Field Report: MXL BCC-1

February 1, 2013


In an everyday on-air chain, several pieces of critical equipment stand between voice talent and listeners. The first, of course, is the microphone. While important fundamentals dictate microphone purchases, selection is by-and-large very subjective and expansive in nature. Personal preference, budget and environment make deciding on the right microphone somewhat tedious. Reflective rooms typically rule out condenser mics, but the need for bright response and high output rule out dynamic mics. Then there are the morning zoos and college radio scenarios that relentlessly abuse studio equipment, and the microphones catch the brunt of it. What if a mic existed that offered robust all-in-one features for all environments with noise-free performance, clarity and transparency to boot? From what I''ve found, the MXL BCC-1 does exactly that.

Out of The Box

MXL BCC-1

The BCC-1 is a nickel-plated, pressure-gradient condenser microphone with a familiar broadcast design and adjustable pivoting mount. The diaphragm is internally shock mounted, reducing the need for vision-reducing shock mount hardware. It is an end-address microphone with wire mesh around the capsule. As is the case with most condensers, the gold-sputtered diaphragm is sensitive to moisture. A foam windscreen is included, and MXL suggested using it at all times for close-proximity vocal miking. The microphone weighs just more than 1.5lbs. and at first glance, it is a flashy and attractive microphone.

The most pressing curiosity I had concerning the BCC-1 was its behavior as a condenser mic in a typical studio situation. It boasts a cardioid pattern, but so do the dynamic mics I use every day. The first test was in a completely non-reflective room with minimal resonant modes. For general voiceover work, the microphone passed the test. A near inaudible noise floor was noted and seemingly no negative acoustic response was apparent from its environs. From a frequency response perspective it is essentially flat with a gradual upward slope beginning at about 2kHz and dropping back off at about 7kHz. A high frequency roll-off begins at 10kHz. The BCC-1 has a full frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The mic is considerably lively and presented a brighter coloring of my voice that many other microphones seem to attenuate. With that in mind, it was time to test with different acoustics and genders.

 Performance at a glance 
  ■ 148dB SPL
■ 48V phantom power
■ Gold-sputtered 6µm diaphragm
■ Nickel plate finish
■ Cardioid polar pattern
 

The next step was to try two more studios. The first studio is horribly resonant and the BCC-1 performed surprisingly well. The room was not heard in the resulting test recording and the bright response on my voice was still apparent. The mic boasts tons of output, so the outboard preamp and processing got a workout when compared to the normal dynamic mics used.

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The second studio has never been home to a condenser microphone because of its considerable reflectivity and perfectly square shape. Upon replacing the tried-and-true dynamic mic with the BCC-1, our production director was surprised at the bright response, low noise floor, high output level and seeming disregard for the poor acoustics.

polar pattern
frequency response. click to enlarge.

Frequency response. Click to enlarge.


A different voice

The second part of the test was to try some voiceover work by a female. Our office manager/voice over talent/weekend special host stepped up to the microphone and her voice came to life. The BCC-1 was transparent and the voiceover was crystal-clear, all the while, no room reflections were detected. By way of a field-test summary, I would expect brightness and high output from any condenser mic. But the magic of this mic is its impressive response to bad acoustical environments and clarity for nearly any voice type. One more thing: I dropped the microphone on the floor. No problem! Even after taking a bump on the ground, the BCC-1 bounced back, stayed tight and never missed a beat. The robust metal construction and internal shock mounting proved critically necessary!

 MXL 
  800-800-6608
mxlmics.com
inquiries@mxlmics.com
 

The BCC-1 is a phantom-powered mic, preferring 48-volts. It has a selectable high pass filter rolling off lower frequencies starting at 150Hz. It ships with a foam windscreen for protecting from plosives and moisture and is packaged in a foam-line hard plastic carrying case. It handles sound pressure levels up to 148dB and has a -49dB sensitivity. I commiserate with engineers who are skeptical of condenser microphones when used in compromised acoustical environments. But much to my surprise, the BCC-1 behaved very nicely in reflective rooms and its bright, noise-free and lively response added life and clarity.


Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.



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