Condenser mics are often seen in recording studios as opposed to the dynamic microphones seen on stage. They have a greater frequency response and transient response which makes them more sensitive. They also resist sound pressure well. Let’s take a look at these two condenser mics from MXL and Audio-Technica to see which one will be the best for you. Hint: one is perfect for connecting to a computer.
MXL 770 Professional Studio Condenser Mic + Mic Stand + Pop Filter + XLR Cable Bundle
MXL advertises the MXL 770 as a multi-purpose microphone with warm sound for vocals, pianos, and stringed instruments. They say it can handle hip-hop, rap, and hard rock, too.
It’s designed to resist a sound pressure level of 137dB without buzzing and booming, essential for rock and rap. It has a flat frequency response so it reflects vocals as they really sound, with clarity even at the top end.
Since it has a cardioid pickup pattern, it does a good job of ignoring side and rear noises. But keep in mind that condenser mics are sensitive and do better in studios with some sound-proofing.
The 770 has a small diaphragm for good transient response. In this bundle, it comes with a shock-mount to reduce vibration as well as a pop filter to minimize plosive sounds and pops. It features a -10dB attenuation switch and a bass frequency roll-off switch that lets you make some adjustments to sound without needing a mixer at hand.
You’ll need a phantom power interface on a mixing console or other audio interface because the 770 uses 48V and comes with a 20-foot long XLR cable.
More features of the MXL 770 Professional Studio Condenser Mic Bundle:
- Bundle includes a boom mic stand and a carrying case
- MXL warranty varies from product to product
- Output impedance 150 ohms
Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone
But what if you don’t have a mixer or audio interface that provides phantom power? Check out the AT2020USB microphone from Audio-Technica. Instead of an XLR cable, all you need is a USB port and a computer. Users are reporting that it works great with Windows 10.
The AT2020USB condenser mic has a built-in converter for 16-bit, 44.1 or 48kHz audio output. While you’re recording, you can use the headphone jack to monitor your signal in real-time.
If you’re a voice-over artist, a podcaster, a singer/songwriter, or love making, mixing, and editing recordings on a computer, this is a great microphone for you. You can record while you mix in pre-recorded audio. If you’re in studio with other vocalists, the cardioid pickup pattern focuses on just you and ignores noises at the sides.
Do keep in mind that this is a condenser mic, so it’s best to put some sound-dampening features in your home studio to keep outside noises to a minimum. It comes with a tripod and shock-mount, but consider investing in a pop filter for best results. On the bright side, it has low self-noise.
More features of the Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS USB Microphone:
- Comes with carrying pouch, USB cable, tripod and shock-mount
- Audio-Technica offers a 2-year limited warranty
- Frequency response 20-16,000Hz
- Windows and Mac compatible
- Appears to have been discontinued by Audio-Technica but still available for sale
The choice between these two condenser microphones is easy—do you want an XLR connection for an audio mixer or do you want to use a USB connection to a computer?
If you have a traditional phantom power setup, consider getting the MXL 770. It comes with a pop filter and boom mic stand as well as an XLR cable. It’s ready to use as long as you have the audio equipment to support it. It’s great for rappers, pianists, and rock stars recording at home.
If you use a computer for mixing and editing, consider getting the Audio-Technica AT2020USB mic with its USB interface and headphone jack. It’s perfect for voice-overs, writing your own music, and creating podcasts.