Profile User 17736

Boutique Studio Microphones

75 Reviews
Profile User 17736 on SoundBetter

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Michael Joly Engineering is the current focus of my long career in analog audio product design and manufacturing: two years at the legendary Stars Guitars custom shop in San Francisco, fifteen years under David Blackmer (founder of dbx Inc. and Earthworks Microphones), and over twenty years of microphone modifications under my OktavaMod brand.

For decades I’ve been involved with microphones at the circuit, transducer, and head-basket levels. But these are mere technicalities. Whether you’re buying your first mic or adding a new one to a nearly packed locker, my goals stay the same: to make your mic buying decisions easier and to help you make better recordings - and MJE is surprisingly affordable.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

75 Reviews

Endorse Profile User 17736
  1. Review by The Voice of Brian
    by The Voice of Brian

    I sent Michael a new Rode NT1-A and got back what I asked for - a Neumann esque sound with tight lows. It performs wonderfully and was money very well spent. I chose the 6 micron version as opposed to the 3 micron. I'd tell other VO people about it, but that's not good for my business...just kidding....I tell everyone about this mod.

  2. Review by Tim Mercer
    by Tim Mercer

    I use the Fatboy by Michael Joly. It gives the warmth of a U 87 for 1/10 of the cost. Not to mention the customer service is second to none. I was hearing interference when recording vocals, and contacted Joly Engineering to ask what it might be. Without hesitation they told me to send back the Fatboy and set me a replacement that day. Love them!!

  3. Review by Fernando Fresco
    by Fernando Fresco

    I had the "Ultimate SDC Mod" done on a pair of MXL 603s. What a difference from the stock mics!! The high end used to have a "phasey", shrill sound and now they sound smooth and natural. The mushy bottom end has been tightened up considerably. I've used it on acoustic guitar, drum OH's and even choir. Michael was great to deal with! Thanks!

  4. Review by Erik Pearson
    by Erik Pearson

    Michael's Mics and mods are fantastic and, if that were all, it would be worth the 5 stars, but I've also had some of the best customer service experiences I've ever had from anyone, anywhere. I could not be happier and will always recommend their work. Also, I've learned so much by reading Michael's posts and articles, many thanks there, too!

  5. Review by Joe Omelchuck
    by Joe Omelchuck

    The MJE-384K "Roadster" capsules are on par with any of the best Schoeps or Neumann small condenser mics I've ever used. Cymbals, percussion, and acoustic instruments sound natural and full of life with my modded NT-5s. The Roadsters pass the key jingle test with flying colors! (My KM184 did not) My Rode NTK and Oktava MK219 are next for a mod.

  6. Review by John DeGrazio
    by John DeGrazio

    Great mic mods! I had Michael mod an NT1 - it sounds very good and is a go to mic quite often for vocals and acoustic guitars. Highly recommended and solid customer service.

  7. Review by Eddie Ashworth
    by Eddie Ashworth

    I've been working with Michael's K47H Oktava mod for a couple years now, and am alway impressed by its depth of field, detail, and pleasing roundness on the top end. Great on violin, various horns and woodwinds, and vocals. One of the most frequently used microphones in my cabinet! Great sound, great pricing!

  8. Review by Joe Hall
    by Joe Hall

    Amazing microphones for a killer price. I constantly get rave reviews on anything I record, and that is due mostly to the small arsenal of Michael's modded mics that I own. I would never buy from anyone else.

    Also, he's a great guy who will take time out of his day to make sure you're getting the right mic for your needs. Highly recommended!

  9. Review by Staffan
    by Staffan

    Great stuff! Mk 012 pair with great detail. Thanks Michael!

  10. Review by High Street Studios
    by High Street Studios

    Bought a pair of MJE K47H Capsules, very happy with the sound and quality. Michael Joly was also very helpful and informative with questions that I had.

  11. Review by Matt Maulding
    by Matt Maulding

    I own the MJE-990 "Hulk" and the new MJE "FatBoy" modded mics. These microphones are nothing short of phenomenal. I've used them on everything from vocals to acoustic instruments (guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin) to guitar amps and even bagpipes! They never fail to produce an accurate recording of whatever source I choose! Sell your Neumann today!!

  12. Review by George Aspiotis
    by George Aspiotis

    I owned the MJE-384K "Roadster" capsules ! UNBELIEVABLE! I know the schoeps colletes.... These Michael Jolly's capsules are also "open" and clear as the MK4. Great Job!!!

  13. Review by Jeff Rust
    by Jeff Rust

    I used my pair of MK-219's quite a bit for recording drums and amps . . . with the pad on, of course! I found out about Mr. Joly's mod's for these. I sent one and held back the other, so that I could do an A-B comparison. His service was prompt. I did my comparison. Wow. I sent the other one to him right away! They are now my fav's for vocals.

  14. Review by Rick Birmingham

    I own some mods and some original MJ mics and they are awesommmmme!!!! Also, his tech support is outrageously generous and excellent

  15. Review by MASTERED BY KRAMER


    I sold 2 Neumanns and spent the money on 12 of Michael Joly's mics.

    It's not just about the money. Joly's mics are either wholly indistinguishable from Neumann's, or BETTER. Neumanns are delicate & not very versatile. Joly's mics are rock solid, and VERY versatile.

    Best mics I ever bought, bar none

  16. Review by benjamin lowengard
    by benjamin lowengard

    I have a MK-219 with premium Electronics. It sounds gorgeous. My dealings with MJoly have always been cordial and speedy. I am self produced so I want to spend minimal time fussing with sound. With this mic, no fuss no muss. I should get another!

  17. Review by Timothy Lee Russell
    by Timothy Lee Russell

    Own several MJE mics - all winners.

  18. Review by Jerome Begin
    by Jerome Begin

    Stunning mics and absolutely top notch service. The audio world is a better place because Michael Joly is in it!

  19. Review by Doug Beal
    by Doug Beal

    Had an Oktava 219 premium modded by Michael. Great service and communication.
    The real deal is the sound. I used it for one session on standup bass that was maybe 14 or 15 feet away from the drum kit. The rhythm track and space from the front and the back of the mic are outstanding. Vocals and acoustic guitar..Love it. want 205 ribbon mods next

  20. Review by Mike S.
    by Mike S.

    Michael Joly microphones sound freaking outstanding! I am a big supporter of his work and am looking forward to add more of his mics to my locker. Customer service is great and shipping was fast. I bought "The Hulk" mic and have used it on just about every source imaginable and it hasn't let me down yet. Keep up the great work Micahel!

Interview with Profile User 17736

  1. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  2. A: Doesn't matter, thought the soft-and-euphonic qualities of MJE mics do improve the sound of digital recording.

  3. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  4. A: A copy of Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations" and Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". Because I'd be lost without them. Then ... a peice of string, a tube of some sort and some kind of membrane to stretch. My books would sooth my soul and with the other stuff I'd invent music - all over again.

  5. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  6. A: Unlike when I was coming up and working for David Blackmer, founder of dbx Inc. and Earthworks microphones, there is a dearth opportunities for young folks to learn directly from experienced mentors. So I really like working with young folks who are just starting out and establishing their careers and mic lockers.

  7. Q: What's your typical work process?

  8. A: There are two paths for clients to engage me - either by buying a new microphone from me or by sending one of their existing microphones to me to be upgraded. Turn around is one business day.

  9. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  10. A: I have a custom microphone shop in Hyannis, MA on beautiful Cape Cod. We have workstations for 5 techs , a packing and shipping area and a back room for the machine tools, ribbon microphone bench and mic storage.

  11. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  12. A: My MJE-K47H / MK-012 microphone combo sounds A LOT like the elusive, and expensive, Neumann U 67. I created the capsule and headbasket specs for the K47H "capsule head" and Premium Electronics upgrades for the Oktava MK-012 body.

  13. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  14. A: We're 95% finished with the re-design of our website: An international (Italian, French, American) team of web designers and IT specialists have almost finished.

  15. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  16. A: Georg Neumann, David Blackmer (my mentor and founder of dbx Inc. and Earthworks microphones)

  17. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  18. A: Just got here, but I'll be looking around!

  19. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  20. A: World class sound that is affordable to project studios as well as A list commercial facilities.

  21. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  22. A: Helping people communicate their spirit and vision to others.

  23. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  24. A: Michael can you mod my ... <insert mic>. The answer, almost always is - yes. We can mod your mic and give you classic "Neumann-ish" (U 47, U 47, U 87, KM 84) sound.

  25. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  26. A: Great question! Because I compare the results of my work against the classic mics like the Neumann U 47, U 67, U 87, KM 84 and Coles 4038 people think I "clone" those mics. I do not make "clones". I simply do my best work and compare the result, via carefully created A/B comparisons, to the classic mics - and let people come to their own conclusions.

  27. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  28. A: What are you recording? What mics have you used? What mics do you own? What are your iconic recordings?

  29. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  30. A: Use your own ears! Listen to my sound samples.

  31. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  32. A: I moved to San Francisco in 1976 and soon joined Stars Guitars, the legendary custom guitar shop. So I've been an active analog audio design engineer for almost 40 years.

  33. Q: How would you describe your style?

  34. A: My style? omg - I'm a former punk rocker, old school analog audio engineer who is a serious student / practitioner of the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Anthony De Mello and Marcus Aurelius.

  35. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  36. A: Move the mic !!!

  37. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  38. A: MJE mics are being used by everyone one from chart-topping engineers such as Damian Taylor (Björk), Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith), KRAMER (The Fugs, Half Japanese, Bongwater, Shockabilly, Ween, Butthole Surfers, Pulp Fiction soundtrack...) and Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). 10,000+ indie and major label artists, engineers and producers have joined the Michael Joly Engineering roster.

  39. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  40. A: My ability to help other people to do their best and most communicative work. My microphones are only a means to this end.

  41. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  42. A: Classic sound! Whether its the sound of an acoustic guitar, male or female vocal, piano, drums ... Michael Joly Engineering microphones and modifications provide a classic "VingtageVoiced" studio microphone sound in the small diaphragm condenser, large diaphragm condenser and ribbon microphone categories.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: I design, engineer and modify recording studio microphones

  • Next MJE article: "Microphones as Presence Carriers"Sep 06, 2015

    Now working on my next exclusive SoundBetter article, a look into the metaphysical power of microphones and how you can access their power to carrier "Presence" to the listeners of your productions.