‘Go big, or go home’
“The big introduction, for me, with Mojave was the MA-301FET, when we used it on Petrucci’s guitar rig in 2012,” Meslin explained. “Dream Theater’s style is ‘go big, or go home,’ — but the MA-301 gives a true representation of John’s rig in one microphone. It’s just really full range, very realistic and three-dimensional. The MA-301 eventually made its way onto Pertrucci’s cabinets on the road as I began touring with them and brought some of the studio approaches to capturing Dream Theater with me.”
“Flash forward to 2018, I was asked to engineer Distance Over Time. It was a unique experience, we recorded in upstate NY on a property called Yonderbarn, an old barn turned studio, but unfortunately gutted of all recording equipment years before our time there. It has a big open floor, beautiful views and acoustics and was intended to be where the band wrote the record. The plan was to eventually migrate to a formal recording studio, but the band fell in love with the place. Petrucci asked if we could pull off recording there and I said ‘absolutely…’ which unfolded into a huge to-do list of outfitting preamps, computers, monitors, wiring, microphones, cue systems — everything.
“Of the many decisions to be made and challenges to overcome while preparing Yonderbarn to handle a Dream Theater recording session, myself and Matthew Schieferstein, DT’s production coordinator — worked on a gear list to outfit the band’s needs. Running 40 inputs and using up every bit of it, I relied heavily on Mojave’s 301’s to capture some of the most important elements of the record. It lived on Petrucci’s guitar cabinet, blended with a Royer 121 and a Shure SM7B — although the 301 sat in the forefront. It captured the resonant head of Mangini’s kick drum, and was the sole microphone on Myung’s bass cabinet.”
Vocals for James Labrie were recorded by Richard Chycki in Canada, who used a Mojave MA-1000 on Labrie’s voice. “It’s such a brilliant mic,” said singer James Labrie. “The response to the natural organic acoustics is unparalleled.”