Burbank, CA … In the music industry, there is no greater honor than the Grammy Award. The combination of compositional, performance, and engineering skills required to bring a Grammy nominated recording to life is enormous. Yet for Cuban-born composer and producer Yalil Guerra, a third Latin Grammy Award nomination, now in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category represents another accomplishment in a long list of milestone achievements. Capturing all the fine nuances of a world-class recording takes skill and the right tools for the job. So when it comes to microphones, Guerra depends on Mojave Audio and Royer Labs.
This year’s nominee composition String Quartet No. 2 was recorded by the La Catrina Quartet in April 2014 at RYCY Productions, Inc. in Burbank, CA. The recording also features Guerra’s String Quartet No. 1, A Mil Guerras Solo and works by other Latin-American contemporary composers. Guerra previously received a Latin Grammy Award in the category ‘Best Classical Contemporary Composition’ for Guerra’s Seducción. The album, Live in L.A., was released May 18th, 2012 by Guerra’s own label RYCY Productions, Inc.
Guerra reports that for the String Quartet No. 2 recording project, he used a stereo pair of MA-300 vacuum tube condenser microphone extensively, “For this recording, I used a stereo pair of Mojave MA-300s to record the String Quartet at close distance, revealing details never shown on my previous strings recordings. The finesse and purity of the sound helped me capture a cohesive, full sonic environment. Additionally, the Royer Labs SF-12 was placed farther away from the ensemble to acquire room ambience—delivering a very natural and beautiful sound, creating a special atmosphere and balance in the overall recording. The combination of these two microphones helped me capture all the harmonic textures and delivered the music in great detail, not missing a single harmonic, tremolo or pizzicato.”
“I heard many positive comments about the Royer Labs SF-12 by many colleagues and music industry professionals, Guerra added. “After setting up the SF-12, the sound started to flow through my speakers, and it was terrific. The mic delivered a very natural, warm and full sound. Royer Labs raised the bar once again.”
Guerra reports that he has worked with Mojave microphones for several years and has never been disappointed. “When the opportunity to try the MA-300s presented itself,” he said, “I felt very good about its prospects, as I have always trusted the sound quality, build quality, and overall performance of Mojave products. The richness of sound without any coloration is impressive and the various stereo positions available as a result of the mic’s moveable capsule are perfect. The microphone handled the grand piano’s high SPL levels with ease and all the nuances and colors were beautifully captured.”
“Composed in 2014, String Quartet No. 2 is a new journey in my music composition language,” says Guerra. “The complex textures, rhythmic cells, musical motive and themes captures the attention of the listener and audience. I explored new sonorities and worlds, and reflects a deeper connection with my soul—transmitting the essence of my cultural background. When I spoke with Mojave’s Dusty Wakeman about recording this work, he quickly recommended the MA-300s and the Royer Labs SF-12. I trusted Dusty and, in light of the Grammy nomination, I believe that says it all.”
Summarizing his experience with Mojave’s Mojave MA-300s, Guerra offered these parting thoughts, “As a composer and producer, I make every effort to select great musicians for my recordings. The musicians need to have good sounding instruments—with vibrant strings—and as players, they need to have the technique and musical sensitivity that enables the music to flow. On the technical side, the same holds true. Engineers need to have capable tools, including warm microphones that can accurately capture the waves generated by the instruments. It is this combination that empowers the audience to listen to and experience the detail and all the nuances of the musical performance.”
“For these types of recording projects,” Guerra continued, “Mojave makes a great ‘go-to’ microphone. The MA-300s and Royer Labs SF-12 are both state-of-the-art engineering tools, great for capturing all the melodic and harmonic colors characteristics of La Catrina Quartet: America Latina: A Musical Canvas. I highly recommend this microphone combination. Together, they delivered a lush, rich and powerful sound to my String Quartet No.2, serving as the sound messenger to the Latin Recording Academy members who, after listening, voted for my nomination.”
About Mojave Audio
Located in Burbank, California, Mojave Audio is a manufacturer of quality microphones for the recording professional. For additional information on all Mojave Audio products, visit the company online at www.mojaveaudio.com.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labs’ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities. For additional information about all Royer microphones, please visit the company at www.royerlabs.com.
Photo Info: (L-R): Mojave Audio’s Dusty Wakeman and Yalil Guerra.