Emmy Award-winning US show Mad Men has earned a loyal following among TV viewers. Set in the 60’s and broadcast on the AMC cable TV network, the show has been created and produced by Matthew Weiner and stars Jon Hamm, creative director of the fictional Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad firm.
David Carbonara, the show’s composer, has produced winning mix of a contemporary score with period jazz, which has inspired a number of Mad Men soundtracks and a live show, starring cast members and produced by Carbonara himself. When recording the show’s musical tracks, Carbonara insists on capturing every last musical nuance and combines microphones from Mojave Audio and sister company Royer Labs, to do so.
James T. Hill, recording engineer and mixer, works with Carbonara on the show’s musical recordings, and in addition to his work on Mad Men, has worked with James Newton Howard on numerous movie scores, including The Sixth Sense. Cabonara and Hill work together and use Mojave Audio’s MA-201fet and MA-100 condenser microphones, as well as Royer Labs’ R-121, R-122V and SF-24 ribbon microphones.
Carbonara stated: “Jim started using Royers in 2003 and Mojave mics in 2007 – the year we began work on Mad Men. In the five years we’ve been working together on Mad Men, we’ve deployed the Mojave MA-100 on acoustic guitars, drum cymbals and hi hats, and the MA-201fet on vocals, acoustic guitar and a variety of other soloists. We’ve been equally pleased with the performance of our Royer ribbons. We find the R-121 works really well on brass, woodwinds, and a guitar amps while the R-122V does a great job on woodwinds, acoustic guitars and strings. With the Royer SF-24 being a stereo microphone, we typically use this for piano, drum overheads, and room ambience.”
Carbonara recently acquired a Mojave Audio MA-300 multi-pattern vacuum tube condenser microphone for use in his personal studio. He continued: “I started work on a film where it will be necessary to record acoustic guitars and some strings in my home studio – something I am not accustomed to doing. So, of course, I asked Jim’s advice for my microphone choice and he quickly recommended the Mojave. Jim suggested the MA-300 would be right for anything I might need to record in my own studio and I’m pleased to report the mic is performing exactly as I had hoped.”Article continues below
Carbonara was equally complimentary of the Royer ribbons. He said: “Jim likes using the R-121 and R-122V ribbon mics because of the null points, which help provide isolation between instruments when using a room full of musicians. We’ve also used a pair of R-122V’s in Blumlein configuration for capturing acoustic guitars, small acoustic groups, and drum overheads.”
When asked about their preference for Mojave Audio and Royer Labs, Carbonara stated that in addition to the microphones’ audio performance, customer service is an equally important consideration.
Carbonara concluded: “Jim has consistently said how responsive the Mojave and Royer folks have been and this led me to call Dusty Wakeman at Mojave Audtio. Dusty was quick to offer assistance and is there whenever I have questions. This really inspires confidence in their products. Jim and I have been using the Mojave and Royer mics to help create the sound that gives the music of Mad Men that touch of elegance that goes so well with the overall style of the series. For me as the composer, it’s a perfect match all around.”
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