For years now, I've been a huge fan of MXL microphones. I'm particularly fond of the MXL 2001 cardioid condenser for its smooth, warm and accurate tone. So when the opportunity came around for me to look at a few newcomers, of course, I jumped at the chance.
The first new puppy on the block is the 2010 condenser. (I can't help but think that the numbers are a take on the Arthur C. Clarke/Kubrick space series.) Although the 2010 looks much like the 2001 (except for its brushed silver finish), the first and obvious difference is its multi-directionality, having a 1'' diaphragm that's selectable between cardioid, omni and bi-directional patterns. In addition, the 2010 incorporates a bass rolloff and -10 dB pad switch for use in high-SPL environments.
Functionally, I was happily surprised that the 2010 sounds much like its older brother, having a smooth characteristic that works favorably on voice and a wide range of pickup applications. Besides the usual MXL attention to quality, the biggest selling point is the price: $150 street for a high-quality, multi-pattern condenser mic!
My second test-spin mic is the V67i. Based on the popular tube-emulation, cardioid V67G, the first thing that hits you about this condenser mic is its good looks. Sporting a forest-green case and gold-plated grill, it's a visual stunner. (Incidentally, that's the same color combo that is used on AKG's $5000 re-issue of the C12... probably the best mic ever made.) Secondly, the V67i uses a 1'' capsule assembly that has two selectable, diaphragms. The front diaphragm is designed to offer a "warm" sound that's extremely warm and smooth, while the backside is designed with a "bright" sound that adds a high-end boost and a degree of brilliance without being harsh. (I've heard that the latter does an amazing job of picking up acoustic guitars, offering a high-end boost that's similar to my all-time favorite acoustic guitar pickup, the AKG C 414.) An extra "cool factor" is the addition of two red LEDs behind the gold grill that illuminates the front or backside of the grill (depending upon which diaphragm is selected). How cool is that? The V67i likewise sells for $150 street. An amazing deal for a mic that looks and sounds like it should cost four times the price! ($199 MSRP each; www.mxlmics.com)