Review: MXL 600
Positives:The circuit board is cool...........
Negatives:Terrible sound, terrible mic body, doesn't smell very nice either
“Every microphone has a purpose. That purpose might be a hammer or a doorstop, but every mic has a purpose”
– Wise Engineer Unknown
I usually don’t buy gear that I haven’t tried out first, and I usually don’t buy gear TWICE that I thought was no good to begin with. But that is what happened with the MXL 600. I needed an MXL 2001 for a mod project (turning it into a really sweet tube mic) and the only way I could get that mic was in a bundle that came with the MXL 600. So, I guess technically, I didn’t buy this directly, but I still have a pair of these things which sit in the cabinet hidden from sight all the way in the back.
My first problem isn’t with the mic itself, but with the manufacturer. The spec sheet that comes with the mic had to have been made in some alternate universe or was done while testing the mic in some other gasseous element besides plain air because what the frequency response curve looks like and what the mic sounds like are totally different things. The graph should look more like the left side of a childs drawing of a mountain… starts low and goes up, up, up to the heavens. Never have I heard such a shrill, harsh, bright, metallicy sounding microphone in my life.
Being the inquisitive person I am (and not half bad around a soldering iron) I decided to open this monstrosity of treble, this barbarian of eardrums to see what could be going on in there to cause such a terrible sound. Well, actually, first, the problem starts before I even open it up. The mic case itself, looks like a rough cut piece of plumbing pipe, complete with jagged flashing (hanging metal bits around the cut offs) that could potentially do serious harm if slid over exposed flesh. The metal is cheap and kind of feels (and smells) like any cheap chinese made tool one might get at Wal-Mart or any 99 cent store. Ok, I carefully unscrew the mic (hoping not to get tetanus) All I can see is the back of the capsule (a single pin that connects the circuit board that is trapped inside the rest of the body. At the bottom, of the body are 2 stripped out (this is the first time even attempting to open this mic mind you) screws that look as if they were made out of a cheaper metallic like material than the rest of the body. After a few min of trying to pressure twist these “screws” out of their lock position, I finally get the mic open and expose the circuit. What I found in there is more shocking than what I expected. Inside is a myriad of VERY HIGH quality parts. NO JOKE. Wima capacitors, and polypro caps that I would use on some of my higher end builds. WTF?! My only summation is that either this is a horribly designed board, or the body and capsule are ultra crap. Turns out, it is just the capsule and body. The circuit is almost an exact replica of a really expensive Neumann mic. So that being said, I close it up, replace the “screws” with something made in the first world and place the mic back in my locker until I can find an aftermarket capsule and some sand paper to re-finish the body. Stay away…. stay far away!