Recording - October 2017 - 54

Mojave
Audio
MA-1000

A new tube mic
inherits the title of
"flagship"-and earns it
REVIEW BY PAUL VNUK JR.

M

ojave Audio is helmed by engineer and 3-string
bass player Dusty Wakeman, and showcases the
condenser mic designs of David Royer (whose
newest ribbon mic, the Royer Labs R-10, is also featured in
this issue). Over the past decade-plus, Mojave mics have
become favored by many A-list engineers, and I also see
them in many home and project studios.
Just last week I met a local audio engineer who asked my
opinion of Mojave's large-diaphragm tube mic, the MA-200
(reviewed January 2007). While I didn't review that model,
I did review its multipattern variant, the MA-300, in our
January 2012 issue. I summed up that mic thus: "If this was
a wine, I would describe it as full-bodied with a smooth finish
and a slightly smoky signature."
Those two mics and the FET-based MA-201 and MA-301
represented the large-diaphragm end of the Mojave lineup
for years now, with prices from $795 to $1295. Recently,
Mojave has broken out of that price bracket in both directions.
In November 2016, I reviewed the MA-50, with a clean neutral
sound and a $495 street price. Now it's time to go big, with
Mojave's new flagship mic, the MA-1000.

Start classic, finish unique

The MA-200/300 models are known to inhabit the sonic
landscape of the Neumann U67, but they are not and have
never been billed as U67 clones. Although David Royer has
cited the classic Telefunken ELA M251 as his impetus for the
new MA-1000, the 251 was merely his starting point. The
MA-1000 is not a clone but his own vision of what he felt the
251 could or should be.
Originally the Telefunken-designed ELA M251 was a hybrid
mic in its day, meant to be a U47 replacement using AKG
54

RECORDING October 2017

capsules and electronics (it sounded nothing like a U47).
The original 251 made use of the AKG C12 microphone's
capsule, the CK12, and the capsule hand-selected by David
for the MA-1000 is, like those found in vintage 251 mics,
a brass edge-terminated design with a 1" gold-sputtered
3-micron-thick dual diaphragm.
The mic's capsule and components are globally sourced and
hand-assembled in the USA. The parts list includes a New
Old Stock 5840 miniature tube and a custom transformer of
David's own design, made in the USA by Coast Magnetics.

The outside

While older Mojave Mics share a simple black and
silver utilitarian look, the MA-50 and MA-1000 usher in
a visual change for the company, most significantly a
new Mojave logo badge in silver and red enamel. The
1lb., 7 5/8" X 2" body of the MA-1000 is still dressed
in Mojave matte-black with a silver chrome double mesh grille,
but alongside the red logo badge are 3 rows of classy-looking
chrome grating that give the mic the look of a 1950s hot rod.
The mic comes in a kit that is equally impressive. A large
airplane-ready Pelican-style case contains a suede-lined
wooden mic box, 7-pin Mogami mic cable, custom Mojave
power supply, and a custom large-format Royer Sling-Shock
shockmount. The build, fit and finish of the whole kit is topnotch, from accessories to (especially!) the mic itself.

The inside

The MA-1000 features a continuously variable polar
pattern on the power supply, from omni through figure-8. Its
controls include a 15 dB pad and bass cut filter (6 dB/octave
below 100 Hz).
Some specs include: Frequency response 20 Hz-20 kHz,
sensitivity (ref. 1V/Pa) of -37.5/-36/-34 dB in omni/cardioid/
figure-8, maximum SPL 120 (135 dB with pad), self-noise of 14
dBA (nominal, not to exceed 16 dBA), and impedance of 200 Ω.
Frequencywise, the mic is darn near flat from 20 Hz up to
1 kHz in both cardioid and figure-8, with a gentle 2 dB bump
from 3 to 7 kHz that is sharper in figure-8. There is a dip around
8 kHz, followed by a generally flat 10 to 20 kHz response with
only minor fluctuations. Omni is a tad rolled off in the lows, with
the most drastic high peak of all centered at 10 kHz.

The sound

If the MA-300 was more a red wine as described above, the
MA-1000 is a nice perfectly chilled white wine with broad oaky
bottom notes and a clean balanced middle, rounded out with a
gently smooth, buttery top. Sonically, as on a good ELA M251,
nothing on the MA-1000 tries too hard. It captures and represents
low-end sources without them ever feeling pushed or like the mic
is adding its own weight to them. The mids are accurate and out
of the way, while the top end is detailed with the most beautiful,
sweet rounding. It's hard not to use poetic language describing
this mic: it's a wonderful example of smooth clarity.
It has an equally smooth off-axis rejection, and like a good
classic mic it maintains its tonal balance at a variety of distances.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2017

Contents
Recording - October 2017 - Intro
Recording - October 2017 - Cover1
Recording - October 2017 - Cover2
Recording - October 2017 - 1
Recording - October 2017 - 2
Recording - October 2017 - 3
Recording - October 2017 - 4
Recording - October 2017 - 5
Recording - October 2017 - Contents
Recording - October 2017 - 7
Recording - October 2017 - 8
Recording - October 2017 - 9
Recording - October 2017 - 10
Recording - October 2017 - 11
Recording - October 2017 - 12
Recording - October 2017 - 13
Recording - October 2017 - 14
Recording - October 2017 - 15
Recording - October 2017 - 16
Recording - October 2017 - 17
Recording - October 2017 - 18
Recording - October 2017 - 19
Recording - October 2017 - 20
Recording - October 2017 - 21
Recording - October 2017 - 22
Recording - October 2017 - 23
Recording - October 2017 - 24
Recording - October 2017 - 25
Recording - October 2017 - 26
Recording - October 2017 - 27
Recording - October 2017 - 28
Recording - October 2017 - 29
Recording - October 2017 - 30
Recording - October 2017 - 31
Recording - October 2017 - 32
Recording - October 2017 - 33
Recording - October 2017 - 34
Recording - October 2017 - 35
Recording - October 2017 - 36
Recording - October 2017 - 37
Recording - October 2017 - 38
Recording - October 2017 - 39
Recording - October 2017 - 40
Recording - October 2017 - 41
Recording - October 2017 - 42
Recording - October 2017 - 43
Recording - October 2017 - 44
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Recording - October 2017 - 80
Recording - October 2017 - Cover3
Recording - October 2017 - Cover4
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