MXL CR89 Studio Condenser Reviewed by


The CR Series by MXL Microphones are more than eye candy on mic stands. They also sound great. Just ask who hooked up a CR89 condenser in the studio for some test recordings.

Apart from going over the expected features and product details to set a frame for the testing, dug in and tried the CR89 on 4 different sources: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar / amp and tambourine. In short, they liked what they heard!

“We really liked the sound of the MXL CR89. Our first use of the CR89 was to try it out on some male r&b/pop vocals through a Focusrite Octopre preamp, and we were immediately impressed. There was a nice presence and warmth to the vocals without any appreciable colorization. There was an intimacy to the vocals that we also found very appealing, and great clarity without any plosives compromising the vocals. MXL states there is minimal proximity effect with this microphone, and we also found this to be true when we had our singer “work” the mic.

Next, we put the MXL CR89 to use recording acoustic guitar. For testing purposes, we tracked a Taylor 614ce acoustic guitar through the MXL CR89 into an ADL 600 preamp. We positioned the CR89 just a few feet in front of the guitar, aimed just off center from the sound hole, listened for a good general position, and began recording. Overall, the CR89 exhibited a very neutral response, reproducing our Taylor acoustic guitar’s rich lower registers and clear top end faithfully. It was sensitive enough to capture the complete dynamic range of our performance, and it never got “boomy” when loud strums were interspersed with more delicate picking.

(…) Given the high SPL rating of the mic, we even tried recording a Fender Stratocaster through a Marshall tube amp from a few feet back. While condensers aren’t our typical go-to mics for rock guitar, we were nonetheless impressed with the results, capturing surprisingly warm tones with plenty of presence. In fact, we like the sound so much we just might have to use this mic as part of our electric guitar “secret sauce” when it’s time to track something with a classic rock vibe.

Finally, we put the mic to task tracking some tambourine. The CR89 did a great job faithfully preserving the sparkle of our rhythm device and also capturing sound down to the quietest rattles as the tambourine tone decayed.”

Read the full review here…

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