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Tuesday
Dec152009

The Harlan Hogan VO: 1-A microphone by MXL, review and test

The name Harlan Hogan should be familiar to anyone active in the voice-over community.  His quest to create innovative products and informative, fun to read books never ceases, and his signature VO: 1-A microphone manufactured by MXL is his latest endevour to hit.  We have one here at ERS and took it to VoiceTrax West to give it a spin, along-side a venerable model U87 from Neumann.  It might sound crazy, perhaps insane, to compare a mic that sells for $279 (at time of this post), INCLUDING shock mount, carrying case and mic cable, to a Neumann U87.  But we figured, what the hell...

For this test each mic was connected to the same channel of a Presonus M80 preamp, with 80 Hz roll-off engaged, positioned as close to the same as possible, with the same source (me, reading badly).  The U87's switches set to no bass roll-off or pad, and capsule in cardioid mode. 

Give the two a listen and you be the judge:

Neumann U87 voice-over recording test

MXL Harlan Hogan VO: 1-A voice-over recording test

 

While the U87 has that smooth, almost dull top end in comparison, the VO: 1-A's response is almost identical to my ear across nearly the entire frequency spectrum.  The VO: 1-A is slightly hyped at the top, but not overly so, and sounds very even and natural all the way down. 

The physical construction of the microphone is quite impressive, and consisent with the quality we've come to expect from MXL, which continues to give their German counterparts a run for their money.  Why else would Neumann release cheaper mics in their product line than ever?   The shockmount is a common design that is functional and easy to install and remove.  Harlan even supplies you with replacement elastic, who else does that??  If you don't care for the shockmount, a standard rigid mount also comes in the package. 

We're so impressed with VO-1a that we'll begin bundling it in our "The Audition" package beginning in 2010.  Coupled with the MicPort Pro, the two work wonderfully together either as a budget home studio setup, or as a travel companion for the working voice actor.  If you just gotta get one, Harlan's ready to ship them at his Voice-over Essentials shop. 

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Reader Comments (4)

Who cares how it sounds... that baby looks good! :)

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Mendez

Thanks for posting your test result comparison, George! I purchased HH2's mic two weeks ago. When it arrived in the mail last week, I couldn't wait to set it up! (Since we're having snowy, blizzard conditions in DC, it's fun to have a new piece of equipment arrive, right to our doorstep!) The mic's sound quality is phenomenal, and I'm amazed at the improvement in sound quality from the mic I had been using. Not only does it look terrific, come in its own carrying case, but the sound is just amazing! If you try it, you'll be most pleased with the results. If not, there's a money back guarantee! Sounds like a great deal to me!

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Ristig

Thanks for testing this for us George ! Harlan's mic is sold out at the moment - but I'm planning on grabbing one to take on the road.

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Berlin

Hello......My name is Van Ritshie. I am the voice of The MTA in NYC and the former image voice of The Golf Channel. I have owned many different mics over the years for my vo's.My new Harlan Hogan VO-1A is the absolute twin in sound to the Neuman U87. I am absolutely amazed at the sweet sounds of this mic.....Tight base and sweet silky highs. For the money, this mic is top shelf in my book and has become my main mic in my studio. I would certainly recommend this mic to anyone in the VO business. What amazes me the most is the warmth of the lows. Great job Harlan,and thank you!!!

December 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVan Ritshie

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