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MXL MIC MATE

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March 20, 2008

MIC-Mate

Since the advent of ‘Podcasting’ (offline radio-esque programs one can download and playback on anything – iPod or no iPod), dozens of USB-equipped microphones have hit the market. These microphones enable ‘Podcasters’ to record their voiceover material without the need for external preamps or mixing consoles. The mics are typically dynamics or condensers with a preamp and USB audio interface rolled into the microphone itself.

However, MXL reckons it’s come up with a better idea by simply allowing you to use whichever microphone you prefer. The result is the MXL Mic Mate, which looks initially like a small diaphragm condenser, until you inspect one end and see a USB plug where a mic’s headstock should be.

Halfway along the body is a slide switch for selection of three gain settings and a red LED to let you know the Mic Mate is receiving power from the USB port. It really couldn’t be simpler. Plug your microphone in one end and plug the other end into your Mac or PC with a USB cable.

To that end, MXL doesn’t actually supply a USB cable so you’ll have to rustle up your own, unfortunately… most of us have a couple lying about anyway so I guess it’s not a big issue – a shortish USB cable would have been nice though. MXL does, however, tout a free two-track recording program (Windows only), downloadable from its website.

There are no specific drivers required for the Mic Mate, just plug it in and go. In XP, use the standard USB Audio Codec and Core Audio in OSX. Phantom power is supplied via the USB port into the bargain so you can happily drive both dynamic and condenser microphones.

The Mic Mate’s 16-bit converter covers sample rates of 44.1 and 48k. It’s a sturdy little interface that will withstand clattering about at the bottom of your bag or back pocket – think metal microphone casing. It’s cheap, cheerful and perfect for on-the-go voiceovers. – Brad Watts

Price: $169

Innovative Music: (03) 9540 0658 or [email protected]

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Issue 66