A couple of years ago, when Marshall Industries blew the lid off the large-diaphragm studio condenser microphone scene, it sent a slew of manufacturers scurrying to cut prices and rethink the market. Marshall had effectively packaged and marketed Chinese-made capsules with their associated electronics in a unit (the 2001-P) that surprised most with good performance at a never-before-seen low price point.
Now, the company also known for distributing Mogami cable and precision optical and video products has created a line of handheld microphones aimed at the sound reinforcement/MI/home studio market.
The Promo Pac ($199) consists of two MXL 1000 condenser microphones, and one Fox dynamic mic. The MXL 1000s have cardioid patterns and require phantom power at 48V, +/-4V. The Fox is a supercardioid dynamic microphone that comes with a vinyl case and mounting clip.
The Fox dynamic mic was created to compete with the Shure SM58; it exhibits the classic high-mid “bump” desired
by most vocalists in a live setting. This punch extends from the 2.5 to 4 kHz range, critical for communicative consonants.
Marshall says the overall frequency response of the Fox is 50 Hz to 18 kHz. The Fox has a black powder-coated handle and a durable steel-mesh grille. The low output impedance (300 ohms) is a good match for most mic preamps.
The MXL 1000 condenser mic houses a 20mm gold-sputtered diaphragm and an FET preamp in a brass frame and is aimed toward instrument miking. Its claimed frequency response is 30 Hz to 20 kHz; it tolerates an SPL of 134 dB, putting it in the realm of a Shure SM81 or an Audio-Technica 813 for percussion and string miking. It requires 48 volt phantom power and it has a low impedance of 200 ohms.
I was anxious to A/B the Fox microphone with a well-known industry standard, the Shure Beta SM58. In a local rehearsal facility, I compared the two microphones through a Mackie 1604VLZ mixer, Hafler P4000 amplifier and Electro-Voice SX500 speakers. While the Fox could not match the crystalline highs of the Beta 58, it had the desired high-mid punch and displayed a nice smoothness of response from 2 kHz down. The Fox had good off-axis rejection and low handling noise. It was also tolerant (SPL-wise) of a monster-lunged vocalist who was passing through the rehearsal hall. The mic seemed as durable as any of the major brand offerings I had on hand.
My next test was with the MXL1000s in a live setting. One of my favorite challenges for a condenser is seeing if it can accurately get across the proper sound of a Leslie keyboard cabinet, with all the associated craziness involved (rotating horn, down-firing woofer).
I was pleasantly surprised – the mics conveyed a well-tempered response from B-3 mid-grunge to pseudo-Steinway synth patches. At a following gig, the drum overhead channels fed by the MXL 1000s were beautiful, shimmering washes of Paiste and Zildjian cymbals.
Finally, in my project studio, I loved the sound of a Martin D-18 with the MXL1000 placed near the upper bout. Marshall put together a versatile set of microphones, to say the least.
This Marshall Electronics Promo Pac – at a price that is hard to pass up – is worth a try by anyone needing good sound, durability and versatility. This set is going to bring a lot of doubters into the fold.
Contact: Marshall Electronics at 800-800-6608; 310-333-0606; Web Site