May 18, 2005

The internal mic circuitry is designed to amplify the “musical” even-order harmonics, while subduing odd-order harmonics, which are responsible for harsh, edgy sound quality. Now, the second mic in the Silicone Valve series has been unveiled. The new MXL V6 ($349 retail/street N/A) is a solid-state condenser intended to emulate the tone and response of the company’s flagship tube mic, the MXL V69.

The V69—which I reviewed in the February 2003 issue of EQ magazine (—and the V6 are very similar in many respects. Both are large-diaphragm, single-pattern (cardioid) condensers with 24-carat gold-plated grilles. Neither has any controls—there are no pads or filters. Becaue the V6 is a solid-state mic, there’s no external power supply required, nor does the mic need to warm up as the V69 does. The V6 comes in a cherrywood box, but doesn’t include a shockmount (a $50 option).

SOUND: The V6 and the V69 are clearly cut from the same cloth. Both have a round, warm midrange, with a very open and present top end. The mics handle input levels well, so you can position them close to the source sound and take advantage of proximity effect to fatten up the bottom end. I did find myself wishing for a low-cut filter to tame the deep “thumpiness” that was revealed when monitoring through a subwoofer-equipped system. The V6 excels on male vocals, where it provides a full tone, with a bright but smooth high end. The detailed top end also works well on steel-string acoustic guitars, delivering a thick sound with plenty of sparkle. Marshall is correct to characterize the mic as smooth sounding, with no “solid-state” harshness.

CONCLUSION: The V6 is a big sounding mic, with plenty of open top-end, good dynamic response, low noise, and a warm tone. It lines up next to the tube V69 very well, delivering similar tone and excellent value. The V6 performs like a microphone that costs way more money.

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