Admittedly, the MXL CR89 is the first MXL microphone I’ve ever brought into the studio. For several years I’ve had a few MXL microphones in my live kit and found them to be quite serviceable on the stage. This time MXL sent me a microphone that belonged in the studio with the rebranded V89 now called the CR89. The CR89 is a Large Diaphragm Condenser mic with no roll off, pad, or pattern options.
MXL CR89 Specifications
Condenser pressure gradient mic with large 32mm capsule
The CR89 is heavy and feels quite solid. It ships well packed in a rugged, aluminum flight case with shock mount and microfiber cleaning cloth. While I didn’t put the microphone through any rigorous, physical tests to check it’s durability, it can certainly withstand any amount of regular use a studio might put it through with ease.
Tone For The Money
The CR89 sounds like a microphone that costs a few times more than the $349 street price. The first thing I noticed, and you will also from the audio clips, is that it’s a rather hot mic. If you were to place this microphone in front of a high SPL sound, like a snare drum, I trust that you’d have to engage a pad if you were to be driving the preamp pretty hard for saturation. It’s also a clean sound that sparkles up top. If you want detailed top end, this microphone performs wonderfully. I also found that it wasn’t very susceptible to proximity effect when I leaned right into it while singing.
If you want detailed top end, this microphone performs wonderfully.
My only criticism, and typically my criticism with many cheaper LDC microphones, is that if you'r e working with a bright or edgy sound source or an overly sibilant singer, the CR89 tends to accentuate that a bit too much for my liking. Some targeted equalization may help to resolve that if you had only this microphone on hand. The CR89 could have probably benefited from a roll off, pad, and polar pattern switch, but then the mic wouldn’t have been a mere $249.
I put the CR89 to the test with my voice and my Gibson CL20 Standard Plus using a John Hardy 990 preamp. I’ve provided a couple of examples for review using the CR89 as well as a 414 XLII for comparison. To illustrate the sensitivity of the MXL microphone I set preamp gains identical to one another. However to show the finer details of the microphone as it compares to a more expensive LDC, I level matched them and increased the overall output gain. It should also be noted, that I didn’t use a pop filter in the vocal test.
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