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Producer & Engineer Sylvia Massy Picks Mojave Audio Microphones

Sylvia Massy is a producer and engineer known for her work with Tool, Johnny Cash, Prince, Tom Petty, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She is perhaps best recognized for her work on 1993’s Undertow, the full-length double platinum-selling debut record for Los Angeles alternative metal band Tool.

Massy’s Mojave Audio microphone arsenal includes the MA-1000 tube microphone featuring an original new old-stock 5840 tube, the MA-200 large diaphragm, vacuum tube condenser microphone, the MA-100 small diaphragm tube microphone, and the MA-101fet small diaphragm solid state microphone. With each mic prominent in her ‘go-to’ collection of studio tools, her Mojave microphones have helped her capture performances on the forthcoming Taylor Hawkins Get The Money album on the RCA label, the soon-to-be-released Life Of Agony Sound Of Scars album on the Napalm Records label, and the Timberline Express Big Band’s upcoming 2020 release on their own label. Massy shared her enthusiasm for Mojave Audio microphones.

“For the drum recording of Life Of Agony, I used a pair of the Mojave MA-200s for overheads—pointing them towards groups of cymbals on either side of the drumkit,” Massy explains. “These are my main drum overhead mics. They are rich sounding and never brittle. I also used a Mojave MA-1000 for the drum room sound, which is overkill for how good that mic actually is… but what a beautiful sound it captures.”

Massy continues, “Occasionally during mix projects, I will add additional vocals. For the Taylor Hawkins project, I did just that. On the song ‘Queen of the Clowns’, I set up the Mojave MA-1000 and sang additional backing vocals. And for a recent big band project, Timberline Express, I set up three Mojave MA-100s over the conductor’s position in a Decca Tree formation to capture the 20 players in the room. The Mojave MA-100s are my favorite tube mics for recording orchestra, string section, and big band on the Decca Tree.”

When queried about the various attributes that make Mojave Audio’s microphones such a compelling choice for her projects, Massy offered the following thoughts. “I love all the Mojave mics for their richness and depth. And their price-point is reasonable! I always recommend that my clients get Mojave mics for their own recordings. It’s much harder for an inexperienced engineer to screw things up if they are using good equipment. For example, the Mojave MA-200 is a large diaphragm condenser mic similar to a well-known German U67, but at just a fraction of the price. Put side-by-side, I prefer the sound of the Mojave to its German counterpart.”

For studio professionals of Massy’s stature, the ability to obtain responsive, capable technical and customer support services can be crucial to keeping a project on schedule. Here too, Massy was very complimentary of Mojave Audio. “I’ve been using Mojave mics from the beginning,” she says. “They are my workhorse studio mics. Throughout all this time, I’ve had very few issues with any of my Mojave mics. Once, I had a cable connector pin issue. Upon contacting the company, the Mojave technical staff sent out a replacement immediately. That type of service is more the exception than the rule.”

Before turning her attention back to the business of the day, Massy offered these final comments regarding her experience with Mojave Audio microphones, “I love the retro design and the sweet sound of the Mojave MA-1000. It is a mic that is ‘top shelf’ in my mic cabinet, and ‘front and center’ in my recording sessions. It really is that good. There’s a secret society of Mojave users that I am a long-time member of. But now the word is out! I am a huge fan and am excited with every new design.”

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