Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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MXL 990 Microphone Circuit and Capsule Upgrade, Pt. 1

I have a couple of those wildly popular and super inexpensive Chinese-made condenser microphones for home recording.  They're wonderful for the price, but they tend to sound 'unrefined' and bright. Of course, they do cost 1/20th what a Neumann costs, so you get what you pay for.

Enter Microphone-Parts.com. These folks make a variety of upgrade and mod kits and capsules for the aforementioned microphones to dramatically improve them. I took the plunge, and am upgrading an MXL 990.  I bought the 990 used online for a paltry $36! (About €33).

Here are the parts laid out on the workbench. Note my trusty component lead bender on the upper right.

The parts are excellent quality (Dale resistors, Wima caps) and the PCB is first-rate. The instructions are extremely clear.

There are some recommendations about tools and helpful tips on the site as well.  One of the tools is this amazing Aven circuit board holder/stand. I don't do a lot of PCBs, but when I do, I struggle with working on them.

No longer. This thing is GOLD! It would be a bargain at twice the price.

Almost ready to go. I wanted to show the instruction booklet. Very, very well done. I have a lot of experience, but I still appreciate clear instruction and helpful hints.

Speaking of helpful hints...how many of us have bent component leads to hold the resistor or cap in place when the board is flipped over to solder?

If you use an alligator (aka crocodile) clip to hold one lead while you solder the other, the component will remain tight to the board. You won't have to bend the leads and you'll have a much cleaner joint.

You gotta love that PCB holder. Where have you BEEN all my life?

Here's a really nice touch in the kit. These are the bias resistors for the JFET.  Hand-selected for maximum performance, as the note in the package says.

Here's another of the Microphone Parts suggested tools I picked up for this project. This is a Hakko solder reel holder/dispenser. ("Two-storied." the instruction sheet says).

No more chasing your roll of solder all over the bench. I have wider solder (for radios and amps) on the top, and thinner solder (for PCBs like this) on the bottom.

Another 'cheap and cheerful' device.

All the fixed resistors and the cardiod/omni switch are installed on the board. On to the capacitors.

 
 
 
 

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