royer 121 drawbacks

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bml
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royer 121 drawbacks

Post by bml » Mon May 19, 2003 7:14 am

hello,

i'm thinking of trading in some of my mics and buying a royer 121. i've read a lot of reviews, and was just wondering if there are any drawbacks to the mic. how versatile is it? how much level does it put out? is it good for vocals? thx for any thoughts. besides the pres on my dinky alesis board, i have one UA m-610 which is primarily what i'd be running it thru.

ben

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by Jay » Mon May 19, 2003 7:59 am

I got one in January and I've been using it on pretty much everything- electric and acoustic guitars, drum overhead, drum room, bass amp, piano, vocals, percussion, xylophone, cello, banjo, etc etc. On some sources it can be a little dark but it's a great sound combined with another mic. It sounds excellent with some voices but on others it doesn't really work. I don't have a lot of mics, but it's definitely my favourite.

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eeldip
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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by eeldip » Mon May 19, 2003 10:05 am

good question. more talk of r121 please.

i have a little post it note on my computer that says, "royer r121!". this means, "as soon as you want to spend $1000 or more on a mic get this one first".

any problems with that plan. any reason a small project studio with a bunch of budget mics wouldn't want the royer as the studio flagship mic?

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by eeldip » Mon May 19, 2003 10:06 am

whoops, back button double post.

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markpar
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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by markpar » Mon May 19, 2003 10:42 am

The 121 doesn't put out a large signal, so you need a pre with a lot of gain. I've used it with a UA 2-610 successfully.

The other thing is that it is a ribbon mic, so you need to be careful where you use it. Don't put it in front of a kick drum with a hole cut in the front head. Instant blown ribbon. Don't blow into it to see if it's connected. Instant blown ribbon. Don't drop it. Possible instant blown ribbon.

Royer is cool, though, as they offer one free re-ribbon when you buy the mic. I had to have mine done, but I can't figure out how I blew the ribbon. Never dropped it, only used on guitar amps, handled super carefully. Go figure.

It's a great mic. I love it.

-mark

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by swingdoc » Mon May 19, 2003 10:46 am

Anyone with experience with both a 121 and an SF-1?
Would love to hear your thoughts on comparisons. I got an SF-1 based on the notion that they had a flatter response. It is an awesome sounding mic, smooth and present. Very happy with it.

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by soundguy » Mon May 19, 2003 10:53 am

I have a 121 and a SF-1. The 121, in comparison is bland boring a very utility against the SF-1 which makes me go, whoah, m i c r o p h o n e ! every time I plug it in. The 121 will go lots of places that a SF1 wont, like an inch off a guitar cab speaker, so there is defintlely merit owning both. 121 is really meaty sounding compared to the somewhat silky SF1. I have both, Ive never thought of selling the 121...

If you can afford the 121, you migth consider the new aea ribbon, which is under $1k and I would bet every bit as good as anything royer will ever make, albeit a little different.

dave

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eeldip
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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by eeldip » Mon May 19, 2003 11:11 am

wow, that mic looks pretty amazing.
http://www.wesdooley.com/pdf/r84_short_manual_ver1.pdf

holy crap is it good looking.
now to find someone in town who has it...

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by Professor » Mon May 19, 2003 12:54 pm

I don't own any of the Royer ribbons, but I have a couple of RCAs including a 77D. There are a few rules that generally go with ribbon mics. First they are very fragile, so blowing, big air rushes, and dropping are pretty hazardous to the ribbon. Sometimes even the rush of opening a door or having the venitlation come on will damage them. Same holds for ribbon speakers like the magnaplanar type from Magnepan - they warn you not to open the box too fast. Next is the danger of phantom power - it will rip your mic apart very quickly, nearly the speed of light. This can be a big issue on a little Alesis board (or Mackie, or A&H, etc.) with only one switch to turn on phantom to every channel. Next is the output level which is very weak and will generally require lots of gain. If you don't have a nice sounding preamp that will give 60-70 dB before giving you more static than sound, you'll need one. (Your 610 should be OK) Last is frequency response - these are not modern condensers but esoteric dynamic mics. They don't have lots of super highs or super lows, and they will have a very strange looking frequency response curve. That means they have character all their own, and that character can be great when you are looking for character, but it can be a drag when you are looking for clean.
All that said, you should get a nice ribbon mic when you're ready for a nice ribbon mic because they are gorgeous and wonderful to use, but it shouldn't be your only high-end mic, and I probably wouldn't recommend one before your first pair of large-diapragm multi-pattern condensers - though maybe immediately after.

-Jeremy

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by bml » Mon May 19, 2003 1:27 pm

thx everybody, more comments are welcome. has anyone used the aea R84? how does it compare to the royer? would others agree that a ribbon shouldn't be my first high-end mic? if i did get one, i would keep a small diaphram AT omni that i luv and also a trusty 57 + around 3-4 cheap/crappy but interesting mics....so there's some diversity there. thx for any thoughts

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by soundguy » Mon May 19, 2003 2:59 pm

My first expensive microphone was an old Coles 4038. If you like the sound of ribbon mics, not getting one because you dont have a nice condenser, IMO, is silly. Get what you like. No, you wont be able to put something as fragile as a 4038 in front of a guitar cab, or in front of a kick drum, but if you dont need to do that, dont worry about it. As for the royer 121, I dont particularly like the way it sounds close up on a roaring speaker cab, but that ribbon mic can go a million places that lots of my vintage tube mics absolutely can not go, so the fear of damaging a ribbon does not at all apply to a 121. 4038's are very very delicate, the SF-1 is also a delicate mic. But the 121 will take a massive beating and love it. RCA 74b's are also very rugged ribbon mics. They are great on guitar cabs, but they have a real odd high end to them, they do this scratchy wierdness, not a good vocal mic that Ive been able to get a sound from. I havent used the aea mic, but if you call wes, he has always been a hero on the phone with me and he'll answer any questions that you might have about the mics, and he knows more about ribbons than anyone Ive ever spoken to.

dave

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by ciminosound » Mon May 19, 2003 7:34 pm

A Royer is on my buy list.

If you're worried about not getting enough signal from the 121 look at the new 122. Phantom powered ribbon.

http://www.royerlabs.com

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by uqbar » Mon May 19, 2003 7:46 pm

My experiences with my 121 are mostly in line with the above.

It needs good power. Before I had outboard pres I found the only way to get a decent signal from it was with my old Soundcraft board. Now I mostly use my Mercenary MP2NV and get a nice sound.
It's not the best vocal mic - but I have used it this way for a particular effect.
Unlike some of the folks above I do use it fearlessly in front of my Kick Drum - though not right in the hole, more like a few feet back and pointed down a little. This is my usual kick drum mic in fact. Probably I'm slowly stretching the ribbon - time will tell!

It's one of the mics I will use in pretty much every session, which can't be said of many of my condensers.

mark

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by @?,*???&? » Tue May 20, 2003 7:40 pm

I had the opportunity to do the ribbon mic shoot out at the Royer facility in Burbank. They've got this little booth crammed with all the known ribbon mic models all whacked through a Mackie and couple sets of headphones. The RCA44 was beefy, but quiet. Had a weird directional buzz like a single coil pickup. I hadn't come across one of those in the studio before, but I had seen them. The RCA77DX sounded more even overall, no buzz, and seemed ideal for Saxophone. We had a mismatched pair at Master Control where I was chief engineer. The Coles 4038 was the darkest of the bunch and I'd used them many times at Sonora Recorders in Glendale. It is still the only mic that sounds like a classic ribbon mic to my ear. Great on drums for either room or overheads. The Royer R121 had the bass of the RCA77DX, but also had a really modern sounding high end. Treble is just not something you expect to get from a ribbon mic, but when you see the magnets and the apparatus that the corrugated ribbon is nestled between, it makes sense. It's built extremely solid. Updating a classic style like the ribbon mic is refreshing. Since that day, I've used the R121 for guitars and drum room and been pleased with both. The figure 8 pickup pattern (which is the unimpeded pure pickup pattern for a ribbon mic) does take some consideration when wanting to utilize the mic. Think in terms of controlling ambience on the track. Baffle accordingly. At the Royer facility they did not have the Beyer Dynamic M160. I had had luck with those on guitar cabinets, but we found the durability of those mics to be an extreme issue. Just couldn't handle the spl.

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Re: royer 121 drawbacks

Post by psychicoctopus » Wed May 21, 2003 1:30 am

Anybody familiar with those Reslo 'beatles' mics? they seem plentiful and cheap...

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