MXL 770 vs AKG P120 (Differences + Which To Buy)

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  • The MXL 770 and the AKG P120 are affordable studio condenser mics 
  • Both are great options for beginners looking for quality
  • These mics are ideal for tracking, broadcasting, and podcasting

The MXL 770 and the AKG P120 are great choices for those looking for budget pressure gradient condenser microphones.

Both manufacturers have solid reputations and are among the best-known mic builders on the market.

The MXL 770 and the AKG P120 are in the same price range and have many characteristics in common. Nevertheless, some differences exist and we will address them here.

AKG P120

When you consider its super-affordable pricetag, the AKG P120 becomes a logical choice for project and home studio multi-mic applications.

Why We Love It:
  • Outstanding performance
  • Excellent value
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweewater

MXL 770 vs AKG P120: Which Is The Better Mic?

The MXL 770 is ten dollars cheaper than the AKG P120. Although that is a small difference, it may be the deciding factor for some.

The MXL 770 first started selling around the 150 dollars mark, but MXL had to bring the price down to make it more competitive.

The MXL 770 does offer a fuller sound which is particularly noticeable in some voices. Additionally, it comes with a shock mount, as opposed to the regular stand mount that ships with the AKG P120.

To round it off, the MXL 770 is also cheaper, which combined with the factors mentioned above, makes it a better buy than the AKG 120.

MXL 770
$84.95

A high-quality condenser mic, the MXL 770 is a no-nonsense large-diaphragm condenser microphone offering superior recording capabilities for vocals and instruments alike

Why We Love It:
  • Super-versatile
  • Adds warmth and richness
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater

Commonalities

Both the MXL 770 and the AKG P120 are in the same category and are fantastic budget starter mics for home studio use.

One of the most important features shared by both mics is their polar pattern, which is cardioid. Cardioid polar patterns are fantastic for picking up the source in front of the mic and rejecting noise from the sides and back. 

Both mics are large-diaphragm condensers, excellent for picking up details and nuances that a typical dynamic microphone is not capable of capturing.

The MXL 770 and the AKG P120 are designed to function well in the studio and were built with the home studio in mind, especially for beginners.

Both of these mics are excellent for common applications such as podcasting and voiceovers, as well as typical studio use like voice and acoustic guitar recording. 

Just like a typical condenser mic, both of these models need 48V Phantom power, supplied by most audio interfaces, mixers, and preamps. 

Another important factor in condenser microphones is their self-noise. Both the MXL 770 and the AKG P120 have comparable self-noise, with the former being at 20 dB and the latter just a dB less at 19 dB.

This ensures that both mics capture the source accurately without adding unwanted noises or artifacts. 

Another fantastic feature of both mics is their bass roll-off switch. This is great for cleaning up unwanted noise on the low frequencies, and it may come in handy when recording vocals, guitars, voiceovers, and more. 

Although they do not share the same exact dimensions, both are about the same size and weigh 1 lb. 

Differences

Although both mics are mostly in the same rage and share many features, they do have differences that can end up being significant depending on your situation.

Both mics will perform nicely for recording voice and acoustic guitar, as well as spoken word applications. However, some differences become apparent once you start testing them side by side. 

SPL

The maximum SPL of the MXL 770 is 137 dB. On the other hand, the AKG P120 features a maximum SPL of 130 dB.

However, the AKG P120 comes with a – 20 dB pad that when engaged takes its max SPL all the way to 150 dB. Although the MXL 770 also features a pad, it only reduces the signal by 10 dB.

In other words, the AKG P120 can take more sound pressure levels before it begins to distort. A higher SPL simply means that a mic can handle louder sources. In this case, the AKG P120 can handle hotter sources than the MXL 770. 

This can make a difference when recording hot sources such as electric guitars, bass cabinets, drums, trumpets, etc.

Frequency Response

The MXL 770 features a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz. This is a good range for capturing vocals and additional sources.

Contrast that with the AKG P120’s larger frequency response range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Although it goes up to the same frequency as the MXL 770, it does start a full 20 Hz below. 

Naturally, a wider frequency response is a desirable factor on a mic. However, for most applications, you do not need that extended frequency range on the bass.

This is especially true for mics in this range with their intended uses described above. 

Although the MXL 770 remains relatively flat throughout most of the frequency range, it does have a spike of nearly 10 dB just before 10 KHz. This enhances the high end which results in a bright sound. 

This boost of the high end may work very well for singers with darker voices, but not so well for those with bright voices. So if you are dealing with a voice that has a lot of sibilance, this microphone is not the one to use.

The AKG P120 is pretty even, with a boost of about 4 dB around 13 kHz, and a slight roll-off that starts around 205 Hz and goes onto 102 Hz at – 3.5 dB.

Although this is not a drastic roll-off, it is steeper than the more even bass response on the MXL 770.

AKG P120

When you consider its super-affordable pricetag, the AKG P120 becomes a logical choice for project and home studio multi-mic applications.

Why We Love It:
  • Outstanding performance
  • Excellent value
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweewater

Sound

In broad terms, the sound that you get from both the MXL 770 and the AKG P120 is good for the applications described above. Both mics offer decent sound at this low price range. 

For many, the sound of a mic is a largely subjective area, and rightly so.

That being said, the MXL 770 does sound rounder than the AKG P120.

Although the MXL 770 is known as a bright mic, side-by-side tests reveal that it sounds fuller than the AKG P120. This is especially true for voice (especially in the low range). 

In any case, the MXL 770 is the fuller sounding mic and has the AKG P120 beat in this area

Price

This lower price of the MXL 770 may be the final factor to close the deal. It is ten dollars cheaper than the AKG P120.

This is not a big difference, and at the end of the day, you might prefer the sound of the AKG P120.

That said, the MXL 770 consistently performed better on side-by-side comparisons of spoken word, singing, and percussion, presenting a fuller sound on each occasion.

Storing

Condenser mics are susceptible to impacts and mishandling. They have a transducer that is delicate and cannot take the abuse commonly dished out to mics for tours and gigs.

Simply said, you have to be more careful with how you handle condensers than dynamic mics. This is partly because dynamic mics are road-ready and can take drops, impacts, and overall live treatment.

The truth is completely different with condenser mics, as they are flimsy and not made for the road. 

In other words, you need to be able to store your condenser mic in a case that ensures its protection. 

The MXL 770 is the clear winner here, as it comes with a hardshell case that protects it. The AKG P120 does not feature a case, but you can store it in the box it ships with.

Another important factor is that the MXL 770 comes with a shock mount and the AKG P120 does not. 

Conclusion 

Although they are very similar mics, the MXL 770 is a better choice than the AKG P120. There are three main reasons for this. 

MXL 770
$84.95

A high-quality condenser mic, the MXL 770 is a no-nonsense large-diaphragm condenser microphone offering superior recording capabilities for vocals and instruments alike

Why We Love It:
  • Super-versatile
  • Adds warmth and richness
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Sweetwater

The first one is that the MXL 770 has a fuller sound that comes through with many sources. 

Secondly, the MXL 770 is cheaper than the AKG P120. And to finish it off, the MXL 770 comes with a protective case and shock mount while the AKG P120 ships with just a mic adapter and a box. 

Even though the AKG P120 has a higher max SPL when the – 20 dB pad is engaged, the sound and price of the MXL 770 make it the better deal.

Although both mics are fantastic choices for broadcasting, podcasting, voiceovers, recording vocals, guitars, and more, the MXL 770 is the stronger choice.

For more on MXL check out MXL 770 vs 990 (Key Differences & Which To Buy)

FAQ’s

Does the AKG P120 have an XLR connector?

Yes. The AKG P120 uses an XLR cable in order to connect.

Does the AKG P120 need phantom power?

Yes. Both the AKG P120 and the MXL 770 need phantom power to function. 

Does the AKG P120 come with a stand?

The AKG P120 comes with a stand adapter. On the other hand, the MXL 770 ships with a shock mount. 

Does the AKG P120 need a pop filter?

No. Although the AKG P120 does not need a pop filter, it is recommended that you use one when recording vocals or voiceovers. 

To find out more about what pop filters do, check out Pop Filter vs Foam Cover (Differences & Which To Use).

Is the MXL 770 good for vocals?

Yes. The MXL 770 is a condenser microphone that is good for recording vocals in your home studio.