MXL V63M is a large diaphragm condenser microphone aimed at home studio and recording enthusiasts. It’s a fairly good mic for its price but it has some major draw backs.
In this MXL V63M review, we’ll see why this mic may not be as good as some have claimed and what things you should be aware of before buying it.
MXL V63M Build, Look and Feel
The MXL V63M has an all-metal body with metal grill and although it’s got some weight to it, it’s a little on the light side and doesn’t feel as heavy-duty as some higher-end MXL mics. The metal doesn’t feel like a high grade metal but it feels nice in the hand. The grill, also, can be easily dented if you squeeze it enough or drop it. That said, it’s a condenser mic after all and you are not supposed to be carrying it around all day in a backpack for instance.
The V63M looks almost exactly as several other MXL mics like the MXL 2001, a very nice black body with black grill and golden logo.
The V63M is internally wired with Mogami cabling, hence the ‘M’ in the name.
Unlike almost all MXL microphones which come with a carrying case and often a shock mount of some kind, the MXL V63M package is poor in terms of included accessories. It comes in a typical retail box with only a small zip pouch and a ring/hard mount. That’s it. No nice aluminum flight case or even a hard-shell plastic carrying case. No shock mount, no cable, none of those goodies. I understand that MXL want to cut the cost to keep the price in the budget range but many other lower price MXL mics come in an almost complete package. For a mic in this price range ($100-150) it’s weird that they don’t include those accessories.
MXL V63M Sound Quality
The MXL V63M is a great general purpose condenser mic for vocals and picking up a wider range of sounds. The vocals are very clear and crisp and the overall sound is amazing.
However, the V63M has several issues when it comes to sound quality. For most people, especially beginner home studio hobbyists, these issues can lead to frustration and disappointment. Unless you know how to do some EQ to the audio to make sound right, this mic may not be for you.
First of all, this mic is very sensitive. It picks up a lot of room noise, scratching, hissing and breathing. I know that’s normal to condenser and shouldn’t be counted as a con but I can definitely see it as a big problem for beginners as they will struggle to keep the unwanted noise out and may just give up on the idea of recording all together.
Second, and again not a big issue for experts, is the self-noise of the V63M which is rated at 20dBA, making it the “noisiest of MXL’s large-diaphragm FET microphones”.
Third, the biggest issue with the V63M is that it’s very harsh on the upper end and that’s some thing you will have to deal with in every recording. Like almost all condensers, this mic has some high end sizzle, and like all cheap condensers, this one has too much. You can EQ it out to a certain extent, but be ready to de-ess vocals like crazy, even when using a pop-filter.
Also, for instruments, there’s definitely some high-end nastiness to be aware of especially when placing the V63M. It can be cleaned up with a little high frequency EQ but it’s annoying to say the least.
If you’re a beginner and your ear is not trained to listen for this kind of issue, you may not notice it and if you do, you might think it’s normal or even find yourself liking it.
Here is some ‘pro’ explanation of what’s happening here:
“The type of the circuit in the V63M is “linear” meaning that it does not provide any equalization to the signal coming in from the capsule. In the case of the V63M, this is a bad thing, for the capsule is peaky and harsh, with an exaggerated high-frequency boost. This capsule design, borrowed from the Neumann U87, is intended to be used with a circuit that applies corrective EQ. But no such EQ is available here, and as a result, you hear the exaggerated high-frequency lift of the capsule. It sounds as if someone has maxed out the “treble” knob on the stereo, although worse because this is a much sharper, narrower boost than you’d get from a “treble” control.”
If you’re okay with these three issues, as I said, the V63M can be an amazing mic for vocals, voice-over work and podcasting. For drum overhead and acoustic, this is also a great choice. You will be amazed how clear the sound on this mic is especially for the money. You can almost use the raw recording out of this mic, however, a little EQ will make it sound even better.
Granted, it is not your Neumann U87, but for $69-150, it’s a great entry-level microphone suitable for a lot of applications.
|Tube Type:||Pressure gradient 32mm capsule|
|Diaphragm:||6 micron gold-sputtered|
|Frequency Response:||30Hz – 20kHz|
|Output Impedance:||200 ohms|
|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:||Phantom Power 48V (+- 4V)|
|Size:||55mm x 190 mm/1.85 in. x 7.48 in|
MXL V63M Price
As I just mentioned, the MXL V63M retails for $69-150 depending on where you get it. But usually you can buy it for about $80 on Amazon.
Bottom Line: is MXL V63M a good microphone?
The MXL V63M is a fairly good mic for a lot of applications including vocals, voice-over work, podcast and instruments. However, it is very sensitive, has noticeable self-noise and, most importantly, very harsh at the upper end. If you’re okay with these three issues, go ahead and get this mic. For as cheap as $69 new or under $40 used, you definitely can’t go wrong with this mic. It is a great general purpose home studio condenser or as an entry-level mic for recording enthusiasts. There are better MXL alternatives though, like the popular MXL 990 or MXL 770 which are lower in price and don’t have as many issues and include more accessories in the box.