Chicago, IL - August 2013... Michael Mason's flute improvisations in the world of jazz and world music are well known and his list of credits includes performances with music industry icons James Newton, Arturo Sandoval, Ian Anderson, and Edward 'Kid' Jordan to name but a few. With a pedigree that includes having recorded seven compact discs for the Southport Records/Chicago and Lake Effect Records labels, Mason's work is highly regarded. So when the performance calls for sound reinforcement, what microphone does this leading flutist insist upon? None other than the ISOMAX 2 All-Purpose Microphone from Menlo Park, CA-based Countryman Associates.
Mason plays 14k gold Muramatsu flutes outfitted with 14k gold headjoints from Miyazawa and Nagahara. Recognized as the crème-de-la-crème instruments among flutists, it's only fitting that Mason wants the best possible microphone for live performance. This is precisely why his history with Countryman microphones dates back a good thirty years and his present microphone of choice is the ISOMAX 2.
Available in omni, cardioid, and hypercardioid patterns, the ISOMAX 2 offers true frequency-independent patterns. This control, along with its high SPL capability-ideal for close-miking applications-makes the ISOMAX 2 a great all-around microphone for capturing strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. With a variety of accessory items that expand its versatility, the ISOMAX 2 makes an outstanding choice for the most demanding applications, as Mason described.
"I use the ISOMAX 2 and the company's ISOMAX 2 flute clip together with a Shure wireless system," Mason reports. "The ISOMAX 2 provides excellent response and the clip mount offers all the flexibility I require in order to position my embouchure-with the ability to adjust the clip position for many of the extended techniques I perform. I position the clip and mic onto various areas of the headjoint, but never too close to the lip plate. I use the ISOMAX 2 without the windscreen, as this enables me to capture a wide range of articulations and wind sounds when I perform. The combination of the Countryman ISOMAX 2 and the Shure wireless work very well together."
As a performing musician, Mason needs to know that, should he have any questions or other concerns, his equipment manufacturers have his back. On that note, he reports Countryman's customer service has been nothing short of exceptional. "Whenever I or my manager have had questions or required assistance with accessories or anything else, Countryman delivered," he said. "The company's support is first-rate."
Before shifting his attention back to a pair of new projects that involve flute solo works and interpretations on the work of Miles Davis' electric period, Mason offered these parting thoughts, "I have known and worked with a handful of very prominent flutists who use the Countryman ISOMAX 2 for live performances. This mic has a very broad frequency response and does a great job of capturing the instrument in its natural form. It works very well with EQ and digital effects systems and its ability to handle high SPLs is terrific. I've been very pleased with the ISOMAX 2. It's become a regular part of my equipment arsenal.