MXL 3000 Condenser Mic Review
MXL 3000 is a large diaphragm condenser microphone suitable for vocals and a multitude of instruments. While still in the ‘budget’ range, it probably has the best sound quality of all MXL’s 900 series of microphones including the most popular MXL 990.
In this MXL 3000 review, I’ll go over it’s build quality, package/accessories and most importantly, sound quality and applications.
- Build, Look and Feel
- Package and Accessories
- Sound Quality and Specs
- Bottom Line
Build, Look and Feel
The MXL 3000 is a beautiful looking microphone. It has a blue body with a silver top grill and it’s about a foot long which makes it probably taller than any mic you’ve had.
In terms of build quality, the 3000 seems well built and feels solid in the hands, however, the grill is not as solid as the body so you can easily dent it if you squeeze it just a little.
Package and Accessories
The MXL 3000 ships in a variety of packages depending on where you buy it. On Amazon, it comes with a shock mount, a 25’ Mogami cable and a metal mesh pop filter. The shock mount and the pop filter are slightly on the cheaper side and not like those included in with MXL’s more expensive mics, yet you’ll find them very useful nevertheless.
Other packages may skip all that in favor of a nice silver aluminum case which has a nice foam padding with places for the mic, a clip and the wind screen. The latter is not as thick I you would expect, but it does the job of blocking plosives and essing etc.
It’s highly recommended that you get a shock mount if not included with your purchase as the included mic stand adapter will not isolate the mic against low rumble if you accidentally hit the stand ruining your recodring.
MXL 3000 Sound Quality and Specs
The MXL 3000 microphone has a silky smooth, warm and realistic sound that makes it sound more expensive than it is. In fact, its great performance on vocals and acoustics is what actually sells it.
It’s pretty close to natural sounding, delivering an accurately clear, full sound for the vocals with a smooth, solid tone. The vocals through this mic are warm, yet has enough presence and clarity to sit nicely in the mix without being muddy or too bright and brittle.
It’s got a slight low mid boost and not quite the bass response you would like for baritone voices but should work well for tenor and higher.
The MXL 3000 is very sensitive though, which is both a plus and a minus in a home studio. On the plus side, it picks up more detail especially for a male voice which sounds crispier and more detailed. On the minus side, it gets some times very hard to control what and what doesn’t go into the recording but if have a relatively quiet space, it’s not that big of an issue. It picks up a little bit of room noise but not a lot and it’s very usable.
On the frequency range, you get a good blend of the whole range and looking at the frequency curve chart you can see that it’s extremely flat except for about in the high end when you get to about 8k where they added a big boost basically to add detail to the microphone. It also has a pronounced high-frequency peak.
That’s where people are slamming on this mic basically criticizing it for this low-mids boost and high-end peak saying it made it harsh. In my opinion, that’s what gives it it’s punch and presence. Yes, it may need a little bit of EQ to dial the low-mids boost down slightly but the quality you’ll get is really worth it.
The MXL 3000 has a good proximity effect. In fact, if you get up close (about 3 inches) it’s probably the best it can get with this mic. It really does sound good at this distance and that’s not saying you can’t use it from a longer distance or you can get right upon it, but about 3 inches with a pop screen is probably the best point to use this mic at. For acoustic guitars though, it’s unusually sweet at 3 feet away.
Finally, may be worth mentioning that there has been a rumor saying that the MXL 3000 is basically the MXL’s V6 mic in a different body which, if true, means it’s just a re-branding of one of their more expensive mics.
MXL 3000 Price
If you can find it, the MXL 3000 retails for $75 to $149. Check its availability on Amazon.
Bottom Line: Is MXL 3000 A Good Microphone?
The MXL 3000 is a great condenser mic for anyone looking for an upgrade to their home studio for a very reasonable price. While it is nothing to excite anyone who spends all day in a real studio, it is a worthwhile mic to have and for a budget microphone and the quality you’re going to get out of it in a home studio, this a very EXCELLENT quality microphone. It clearly out-performs any condenser mic that I have used at anything close to its price.