Music Gear Review: MXL CR89 Low Noise Condenser Microphone

The MXL CR89 is a fixed-pattern cardioid mic with a 6-micron gold-sputtered diaphragm and FET-based low-noise head amp circuit. The 32-mm diameter capsule is center-terminated and is well protected inside of the double-mesh black chrome windscreen.

I like the CR’s large, beefy body that reduces microphone body resonances; its beautiful satin black body and (included) matching shock mount almost disappears in my dimly lit studio. Singers almost ignore or forget it’s there, plus the broad pickup pattern is very forgiving for singers who move around it while singing with their eyes closed.

The almost omni-directional pickup pattern is the reason for the CR89’s low proximity effect— the bass build-up when singers get too close to the capsule. This is a warm sounding microphone with some proximity that can help singers who have thin-sounding voices.

And the CR89 can take some level too! It worked just fine right in front of a bass guitar amp using minimal pre-amp gain.

I think if you’re on a budget when equipping your home/project studio, the MXL CR89 is a solid choice for a durable, general-purpose workhorse condenser microphone. It comes with a durable aluminum flight case, a matching sexy flat black shock mount with a second set of elastic cords, plus a microfiber cleaning cloth. It sells for $349.95 MAP.


BARRY RUDOLPH is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com