In the music industry, there is no greater honor than the Grammy Award. For Cuban-born composer and producer Yalil Guerra, the double Latin Grammy Award nomination of “Live in L.A.” — performed by Cuban pianist Elizabeth Rebozo — represents another accomplishment in a long list of milestone achievements.
Capturing all the fine nuances of a world-class recording takes skill and the right tools for the job. So when it comes to microphones, Guerra depends on Mojave Audio.
Live in L.A. was recorded in May 2012 on the campus of California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). The performance featured solo piano works by Cuban and Latin-American contemporary composers, including Argentinian composer Ástor Pantaleón Piazzolla, Cuban composer Aurelio de la Vega, and Guerra.
Of particular note, Live in L.A. received a double Latin Grammy Award nomination in the category ‘Best Classical Contemporary Composition’ for Guerra’s Seducción (Seduction) and de la Vega’s Preludio Nº.1. The album was released May 18th, 2012 by Guerra’s own label RYCY Productions Inc.
Guerra reports that for this recording project, he used a prototype Mojave Audio MA-302ST stereo tube condenser microphone extensively.
“For this recording,” Guerra explained, “I used the prototype MA-302ST in a close range position over the piano strings, inside the soundboard of the piano. I was extremely impressed with the mic’s performance and it was very easy to work with.
“For recording classical music, the MA-302ST’s sound quality and warmth have no comparison— I fell in love with it. In stereo recording situations, it’s very easy to encounter phase issues. With the MA-302ST, I had no worries at all. The MA-302ST is a ‘set it up-record-no worries’ stereo microphone.”
“I’ve worked with Mojave microphones for several years now and have never been disappointed,” Guerra reports. “When the opportunity to try the MA-302ST presented itself, I felt very good about its prospects, as I have always trusted the sound quality, build quality, and overall performance characteristics delivered by Mojave products.
“The richness of sound without any coloration is impressive and the various stereo positions available as a result of the mic’s moveable capsule are perfect. The microphone handled the grand piano’s high SPL levels with ease and all the nuances and colors were beautifully captured for this record. The MA-302ST will definitely become part of my recording sound for the foreseeable future.”
“Composed in 2009, Seducción exposes a romantic and tender musical theme reminiscent of the old movie love themes,” says Guerra. “The simple texture and harmony travels deep inside the heart of the listener. The middle section introduces tension and, with fast virtuosic scale passages and cluster-like chords, creates an ambience of desperation and solitude before returning to the main theme in another key with new harmonic variations.
“The composition concludes in a Coda-Finale that portrays hope and gratitude. When I spoke with Mojave’s Dusty Wakeman about recording this work, he quickly recommended I try the MA-302ST. I trusted Dusty and, in light of the Grammy nomination, I’d say the result was quite obvious—and beautiful at the same time.”
Summarizing his experience with Mojave’s forthcoming MA-302ST, Guerra offered these parting thoughts, “As a composer and producer, I make every effort to select great musicians for my recordings. The musicians need to have good sounding instruments—with vibrant strings—and as players, they need to have the technique and musical sensitivity that enables the music to flow.
“On the technical side, the same holds true. Engineers need to have capable tools, including warm microphones that can accurately capture the waves generated by the instruments. It is this combination that empowers the audience to listen to and experience the detail and all the nuances of the musical performance.”
“For this type of recording task,” Guerra continued, “Mojave makes a great ‘go-to’ microphone. The MA-302ST is a state-of-the-art engineering tool for capturing all the melodic and harmonic colors characteristic of Live in L.A. I highly recommend this mic. The MA-302ST will accurately capture any musical idea or project you may have.”