Holiday Gear Guide 2012: MXL Trio USB Condenser Microphone

MXL Trio USB Condenser Microphone

(MSRP $99)

Ideal for demo recording and podcasting, the MXL Trio’s solid construction, ease of use, and classic look make it a good choice if you’re looking to improve on the quality of the recordings you’ve been getting from your computer, or your iPad’s onboard microphone. For less than $100, the MXL Trio offers a significant upgrade over the onboard microphones on most computers and tablets.

Intelligibility, presence, and reduction of ambient noise are all improved by the use of the Trio.  The included desktop stand makes it easy to position for interviews and looks great; it can also be attached to traditional mic stands.

The Trio includes a low-latency 1/8th inch headphone output directly on the body of the microphone, allowing users to monitor their recording while in progress.  This function is extremely useful, but without any volume controls, you’ll have to make those adjustments on your computer.  Even so, the amount of volume available from the headphone jack seems limited, but will suit vocal overdubs and acoustic guitars just fine.

Plug and play compatibility for Mac OS and PC allow you to use the Trio without installing any extra software. Simply plug the microphone into your USB 2.0 port on your computer (use with an iPad requires an additional adapter), and select it as an input source, and you’re ready to go. The Trio worked seamlessly with Garageband, Logic, and Quicktime.  Getting it to work with the iPad took a few tries, but once it was up and running, it sounded great. The ability to record at 44.1 or 48kHz sample rates is a nice bonus, and one that we wouldn’t have expected at this price. The Trio employs a cardioid polar pattern, and a frequency response of 40Hz – 18kHz. – STEVE MARTIN

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