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MXL Blizzard 990 Overstream Pro Bundle review: Look and sound like a professional

MXL Blizzard 990
(Image: © Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: The MXL Blizzard 900 microphone offers near-crystal clear quality with a professional looking setup to boot, but its lack of a dedicated mute button and only supporting one pickup pattern hurt an otherwise great microphone.

For

  • Impeccable audio quality
  • Design looks professional
  • XRL to USB converter works like a charm
  • Easy setup
  • Great for podcasting, streaming, and recording music

Against

  • Mic gain does not have a good physical indicator on its dial
  • Only one polar pattern
  • Gain can be finicky
  • No way to mute without unplugging or muting through your recording software

I'm not as well-versed in microphones as some other people, but I know good audio quality when I hear it. That's exactly what the MXL Blizzard 990 delivers. And unwanted noises are a thing of the past with this cardioid mic. This microphone is leagues above what you'd find connected to a headset, and it can go toe to toe — and come out the victor — with many of today's most popular mics among streamers like the Blue Yeti.

I've spent about two weeks with the MXL Blizzard 990, and it's quickly become my go-to microphone for podcasting. Minor annoyances — it lacks a dedicated mute button — don't outweigh its indesputable quality in every other factor.

MXL Blizzard 990 Overstream Pro Bundle What I like

MXL Blizzard 990 bottom of stand

Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

I can't overstate how much I love the design of this microphone. It looks as professional as it sounds. The glossy white finish complements its silver grill, and the inside lights up with an "arctic blue glow" to live up to its name. It stands out from other matte black microphones that don't have a ton of personality, and it does so without looking ridiculous.

I was previously using the HyperX QuadCast microphone for all of my recording needs, but I'm definitely switching to MXL's offering going forward. The improved audio quality isn't drastic, but it is definitely noticable and provides clearer feedback. And though this microphone can still be used for gaming, it doesn't obnoxiously scream "gamer."

CategorySpec
Weight1.2 lbs (w/o mount)
Cable length12ft
Frequency response30 Hz - 20 kHz
Impedance200 ohms
Power requirementsPhantom Power 48V (+- 4V)
Current consumption<3.0mA
Polar patternsCardioid
PortsXLR
Sensitivity15mV/Pa

The entire bundle also includes a Mic Mate Pro XLR to USB converter, a table mount, and a dual shockmount and pop filter. All of it is easy to set up, and the Mic Mate Pro makes starting a breeze as it's ready right out of the box. Just plug it in and you're good to go without any hassle. The table mount itself can swivel and extend in multiple directions so you can adjust your mic accordingly whenever you need to. I couldn't place it exactly where I wanted to on my desk, but that was more of a design problem with my desk itself than the mount.

While I'd like it to offer more polar pickup patterns, the one that it does support (cardioid) works well. I live in an apartment and I can't always control when someone slams a door, stomps up the stairs, or blasts their music. I don't need to worry about that because this microphone won't pick those unwanted sounds up. Even after I had lost my voice from being sick, the MXL Blizzard 990 did a commendable job at making me sound presentable.

MXL Blizzard 990 Overstream Pro Bundle What I don't like

Mic Mate Pro XLR to USB converter

Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

One of the first things I did after setting up the microphone was checking for a way to mute it. There isn't one. There is no button or dial on the microphone itself nor the converter that will completely mute it. You'll either need to unplug it entirely or mute it through whichever recording software you are using, neither of which are ideal. I frequently need to mute some of my other microphones at a moment's notice, and that there isn't a way to do that on the MXL Blizzard 990 seems like an oversight.

Another problem I have lies with its XLR to USB converter. It doesn't have a good indicator on its gain dial as to how high or low you have it set. Setting it to a specific position is all about trial and error, and the sensitivity is tricky to handle. Much like when you're trying to get your shower water the perfect temperature before scalding or freezing you, it's much too easy for the sound to blow out or become too quiet with the slightest adjustment in the right (wrong?) place.

This isn't so much a fault of the microphone since it is designed this way, but I also wish it had more than one polar pattern. As it stands it only has a fixed cardioid pickup pattern. This is usually all you need as it picks up sound from the front, but it would have been nice to be given choices between a few.

Should you buy an MXL Blizzard 990 microphone with XLR to USB converter? Yes

MXL Blizzard 990 back

Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)

MXL proves once again why it specializes in microphones with the MXL Blizzard 990. The Overstream Pro Bundle in particular is perfect for livestreaming, podcasting, and recording music. Its appealing design is just an added bonus.

3.5 out of 5

The bundle is definitely pricier than what you may be used to paying for a microphone — I can't say for certain if I would personally spend this kind of money on a microphone — but it'll well worth it for some people considering what it comes with, even if it's disconcerting that at this price it doesn't have a dedicated mute button.

Jennifer Locke
Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke is Android Central's Games Editor and has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.

2 Comments
  • While i appreciate the lengthy review, I am not clear on why you are choosing this over the HyperX Quadcast. You said it does sound better but not by much. I know you clearly prefer the look of this one over the HyperX, but is that the main reason? The HyperX has dots marking levels for its gain, it has a great way to mute it along with the color change visual indicator, and multiple options for recording direction. It is also cheaper, but of course it doesn't include the arm like this one does.
  • I think just judging the microphones themselves, while this one does sound better, the HyperX QuadCast offers a fuller package (and also why it has a higher score). But taking into consideration that this is a bundle with an arm and converter, I think it edges out the HyperX for me personally. It just got docked on its score because the lack of a mute button is a huge oversight imo, but audio quality is always paramount to a microphone, and this is better than HyperX. It's more personal preference than anything. I certainly understand why people would want to use the HyperX over this one, but I can't see myself going back.