Review: MXL Tempo Microphone for Mac, PC, and iPad

Review: MXL Tempo Microphone for Mac, PC, and iPad

If you do much podcasting or recording on your Mac, as I sometimes do, you’ve probably found that your Mac’s built-in microphone doesn’t record audio as nicely as you’d like. Most people who do any significant amount of recording tend to purchase an external microphone to take things to the next level. But why stop at just the Mac? The MXL Tempo ($58, Amazon) takes things to a new level, allowing you to connect the mic to your iPad for recording on the go.

Overview

With today’s increasingly mobile lifestyle, sometimes it’s not convenient to stay tied to your Mac. Fortunately, the MXL Tempo microphone takes this into account, and is completely compatible with all three generations of iPad (using the iPad Camera Connection Kit), allowing you to capture music, voice, or anything else from practically anywhere.

Design / Quality

The Tempo is an extremely solid microphone, and its quality is apparent from the very first moment you take it on your hand – it looks and feels very durable. And because of it’s lightweight all-metal construction it’s also light enough and portable enough to take it anywhere you need to go.

The quality doesn’t stop at the mic itself, however – the included folding tripod stand is extremely durable and lightweight, keeping the microphone stable and at the perfect angle for recording the very best possible audio in any circumstance.

Sound

As with all audio devices, the most important aspect of the Tempo is sound. And fortunately, the MXL Tempo does not disappoint! I tested this microphone with several different types of audio, from recording my own speaking voice to capturing folk music from my guitar, and while I’m no audiophile, It seemed to perform extremely well with every sort of audio I subjected it to, including using it to dictate text on the new iPad.

Another especially useful feature on the Tempo is a no-latency audio jack, allowing you to monitor the audio you’re recording in real time. This can definitely save both time and hassle in making sure everything is being recorded exactly the way you want.

It’s also worth noting that, while the Tempo performed very well while recording both voice and guitar music, it is designed with vocal recording in mind, so it likely wouldn’t perform well for particularly loud noises, nor percussive noises like a drum.

Ease of Use

The best aspect of the Tempo, at least for someone like me, is that it’s extremely simple to set up. The microphone is automatically detected on the iPad with no setup required, and can be setup within moments on a Mac through the Sound preference pane. Also, since the Tempo is specifically tailored to recording voice, it captures the spoken word perfectly without adjusting any audio settings.

Verdict

I loved using the Tempo. It does a great job of recording without any setup or tuning, is solid enough that I never worried about its durability, works flawlessly with  both my Mac and my iPad, and is small enough (about 7.5″ tall) and light enough to take it anywhere I need it to go. And with a retail cost of just $80, it’s also quite affordable.

Rating & Information

Rating: 4.5/5[rating:4.5]

I liked almost every aspect of the Tempo. It does a great job at a great price. However, considering that it’s specifically marketed as being iPad-compatible, I couldn’t help but feel that they should have included an iPad adapter, such as one of the many inexpensive third-party adapters available on the web. All things considered, however, that’s a relatively minor gripe. As such, I award the MXL Tempo 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Tempo is available in two colors (either black and red or silver and black), and is available directly from MXL for $79.95 (although it is available for as little as $58 with free shipping at Amazon.com). For more information, check out MXL’s product page on the web.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Durable, lightweight, and portable
  • Works with the iPad
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • Does not include an iPad USB adapter

  1. Ethanbear221 says:

    would it be good for recording high vocals? most cheap mics give it a bad quality sound where it doesnt sound full. such as the cad u1. does the tempo record the full voice or does it just give it the horrible quality?

    1. I didn’t try this with high vocals – but as a general rule mics like this are intended for the spoken word.

  2. Tazz says:

    Is this good for recording rap & R&B vocals. I am a music engineer and I mostly record this genre of music.

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