The MXL V63M is essentially an upgraded version of the company’s bargain champion, the MCA SP-1. While the SP-1 uses a very thin, lightweight body sleeve, the V63M is enclosed in a heavy brass cylinder. And while the SP-1 uses a 17mm small-diaphragm capsule, the V63M uses MXL’s 32mm large-diaphragm K67 capsule.
Both mics use MXL’s derivative of the so-called “Schoeps transformerless circuit,” a popular target for aftermarket modification because it is incredibly responsive to component upgrades.
Because the V63M is built on such a solid foundation, it can be transformed with a small additional investment into a serious studio workhorse — a microphone you’ll reach for in every session. We’ll outline three options below:
- Capsule Swap plus Basic Circuit Mod
- Advanced Circuit Mod plus Corrective EQ
- Capsule Swap plus Advanced Circuit Mod
Capsule Swap + Basic Circuit Mod
One of the drawbacks of the stock microphone is that it pairs a bright K67-type capsule with a linear circuit. The K67 was designed by Neumann to use corrective high-frequency attenuation in the circuit — and yet in the V63M (and most low-cost imported mics) no such corrective EQ is provided. Therefore, these microphones tend to sound bright, hyped, and piercing, depending on the source.
We recommend swapping this capsule with one of our large-diaphragm alternatives:
Try the RK-47 for natural-sounding reproduction of vocals and acoustic instruments. This capsule, based on the capsule Neumann put into the famous U47 tube mic, has a flatter high-frequency response than the K67, and it provides welcome sonic relief to a production littered with hyped-sounding tracks.
Try the RK-12 for articulation without fatigue. The RK-12 is flatter in the mids than the RK-47, with a broad presence peak that provides detail and intimacy to drum overheads and vocals.
Or, for a colored, vintage response, try our RK7. This is a K47 derivative, with deeper lows and a high-frequency rolloff. This capsule is winning rave reviews on bass cabs and kick drums, and will be sure to tame your most sibilant singer too.
While such a capsule replacement can be done by itself, we recommend pairing it with one of our circuit mod kits. The “Basic” mod is designed for people with minimal soldering experience, while still delivering significant improvements in clarity, frequency response extension, and noise reduction. The mod rewires the polarization circuitry, and replaces the worst-sounding capacitors in the audio signal path — while keeping the parts count to a minimum.
The combination of a new capsule plus the Basic mod kit will give you a very respectable microphone: with a more musically useful frequency profile, lower self-noise, higher sensitivity, less congested sound, better detail, and deeper frequency extension.
To take the mic to the next level entirely, read on for details on our Advanced Mod.
Advanced Circuit Mod + Corrective EQ
Our “Advanced” circuit mod guts the audio circuit, replacing nearly every component. It’s not just an in-place upgrade; most component values are changed, based on many years’ research by audio circuit designer Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades.
The mod kit includes audiophile parts such as Dale metal film resistors, Wima polypropylene capacitors, low-noise Hitachi transistors, a hard-to-find Siliconix J305 FET, and long-life Panasonic electrolytic capacitors.
As with the Basic mod, the Advanced mod includes a full-color 30-page installation manual, showing the mod in step-by-step detail.
This Advanced mod kit includes a “corrective EQ” option, which provides the high-frequency attenuation required by the stock K67 capsule. While the best possible results come from replacing the stock capsule too — see the section below — if you’re on a budget, you could install our Advanced circuit mod and retain the stock capsule. The circuit mod will deliver all the benefits of frequency response extension, noise reduction, and better transients, and the EQ capacitors will take away the hyped high-frequency response that is likely what has you researching mods in the first place.
(Not to worry; you can always swap the capsule later, if the stock capsule on the modded circuit isn’t giving you what you need.)
Capsule Swap + Advanced Circuit Mod
Install a new large-diaphragm capsule, and the Advanced circuit mod, and you’ll have a microphone that rivals the best brand names in your mic locker. Jim Williams’ extensively researched circuit recipe, implemented with our hand-selected and matched components, plus our excellent large-diaphragm replacement capsules will give you stunning results.
All of the capsules described previously — the RK7, RK-47, and RK-12 — make fantastic microphones when coupled with the modified circuit. Additional capsule choices are available as well, given the corrective EQ option of the Advanced mod kit:
The RK-87 is a modern version of the capsule found in the Neumann U 87. It has a mellow high end, and excellent transient response.
The RK-67 is a high-quality copy of the original U 67 capsule; it has a slightly brighter response than the RK-87, although both are relatively flat within the modified circuit.
(We expect to have comparison frequency sweeps in the second quarter of 2013.)
Buy the V63M Mod Kits
See the order form at the top of the right column!