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Mods for the SP1

  • Microphone PartsMicrophone Parts
    Multiple DIY mod options are available for the SP1 and MXL 440:

    • Replace the capsule with a large-diaphragm model such as the RK-47, to re-voice the mic (with Fet47-ish frequency response)
    • Replace the PCB(s) with the MP-V57 circuit kit, to deliver lower noise, higher sensitivity, and significantly cleaner sound.

CardioidMCA SP1

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The MCA SP1 is an inexpensive FET condenser mic, sold for ~$60 (2015 pricing) in a blister pack. It is among MXL’s least expensive condensers.

Although billed on its package as a “large capsule” microphone, the SP1 is a small-diaphragm condenser. It uses the MXL 603’s 17mm (diaphragm diameter) capsule within a brass baffle ring, and a transformerless output circuit based on the Schoeps design.

MCA SP1 PCBUntil early 2013, the SP1 used MXL’s “V57” circuit board pair, also found in the MXL V57, 440, V250, V63M, and 2006 (and possibly others). These two boards contained an implementation of the Schoeps transformerless circuit, with most of the DC circuit on one board, and most of the audio circuit on the other.

These products were a favorite of the DIY audio industry, because it was possible to upgrade a few components within the circuit to improve the sound quality of the microphone.

MCA SP1 PCBIn early 2013, MXL began shipping a revised implementation of this circuit, using a single surface-mount circuit board. Such mics are not suitable for component-upgrade mods, although it is possible to replace the circuit (as well as the capsule) entirely — see the options listed in the sidebar from

The SP1’s small-diaphragm capsule was based to some extent on the Neumann KM-84 capsule, although current production capsules tend to have inconsistent response curves according to our measurements.

The same capsule, or minor variations thereof, can be found in the Nady SCM-800, the MXL 603S, and MXL 990. In the MXL 440, MCA SP1 and MXL 990, the capsule is mounted within a brass baffle ring (which affects the cardioid pattern).

The mic is very inexpensively made, as one might assume given its street price. The body sleeve is very thin metal. The ring mount is plastic. It is not as robust as most other MXL mics, including the 990.

The MCA SP1 is also known as: SP-1.


Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!
SP1 Cardioid Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (n/a mV/Pa; 30 - 20,000 Hz)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diaphragm diameter: 17.1mm
Capsule diameter: 19.9mm
Diaphragm gauge: 6 microns
200 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 135 dB
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
n/a 180mm (7.09'') 47mm (1.85'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 48v

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