The MXL 603 is a very affordable pencil condenser microphone. This microphone is a must have for low end studios! I have a stereo pair that I been using for overhead mics on drums and they pick up the cymbals amazing!
This mic really picks up high frequencies very well. Depending on the Cymbals at times it can be a little to bright but the microphone also handles EQ very well. Not only does it pick up the cymbals well but also the kit as a whole. Doesn't pick up all the drums enough that you dont need to use close micing on each drum but still does a great job!
ONCE again CYMBALS CYMBALS CYMBALS. SOUND GREAT WITH THIS MIC!
On acoustic guitar this mic really shines. Picking up all upper frequencies and letting the guitar sit well in the mix. Pair this with a LDC mic and you can hear how well the MXL 603 picks up the strings of the guitar.
I picked up a pair of these new for $100
Thats only $50 each!
If your in the market of getting inexpensive mics to be used for acoustic guitar and overhead drum mics then consider the MXL 603!
I would say that these microphones are extremely underrated!
I have one of these, I believe I got it for free actually. They're super duper cheap, so that's one thing you can say for them.
I've really only played with it once or twice, but it I do know that they're good for live overheads, mainly for one reason... THEY'RE SUPER CHEAP! If it breaks, no biggie, buy another one for around $50.
For a small project studio doing demos or something, this is a great mic too. It's nice and hot thanks to being a SDC (Small Diaphragm Condenser for those who don't know) but just like all other condensers it requires phantom power. It'll do a wide range of frequencies and dynamics too.
It is only a cardioid, no pattern switch, no pad, no frills. Try it on acoustic instruments, drum overheads, heck even some vocals. It is after all still a mic and don't be afraid to try it on anything and everything.
I have one of these and used it sparingly in the past. Then, I was having trouble getting a good acoustic sound out of my other mics. I tried it again just for kicks and was amazed of how good it picked up the guitar. Remember that mic placement is always important though, because if you don't find the sweetspot with this mic, it will sound horrible.
Then I looked on the net for some simple mods I could do to it. A simple 3 cap mod and this microphone sounds so sweet! No more harsh highs and an acoustic guitar sounds awesome. I now use this microphone for vocals, as it has clarity where I need it most for my voice, something I could not get with the MXL2003 (too much sibilance) and the SM57-58 (not cutting through enough).
For that price, I will get another one and match them, so I can also mic with XY pattern. I think this would be a great addition, especially with the mods done (which costs around 5$ if you already have a soldering iron and know how to solder) in any low to mid budget studios out there. I liked it without the mods, but with the mods it is incredibly good!
Try the octava mod package on these from Michael Joly, down in Florida.
Do a google search......
Upgraded FET, electronics and housing, turns this cheapo into a hand made boutique style mic that will absolutely rival any other Chinese mic, and can compete with the better German mics, at a fraction of the cost.
This modded 603 will become your go to mic for guitars, a matched set, will amaze you in stereo recording an acoustic guitar, This will move up your mic from a throw away overhead, to one you will go to again and again, and try it on different things. All the harsh-ey sounding elevation in the upper end response that made them cut through as an overhead will be smoothed out to where they sound great for string details on a guitar.
I have owned a pair of these for over a year now. It was in my quest at the time of getting these for using on drum overheads. Something I could use all the time and not spend a fortune on. The price was right.
Comparative speaking. I put these up against the rode nt5s and shure pg81s
Well you would think that the Rodes came out sounding better but to my ear these mics did a better job and capturing transients from the kit than the rode. In the 8k range they may not be that pleasant. But for the money these have helped me to get some pretty good tracks on drums. Sure I think there are better overhead mics out there. For the money these will work.
Acoustic Guitars, I am not a huge fan of this mic on acoustic. Its seems a little nasel sounding on the Acoustic not enough low mid to make me happy.
Overall on various sources this mic can get you through your session. Not a bad job for what it cost. I did the mod on these mics myself. You can find people online selling the mod kit and instructions on how to do it for cheep. I did notice a slight improvement once I did the mod.