Kenosha, WI â€“ September 2010â€¦ With a recent track record that includes three top 40 singles on Billboard's Mainstream Rock charts plus a pair of BMI Songwriting Awards, the Christian rock band Skillet is on a roll. Their latest album project, Awake (on the Atlantic Records label), which was assembled under the careful guidance of Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson, has been an unqualified success and the band is now in the midst of its Monsters of Annihilation Tour with alternative rockers Papa Roach. In addition to the heavy demands that touring places on his schedule, guitarist Benjamin Judah Kasica also manages to operate a busy recording studio called Skies Fall Studios that is directly involved in projects for Skillet as well as those of other up and coming acts. In recent months, heâ€™s become particularly fond of a new microphoneâ€”the MA-200 Vacuum Tube Condenser Microphone from Mojave Audio.
â€œWhile we tend to gravitate toward big name producers for our records,â€? states Kasica, thereâ€™s plenty of pre-production engineering and similar work that I handle directly. Iâ€™ve been engineering for roughly the past seven years. During that time, Iâ€™ve had the good fortune to work with a number of acts that are now signed and I also helped with engineering on a project that we recorded as a live iTunes exclusive titled Skillet â€“ iTunes Sessions. Similarly, I engineered a few songs on Skilletâ€™s forthcoming re-mix EP for Atlantic Records as well as a string tribute record to be released under a different band name on Skies Fall Records. On each of these projects, my Mojave MA-200 has been an integral component of these recordings.â€?
Kasica reports that heâ€™s had his MA-200 for roughly eight months and, in that time, has become extremely fond of its performance capabilities. â€œA while back, we were recording at Chicago Recording Studios [in Chicago] and we decided to do a blind fold comparison of several different major name microphones to see which would be best for Johnâ€™s (editorâ€™s note: Skillet vocalist/bassist John Cooper) voice,â€? Kasica notes. â€œWe were all in agreement that the MA-200 had a certain quality that brought out his voice better than any of the other mics. We later did the blind fold test againâ€”this time to determine which mic worked best for Jenâ€™s (editorâ€™s note: Skillet vocalist/drummer Jen Ledger) vocals and, like before, the MA-200 was universally picked by everyone there.â€?
â€œWhen recording vocals, I like to bring out the high end, airy/raspy quality of the vocalist,â€? Kasica continued. â€œSome vocalists naturally have this character while with others; you coax it out with some EQ and the right preamp. Before using the MA-200, I frequently added EQ in the 8 â€“ 15 kHz range, but always had to be very careful not to add too much brightness. With the MA-200, this is much less of a challenge. The mic has a very nice quality in the 10-15 kHz range that really helps draw the upper range vocal character into focus. I find that with fairly close, on-axis positioning of the mic, I get a full-bodied qualityâ€”without any â€˜boominessâ€™â€” that has just the right amount of high end.â€?
Kasica also reports using the MA-200 for acoustic instruments, â€œIâ€™ve had great success using the mic on both acoustic guitar and cello. Iâ€™ve really become very fond of my MA-200.â€?
When queried about his interaction with Mojave Audioâ€™s customer/technical support services, Kasica offered the following upbeat assessment. â€œIn all honesty, I havenâ€™t encountered a single issue with this mic,â€? he said, â€œbut any questions and other correspondence have always been handled very quickly. Dusty Wakeman understands what Iâ€™m looking to accomplish and has been great at offering suggestions and support.â€?
So whatâ€™s next for Kasica? â€œIâ€™ve had a very positive experience with my MA-200 and, as a result, Iâ€™m about to buy a second one so I can use them as a stereo pair,â€? Kasica says. â€œI get great results with this mic and look forward to the possibilities that become available with more of them. Iâ€™m also looking very closing at acquiring an MA-100 condenser mic. I consider Mojave Audio to be one of the few brands that deliver this level of performance. I love the results I get and frequently encourage other producers and engineers to give them a try.â€?
About Mojave Audio
Located in Burbank, California, Mojave Audio is a manufacturer of high quality microphones for the recording professional. For additional information on Mojave Audio and all of the companyâ€™s product offerings, visit them online at www.mojaveaudio.com.