16 Apr MXL 770X Review (with Rock Vocal Samples)
The MXL 770X is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that runs for about $200 new, which puts it in a similar price range as the popular Rode NT1A and Blue Spark. The 770X is the “big brother” to the MXL 770 that runs for $75 and it differs in a few ways.
The 770X includes an upgraded diaphragm as well as selectable switches for controlling the pickup pattern, a -10 dB cutoff, and a low-end cutoff.
In this review, I’m going to cover the MXL 770X in-depth by taking a look at everything you get inside the box, the features on the 770X, and even give you a few vocals samples so you can judge the audio quality of this microphone and decide if it’s a good fit for you.
So without any further delay, let’s get right into it:
The video below will provide a quick overview of the microphone, everything you get inside the box, and audio samples of the mic. For a deeper look at the features of the microphone, and for longer audio samples, continue reading for the full review.
MXL 700X Features and Build Quality
Overall, the MXL 770x has a solid build quality. It has a metal body and a mesh grill. It feels sturdy and it feels like it can take few bumps or drops from studio use.
The MXL 770x comes with the following items:
- The MXL 770x large diaphragm condenser microphone
- A shock mount with a metal pop filter
- A 5/8″ to 3/8″ microphone stand adapter
- Extra bungees/cords for the shock mount
- A microfiber cloth
- A 20 ft. XLR microphone cable
The included pop filter attaches directly the shock mount but can be removed by loosening the thumb screw that keeps it in place. I like that the pop filter is metal, which makes a bit more durable. Cloth pop filters can easily be ruined by sharp object poking through the cloth when you store it away.
Even a “breathy” or powerful vocalist can ruin one just by singing (I’ve had this happen before with vocalists). So although the metal pop filter is a bit thin and flimsy, I believe it’s built strong enough to serve its purpose and I appreciate that a metal pop filter was included in this package.
The only thing I’m not too crazy about is the fact that the pop filter is positioned at an angle. In other words, it’s not “inline” with the shock mount microphone stand attachment. See the picture below:
The pop filter sits “off-center”. So your microphone and stand position will need to be placed in a different position as compared to other microphones and shock mounts. This is, of course, super nit-picky, but it’s something to be aware of.
Moving onto the features of this microphone, there are three adjustable switches directly on the microphone itself. The first switch can be used to cut -10 dB.
This can be helpful if you’re recording a loud audio source (such as drums) and even with the gain turned all the way down on your audio interface or preamp, the audio signal is too “hot”.
Next is the low-end cutoff switch:
This switch cuts 6 dB at 135hz. This can be helpful when recording vocals if you want to cut off the low-end right on the microphone itself vs. having to do it at the mixing stage. Especially, if you’re using this in a podcast or voiceover type of recording and adding audio directly to a video editing program (as most of these programs have limited EQ settings).
In either case, it’s a matter of preference but it is nice to have.
Lastly, there is the pickup pattern switch:
This is a feature that you don’t see on many microphones. This switch can be used to change the pickup pattern of the microphone. In other words, the way (or direction) that it picks up sound. The microphone can be used in one of three following pickup patterns:
- Cardioid. This is the pickup pattern that most large diaphragm condenser microphones use and it will likely be the pickup pattern that you use most often (especially, when recording vocals). This pickup pattern picks up audio primarily from the front of the microphone and slighlty from the sides. The back of the microphone will reject sound for the most part. This is the pickup pattern that I used to record Ben in the video at the beginning of this review.
- Omni-Directional. This pickup pattern picks up sound equally from all sides of the microphone. It’s best used in recording situations where the recording environment has excellent acoustics (such as a professional studio or even a concert hall for a desired effect). This pickup pattern excels at picking up ambient noise.
- Figure-8. This pickup pattern will pickup sounds from the front and back of the microphone while rejecting sounds at the sides of the microphone.
I haven’t had a full chance to mess around with each of these pickup patterns. As I mentioned, the recordings I did with this microphone were done using the Cardioid pickup pattern. However, this is an interesting feature and it really adds to the versatility of this microphone. It gives you plenty of options for different ways to record audio sources and capture the exact sound you’re going for. At this price range, I think this is a huge bonus.
Audio Quality & MXL 770X Vocal Samples
In the video at the beginning of this post, I included a short clip of a vocal sample recorded using the MXL770X. The vocals were taken from a cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box. Below, I’ve included the full-length recordings of the completely clean vocals, isolated vocals with effects on them (EQ, Compression, and Reverb), and the entire mix. Take a listen:
Each of these files are lossless WAV files. Feel free to download them by clicking the “Download” button on the SoundCloud file.
Conclusion: Should You Get the MXL 770X?
Overall, I like the sound of the MXL 770X. I may even like it more than my Rode NT1A that I have been using for the past couple of years.
The MXL 770X seems to have a bit brighter and more polished sound right off the bat compared to the Rode NT1A. While the Rode needs a bit more EQing to get it there. But, I’ll know for sure when I do a vocal shootout of the two microphones and few others. Make sure to subscribe to the Infamous Musician YouTube channel if you’re interested in seeing that video when it comes out.
Personally, I like the MXL 770X. I think for the price you pay, you get a sturdy, well-built microphone with a few features that typically don’t come on microphones in this price range. Most notabley, the pickup pattern switch. If you liked the audio quality from the samples posted above, then I would definitely recommend you pick up this microphone.