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990 Microphone Sets

Mods for the 990

  • Microphone PartsMicrophone Parts
    Microphone-Parts.com offers a comprehensive set of modification options for the MXL 990: start with a replacement capsule, including K47 and CK12 types, and/or upgrade the circuit with the fully optimized PCB replacement kit. The company makes a replacement 770-990 grille based on the M49/M50. Lab results show sensitivity in the 35-45mV/Pa range, with self-noise of 8-12dBA, depending on the capsule chosen.
  • OktavaModOktavaMod
    Michael Joly’s “Hidden ‘84 Mod” alters the MXL 990’s stock capsule mounting and grille to reduce diffraction and “eshiness,” removes two layers of headbasket screening to reduce muddying reflections, and upgrades key electronic components. Results include tighter, deeper bass, reduced midrange phase shift, improved HF and transient response.

CardioidMXL 990

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The MXL 990 is a small-diaphragm, fixed-cardioid, transformerless FET condenser with an externally-biased 17mm gold diaphragm (in a 22mm-diameter capsule).

MXL 990 PCB and Capsule with brass baffle ringThe circuit is MXL’s version of the famous Schoeps transformerless circuit, which uses a FET input and a pair of bipolar transistors to produce a balanced output without a transformer. The same circuit can be found in numerous other MXL mics, such as the 2006, V63M, V57, and 603S/604.

The small-diaphragm capsule is the same as is found in most of MXL’s small-diaphragm mics, including the 603S/604 and MCA SP-1. In the 990 (and SP-1), the capsule is mounted within a brass baffle ring that affects the capsule’s frequency response and polar pattern.

As a part of MXL’s “900 Series,” this mic is distributed exclusively by Guitar Center and its various online sales divisions.

SoundOnSound, 2005

As a vocal mic, the MXL 990 produces a subjectively neutral and nicely balanced sound with just a hint of high-end sizzle that can help out vocalists who have difficulty getting the definition they need.

990Beginning in Q1-2013, MXL transitioned the 990 circuit board to a surface-mount design, making the mic a poor candidate for DIY circuit upgrades, unless the entire circuit board is replaced with this MXL 990 PCB upgrade kit.

The photo at right shows the surface-mount 990 circuit board.

Owners of the older through-hole circuit boards are encouraged to investigate the numerous modification options for this microphone; see the sidebar listing.

The mic is an excellent platform for a capsule swap; replacing the stock small-diaphragm capsule with any of a variety of large-diaphragm choices will audibly revoice the microphone, and lower its noise floor.

Capsule wiring guide for modders: the black wire attached to the brass baffle is connected to the capsule diaphragm. The red wire attached to the center terminal behind the capsule is connected to the backplate.

Permalink: MXL 990

Specifications

Frequency Response - CardioidClick Graph to Compare!
990 Cardioid Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (15 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: 130 dB
Self-noise: 20.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
544g (19.19oz) 130mm (5.12'') 60mm (2.36'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power
  • Phantom voltage: 44-52v

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