Upon first glance at the new Mojave MA-50—at the NAMM Show, January 2016—I couldn’t wait to try it out. For the unaware, Mojave Audio is the younger corporate sibling of Royer Labs, a now-legendary company considered by many to be the world’s premier ribbon microphone manufacturer. While Mojave’s microphones are competitively priced, historically they have been beyond the financial reach of many project studios. The MA-50 has a list price of $495, which has resulted in Mojave president Dusty Wakeman christening it “My First Mojave.”
The MA-50 is large-diaphragm, transformer- less, fixed cardioid condenser microphone with a full 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency response. It incorporates the same one-inch diameter, gold sputtered, three-micron capsule found in Mojave’s MA-200 and MA-201fet microphones. This remarkably low noise microphone can handle sound pressure levels up to 125 dB and peaks up to 140 dB.
The MA-50 has exceptional build quality and includes a shock mount and a 10 x 9 x 4.5-inch carry case. It is perfectly suited for recording vocals, percussion and acoustic instruments. I’ve utilized the MA-50 on literally dozens of sound sources over the past few months, and it worked exceptionally well in every instance. The mic provides outstanding off-axis rejection, making it an ideal solution when recording in less than desirable locations—like typical residential environments.
In addition to beautifully capturing male and female vocals, I used the mic to record violin, cello and mandolin. I used it along with a Royer R-122V to record a finger-picked acoustic guitar performance played on a Taylor 514-CE and the result was strikingly good. The mic did a superb job capturing tambourine and shaker, and worked wonders recording a set of bongos.
Regrettably, I only had a single MA-50 for review, but I still used it to record both a mono drum overhead and a mono upright piano, working well in both instances. The MA-50 is a versatile workhorse microphone that provides unmatched quality in its price range. It is a perfect solution for single mic project studios and a great addition to even well-stocked mic closets.