CAD GXL2200 PROFESSIONAL MICROPHONE Reviews

CAD GXL2200 PROFESSIONAL MICROPHONE

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CAD GXL2200 PROFESSIONAL MICROPHONE

Mar 1, 2009 (Updated Dec 23, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is a good entry level condenser microphone.

Cons:None.

The Bottom Line: This is a good entry level condenser microphone which sounds best for vocals and as an overhead for drums.



    CAD  GXL2200  PROFESSIONAL  MICROPHONE
 
            A while back I purchased some recording equipment, and as a bonus, a CAD GXL2200 Microphone was thrown in for free as part of the package.  I am familiar with many of the higher end microphones made by CAD, but I did not have any first hand knowledge or experience with the CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone, although I knew it by reputation as being a remarkably good entry level all purpose condenser microphone.  As such, I was excited to do some to do some sound tests with the CAD GXL 2200 Professional Microphone, and see just what it was capable of, and what I might find it to be useful for.

            The CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone is surprisingly impressive looking, and when it is sitting in its shock mount, it looks like a microphone that you would expect to pay several hundred dollars for.  Speaking of price, the CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone has a list price of $119.00, but I have seen it selling at a discount for as little as $59.99 from most national musical instrument chain stores, as well as some large Internet dealers.

            Before getting into a discussion of how the CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone sounds, I think that it would be prudent to spend some time here in explaining some of its features.  Firstly, the CAD GXL2200 is an "externally biased true condenser microphone."  O.K., you pros out there may know what this means, but a person who is considering purchasing the CAD GXL2200 is most likely going to be a person who is just starting to venture into the world of recording and sound reinforcement, and for their benefit I will try to explain what some of the terms mean that I will be using in this review. 

           The CAD GXL2000 is an "externally biased condenser microphone."  An externally biased condenser microphone is frequently referred to as being a "true condenser" microphone.  If this is a "true condenser" does that mean there are "false condenser" microphones?  Not really.  An externally biased or "true condenser" microphone is one that requires a continuous external electrical charge for its back plate to operate correctly.  About 95% of the condenser microphones in use today are what are known as "electret condensers" and only about 5% are what is known as "true condensers."  Which is better?  The truth is that they are both quite good and sound fine, and it is merely a matter of design preference and utility that separate which type of condenser microphone might be most appropriate for a specific recording or sound reinforcement situation.

            Another feature of the CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone to discuss here is that since it is a condenser microphone, it will require an external power source in order for it to function correctly.  Unlike a "dynamic" microphone, a condenser microphone requires the use of a power supply, in this case phantom power.  That means that this microphone must be connected to a preamp or to a sound board in order for it to get the power it needs for it to operate correctly.  This should not be a problem, as even some inexpensive sound boards come set up with the capability of being able to provide phantom power to condenser microphones.  Today I was using a PreSonus Fire Studio for this purpose, which is a piece of equipment that I shall be reviewing at a latter date.

            Another feature of the CAD GXL2200 that needs some discussion is that it is a microphone with a "cardioid pickup pattern."  This is a great feature for a microphone to have for most recording situations.  A microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern is one that is most sensitive to picking up sounds that originate from directly in front of the microphone, and it is less sensitive to, or rejects sounds that are coming from the sides or back of the microphone.  A microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern is great for home recording situations, where attempting to get as much individual isolation of individual instruments is often very desirable.  For instance, if you are recording a bass guitar and an electric guitar, as well as a set of drums at the same time, and you are using a microphone such as a to record the bass guitar cabinet and guitar cabinet, and you are using the CAD GXL2200 as an overhead on the drums, it may inadvertently pick up too much of the other musical instruments. 

           Later when you are trying to refine the sound of the bass guitar or electric guitar at mix down time, if you did not use a microphone with a good cardioid polar pattern, of if your positioning of the microphone was not optimal, you are going to have to contend with the sound of the drums being on the same track as the other instruments.  Thus, if you are trying to get a nice full bottom on the sound of the bass, you will also be making the sound of the drums that leaked onto that same track sound muddy and indistinct.  Thus, having a microphone with a good cardioid or unidirectional polar pattern, like the CAD GXL2200 has, is an important feature to consider in many recording situations.  This is especially true in recording conditions that are not ideal (i.e., a poorly compensated for acoustical environment, such as might be the case when a person uses their bedroom or basement to lay down tracks). 

            The CAD GXL2200 is also a microphone with a large diaphragm.  Well what does that mean?  A microphone with a large diaphragm will, in general, be more sensitive, and has a higher output than a comparable microphone with a small diaphragm.  Because of this, all other things being equal, a large diaphragm microphone will be quieter, have a better signal to noise ratio, and have a smoother and wider frequency range.  Speaking of frequency ranges, the CAD GXL2200 has a fairly good one, in that it can go down to 30 Hz, and as high as 20,000 Hz.  This is a very wide frequency range for a microphone in this price range.  It also can handle sound pressure levels of up to 130dB before clipping or distorting. 

            There is another feature to this CAD GXL 2200 Professional Microphone which has the potential to come in handy in certain circumstances.  By unscrewing a ring at the bottom of the microphone, one can gain access to a 20dB push on/push off switch which changes the sensitivity of the microphone by limiting it to 100Hz on the low end.  There are cases where this can come in handy, as it will lessen the sound of unwanted low end vibrations being picked up.  However, I personally have a problem with the design of this microphone.  In a recording situation where time is money, one does not want to start unscrewing and taking apart a microphone to get at a cut off switch, either to turn it on or off.  It would have been so much more user friendly to have this switch located on the front and outside of the microphone where one is able to readily get at it.  The few extra dollars this might have cost would have been well worth the price, and would make the utility of the microphone much better.

            Well how does the CAD GXL2200 sound, and for what uses is it best suited for?  A trick that I learned many years ago that makes answering these questions relatively easy is to do the following.  First use your typical microphone setup that you have already in place.  Next, set up the microphone that you want to test out, and position it side by side with the microphones that you already that you know, trust, and like side by side with a microphone that you are learning to become familiar with.  Then record two tracks (one with each mic) simultaneously without any effects or EQ.  Then keep moving and setting up the microphone that you are testing side by side with your favorite mics that you are comparing it to, and keep making a series of 30 second demos recordings until you have compared the microphone that you are testing to all of the other microphones that you typically work with.  When you have finished reording these side by side demos, sit back and critically listen to the playback of the microphones that you are comparing.  Once you have each of these tracks down, you can make side by side comparisons among and between the microphones you are comparing, and it is not very difficult at all to then decide which microphone sounds best in which recording situation.

            The above described procedure is one which I have used for years for testing the suitability of microphones, and it is this procedure that I used to test and compare the CAD GXL2200 today before I wrote this review.  I tried the CAD GXL 2200 with voice (both spoken and singing), with an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, a bass guitar, an acoustic piano, and as an overhead for drums.  This may sound like a lot of work, but really all it takes is 30 seconds for each trial, and of course the time it takes to move the microphone stand that the microphone is affixed to, to different locations and positions for the different instruments.  The few minutes that it takes to run these simple tests makes it very easy to decide what microphone will be likely to sound best for whatever recording purpose you may have in mind. 

            The results were the following.  I did not care for the sound of the very low end on this microphone.  It was a bit muddy, and seemed to easily overload.  I also did not like it for close micing of electric guitar cabs, even when the volume was low, and there was some chance of overloading the mic in the event of close positioning during louder guitar passages.  The applications that I did like this microphone for were for recording acoustic guitar, for singing, for the spoken voice, for piano, and as an overhead microphone for recording drums and cymbals.

            Well who is this CAD GXL2200 Professional Microphone best suited for?  I would have to say that this is an excellent microphone for a beginner who is just learning about home recording.  I was very surprised by just how good this microphone sounds, especially when one considers that it can be purchased for about $60.00.  It simply blows away many of the dynamic and condenser microphones in this price range.  Would I recommend it for professional use or for the serious home recording studio?  I would have to say that I could not.  If one has an extra couple of hundred dollars to spend on a microphone, there are just too many other good microphones out there which sound much better, and I would certainly recommend springing for one of these.  However, for a beginner just starting out, the CAD GXL2200 represents an excellent opportunity to get a microphone that can handle just about any recording chore, and it does it at an entry level price.

            Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.


Recommend this product? Yes


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