MXL 603s Condenser Microphone
The Marshall MXL 603s is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone well-regarded for use in typical Small Diaphragm Cardioid microphone applications such as capturing acoustic instruments and percussion. The 603s works well on the high end, making it a great choice for overhead micing. It performs well – picking up an instrument’s natural acoustics and providing a full, solid bottom and a wonderfully open top end sound. The MXL 603s can be purchased in pairs for stereo recording for around $80.
Designed with professional working musicians in mind, the MXL 603s is an attractive, small-bodied pencil microphone with a satin silver finish and a detachable cardioid capsule. Based on the Schoeps CM4 design, the 603s features transformerless circuitry and uses a 2SK170BL FET. Like other microphones in Marshall’s MXL series, the internal wiring of the 603s uses Mogami cables and boasts a gold-sputtered, 6-micron gold diaphragm.
The intent in designing the MXL 603s was to replicate the sound of Neumann’s KM-84 unit. So while Neumann uses a crossed-slit backplate capsule design, the MXL uses circular grooves and achieves a similar effect. The 603s ships with just a cardioid capsule but it is compatible with the omnidirectional capsule that comes with the 604 model. Mounted to the 603s, the cardioid capsule is said to be a bit less sensitive (10 mV/Pa) than when used on the 604 (15 mV/Pa).
The MXL 603s can be purchased for under $100 a pair, and ships with a carry case and two shock mounts. Marshall’s MXL 603s is a great performer with a bit of versatility and for the price, it’s worth having in your microphone locker.
Marshall MXL 603s Microphone Shockmount
Make sure to check out my review of the MXL 604 condenser microphone as well!