Customer Reviews: MXL 990/991 Recording Microphone Package
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on December 18, 2004
I produce music for a living and normally write only at my studio. Recently I became interested in having a basic laptop rig for home and I picked up this mic package based on some reviews. When I got them home I had found that they were an excellent value. They're really quite good sounding with lots of detail in the high end. Again, this is considering price- if they were $1,000 for the pair it would be an incredible ripoff. Of course I should state the obvious: These will not sound like a high-end Neumann, Lawson, or Telefunken mic costing many, many, times the price of these mics. That said, they're only $99! I bought two packs and have found they work very nicely in stereo pairs. There seems to be a large influx of inexpensive condensor mics coming in from overseas (particularly Asia) which IMHO are miles better than similarly-priced competition from Europe. However, if you want a Neumann U87, you have to buy one. While the high end on these are nice for the price it does have a bit of a synthetic sound to it at times, and lacks the smoothness of some of the much higher end mics. That said, the pair of these cover much sonic ground; you can use them for most instruments. Drums would be inadvisable unless you were using two matched larger ones as overheads.

This is the type of package I would strongly recommend to the hobbyist because of the price to performance ratio. I -wish- that something like this had existed when I was in high school, just getting into recording. It would make a great gift for the budding enthusiast.
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on February 17, 2009
1st The bigger one has the same size capsule as the smaller one. It has a better bass response due to mounting. Neither of these is a Large Diaphram Condenser, but they can get you some higher frequency response in your recordings. The 990, with its larger frame lends itself to many mods and there are even a few companies that will get it sounding quite good compared to $800 SDCs. If you have a PC/or DigitalWorkstation set up this could get you started getting things recorded fairly quickly but in the long run you are better off with with an Audix i5 or Shure SM57 and then one of the LDC's from AKG Perception , Oktava Mk219 or Mk319 or an inexpensive MXL, Marshal, or Rode. If you are looking for recording drums you might get usable results with these using the recorderman technique and a kick drum mic. They are usable but a LDC or even SM58 would be better on vocals. On acoustic instruments they might shine better than most <$100 dynamics. I picked them up when I needed OH's in a pinch last year. Take what I say as personal opinion. They may be great for you but they aren't the smoothest or the cleanest but they are better than nothing if that is the situation. Save and buy better if you can.
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on September 30, 2005
I have had no experience with mics except that I am a avid listener of music and I could recognize if something sounded aweful. I am very happy to report for a $100 this package is a great start in home recording. I'm doing a podcast and some light guitar recording and it works like a charm.
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on September 2, 2009
I bought this condenser mic. combo-set about two years ago. I had received an interface (fire-wire, from guitar/mic to computer)the previous Christmas and decided it was time for a serious equip upgrade. The problem? I was low on funds. However, per a serendipitous find at my local guitar boutique, I came across this Microphone set. The salesman had me questioning my buy by offering precautions against cheaply priced equip. (he worked on commission) but at the end of the day price won over quality and I sauntered back to my recording den with the MXL 991/990 (pair) in hand.
Aside from the jaunty carrying case and foam buffers, the set was straight forward: One Uni-directional Mic, One Choir Mic (cables sold separately). I opened, plugged(P48 req.), and tested. The microphones were great! The lows were fat and highs were crystal clear. The 990 is great for vocals and the 991 is great for instruments. I have no professional studio practice to speak of, but from my experience, both mics. have extremely dynamic properties and are great for either @home or in-studio recording. This set is great for the low budget aspiring artist, or money strapped pod-caster.
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on October 27, 2010
Well, I purchased this set with a tascam us-144 bundle when I first started recording on my laptop using cubase as the DAW. At first I was amazed by the clarity, and just simply the fact that I was recording. As time progressed, I noticed I spent a lot of time playing with the E.Q. on my vocals... for some reason they seemed dull, or muffled, or how many describe muddy. I recently purchased a Rode NT1 and it too is amazing me.

I spent some time recording through the MXL at the same level as I'd record through the Rode, and the difference was the same as VHS to Blue-Ray. Now comparing a Rode to the MXL, atleast the two series im evaluating, is rather unfair, but what it did show me is what people where talking about when it came to muddy, or highs, or color.

The MXL 990 is what i used for vocals, and it got the job done for about 2 years, and the the 991 i used for acoustic guitar which did exceptional. I know theres better out there, but for the 990 being around $50 its not a bad starter, but thats what it is... a starter. there durable, the case is pretty solid, but to be safe keep every mic covered to protect the capsule. Id imagine I could still use this mic paired with the NT1 to catch more lows, but thats yet to be expiramented with.
I research a lot, and im not very savy, but I love this type of stuff. If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to try and help. (
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on February 15, 2013
I would say these mics are great for the money, but that wouldn't be totally accurate....they are great mics PERIOD. Naturally, if you an audio snob, you will say they lack this or that, but if you are a working and/or recording musician, you will love these mics!
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on August 10, 2014
So this was my first condenser and having no prior experience I thought it was great until finally about a year later after really trying to use it I discovered my recordings had this terrible hum which turned out to be electricity and the mic not being grounded. I would touch the metal mesh on the mic and the hum would get crazy loud so here I was crazy trying to find solutions on how to ground my laptop or mic or whatever it was coming from.. instead the mic just broke and began to crackle and pop... it was ruined. So now I buy an Audio Techinica 2035 and VIIOLA... absolute pristine recordings! Absolutely no hum! Beautiful rich sounding! I've learned my lesson now and I would NOT suggest this mic. Spend the measly extra 40$ and get a TRUE honest and superior quality Audio Techinca or something else other than this. I'm so happy with my new mic now I can't believe what I was working with before. These mic's are not even true large diaphram microphone but the 2035 is AND it came with a stage stand, a shock mount, a leather pouch, AND quality xlr cable for 141$ on ebay! So if you want true superior hassle free quality go with a 2035 in this price range. I feel like I just graduated into a higher class within 5 minutes of owning and testing it... no hum at ALL.
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on March 18, 2014
I have to sets of these and the more modern ones are not as well built. There's a noticeable difference in weight between the older and newer models. The case is more-cheaply made as well. And the element in the large mic broke free in transit and I had to disassemble the unit and put it back together with superglue.
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on June 20, 2012
In simple words: they sound good. They deliver a nice, clear, undistorted sound. To me the point of comparation is against the sound source. This mics capture the sound of the source with great detail and I can hear a sound that is close to equal to the source. The price is just excellent. The quality of the product is good, under the usage I have gave to them on live sound settings I haven't had problems. I know there are other mics of different qualities and prices to compare this set but the point to me is that if the sound is good to you and your audience the goal is accomplished.
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on August 13, 2012
The history:

When I bought the mic package from a competing website ( please don't hate me, Amazon! ) I thought I was getting kind of a bum deal, as I only wanted the 990 for podcast recording. But I figured, if I ever get back into playing and recording music, I'm pretty well set with this combo.

The 990:

A nice, hefty, cool looking mic. Inexpensive. Sounds good. Recreates the voice pretty well, but still with a rather bland sound, and EQ can't really help that much. But, hey, it's cheap and it works.

The 991:

I had the dang thing for like two years and didn't use it until the weekend. Again, it captures the sound well enough. I seemed to get a good low-end, but not much else.

The result:

Not that I took a lot of time setting up the mics, but what I ended up doing was placing the 990 as a room mic, the 991 close to the sound hole, and the Takamine's direct out, and the sound I got out of the set was pretty good. I didn't play with the EQ, just the levels and balance.

Pairing the 990 and the 991 seems great when you're on a low budget and want to record music. The one catches what the other doesn't.

For vocals, the 990 is best served on spoken word. The 991 is good enough for me when it comes to instruments, as long as I pair it with a second input.

And for what it's worth, I'm actually buying a second MXL 990, and two shock mounts, for the podcast.
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