PAR Studio Review: MXL Genesis FET Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone by Rob Tavaglione

MXL sells a lot of good microphones at great prices.
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MXL sells a lot of good microphones at great prices. As of late, the company has unveiled a number of mics that offer super performance at incredible prices. (For example, see Russ Long’s review of the CR89: prosoundnetwork.com/article/review-mxlcr89-large-diaphragm-condenser-microphone/15967)

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MXL’s Genesis tube mic has been very successful—enough so that they have released another version of it, this time with solid state FET electronics for a different sonic take on its most popular LDC transducer.

Features

The cardioid-only Genesis FET is striking in its simplicity. Gold trimmings highlight its big red chassis that reveals no variables: no switches, pads or patterns. It comes a gold/ metal clip-on windscreen and shock mount. It handles up to 111 dB SPL, has -13 dB self-noise, offers a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and 150 Ohm impedance. The Genesis FET comes with a padded wood case and a certificate of authenticity.

In Use

My typical vocal sessions begin with three or four mics placed and ready: my current favorite, my dark-horse favorite and a couple under review for PAR. The Genesis FET received this treatment for two months at Catalyst and won the gig several times—no small feat with stiff competition. I found its lean bottom end to be well suited for a tight, concise vocal sound, one that was often ideal for BGVs. The Genesis FET has a pronounced top end that is a little too sibilant for my tastes, yet much smoother than many condensers in this price range. The overall balance wasn’t so much suited to sopranos, but indeed was a better fit for baritones and tenors.

I don’t do much rap/hip-hop, but when I do, I like my vocals crisp, defined and edgier than a sung vocal. The Genesis FET was a fine fit for such tracks with quick response, midrange definition and good cut up top. (For example, check out this webclip from The Dreamchild: soundcloud.com/proaudioreview-magazine/the-dreamchildmxl-genesis-fet)

I tried the Genesis FET on sources like hand perc, electric guitars, acoustic guitars and piano. The bottom line: it’s clean and quick, forward but not pushy, with top-emphasis yet not bottomless. It’s a good fit for full, darker instruments and not for crisp, bright ones; and a matter of taste on guitars and keys. I didn’t dig Genesis FET on any drums or perc, but then again (with LDCs) I seldom do (other than overheads, where I would need two for testing).

To My Ears

The Genesis FET is a moderately versatile, defined condenser that excels on vocals. And for $400? It’s a bargain-priced, worthy choice. With a nice little kit and a metal shockmount that really works, I will recommend it.