The MXL-990 Specifications:

TypePressure gradient condenser microphone
Diaphragm6-micron gold-sputtered
Frequency Response30 Hz – 20 kHz
Polar PatternCardioid
Impedance200 ohms
Equivalent Noise Level20 dB (A-weighted IEC 268-4)
S/N Ratio80 dB (Ref. 1Pa A-weighted)
Max SPL for .5% THD130 dB
Power RequirementsPhantom Power 48V (+- 4V)
Current Consumption< 3.0 mA
Dimensions (Ø x L)2.36″ x 5.11″ (60 x 130mm)
Weight1.2 lbs. (544.3g)
Metal FinishChampagne, Midnight

Product Identifiers

  • Brand MXL
  • MPN MXL990
  • GTIN 0801813080643
  • UPC 0801813080643
  • Model 990

 About this product

The MXL 990 microphone is a condenser microphone meant for quality professional recording sessions. This MXL microphone features a FET preamp and contains a well-balanced output. The MXL 990 mic is phantom-powered, so its power is delivered through the cables. Unlike some microphones, the MXL 990 doesn’t contain an on and off switch. The MXL microphone contains a gold plated plug for high-quality and reliable connections. This condenser microphone is a cardioid (heart-shaped) and contains 200 ohms impedance and a 15 dBm effective output level. This allows it to deliver clear, crisp, and loud sounds, great for personal or professional projects. The microphone is light in weight, weighing just a meager 19.2 oz. The microphone uses a mono audio mode and has a 30 to 20 Hz frequency response. This microphone is capable of professional sound quality, but will also get the job done for amateur uses.

The MXL 990 Review

Today we have a pretty popular condenser budget microphone it is known as the MXL 990. In this article, I’m gonna give you my review of the 990. If you want to purchase this microphone you can find it on Amazon for about $75, which I think is a very good price for its condenser microphone today. When you purchase the microphone on Amazon it will come with the classic MXL carrying case, a shock mount with extra elastics, a mic clip, and of course the microphone itself. it comes in a couple of colors there’s the champagne color which is kind of a standard one and the midnight black color. 

Let’s go ahead and get to these specs. Any specs that I do not mention are at the beginning of the article for you to read and view. The MXL 990 is a pressure gradient condenser microphone. It has a frequency response of 30 Hertz to 20 kilohertz with a cardioid polar pattern and an impedance of 200 ohms. The MXL 990 has an equivalent noise level of 20 DBA. A signal to noise ratio of 80 decibels in a max SPL of 130 decibels. I’ll show you an example of the frequency graph:

You can see that it falls off a little in the base has a little bit of a dip around 500 Hertz. Has a couple of other little dips in the 3k to 5k range and has a little boost at the high-end. 

One thing that I want to talk about is the difference between DB and DBA. When it comes to the noise floor of a mic phone I’m just gonna try to explain it in the most logical way that has been explained to me. Essentially DB is the actual measurement that it has with the noise level but DBA is the way that the human ear hears. So for instance with the MK4 that’s a big microphone and I’ve gotten a lot of questions on with DB and DBA is that it has a 20-decibel noise floor that’s the actual measurement but it has a 10 DB a noise floor. So it means that there’s a 20-decibel noise floor but the human ear will only perceive it at 10 decibels. So for instance when I say that this microphone has a 20 DBA noise floor, it means that it is perceived as 10 decibels higher than the MK4 at 10 DBA. Essentially it’s just a weighted curve that tries to approximate the way that the human ear hears. 

All right now let’s get to my review of the MXL 990. So I actually had this microphone for a really long time and I used it actually quite often and I really enjoyed it. Do I think it’s the best microphone? No, I don’t. Do I think it’s good for seventy-five dollars? For sure, yes. Let me go ahead and tell you some of the pros and cons of this microphone. One kind of bad thing about it is that it does have a boost at the high end, which I mean so many condenser microphones do that now. It kind of gives them the sound of clarity and clearness, reality it’s not either of those things it’s just a boost at high-end. But I get it though I’ve had flat microphones and honestly in the long run I do end up boosting the treble a little bit. So is it trying to skip a step absolutely but does it always hit the mark when they have high-end boosted no, it doesn’t. Personally, on this microphone, I don’t find it obnoxious. I do think it sounds pretty good but I would take down a little bit of it in the post, and just accent some other frequencies instead. I will say the noise floor is a tad loud for my liking but it’s fine, especially for the price of it. It does struggle a little with plosives when the pop filter isn’t on but that’s a lot of condenser microphones, especially if they don’t have foam inside the grill. 

I’m gonna go ahead and tell you some pros about this microphone I think the build quality of this microphone is actually really good, I think that the grill is really nice, the accessories that come with it are really nice, I really like them. But I do think the sound is good I know I talked about the high end being boosted but overall I do think it sounds good. It has nearly a full frequency response which is fantastic you gotta love that. And I mean one thing that I’ve mentioned a lot but I’ve got to mention that I like is the price. Like that’s an incredibly good price for a condenser microphone, but they are not so good.

Now I’m gonna go ahead and move to my grade of the MXL 990. I give the MXL 990 a letter grade of an A instead of an A+, but I really do think this is a really solid microphone. And if you want a condenser microphone and you’re just starting out I would absolutely recommend getting this and a relatively inexpensive interface instead of getting a blue Yeti. I used to record vocals with this, acoustic guitar with this, and it was one of my go-to microphones when I was first starting out. So I absolutely recommend it to any beginners that are starting a studio, making a podcast, doing voiceovers for the first time, any spoken word thing at all I would recommend getting this.

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