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Mojave MA100s coming in...

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Cucco, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'll be getting a pair in for trial - they should be here this Friday morning. Over the weekend, I've got a pipe organ recording and a wind ensemble (concert band) to try them out on. I'll also try them on drum overheads and acoustic guitar. If I can and have the time free, I'll try to post some clips.

    For the overheads and the guitar, I'll try to A/B them and post some comparisons between them and Schoeps, Rode, Gefell, AT, BLUE, Beyer and AKG mics as well (if there's time of course.)

    I'm not sure how long Dave will let me keep them before I buy them or send them back (probably buy), but I'm going to try to squeeze in as many sessions as possible with them. I'm anxiously awaiting them...

    Anybody have any requests? I'll try to accomodate if I can.
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member


    I look forward to those clips!
  3. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    I have been interested in finding out more about them ever since you introduced me to them.
    I have read two reviews, both complained about buzzing issues. I hope this is not a common issue.
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I just picked them up from the Fedex depot and pulled them out. Here are my initial thoughts:

    1 - Build quality - phenomenal. I've seen plenty of pictures of these mics and the pictures left me thinking there might have been an element of "affordability" with these mics. In person and reality, this isn't the case. The pictures do not do the mics justice. Both visually and physically, these mics are quite nice. There's a heft to the mic that instills confidence.

    2 - Case - excellent case! I'm so sick and tired of cheap plastic piece of crap mic cases that come with most mics. These cases aren't up to the level of Pelicans, but until I get a custom case made, these will do JUST fine.

    3 - Cables and accessories - This is where I think they saved their money. The cable is of decent substance, but I don't see a name brand anywhere on it (this is by itself not a fault, just an observation). The mic clips are the ubiquitous Beyer clips (or possibly knock-offs thereof.) I would like to see a better clip, but I'll likely get an Avant Electronics Schockmount for it (since they cost $30 and are worth at least twice that much.) I would like to see a clip like that (the Avant) come with this mic. The connectors on the cables are knock off Neutriks. Again, not the end of the world, but I will be at the very least replacing them with real Neutriks and possibly just making a new cable using Neutriks anyway.

    In any case, the minor quibbles about the accessories (which in all fairness, all mic manufacturers treat as afterthoughts - at least in my experience), these mics are winning points.

    The only listening I've done is setting them up in front of a nice playback system and listening through the monitors in my control room. The impression after this MUCH less than scientific approach is that the cardioid capsules (the only ones I've tried yet) are very smooth sounding, have predictable off-axis response and do not stick out in any way other than that they do appear to be on the darker/smoother side of the spectrum (IMO, not a fault.)

    I'll be testing them MUCH more over the next few days. More to come.

  5. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this, I have watching these mics for awhile now!
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Okay, so here's the first shoot-out for the MA-100s.

    The instrument - Chapman Stick through an Acoustic Image Coda R amp.
    The player - Rob Martino (one of the brains behind WaveArts plugins)
    The mics -
    Sample 1 - in no particular order - Royer SF-1, Mojave MA-100, BLUE Bluebird.

    Sample 2 - in no particular order - SF-1, MA-100, Bluebird, Schoeps CMC 6 MK 4

    Granted, I wouldn't normally reach for any of these mics except for the royer for an amplified instrument. However, I was pleasantly surprised on more than one occassion.

    The files are all 16 Bit 44.1kHz Wave files so they're a little on the large side, however, I didn't want the MP3 encoding to get in the way. They range in size between 20-40 MB.

    The final file is a track recorded using 2 of the mics - 1 directly on the speaker, one about 7 feet back. I'll let you try to figure out which mics are used. The close mic is panned dead center, the distant mic is duplicated and panned hard left and right with -10ms and +10ms delays put on them respectively.

    No effects have been added to either of the first 2 tracks - only amplitude changes to make them all close to the same amplitude. On the final track, there was about 3dB of compression provided by an 1176.

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    Let the fun begin...


  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    That was a lot of fun. First observation is that Track 2 would be a good generic ribbon vs. SDC vs. LDC demonstration. The ribbon was lush but lacked the precision of the condensers. The LDC had a sweet high end, but not as tight in the low end as the SDCs. All sounded good choose your flavor. I like the high end of the Schoeps slightly better than the Mojave, but I thought Martino actually played a little better on that sample, so that might have influenced me. And of course I'm listening through headphones rather than good monitors, so take this with a grain of salt.

    You have done a terrible thing by making me want to try an AI Coda again. I was almost ready to get one when I was playing more upright bass. But URB has moved to the back burner for a while, and I have been playing a lot of electric bass. I've got to try a Coda for EB. If it does that well it would be worth the extra money to have an amp that was great for URB, acoustic guitar, and jazz electric guitar. I understand it's also good for sampled keys as well. I had not thought about the problems of micing it. Track 2 was definitely the way to go.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'm curious Bob - which do you think is which on the tracks?

    I have to admit, I was quite surprised by the results I got from some of these.

    On another note, I did the concert band recording today with the following setup -

    Main mics - Mojave MA-100 -spaced AB spaced at 20" aimed straight ahead and down 15 degrees 8 feet back from the first musician and roughly 8.5' above stage level.

    Redundant main mic (hey, I wouldn't "test" an all new mic on a client without it) - Royer SF12 on the same stand but about 6" lower and 7" closer to the ensemble.

    The Mojaves wound up where they were based on the fact that I was using the same stand and this is a known good spot with this ensemble and the Royer.

    Flanks were Schoeps CMC 6 MK2s and were situated about 12' on either side of the main array and about 1' higher aimed down about 20 degrees.

    Trumpets were spot mic'ed (since they weren't on risers) with Schoeps CMC 6 MK4 in ORTF.

    So far, I'm quite pleased with the Mojaves on this recording. They are warm and full sounding with a good sense of space.

    I'll definitely post a clip of just the Mojaves and then the whole mix (minus the Royer safety mics which do cause phasing issues when mixed with the Mojaves).

    My impression so far is that they are quite reminiscent of original KM 83s or perhaps KM54s (only used a pair once as a rental, so it's tough to say, but I recall that they also had a warmth and presence to them).

    This definitely isn't a transparent mic (a la DPA), but it sure sounds like a fun mic. My initial thoughts are that it will be perfect for string quartet on stuff where the Royer might be too "dull." It might also do quite well on WW quintet and brass quintet.

    I'm trying them on organ tomorrow.

  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well this is embarrassing. I thought you had given us the order. I didn't read closely enough. I just listened again, and I don't think my preconceptions colored my impressions that much. (But I may be kidding myself.) I still feel the bass is tightest on samples two and four. I like the top end of sample three the best. It's probably my favorite overall though I like the low end of two and four better. Sample one was very lush sounding but not as focused as the other three. Having never used any of these mics, I wouldn't have hazarded a guess if I thought they were scrambled. So I guess it was good I misread the post or I wouldn't have shot my mouth off.
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Here are some pics from the concert band recording I did last night. I'll have samples soon:

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  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member


    I think I remember you using a standard piece of metal stock in a Sabra Som stereo bar to get the extended horizontal. What type of stock was it? And didn't you have to reinforce the Sabra-Som in some way? I must be misspelling something. A search isn't getting me any hits.
  13. guitarbill

    guitarbill Guest

    :!: :wink:
    Thanks for sharing
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Yes, you're correct.

    I use a piece of hexagonal cold-rolled steel that I got from http://www.smallparts.com

    As for the reinforcement, I'd say it was more of a repair. The center support piece cracked after tightening. I used that opportunity to reinforce it with 2500 lb epoxy. It's now stronger (mainly more flexible without breaking) than before. I recommend that everyone break their Sabra Som and reinforce it.

  15. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    Any chance you could post the clips from your orchestral recording?
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I didn't do an orchestra recording yet.

    The concert band recording turned out great though. I'll get permission to post a clip ASAP.

    I also did a session with acoustic guitar (Taylor) and voice. I'm doing a dub session tonight. Once the clip is done, I believe the artist would be more than willing to allow me to post. Imagine a Bob-Seager-esque acoustic sound.

    So far, the reactions regarding the mics have been exceedingly positive. Everyone who has heard them used for their recordings has said "bring those to our next session!"

    On a different note, I had a minor issue with one (or at least I thought I did - it actually was a bad channel on my snake that is now fixed.)

    I called Dusty Wakeman. He and Dave Royer got on the phone and helped me troubleshoot. The conversation went on for quite some time. Dave and I chatted for a good 2 hours (on his dime nonetheless) about the mics, recording in general and other fun stuff. He really gave me a LOT of insight into the reasons and concepts behind the design.

    The mic itself is a VERY simple design - there's the capsule and a tube - that's it. The rest of the electronics are located inside the power supply and amount to essentially an output transformer. While parts of this mic are chinese made, it's primarily the capsule (which, as he stated, has been made by this company for 30 years and is a time-tested and well controlled design and build) and things such as the cable and the final assembly of the power supply.

    I urged Dave to up the price by a thousand dollars so that the mic would be taken more seriously. Though he chuckled, I doubt that's going to happen.

    On yet another note, Dusty mentioned to me that they're releasing a stereo kit which includes a single carrying case and a stereo power supply. I actually hope to switch the two mono ones out as this is exactly what I've been looking for.

    Additionally, Dave did give me information on pin-out configuration and recommended maximum cable length and even a recommendation on the type of cable to use (Canare) for adding new cables to the rig.

    Anyway - the positive stuff just keeps pouring in for these mics.

    I hope to redo the drum recording session I tried to do the other night when my snake went out.
  17. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    Sounds great!
    I was hoping these mics would have a positive response.
    I can't wait to hear the other recordings.

    Hopefully soon I will have the cash to spend on them. But I also need a new interface before then. That RME 800 is looking pretty favorable.
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Just another follow up -

    I finally decided to buy the mics (they've been on loan until now). As such, I did yesterday what I do with all new gear that I buy.....
    I opened 'er up.

    (usually more for curiosity than technical reasons).

    First -
    the mic is so friggin simple, it's hard to believe. There's a diaphragm, a pentode tube and some cables. Nothing else. Nothing.

    Then, the power supply (where the remaining portions of the mic circuit reside).

    There's a fat Jensen transformer (yup - a Jensen Trannie), a single capacitor and a single resistor - both of utmost quality. Everything is point-to-point wired.

    The power supply transformer is pretty beefy too. The version I have is the new (I don't think it's been officially released yet) stereo pair with a single power supply. I have some pics that I'll try to post as soon as possible.

    Sure, this thing's made in China, but everything about it screams quality.

    The *only* caveat I have about these mics so far is that the threads connecting between the capsule and the body and the body and the XLR barrel should be either thoroughly cleaned with denatured alcohol and then securely fitted back onto the body and/or you should strip some of the paint off with a brass brush (only the paint in the threads) as under less-than-ideal circumstances (such as dirty power or RF), it can induce a little bit of hum.


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