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Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

Mojave Audio MA-200

3.95 3.95 out of 5, based on 11 Reviews

A mic with a forward sound that most people like


2nd December 2011

Mojave Audio MA-200 by sehnsucht

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

This is a fixed pattern tube mic designed by David Royer. I originally got this mic to record acoustic guitar parts and found that it suited vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion duties well in my home studio. The mic is built well and includes a shockmount, power supply, cables and hard flight case for a little under a grand , street price. The versatility of this mic was what struck me the most about this piece when paired with a great preamp (in my case, a grace Design m101). It doesn't hype up the input and my resulting mixes sounded warm and required very little EQing to enable the instruments to sit well in the mix. My primary recordings center around acoustic music so I wanted a mic that could communicate accuracy, warmth without breaking my bank account. I liked the MA-200 so much that I bought a second one to record guitars in stereo and use a pair as drum overheads.

Overall, this mic is hard to beat for its price and while its fixed polar limitation had me wishing I had more polar patterns on it, I was able to make do and record quality tracks using the mic. Since I bought my MA-200, Mojave has since released a variable polar pattern mic version of the MA-200 and I am very eager to try the new model out.

I highly recommend this mic to project studio enthusiasts but I am sure the build and quality of this mic will equally do well in many professional studio applications too.

7th December 2011

Mojave Audio MA-200 by joedoc

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

I would give the MA-200 a "10" for it's "Bang for the Buck" rating, because I paid under $700 for a great condition used mic, but even at it's street price of $900-1k, this mic is an excellent value.

Being familiar with many tube LDC's (Pearlman TM1, Peluso 22251 & 2247, Gefell CMV563, Rode Classic, AT4060) that fall in the Mojave's general price range, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the Mojave holds it's own against any of these other mics, and has worked spectacularly on acoustic guitar and a singer whom I always find difficult to record due to a strident upper-midrange quality to his voice. That the Mojave worked so well on the strident-singer was a particular surprise, since I expected the Mojave to have a hyped upper midrange according to the word on the GS forum. The MA-200 does, in fact, have a bump in the highs, but (without referring to the frequency plot of the mic) I would guess that bump sits above 10k, where it adds just a hint of air, without any 4-8kHz harshness.

Downsides?

Fixed cardioid polar pattern. I've been enjoying power supply-side polar pattern selection on some tube LDCs, and wish the Mojave had it. I guess an MA-300 is in order.

The high frequency "air" of the mic can sound "tinny" on percussion, guitars with spankin' new strings, and similar sources. I imagine the same thing may happen with breathy/essy vocalists. But it is common knowledge that there is no one magic mic that sounds good on everyone.

9th December 2011

Mojave Audio MA-200 by mintytowel

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

I have a pair of these which I use for overheads, some vocals and especially acoustic guitar. It really makes the acoustic guitar very bell like. I love it for this. As an overhead mic, it can get a little harsh if the drummer is really hitting hard, but I find they do wonderful things to ride cymbals on less aggressive tracks. Vocals are a little hit or miss as the high end can feel like it is a little untamed with certain singers, on other singers it has really shined.

I have had some problems with the shock mounts, but the people at Mojave have been more than helpful when I have had issues.

If you do a lot of acoustic recordings and are on a limited budget, I would highly recommend this mic.

1st January 2012

Mojave Audio MA-200 by RedBaaron

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

This mic sounds great coupled with my MA-5 pres. I'm not much of a singer, but it seems to make singing effortless even for throaty, unsupported voices like mine--and to make them sound natural, clear, and vaguely "smoky". Like most tube condensers, it also excels at acoustic guitar, especially if placed just above where the neck meets the body. In reality, I can record a good acoustic guitar track with about any of the 12 or so mics i own, but tube mic seems to sound warmer than everything but a ribbon. Also, coupled with the MA-5, it's got a kind of way of taming the transients that I find really useful.

I dinged it a bit on features because there's no pattern selector, but if you want that, get the next model up. I also can't really give an objective comparison between other tube mics in the price range. My Studio Projects T3 is awaiting repair, and I've never used the Rode tube models.

All in all, I would recommend this mic over cheaper alternatives to individuals looking for a sturdy, great-sounding mic that will never have to be "upgraded" down the road.

11th January 2012

Mojave Audio MA-200 by doug hazelrigg

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

This mic has become my mainstay. As the others have said, it's superb on acoustic. I use it often on vocals as well. I do a fair amount of M-S recording and I bought the MA300 to match up with this mic for that purpose.

20th February 2012

Mojave Audio MA-200 by edva

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

The MA-200 was the first commercially released mic by ribbon mic guru David Royer's Mojave Audio company, and immediately garnered positive reviews. Indeed, the sound of the mic is considered very likable by most people, so Mr. Royer et al must have done something right.
The mic utilizes a thin, one-inch gold sputtered diaphragm, and a miniature "mil spec" tube, along with a Jensen output transformer, a blend which results in all that pleasing tone.
The mic ships with cable, power supply, and shock mount, all of which bear evidence of their cost saving off-shore origin. But, they work fine, and the hard shell cases are a nice touch. There are no switches or controls on the mic.
Obviously, sonics and not the accessories are the reason for buying this mic. If I haven't mentioned it, most people really like the sound of it. I do too, although it can be too colored for some sources. The sound is tonally pretty well balanced, but with a mid-forward punch, and a somewhat compressed sounding top and bottom. The highs in particular have either a "vintage" or a "too colored" sound, depending on your preferences. Separately, one can nitpick the various sonic anomalies inherent in this mic. However, when taken all together, the end result is usually a recording that sounds warm, "familiar", and "right". The mic seems a bit pricey based on appearance, specs, and aesthetics, but in terms of performance it delivers a somewhat unique but very popular sound, especially with a strong, uptempo vocal style, that most people will like.

16th August 2013

Mojave Audio MA-200 by lanschuetz

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

I came to own a Mojave MA-200 through a happy accident. I was looking for something totally different on ebay and this mic appeared on the side as something that I might be interested in. I had never actually heard of it, but soon learned of the history of this mic and it's famous designer (David Royer - who I had definitely heard of).

I was, in fact, hoping to obtain another tube based mic for the studio, so an offer was made, accepted and it arrived. Mine is a bit older and has sloped sides rather than perfectly parallel sides. But this is a minor variation.

Like a lot of mics in this price range it comes in a fancy case, with the mic itself in its own sub-case. There is a pretty reasonable mic basket (more on this below) and the mandatory power supply.

Mics of this kind are heavy and you may need to try some viagra if your mic stand won't stay up, or actually buy an appropriate mic stand.

Fit and finish are very nice with a good retro style and feel.

The basket screws to the base in a way that allows proper adjustment of the mic rather than trying to get it pointed in the right way by fooling around with a ring on a mic stand. I've used it upright and upside down and it stays where i put it - which is a good thing.

I have read a lot of reviews about this mic, and there are some that love it and many that don't. I have a suspicion about that. The manual states that you need to let the tube warm up for about 15 minutes. I found that totally inadequate and have since gone to allowing over an hour. In the high end audio world this is a common behavior and it think it works here.

While the tube is getting warmed up, the mic tends to sound brittle and a bit
unpleasant on higher frequencies. After warming up, it has the magic that for
me, at least, is the reason I use tubes. It does not seem as warm as some
other tube mics, but to me at least seems similar to a U-67 in character.

I've used it on both male and female vocals, where it filled out lacking mids nicely. Great with altos, but I've had mixed results with sopranos. In the right situation however, the feeling was, if anything, comfortable. Is it as magic as a U-87? Probably not. But it's also about 1/3rd the cost. On that basis, it ain't bad.

I don't find it as pleasing as a drum overhead, but as a room mic for drums it is quite nice. Also works well with many acoustic guitars. With brass I had mixed feelings as it seems to me to warm sax's too much.

The mic is wildly sensitive and needs a good deal of isolation or any noise will creep in. That can make it a bit tricky for singer/songwriters who want to play at the same time. For that reason I do wish it had a pad. I don't normally use HPF's on mics as I prefer to do that in the pre or during mixing, so that is less of a disadvantage in my studio.

As with any mic, it needs matched to the source, the pre, the environment, etc. But as a reasonably priced tube microphone, it's worth a go.

  • 1
20th January 2014

Mojave Audio MA-200 by deepmidwest

  • Sound Quality 2 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 1 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.25
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

This mic is highly exagerated in the high-mids and high end. I found it to be pretty much unusable. Yes, it is a sensational mic, with lots pizzazz, or something, and it does seem to be well-made, but on vocals, ouch. I admit I didn't even want to try it on acoustic guitar because of its exagerated personality. I have been using a KSM-32 and have been getting good results there. BTW, I did try it through a variety of mic preamps and compressors, including my go-to Vintech 273 and Universal 1176. Just not for me, I guess.

31st January 2014

Mojave Audio MA-200 by Lenzo

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

Just picked up a Ma-200 and spent a couple of hours a/b ing it against my Pearlman TM-1 and a Miktek CV-4. I thought it held up pretty well against these mics given they cost several hundred dollars more. I mostly tested it with Male vocal and acoustic guitar. I ran it through a Great River Pre. It's kind of beefy with a nice proximity effect. It's not a smooth as my Pearlman or as big as the Miktek, but it really sounded nice on my Rainsong jumbo and Taylor 815. I also liked it on my voice. Having only one pattern might be limiting for some, but I bought it used at a good price. And given that price, I'm pretty happy. Didn't find it sibilant at all. If you have a singer with poor technique, that might be a different story. I also threw in a Lauten Audio Clarion as all of the other mics were tubes. Along side of the Lauten this mic sounds very tubey...in a good way. Next to the 3 tube mics the Lauten sounds very bright. But still nice in it's own way. The Mojave seems well built with a respectable shockmount. Though the shockmount is probably not up to par with some others I have. I wouldn't pay full price for it, but at a good price used I think most would find it a very useable mic that will provide a professional sound.
L.

4 weeks ago

Mojave Audio MA-200 by Vern

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Mojave Audio MA-200 cardioid condenser tube mic

Excellent microphone for a number of sound sources that makes most recordings sound exceptionally better than cheaper counterparts.

I've owned this microphone for a while now, and have been one of the few priviliged engineers to test the microphone out before it was released globally.

This is a "cheap" alternative to many other high-end microphones such as the U87, U67, or C12 that many people wish they had the money to purchase and use on a daily basis. This is an excellent alternative to these microphones imo. I've been lucky enough to use the above mentioned microphones many times in the past; and in addition some other highly valued microphones such as the U47 on numerous occasions, and the Mojave Audio MA-200 stacks up exceptionally well to all of them; outperforming some and underperforming on some sound-sources in other scenarios.

Sound Quality:
If I had to compare it to any of the above mentioned microphones, I would readily compare it to the U87. While the MA-200 is a tube microphone compared to the U87, the resemblences imo are quite striking all for at least 1/3 the cost. The MA-200 stacks up very well when being used for an entire variety of sources; vocals, acoustic guitar, horns/wind instruments (very nice indeed), drum overhead, drum room, piano, and stringed instruments. It is a very versatile microphone which is hard to make "sound bad". When a pair of these were first introduced to us at a very high-end studio, all of the in-house engineers fell in love with this microphone especially for acoustic guitar, overheads, and vocals and immediately began using them in the studios' every-day rotation as they were quite apparently superior or equivalent to other higher-cost options. There is slight bump in the mid-low end, as well as the 2k, and the higher end region which creates a very nice presence for the sound source when recorded and makes it very easy to use very little EQ when mixing to allow the track to sit very well in the mix. I must disclaim that I personally believe the best overall microphone in the world is the U87; however, the MA-200 is my second favorite microphone. I like to especially use this microphone on acoustic instruments; I think it outshines any other microphone that I have ever used for this particular sound source and while mixing this microphone brings out a great amount of presence and clarity similar to its more expensive and highly acclaimed predecessors.

Ease of Use:
It's a microphone, no fancy things about this particular one. As long as you know how operate a tube mic, this will be easy for you.

Features:
Unfortunately this model is only a single pattern large diaphragm condenser; cardiod. Additionally there is no pad or high-pass switch on the microphone which would have been nice and is a definite drawback. The microphone comes with a standard power supply, IEC cable, microphone cable to attach to the power supply, a nice standard flight case, and a sturdy (but bare-bones and a bit small imo) shock mount. I do wish the shock mount was a bit larger for this microphone as I think that it is the cheapest aspect of the entire kit. The microphone is well-built and sturdy, and the power supply is also sturdy and smaller than many other tube-mic power supplies. I've never had any problems with this microphone at all.

Bang for the Buck:
Although with a street price of around $1000, which may be out of reach for a hobby recordist, this microphone is very underpriced for the results it delivers. This is the most expensive microphone in my collection, and I don't see any need to purchase anything more expensive whatsoever in the future. I bought mine used for around $700 and I couldn't be happier as the MA-200 covers most single sound sources that any recording enthusiast or professional engineer can throw at it. It isn't always my first choice for every recorded source as I don't like to record too many tracks with the same microphone for a song; but it is always an option that I know I CAN use that will sound great when paired with a good preamp. I think this microphone could easily be priced at the $2500 range and people would still buy it. I personally think that a microphone is the least important link in the recording chain (mic-preamp-outboard gear-A/D); and there are many other cheaper options that will work just fine for recording; but in a world with non-cheap gear to use, this is one of the best bang for the buck microphones out there to ensure that you don't have to compensate higher cost equipment to make-up for the cheaper equipment in microphones for recording.

Overall, this definitely a studio-workhorse microphone that can be brilliantly used for almost any sound source with great results. If you were to purchase one good large diaphragm condenser mic to cover a lot of ground for a moderate price, this would be the microphone that I would recommend to anyone.

 
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