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Mxl 2003a
Old 15th August 2010
  #1
Mxl 2003a

Its hard to find anything on this mic. Thoughts?
Old 15th August 2010
  #2
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It's hard to use SEARCH

Best Budget Mics
Old 15th August 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt View Post
I did search and that is one post. Thats nothing. I want to hear from multiple people who have used this mic, specifically in a thread centered on the mic itself.
Old 15th August 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krush411 View Post
I did search and that is one post. Thats nothing. I want to hear from multiple people who have used this mic, specifically in a thread centered on the mic itself.
It's a pretty new mic. I'm betting that not that many people have had a chance to check it out.
Old 15th August 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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...based on Michael Joly's comments about the 2003A, I'm betting it's not too different from your JJ Audio modded 2001 (different capsule plus a tranny)...probably not quite as good...so why are you selling that mic?...
Old 15th August 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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2003a Opinion

I first bought the v67g (a pair) on recommendations from here (and elsewhere). I couldn't find much on the v88 anywhere and just a few reviews on the 2003a as Krush indicated. Based on that, I went ahead and grabbed one of each. Of the couple of things I've done with these three, all stock, I'd say the 2003a is in the middle with the v88 being the lesser in sound quality (but still better than most other MXL offerings). So I'd say it's similar in value/quality to the v67g but just a bit brighter with a different low end, a more low mid punchiness I think. But not in a bad way as it is one of the smoother chicrophones on the high freqs. I'm eventually going to pull mesh from all three and see how they sound with a single layer basket. I did go ahead and buy another 2003a while B&H still has the pro pac plus deal going so that I'd have a pair. So, with all that comes in the combo vs the $180 some are charging for just the 2003a w/ shockmount, it's a most worthy mic for the money in my opinion when you consider the other items in the pro pac.

Maybe M Joly will see this thread and elaborate further on the value/quality of the stock 2003a. But for me, the v67g is still the better buy overall. Hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, I'll answer as best I can.

Cheers!
Mitchell
Edit: Michael did comment further on the thread mentioned above that he's just converting baskets and changing the finish. I know I'm a rookie here, but in it's stock form it's not a bad mic at all IMO. I really need to do some more tracks with them to affirm my initial impressions vs the v67g as well as compare them to an Oktavamod NT2a and/or at4050 which are my best mics at present.
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #7
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidvybes View Post
...based on Michael Joly's comments about the 2003A, I'm betting it's not too different from your JJ Audio modded 2001 (different capsule plus a tranny)...probably not quite as good...so why are you selling that mic?...
Well the 2003a I haven't heard. But based on what MJ said there's quite a few things going on in there that are meant to address the sibilance issues that folks have been complaining about over the years regarding Chinese microphones in general. Based on his descriptives it sounds like they somewhat solved those issues with this release.

I remember suggesting to MXL (via a few emails we exchanged) a few years ago that they should develop a custom shop division since they could definitely do some upgrading to certain mics in their product line, which would greatly improve the quality (that's just my youthful opinion though).

Its cool to see them trying to fix or address those issues with their new releases.

That being stated, the fact remains that mics like the V67G offer quite a few different possibilities for improvement. Some of which can be done yourself.

As far as the transformer vs transformerless issue, I suppose that's anyone's game. MJ has had excellent customer response from the NT1A mod he debuted and so have we from the standard V67G mod, along with all of the after market customizations you can make to that microphone.

I mean to be honest with you Krush, you can definitely take that modded 2001 and transform it even further into a pretty sweet final result. I have mine outfitted with an ADK Hamburg capsule and a Jensen output transformer. Sweet phat low end, a nice luscious midrange (but not honky) and delicious top end is how I'd describe it. My boss definitely loves his multi pattern pair that are set up like this but they have ADK TT capsules for multi pattern. (They sound exactly the same to me).

Peace
Illumination
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Hey Langston,
From the description of the 2003a on recordinghacks.com, it sounds like they are/were testing the waters for exactly that. By upgrading components to smooth out the sound of the 2003, it's an MXL "custom shop" mod of their own mic.

I know this is a 2003a thread, but for contrast, have you done anything with the V88? I'm interested to hear a professionals opinion of it in stock form and what mod possibilities are there as I have one and it's not a bad mic either. Initial MSRP of 699, street of 399 I think and now selling for a little over 100. It sounds to me like MXL was either really psyched about this mic initially and it didn't sell, or it was a marketing ploy to fatten the MSRP to make it sound like a better deal at lower prices. Thoughts?

Cheers!
Mitchell
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Just wanted to say that Im also very interested in the 2003a after reading the "best budget mics" thread.

Also wondering how it compares to the similarly priced AT 2035.

So yeah.. Onward.thumbsup
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O40ozConstable View Post
Just wanted to say that Im also very interested in the 2003a after reading the "best budget mics" thread.

Also wondering how it compares to the similarly priced AT 2035.

So yeah.. Onward.thumbsup
Good point, or the AT2050...Dang, forgot about those being in that price range as I normally cruise around looking for deals on the 40 series. I'll be out until next week and then I'll try to get a couple of quick clips of the 2003a if you can wait that long.
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Paging Joly, Paging Joly lol
Old 17th August 2010 | Show parent
  #12
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You know, ever since we moved to Cape Cod we've had a steady stream of family visitors - what's up with that? And, my boy cat Strider has discovered his inner feral self and is always howling to go out and make (supervised) mischief. So between regular bench work, visitors and cat sitting I haven't had a chance to do U 87 / 2003A comparisons.
Attached Thumbnails
Mxl 2003a-strider_look.jpg  
Old 17th August 2010 | Show parent
  #13
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Congratulations on the move Michael.

That's quite a sea-change.
Old 17th August 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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Although I do understand and appreciate the time requisites of a demanding cat..... heh

I too am interested in this comparison, as I ordered a 2003a this week based on your detailed and positive initial review of this mic.

I recently moved overseas and ditched all my high-end equipment pre-move as I didn't want to give the moving company the opportunity to crush my stuff. (I am a FIRM believer in Murphy's Law)

Am trying to restrict my setup to a low-end simple chain...and am hoping this mic will fit the bill for my modest needs (tenor vox, acoustic guitar)

Cheers
Old 17th August 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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Believe me, I am as interested as you to hear this apx. $150 mic up against my '70s U 87. I've listened to them both live in headphones on my voice but have not made a careful recording of the two of them together.

Some quick observations - the U 87 has a bigger proximity effect and more back-side cancelation. The 2003A has a well-scuplted top end that is not all that different from the U 87.

If I was pairing down to a minimalist set up it would be a strong contender - right after my precious domestic USSR issue, chrome body MK-219.

Btw, I've finalized the mods to the 2003A and posted them to my site.
Old 18th August 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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No specifics on components, but a few snippets from the hacks.

That said, the 2003A โ€œis for all intents and purposes a completely new microphone,โ€ according to Roy Harper of MXL.
Both mics use a 3-micron, 27mm-diaphragm capsule, but changes were made in the way the capsule is tuned for the 2003A.
The amplifier circuit was redesigned, resulting in (among other changes) a decrease in sensitivity, from 16 mV/Pa to 7.1 mV/Pa, and a decrease in self-noise from 18dBA to 11 dBA.
If the published frequency plots can be believed, the new version of the mic does away with the +5dB HF peak above 10kHz, resulting in a significantly flatter response.
Old 18th August 2010 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhs2xs View Post
...If the published frequency plots can be believed, the new version of the mic does away with the +5dB HF peak above 10kHz, resulting in a significantly flatter response.
In this case they can be believed. I'm prepped for a big 70's U 87 / mod'd 2003A shootout tomorrow.

While some folks may think Gearslultz is very influential, it really is not - not considering the reach of of Musicians Friend, Guitar Center, Sweetwater etc. But if word ever spreads beyond Gearslutz about the performance of the 2003A it would kill MXL's sales of their more expensive mics.
Old 18th August 2010 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
In this case they can be believed. I'm prepped for a big 70's U 87 / mod'd 2003A shootout tomorrow.

While some folks may think Gearslultz is very influential, it really is not - not considering the reach of of Musicians Friend, Guitar Center, Sweetwater etc. But if word ever spreads beyond Gearslutz about the performance of the 2003A it would kill MXL's sales of their more expensive mics.
Awesomeness. Thanks again for your time.

You're right, most I talk to have never heard of the site, at least in my circles. But word is definitely spreading. I wish I had found it sooner.
Old 18th August 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Whew glad I ordered mine in time, they are becoming popular thats for sure. Musiciansfriend is sold out and the guy I talked to at BH Photo Video said they just sold out of thier last shipment.
Old 18th August 2010 | Show parent
  #20
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Sinocelt's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krush411 View Post
I did search and that is one post. Thats nothing.
There's a lot more than one post, unless you chose not to scroll down; and the information is interesting enough not to qualify as "nothing."
Old 19th August 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 

Michael, do you replace all of the electrolytics in the circuit with bi-polar ones? Is there much difference in sound when you do? I'm wondering if this is generally a good idea with cheaper microphones.

Thanks
Old 19th August 2010 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2b-3 View Post
Michael, do you replace all of the electrolytics in the circuit with bi-polar ones? Is there much difference in sound when you do? I'm wondering if this is generally a good idea with cheaper microphones.

Thanks
If they're in the signal path they get replaced with Polypropylene caps if the value is not too large or non-polar electrolytics if the values are large. Depending on their location in the circuit the results vary from subtle to significant. Electros in the DC circuit don't usually have to be replaced.

Btw - I've just posted some audio of an OktavaMod'd 2003A vs my '70's U 87
Old 19th August 2010 | Show parent
  #23
ALS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
If they're in the signal path they get replaced with Polypropylene caps if the value is not too large or non-polar electrolytics if the values are large. Depending on their location in the circuit the results vary from subtle to significant. Electros in the DC circuit don't usually have to be replaced.

Btw - I've just posted some audio of an OktavaMod'd 2003A vs my '70's U 87
Have to say that is pretty impressive. Just listened to the samples and have to say there is very little difference between the 2 mics after mod. thanks for sharing.
Old 20th August 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Head
 

Even More interesting.

I was having trouble matching levels to evaluate the mics. They each handle transients a little differently. Micael wouldn't do this because he's trying to show a clean, unprocessed comparison. I used very mild compression with a UAD 1176 - less than most people would in the real world - to match the transients a bit better for level comparison. This is with attack and release at centre, the ratio 8:1 and taking off a little over 1 dB from both. Which one is the 87 and which is the 2003A?
Attached Files

track 1.wav (2.93 MB, 4744 views)

track 2.wav (2.93 MB, 4786 views)

Old 20th August 2010 | Show parent
  #25
ALS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2b-3 View Post
Even More interesting.

I was having trouble matching levels to evaluate the mics. They each handle transients a little differently. Micael wouldn't do this because he's trying to show a clean, unprocessed comparison. I used very mild compression with a UAD 1176 - less than most people would in the real world - to match the transients a bit better for level comparison. This is with attack and release at centre, the ratio 8:1 and taking off a little over 1 dB from both. Which one is the 87 and which is the 2003A?
I'm going to say that track 2 is the 87 due to it being a bit more pronounced in the highs, but either way they both sound nice.
Old 20th August 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krush411 View Post
Whew glad I ordered mine in time, they are becoming popular thats for sure. Musiciansfriend is sold out and the guy I talked to at BH Photo Video said they just sold out of thier last shipment.

I placed an order with BH Photo 2 weeks ago and they finally got stock in on the MXL Pro Pac yesterday. They currently it show it as being in stock.

MXL Pro Pac Plus - Condenser Microphone Kit PRO PAC PLUS - B&H

Mine goes out M. Joly as soon I get it.
Old 20th August 2010 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snaimpally View Post
I placed an order with BH Photo 2 weeks ago and they finally got stock in on the MXL Pro Pac yesterday. They currently it show it as being in stock.

MXL Pro Pac Plus - Condenser Microphone Kit PRO PAC PLUS - B&H

Mine goes out M. Joly as soon I get it.
Now the real question...Is the 2003 that's in the pro pac, and the 2003"A" any different?
Old 23rd August 2010 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarzan View Post
Now the real question...Is the 2003 that's in the pro pac, and the 2003"A" any different?
The LDC mic in the pro pac plus from B&H is a 2003A. I've purchased two of them. I think the 2003 is OOP anyway, but there may be a few around. It says 2003 in the product description, but it has been 2003A in the case both times I received it. So if you're considering it...the 2003A, 603S, shockmounts, cables & case is a great buy. Get em while you can.

Post #17 above is all I have found to describe the differences between the 2003 & 2003A.
But someone may have a more thorough analysis somewhere.
Old 23rd August 2010 | Show parent
  #29
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I don't recall there being a +5db peak above 10khz in the old MXL2003.
Old 24th August 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Here's MXL's marketing page regarding the 2003A:

MXL 2003A Large Capsule Condenser Microphone

You can see the frequency plot there
And here's the page for the Recording pack Plus, which contains info on the old 2003:

MXL Recording Pack Plus Microphone Package

Comparing the two plots is quite interesting!

I'd love to know what circuit changes are needed to create that effect.
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