This large diaphragm cardioid tube condenser makes the excellent sound of the acclaimed multi pattern MXL Revelation tube mic even more affordable
By Phil O'Keefe
Do you ever listen back to some of the recordings you made with lower-cost condenser microphones and wonder "where's the beef?" Are you looking for more richness and refinement in the sound than what your budget microphones offer? I'll let you in on a little secret: while using a mic with a large presence peak or lifted high frequency response has its place, and can be helpful when trying to compensate for old strings or a dull or dark sounding instrument or vocalist, too much of that high frequency emphasis can easily build up and leave you with thin and weak sounding recordings. The key is balance - and you get that by using a mix of different microphone types and matching their characteristics to best benefit the sound sources at hand, or by using higher quality, more refined, less "hyped" and more natural sounding microphones that have more neutral response across the entire frequency spectrum. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot more of the brighter sounding microphones on the market these days, and not nearly as many choices in the "neutral" category.
That's why I was really excited when MXL released the Revelation, a multi-pattern tube condenser mic that has a detailed, but less forward sounding top end and flatter overall frequency response than a lot of the other mics currently on the market. However, with a $1,295 "street" price, it is still a bit out of reach for some serious but cash-strapped home recordists. The fixed XY pattern Revelation Stereo is also an outstanding mic, but it's even more expensive. Now MXL has released the Revelation Solo - a lower priced, cardioid-only version of the Revelation that is designed to make the sound of that mic affordable to a much wider range of users.
What You Need To Know
As with the other products in the Revelation series, this is a really nice sounding tube microphone. The sound quality is rich, refined, and expensive sounding, and slightly flattering without being overly colored - a far cry from some of the coarser sounding budget condenser mic models out there, and without the harsh, overly hyped high frequencies that many of them exhibit. While not inexpensive, it offers the sonic performance of the MXL Revelation multi pattern tube mic (MSRP $1,495, $1,295 "street") in cardioid-only form, but at a significantly lower price. If you don't need the added flexibility of the variable polar patterns (and most musicians and home recordists tend to stick with using the cardioid pattern anyway), or if you're on a budget, this is a great alternative. MXL has a real winner with the Revelation series mikes - they are my favorite MXL microphones yet. With the reduced price of the cardioid only version, a lot more people are going to be able to discover for themselves just how nice these microphones really are. Definitely recommended!
Musician's Friend MXL Revelation Solo catalog page ($799.95 MSRP)
MXL's Revelation Solo web page
MXL's Revelation Solo video:
Harmony Central meets the MXL Revelation Solo:
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.