MXL Tempo Overview
Our first impression of the MXL Tempo was that it looked a bit suspect in terms of build quality; the glossy white paint job made the microphone look plastic-like. This feeling was quickly replaced with confidence, as the metal body of the Tempo provides a sturdy frame for the microphone’s internal components. At 0.65lbs, the Tempo has a good amount of heft to it without feeling bulky. As the Tempo offers a single Cardiod polar pattern, there are no buttons or switches to change patterns, which really reduces the microphone’s complexity, and simplifies its looks.
The upper portion of the front of the Tempo is comprised of a red metal grille, which covers an internal, red foam pop filter. This red grille is sturdy, and does not flex when pressure is applied; this again made us feel better about the build quality of the Tempo. Directly beneath the metal grille is a small Cardioid pattern label, provided to remind users of the ideal positioning needed for best results.
Towards the bottom of the front of the microphone is an MXL logo, as well as a Tempo name tag.
Moving around to the back side of the Tempo, we find the same red metal grille and internal foam pop filter. While the Cardioid polar pattern of the Tempo favors audio sources placed in front of the microphone, some audio is still picked up along the sides and rear of the microphone, which is aided by this design.
Moving down the backside of the Tempo, we find an in-line 3/8″ headphone jack for easy listening to the audio of the microphone, and just below that a red LED that illuminates when the microphone’s USB cable is plugged in to a compatible device.
The bottom of the Tempo is home to a USB Type-B connector for connecting the aforementioned USB cable. The Tempo supports both USB 1.1 and 2.0 connectivity, though we had no problems using the microphone while it was plugged into a USB 3.0 port. A black threaded ring is also found at the bottom of the Tempo, and can be removed in order to secure the microphone in the included hard mic stand adapter.
Speaking of the mic stand adapter, the Tempo comes along with this adapter in order to facilitate the installation of the microphone on the included tripod stand or a traditional mic stand. The adapter slips over the bottom of the Tempo, and is held in place by tightening the threaded ring back over the adapter. This adapter offers an adjustable swivel arm to allow you to get the microphone at just the right angle to ensure quality audio pickup.
The included tripod reminds us a lot of a small and inexpensive camera travel tripod. The three legs spring out and into place, and their rubber feet keep things in place. One flaw we found in the design of either the tripod or the mic stand adapter is that the male and female threads of the two components don’t quite match up, and you can essentially push the tripod’s threaded bolt right into the stand adapter’s threads without any rotation. This leads to a very loose microphone on top of the tripod.