional condenser microphone features. That is why some people do not call this microphone the true condenser microphone. 

Pros and Cons of MXL 990 Microphone


  • Well suited for vocals and studio recordings
  • Rich sound tone
  • Decent sensitivity
  • Versatile performance in many sources
  • Lightweight
  • Decent noise cancellation
  • Affordable pricing


  • Not ideal for recording amps and drums
  • Can not handle high SPL sources
  • Can sound overly bright and harsh for some sources
  • Lacks many of the ADDITIONAl features [important ones are there]

Check Price on Amazon

Check out this video to hear the sound of this microphone.

MXL 990: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is MXL 990 a good mic?

Yes, if you are looking for a decent microphone for a beginner then MXL 990 can help you through almost any situation. You can expect a great output at this pricing point.

Does MXL 990 need phantom power?

Yes! 990 is the XLR microphone that is why you definitely need the phantom power for the microphone to work

Is shock mount included in the box with the MXL 990 Microphone?

Yes, you will get the shock mount with the set of the MXL 990 Microphone in the box.

If you have any more questions related to this mic, put them in the comment section. I will add them to this FAQ section for others to help.

Conclusion: Should You Buy MXL 990 Microphone?

I hope you have got everything clear about this mic. I have even explained to whom this mic is best suited for. Now, it’s your turn to decide and pick the one.

MXL 990 Microphone is one of the best microphones you can get as a beginner to start your career in sound and the world. This can help you save a lot at a thin pricing point. Get another higher-end one when you will roll out in your industry. For now, this can be the best for you.