Mojave Audio MA-201fet: FOH Mixers’ New ‘Secret Weapon’ For Drum Miking

Pro Audio and Studio – Music Instrument News

Designed by Technical Grammy Award winner David Royer, the MA-201fet was created as an alternative to more expensive large diaphragm condenser microphones, designed to work across a variety of live sound applications. Since its launch in 2008, an increasing number of FOH mixers have been deploying the Mojave MA-201fet microphones as their ‘go-to’ overheads on drums. Among these top engineers are Chris Rabold, FOH engineer for Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Kenny Chesney and others.

“Overhead miking in a live environment is as nuanced, and often as troublesome, as it gets,” says Rabold. “Between overly excited players, questionable acoustics, stage noise, slapback reflections from the house, you can often end up with something akin to white noise. The Mojave MA-201fet manages to reach through the chaos and emanate the detail from the kit that I need. I can’t say enough about these mics and their performance over the years.”

Rabold, who has most recently been touring with artists Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic, says that he began using the MA-201 fet in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since: “As overheads, I can get an impressive sound using them to mic a full cohesive kit, or use them as spot mics and focus on the articulation of each drum without any artifacts or harshness that can be very common in live sound. The MA-201fet is my first choice for every tour.”

Rabold has taken it upon himself to spread the word to fellow engineers. “I can count on two hands the number of other engineers I’ve turned on to these mics that have not only gone on to spec them on their tours, but also to purchase them for themselves,” he says.” They’re that immediately impressive.” Another engineer who’s had a long standing relationship with Mojave is James “Jimbo” Neal, who uses the Mojave MA-201fet as a big part of his overhead drum mic set up and also as part of Brian Setzer’s guitar set up.

James “Jimbo” Neal, FOH Engineer for Brian Setzer

One of the challenges FOH engineers face is capturing that sonic warmth and detail, most often associated with working in a recording studio. “I depend on a Mojave MA-201fet to capture a full picture of the drum kit with enhanced warmth and clarity,” says Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, FOH Sound Engineer for Iron Maiden, Jay-z, Linkin Park, Kiss and others. “It is the only mic I use for my ride cymbal and overhead inputs.”

Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, FOH Sound Engineer for Iron Maiden

Production Manager and FOH Mixer Jamie Landry adds that while mixing Norah Jones live, he prefers overhead drum mics that impart a natural, detailed sound for the entire kit — not just the cymbals. “Norah’s drummer, Brian Blade, is such a dynamic and nuanced drummer with an incredible tone. These Mojave microphones really allow me to capture all of this nuance.

Both Dave McMullin, Monitor Engineer and Justin Ripley, FOH Engineer for OneRepublic, lean heavily on their drum overhead sound for the OneRepublic show.  “We need microphones that provide an image of the kit with depth and clarity.  Because they’re so even across the entire frequency range and built like a tank, the Mojave MA-201fet meets all of our needs. Thanks to everyone over at Mojave for your ingenuity and impeccable customer service.”

Justin Ripley, FOH Engineer for OneRepublic

The MA-201fet is a large diaphragm, phantom-powered, solid-state condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid pattern. With its roots in a lineage of microphone designs by David Royer, the MA-201fet imparts warm, full-bodied reproductions of both vocals and instruments, without shrillness and high frequency distortion artifacts. This makes it suitable for a variety of applications. In addition to drum overheads and drum rooms, the MA-201fet is also well suited for applications including high SPL sources such as kick drums and bass guitar amps, electric guitar, piano, and a range of acoustic instruments.

Outfitted with a 3-micron, single-sided, gold-sputtered capsule, high-quality Jensen audio transformer, military-grade FET and custom designed low-noise resistors, the MA-201fet performs at a level competing with some of the best loved classic condenser microphones. Each MA-201fet microphone is carefully tested and evaluated, then packaged in its protective case with a professional grade shockmount.

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