MXL 990 Condenser Microphone Review

This MXL 990 Condenser Microphone is a terrific-looking, vintage style microphone that is essential for recording acoustic instruments while singing in your home studio. It’s incredibly sensitive, which means that you’ll have to be careful with outside noises.

This mic is designed to be used primarily as a cardioid microphone. Some microphones are meant for acoustic guitars while others are primarily used for close miking for vocals. This is a microphone that can perform double duty with perfectly acceptable results.

Not everyone can afford to purchase two or three microphones for their instruments and their vocals. They need one to perform the job of two. Does this sound like a familiar scenario? If so, this is the microphone that you need in your career.

When you can afford more than one microphone, you might go with a few microphones that can pick up a variety of sounds. For now, this mic is the solution to your problems.

Feature Pick

Mxl 990 Condenser Microphone With Shockmount

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Included in the Box

  • MXL 990 condenser mic
  • Custom shockmount
  • Mic stand adapter
  • Case included

Technical Specs

  • 130 dB maximum SPL
  • Frequency response 30Hz to 20kHz
  • Gold sputtered diaphragm

Vintage Body Style

One of the first things noticed on the MXL 990 is the style. It’s a vintage style that is reminiscent of a big band era where the singers would hold this type of microphone as they were accompanied by a large band in the background.

While pleasant-looking microphones might not be a concern for you, it’s hard not to appreciate the style of the mic as well as its champagne-colored finish. The mic can back up its style with a nicely balanced recording.

Gold Sputtered Diaphragm

Gold sputtering is a phrase you might see in high-end condensers. Gold is an incredible conductor of electricity, which is why you’ll sometimes see cable connections with a plating of gold on it.

On a gold-sputtered diaphragm, there’s a thin layer of gold on the surface of the diaphragm itself. This allows the surface to remain rigid but flexible, so it can move with the incoming sounds. It makes the inner workings of the microphone incredibly sensitive, too.

Voice and Instrument Microphone

This microphone is suitable for a variety of instruments that need a sensitive microphone. From the acoustic guitar to the cello or the violin, the 990 is capable of recording the low sounds of these instruments.

This fact also makes the 990 a great vocal recording microphone, too. Combining vocals and instrument can be difficult for recording. You don’t want one to overpower the other. The microphone has to pick up the instrument as the background with the vocals over the top.

This MXL 990 handles a situation like that beautifully.

It can be used exclusively as an instrument or voice microphone, too. It’s perfect for voice overs, acoustic guitar playing or podcasts.

A sensitive microphone like this one has to be placed in an area with less background noise, but it works well picking up reverb and ambience from the room while playing an instrument.

Power Requirements for the MXL 990 Condenser Microphone

This is a condenser microphone, so they always need a power source. For this microphone, you’ll need a 48v phantom power source to record. You’ll need an XLR cable as well.

This will charge the plates that capture sound in the microphone and direct that sound to the recording device. The power that’s sent to the mic helps to pick up the sound of the vocals or the instrument you’re hoping to record. When you don’t have enough power, for example, the recording will be very faint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the XLR cable come in the box?
It doesn’t. You’ll have to buy your own cable, but they’re fairly easy to find and purchase.

Is there a mute button on this microphone?
There’s no mute on this microphone. You’ll need to mute from your recording software or sound board.

Can I use this microphone directly with my computer for podcasting?
You would need an adapter for the microphone. You also need to consider the sound card when deciding to record with your computer or laptop. If you don’t have a powerful sound card, you’ll need phantom power to operate the mic.

Does the MXL 990 pick up background noise?
It absolutely does. It’s incredibly sensitive, which means you’ll need to take that into consideration when setting up the mic. Have it in the quietest place possible in your home and do test recordings to see what’s coming through when you play.


The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone is a sensitive mic that is essential for capturing the sounds of vocals along with instruments. If you’re a singer who wants to play the acoustic guitar on your recordings, this mic couldn’t be more perfect for your needs. It’s also a good mic for voice overs, podcasts and other vocal productions.

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