New York, NY… The Vision Festival is the world's premier festival of experimental music (typically free jazz/avant-garde jazz), art, film, and dance. Held annually in the Lower East Side of New York City, the musical extravaganza recently completed its 16th year. Having just completed his tenth year as the festival's chief recording engineer, Cologne, Germany-based Stefan Heger, recording and mastering engineer with Fisheye Music and Supow Studio, used several microphones from Burbank, CA-based Mojave Audio to record this year's performances.
Heger commutes regularly between New York and Cologne, Germany as part of his professional responsibilities. After spending the early part of his career at Bristol Studios in Boston as a full-time engineer and at the Music Room in Cambridge, MA—plus a considerable amount of freelancing in New York City at Sterling Sound and several other studios—he re-located to Cologne, Germany and opened Fisheye Music, a privately owned surround sound mixing and mastering studio. When he completed recording this year's Vision Festival performances, he returned to Germany with approximately 300 – 400 GB of recorded audio. He now mixes and masters these recording for the various artists and their labels who prepare to issue live releases of the Vision Festival performances.
“This year, a subsidiary of the BBC called Jazz on 3 showed interest in playing several performances of this year's festival,” Heger reports. “These performances included Paradoxical Frog, Pulverize the Sound, and Planetary Unknown. Jazz on 3 had to decide on the files during the festival, so because of this, I had to make broadcast ready mixes during the show. With the D-Box in the signal chain I, was able to get the most out of the converters while also keeping the individual tracks more open and dynamic. I used Mojave Audio microphones extensively on this project, including two MA-200 vacuum tube condenser mics, six MA-100 tube small diaphragm condenser mics, and one MA-101fet condenser mic almost exclusively on the snare or hi-hat!”
“The performances at the Vision Festival force me to approach music differently than I would typically do with pop music,” Heger continued. “I always want to capture the best sound possible, but this is more about capturing the energy of the performance and, for this, the Mojave Audio microphones really came through.”
“For the most part,” Heger said, “I prefer to use a vacuum tube mic like the MA-200. This microphone provides a refined, studio-type character. This mic does a great job with the acoustic bass. I also like it positioned out in front of the drums and, for horns, it's incredible. When positioned at a distance from the horns, it makes the overall sound of a sax or trumpet sound absolutely gigantic!”
During this year's festival, Heger used a pair of MA-100 condenser mics with the omnidirectional capsules to acquire the stage sound. “These mics delivered a very nice room sound,” he reports. “I got great definition on the low frequencies and you could really sense the actual placement of the instruments. I also tried the MA-100's on the piano, this time using the cardioid capsules. The results were terrific. About half of the Mojave mics I used were for live sound.”
With the Vision Festival XV behind him, Heger now has the task of taking all those recordings and mix / master them for public release. He reflected on the project, “The Vision Festival offers a lot of really creative performances and some very fresh music. The microphones I use to capture those performances play a huge role in the sound of the final recordings. I've been very impressed with Mojave Audio's products. They offer well balanced and very natural recordings of the instruments, and the quality of those tracks is what, ultimately, helps make a fine recording.”
For more information about Stefan Heger and Fisheye Music, visit www.fisheyemusic.com.
About Mojave Audio
Located in Burbank, California, Mojave Audio is a manufacturer of high quality microphones for the recording professional. For additional information on Mojave Audio and all of the company's product offerings, visit them online at www.mojaveaudio.com.
Photo Info: The Connie Crothers Quartet performing during New York's Vision Festival XVI. Dual Mojave Audio MA-200's are placed over the piano. Photo credit: Nobu Awata.