MXL Microphones

MXL 4000 Condenser Microphone Review

MXL 4000 condenser microphone
The MXL 4000 condenser microphone (front)

MXL 4000 is a large diaphragm multi-pattern condenser mic. Made by MXL exclusively for certain retailers, it’s a part of MXL’s 900 Mic Series. Although the 4000 is popular among hip hop and rapping singers, it’s very versatile and can be used for many other applications including instruments, voice-over and podcasting.

In this MXL 4000 review, we’ll see if it is a good choice for home studio recording and why.

MXL 4000 Build, Look and Feel

MXL 4000 mic - back
MXL 4000 microphone (back)

The MXL is a decent looking microphone. Although I’m not a fan of its top grill style found on many other MXL mics like the R144 and the 550, I think it still looks decent. It’s got an all-metal body that feels nice in the hand with nickel finish for the top mesh grill. There are three switches on this microphone; one on the front and two on the back adding basically three more points of failure (besides the internals) in case you drop the mic or bump it against a hard surface. Nothing to worry about but just to be careful when handling this mic.

Package and Accessories

MXL 4000 microphone shockmount
MXL 4000 microphone in shockmount

The MXL 4000 mic comes in a nice wooden case with blue velvet cushioning inside which is kind of surprising because it’s not a high-end mic. I know, it’s probably not real wood but still a nice addition.

A big, “high-isolation” shockmount is also included in the box (MXL-60 shockmount to be specific) along with a foam windscreen (MXL WS-002). It would be nice if they included a pop filter of some kind but they didn’t.

MXL 4000 Sound

The MXL 4000 mic has a 25mm large-diaphragm capsule. Compared to several other mics in its price range it definitely sounds high end and stands out. When you listen to it the first time, especially if you’re upgrading from a lower-end mic, you immediately hear the nice warmth and richness with nice clarity.

With three select-able pickup patterns, it is an extremely versatile mic that gives you quite a few different sounds depending on the application.

For hip hop and rap applications, you get a rich tone to the low end which, when you EQ your hip hop mix, you need that low end so you have the freedom to mix your vocals and the beat.

On the high ends though, there is this hiss and “essing” which you’re probably going to get with any mic under $600. However, with the MXL 4000 it sounds like it has been boosted a lot more than the other mics.

In all honesty though, it’s a pain for singing. It’s so hard to get the mixes to have the warmth unless you’re just talking. If you have a really good preamp to boost the low ends and give it the natural warmth and nice thickness to it, then it will sound cool but just the mic alone will not do it. So if you’re a singer or if you do acoustic, you will be better off with a mic more suitable for those applications especially if don’t feel comfortable with engineering and EQ.

three switches on the front and back of the 4000
Three total switches on the front and back of the 4000

There are nice features in the MXL 4000 that can be hard to find in many other MXL mics though. It has a -10dB pad switch on the back which is very useful when you have some super loud sources or if you’re a loud spoken person as you can use the mic itself to decrease the volume of the source by 10dB without the need for any additional processors.

Another nice feature of this mic is the bass roll off switch found also on the back of the mic. This can come in handy if you’re recording something that you need to take some of the extreme low-end bass out of or for situation where you just need more clarity. It also can help with blocking some low end noise coming from a computer fan or nearby traffic.

Lastly, on the front of the mic, there is a polar pattern switch that lets you change the pickup pattern of the mic from omni to cardioid or figure 8. The omni picks up sound from all around the mic which they say is like standing in a room with a person performing or playing; you hear it from all directions. The cardiod records from the front of the mic (usually where the logo is) in a heart shape pattern so it rejects, but does not completely block, the sound from the sides and the back. You can still barely hear from the sides and the back but not as loud as the front. The figure 8 pattern picks sound equally from the front and the back of the mic and rejects from every other direction.

polar patterns on the mic
MXL 4000 has 3 pickup patterns to select from via the mic built in switch

MXL 4000 Specs

Tube Type:Pressure gradient multi-pattern condenser mic
Diaphragm:6 micron gold-sputtered
Frequency Response:20 Hz – 20 kHz
Polar pattern:Cardioid/Figure-8/Omni-directional switch-selectable
Output Impedance:200 ohms
Pre-Attenuation Switch:0 dB, -10 dB
High Pass Filter:6 dB/octave, 150 Hz
Equivalent noise:20 dB (A-weighted IEC 268-4)
S/N Ratio:74 dB (Ref. 1Pa A-weighted)
Max SPL for .5% THD:130 dB
Power Requirements:48V Phantom Power (+- 4V)
Size:2.3 in x 9.4 in/59mm x 240mm
Weight:1.60 lbs/725g
Metal Finish:Blue/Nickel
frequency response chart
MXL 4000 frequency response chart

Bottom Line

The MXL 4000 is a very decent, very versatile microphone. It sounds amazingly good with a rich and clear tone. Having some nice features like the -10dB switch, the base roll off switch and the multi-pattern selector switch makes it even a great choice for many applications especially spoken word.. If you do hip hop/rap or voice-over and podcasting work, this is definitely a great choice. However, if you’re a singer or if you do acoustic, this may not be the mic for you.

MXL 4000 Price

MXL 4000 is set by manufacturer to sell for $799 MSRP but it actually retails for significantly less than that. You can find it on major online stores like Amazon for only $499. Some reported that it can

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