NAB 2013: MXL has a large reputation in the music world for their lineup of vocal and instrument microphones, and now they plan to look ahead to tap the mobile multimedia market.
The Marshall Electronics site was bustling with their newest rack mount and camera-top monitors and other broadcast products at this year’s NAB Show. At the corner of their floor space stood their new Mobile Media line of microphone systems built specifically for entry-level DSLR and mobile rigs.
In general, these microphone systems are designed with mobile in mind, connecting directly to camera, tablet, or phone with a matching impedance signal to lower-Ohm devices. While iOS devices were displayed, these products aren't just for iPhone - MXL didn’t want to be tied down to proprietary ports such as Apple’s 30-pin or Lightning connector. Instead, a 1.8’’ TRRS connector plugs into most compatible devices that treat it like any other in-line microphone.
However, there are challenges with the 1/8’’ connector to mobile devices, mostly its inherent sync issues (2-4 milliseconds) behind video. While they’re looking into apps or updates that could correct this problem, this may not be a big issue for the general public creating web content - but it will matter if they want to reel in a prosumer customer base.
Their mics, like this FR-310 hot shoe shotgun model, has features similar to other equivalent models currently available, such as high-pass filtering, gain switching, and battery power. The mics also include bracket arms that attach to either mobile devices or cameras, in handheld or tripod mounting configurations.
Next to it were other types of microphones tailored towards mobile connectivity. The handheld MM-525 with its interchangeable capsules, the MM-424 boundary mic for desk or conference scenarios, and a selection of other battery powered condenser vocal models for recordings on-the-go that they believe are near to broadcast quality.
MXL really featured their FR-500WK portable wireless system, available sometime this Spring. This pair of UHF receiver and transmitter are switchable to 64 channels, are hot shoe mount friendly, and run off AA batteries. The receiver’s line level connection runs to either a padded 1/8’’ cable straight to DSLRs, or a 1/8’’ to XLR cables to connect to more professional cameras. The transmitter also has an onboard mic built in for speaking with the camera operator or for backup. While we weren't able to test the 500WK set’s sound and reliability, they seem to be a highly portable duo for only $399.
But with so much new focus on prosumer multimedia, will MXL continue to cater towards a larger portion of their performers? “We’re never giving this up - this is a real market, we’re one of the largest supplier of microphones to [musical instrument retailers]”
said Perry Goldstein, Director of Sales & Marketing of Marshall Electronics, gesturing towards the smaller stand of MXL’s well known vocal/music condenser mics. “So that’s a big business, we’ll never exit it. But our growth is going to come from our mobile line. Not many people are going into a traditional studio anymore, so this is the future.”
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