Mojave MA-300 Tube Microphone Review

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Kevin Becka



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photo of Mojave MA-300

The MA-300 ships in a sturdy briefcase that contains the mic, cable, power supply and shock-mount.

I heard the MA-300 placed just off-center of the speakers of a Fender Supersonic guitar amp. I also placed an SM57 and Sterling ST6050 Allen Sides Edition in relatively similar positions. As I expected, the MA-300 had much more bottom than the 57, which rolls off naturally starting at about 150 Hz. The Sterling sounded very good in the upper mids and highs, but didn’t have the beefy vocal, the mic offered plenty of body and even representation of the singer’s range. I would probably add a bit of top end for a mix but not a lot. There’s a pleasant midrange that particularly flattered this singer; that can be harder to capture with “cleaner” mics. Sibilance was not a problem, and the mic sounded good even when the singer drifted a bit off-axis. It seems like the cardioid pattern offers some tonal forgiveness when not directly on-axis: it sounds great at zero or up to 30 degrees left and right.

This mic wouldn’t be my first choice for certain hand percussion. It has the wrong personality for accurate and clinical applications; I prefer a super-clean condenser or a ribbon depending on the instrument. For me, a tube mic is too gritty for high percussion that needs the clarity of an FET or ribbon through a good-quality preamp. For instance, when used to record tambourine, the MA-300 sounded fine. I rolled off the bottom and ended up with a track that sat nicely with the drums and other percussion. But on triangle and VibraTone, the upper range was better represented by the AEA KU4 or Sterling ST6050 Allen Sides Edition through an SSL G Series console preamp.

? The Mojave MA-300 is a great mic at a price that may not fit every budget, especially since they work well as a pair. That said, you get what you pay for. It is well-made and tested, and comes with quality accessories and packaging. And as insurance, it’s made under the watchful eye of David Royer. Sonically, the MA-300 delivers, bringing its wonderful tube-y personality and great transient response to any recording. It’s a great go-to mic for vocals, drums, guitar amp, acoustic guitar and more.

Kevin Becka is Mix’s technical editor.

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