MXL Studio 1 Red Dot
MXL Microphones, www.innovativemusic.com.au
Warm, accurate and clear reproduction; rugged case
May be too sensitive for some uses
USB microphones have revolutionised personal, and even professional, recording by making it easy to plug-and-record directly to a Mac or PC. And what makes many models even better is being able to hook up to an iPad using an Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit ($35).
One that can be used on all three platforms is the Studio 1 Red Dot from MXL – a high-quality cardioid condenser studio mic designed for recording from a single sound source such as vocals or an instrument.
First impressions are great, as the mic comes in a Pelican- style rugged protective case with foam inserts creating spaces for the mic, the 3m USB cable and the desktop stand – a fairly sturdy, all-metal tripod and mount that holds the bottom of the mic about 10cm above the surface.
The mic itself is a nice-looking silver-and-black number with a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio monitoring. It’s bus- powered, so it takes its power directly from your Mac or iPad. We tried it on a purely amateur basis, using it to record voice and alto sax on a 3rd-generation iPad and a MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion, and found it produced warm, accurate and clear recordings.
There was the odd plosive, but this can be eliminated by lowering the input volume in Garage Band or System Preferences. The Studio 1 is also very sensitive, so you’d need to use it in a quiet environment.
MXL includes a pamphlet explaining how best to record dialogue/vocals and instruments such as guitar, piano and drums.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice.
The Studio 1 Red Dot’s size, sound quality, sturdy build, protective case and very reasonable price make it a great choice for musicians and podcasters alike.