A Review of the MXL 990 Podcasting Mic and Why Integrators Should Podcast

Published: March 4, 2020

While covering the pro AV industry, I occasionally have the chance to tool around with the very equipment marketed to integrators. And since I run Commercial Integrator’s podcast, AV+, I’m always on the lookout for equipment that can help us improve our show. Recently, I set up and tested the MXL 990 podcasting mic and corresponding OverStream Pro Bundle and found it to be a great improvement over what I’d previously used.

For transparency: this review was not sponsored in any way.

MXL OverStream specifications

This bundle came with the MXL 990 mic in BlazeMXL USB Mic Mate Pro adapter, a plosive screen, and an extending arm which easily fit on a desk. The hardware only took a few minutes to set up.

The mic itself features LED lights which automatically turn on during use; 200 ohms impedance, and a frequency response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz.

Paired with the USB Mic Mate, it was a truly plug-and-play experience with little to no hassle for someone who has recorded before.

Use cases for integrators

I could see integrators choosing this solution for a number of project applications, especially in the burgeoning esports market.

This bundle would save integrators set up time yet provide professional-quality audio for streaming.

But since there aren’t many integrators getting their feet wet in that space yet, I also wanted to say that this mic could also fit well in a small broadcasting or house of worship project where the users need an easy-to-use, yet professional-quality solution at an accessible price point (the whole package retails for $250).

However, if there’s one use integrators should consider using this microphone for, it should be as a podcasting mic for their own digital marketing efforts.

More on that below.

Comparing the MXL 990 & Overstream bundle to other options

In this reviewer’s opinion, the MXL clearly beats out what I’d been using to record AV+. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Below, you’ll find some audio samples recorded with three different microphones: the MXL Overstream bundle, a sub-$50 USB microphone made by a different manufacturer, and my iPhone 8’s voice recorder.

To keep these tests useful and consistent, I recorded them all in the same room and compressed the raw files into .MP3 format.

Here’s the sub-$50 USB mic:

Here’s my iPhone 8:

And here’s the MXL Overstream Bundle version:


Listening to the files on the same pair of headphones, it’s clear the MXL microphone sounds fuller and more detailed. The sub-$50 USB microphone sounded thin and brittle, and the audio using an iPhone wasn’t as rich or as detailed, either.

The takeaway from this test is that investing in a higher quality microphone makes a world of difference over using either a cheap USB mic, or even one’s cell phone.

Why you should take podcasting seriously

We’re not just writing about this because we have a podcast: even though integrators are in the business of multimedia, many of their websites look like they’re running HTML 1.0. Why?

We understand the “shoemaker’s kids” conundrum of wanting to invest almost all if your budget on the quality of work at the cost of forgoing what many see as “extras” like a nice website or a following on social media for your own business.

But mark our words, you won’t have a future without reaching the next generation of clients, or even other people in the industry. Here are our thoughts on podcasts and why they could work for you:

  • While a few great podcasts already exist (such as AV Network’s shows and — ahem our show), there’s always a different way to cover the AV industry or an aspect of it that’s unique to your business’ unique standpoint
  • Starting a (well done and thoughtful) podcast establishes you as a thought leader in your area of audio visual expertise, which is makes you look better for clients Googling your company’s name
  • It also re-establishes your name within the pro AV community, potentially attracting your next star employee (this is especially relevant given the difficulty many integrators have finding young talent)

Read Next: Marketing Tips for AV Integrators: The Marketing Funnel

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