Combination of condenser and ribbon technologies yields well-rounded sound
Held at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on April 25th 2015, the Light Up The Blues 2015 concert rocked big time. Concert host Stephen Stills teamed up with former bandmate and rock legend Neil Young to spearhead the event to raise awareness and much needed funds for Autism Speaks—the autism advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities. Shawn Colvin, The White Buffalo, Steve Earle, and Chris Stills rounded out the lineup. This was a truly outstanding concert for a great cause, and to ensure the best possible audio performance, microphones from Burbank, CA-based Mojave Audio and its sibling company, Royer Labs, were right at the heart of the action.
LA-based Kevin Madigan is the FOH (Front of House) engineer for Crosby, Stills and Nash. A seasoned audio professional whose credits include work with Neil Young, David Gilmour, The Smashing Pumpkins, Ray LaMontagne, and Lucinda Williams to name but a few, Madigan used a combination of Mojave Audio MA-301fet and MA-101fet condenser microphones along with Royer Labs SF-24 and R-121 ribbon microphones. He discussed the challenges of the project and his fondness for Mojave Audio and Royer Labs.
“I’m fortunate to work with some of the best musicians in the business,” says Madigan, “so when it comes to miking their instruments and amps, it’s all about capturing a high quality audio signal. This signal reproduction is precisely what the Mojave and Royer microphones do so well.”
“Brilliant is the term that best describes these mics,” Madigan added. “Their quality is apparent immediately from the build quality—just the way they feel in your hand when you pick them up. But it’s their sound that is really outstanding. I keep finding new applications for them. Recently, I discovered that the Mojave MA-101fet is just fantastic for a hi-hat. This mic is also ideal for miking a guitar amp—especially when it’s used in conjunction with a Royer R-121. The combination of the two mics is something that needs to be heard to be fully appreciated.”
Madigan also touched on the Mojave Audio MA-301fet’s versatility, “The MA-301fet is a great choice for low and high miking of a Leslie® cabinet in addition to being a great choice for use on a Bass amp. I’m also looking forward to working with it in the studio so I can see how it goes on the drum kit.”
For years, the Royer Labs SF-24 Stereo Active Ribbon microphone has been a favorite of audio engineers for use in drum overhead miking in addition to capturing room sound. Again, Madigan expressed his enthusiasm. “I’ve been using the Royer SF-24 for drum overheads for quite a while,” he said. “I actually use it as more of an entire drum kit mic than a traditional high-pass overhead setup. There’s nothing quite like it. Every studio should have one.”
When you’re responsible for the overall sound of artists like those Madigan works with, knowing your equipment manufacturer ‘has your back’ is extremely important. In this regard, Madigan offered high praise for the Mojave Audio – Royer Labs teams. “I’ve been using Mojave Audio mics for about 4 years,” he reports. “I’ve known Mojave’s Dusty Wakeman from back when I worked with Lucinda Williams and I was always keen to hear and use their mics. I really like that Mojave Audio and Royer Labs are based here in Los Angeles. This makes it easy to drop by if I need to. More importantly, when you call the people there, you know you’re going to get someone who knows all about their gear. Everyone I’ve ever spoken with has been responsive and knowledgeable.”
Before shifting his focus back to an upcoming project, Madigan offered these final comments, “I really like the sound of the Mojave and Royer mics. These are microphones I’ll always want to have available to work with. They’re very versatile and perform equally well in both the recording studio and on the stage. The drummer loves the sound of his kit through his in-ear monitor setup both on stage and in the studio—and it’s all due to a combination of Mojave and Royer mics.”