Having been raised by a musical family, Carlos Henriquez was destined to find his passion for the performing arts. As a Juilliard Music Advancement Program (MAP) graduate with an impressive resume, Henriquez joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1998. Over the past 22 years, Henriquez has been touring the world with the orchestra, having been featured on more than 25 albums. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S. in March, Henriquez found himself attempting to record music from home for the first time. In need of a high-quality microphone to capture pristine recordings in his makeshift home studio, Henriquez turned to MXL Microphone’s REVELATION II tube microphone.
Led by internationally acclaimed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra relies solely on acoustics, not using any amplification or monitors while on stage. With this style of recording, microphones are more important than ever. “For our performances, we solely rely on microphones, which are directed by our Acoustic Sound Engineer David Robinson and Audio Engineer Todd Whitelock,” says Henriquez. “When we first began working from home, I had nothing to offer in terms of sound other than my iPhone and laptop. I ended up capturing a couple of recordings on my iPhone, which Todd was able to work with. However, listening back, it was not the high-quality audio that we are accustomed to at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I knew I needed to do something about it.”
In his search for a quality microphone to integrate into his project studio, Henriquez turned to Whitelock for advice. “Knowing the importance of microphones for acoustic recordings, I asked Todd for a recommendation for my home setup, and he connected me with Trevor from MXL. After chatting with Trevor about my specific needs, he sent me the REVELATION II mic to test out. As soon as the microphone arrived at my house, I was immediately impressed. From the presentation of the package, to the case the REVELATION II comes in, I could tell this was going to be a solid mic.”
In addition to a high-quality microphone solution, Whitelock suggested Henriquez look into a few other pieces of essential gear such as speakers and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). “With my new REVELATION II microphone incorporated into my project studio, the audio files I was capturing went up twofold in terms of clarity and quality—even Todd was amazed with how clear everything sounded. What really blew us away with the REVELATION II is the ability to change the polar patterns of the mic. We are seamlessly able to swap back and forth between figure eight, omnidirectional, and cardioid polar patterns. This has been extremely helpful, especially while working from home.”
A standout feature of the REVELATION II for Henriquez is its ability to capture an organic Jazz sound. “Sonically, the genre of jazz carries a lot of history and we often find that as technology advances, the historical sound ends up being altered. For Jazz at Lincoln Center, we have been blown away by the true and organic sound that the REVELATION II captures. With MXL, what you hear is what you get, and the mics do a beautiful job of capturing the true jazz sound that we idolize.”
Henriquez also finds the budget-friendly price tag and plug-and-play capabilities of the REVELATION II microphone to be beneficial for project studio recordings. “You could spend thousands of dollars on antique microphone solutions, but then you also have to spend thousands of dollars on the equipment needed to run them. MXL microphones are designed for users to be able to simply plug in and you’re ready to go! This makes it extremely convenient for a musician to record at home and obtain the same sound quality of expensive antique microphones in a professional studio.”
In addition to MXL’s product offerings, Henriquez is also a huge fan of the brand. “I’m in love with MXL as a company. I would tell my friends and colleagues, if you go online and search the reviews for MXL’s microphones, you’re going to see the overwhelming, and well-deserved, positive feedback from the industry. It’s also been really amazing to see how MXL has been able to unite musicians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by providing high-quality and affordable solutions that we can use at home, thus keeping us together musically. With the REVELATION II, I’ve been able to record tracks for other artists and it’s been a really helpful solution and has also been a lot of fun. This is a crucial time in history as we start to find out how companies’ products have a value in bringing people together, and MXL clearly goes above and beyond for its customers. I look forward to continuing to rely on MXL microphones in the years to come.”