On Sunday, Feb 24, the 91st Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the event honored the best films of 2018. The ceremony was televised in the United States by the American Broadcasting Company and was produced by Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, with Weiss also serving as director. As one would expect for an event of this stature, music played a vital role. In addition to the live orchestra performances during the actual show, there was also a significant amount of effort that went into the show in the form of pre-records. For both the pre-records and live event, microphones from Royer Labs and Mojave Audio assumed a major role in this endeavor.
Emmy® and Grammy® award winning recording engineer, scoring mixer, and record producer Tommy Vicari, working in conjunction with his brother Danny, who has an equally enviable track record as a live sound engineer, were tasked with audio responsibilities for this year’s show. Both for the pre-records and the live event, the Vicaris used a healthy assortment of microphones from both Royer and Mojave. These included Royer R-121s, R-122Vs, R-122 MKIIs, and an SF-24V, while the Mojave arsenal included MA-100s, MA-101s, and MA-200s. Both Tommy and Danny discussed the project and their preference for Mojave and Royer microphones.
“The pre-records for this year’s show took place at Capital Studios in Hollywood,” Danny reports. “As part of this effort, we used two R-122 MKII ribbon mics to capture French Horn, with the back of the mic positioned over the bells of the instruments, three R-122V ribbons on trumpets, three R-121 mics for the trombones, and two SF-24V stereo ribbons—one each for brass and woodwinds. On the Mojave side of the equation, we used five MA-200s and six MA-101s. The MA-200s captured saxophones while the MA-101s were placed on the flutes and piccolos.”
When queried about the characteristics of these mics that made them so well-suited for this application, Tommy offered the following thoughts, “When you’re recording various styles of music, including classical, pop, big band, and rock, you really need microphones that can capture and handle extremely loud music and very soft music. With both Royer and Mojave mics, the sound quality remains the same, no matter the dynamic range.”
For the actual live show, the combination of Royer and Mojave mics was equally impressive. According to Danny, two Mojave Audio MA-100s were used for overheads on the drums while another two MA-100s captured a wide range of percussion instruments. Again, Mojave MA-101 mics were on flute and piccolo as well as six MA-101s for the saxophones. On the Royer side, three R-122V mics captured the trombones, three R-121s captured the trumpets while another three R-121 ribbons were used on the three French Horns.
“By largely using the same combination of microphones both on the pre-records and for the live show, we were much better positioned to have greater consistency of the overall sound,” Danny explained. “Both the Mojave and the Royer mics are really exceptional. These mics handle a wide range of dynamic contrast, they’re very adept at handling high SPLs, and the fact that they can be used on a variety of instruments with basically the same output level is a huge advantage. In summary, the build quality, the reliability, and their sound quality is remarkable.”
For projects of this stature, knowing that the equipment manufacturer is both capable and responsive is a crucial consideration. In this regard, Tommy offered high praise for both Royer and Mojave. “My experience with Royer and Mojave could not be any better,” he said. “They stand by their products really well and, at all times, I know they’ve got my back. Whenever I have a question, they provide good feedback in timely fashion. It’s important to me to have this kind of relationship with the companies of products I use. I have to be at the top of my game, and their assistance is essential.”
With the 91st Academy Awards completed, the Vicaris offered these final comments on their Royer Labs / Mojave Audio experience. “As is the case with any project, we do use microphones from other equipment manufacturers, but it’s important to note that Royer and Mojave are a major part of my tool box,” Danny said.” I never do a project without them.” Tommy echoed his brother’s enthusiasm, “I always strive for perfection. I may never achieve it, but it keeps me constantly striving to make the show better—and the microphones from Royer and Mojave are a major part of that effort.”
Additional information on Mojave Audio and its products can be found at mojaveaudio.com.
Additional information about the entire line of Royer Labs microphones can be found at royerlabs.com.
Featured Image - Pictured (l-r): Danny and Tommy Vicari.