The 122 will give you a lower noise floor than the 121..good for quiet acoustic stuff. For many, the ribbon microphone starts and ends with the BBC‑designed 4038, but technology has moved on since this classic first appeared, as Hugh Robjohns discovers when he encounters this state-of-the-art model from Royer. I don't doubt it, although care must be taken to avoid damage from excessively strong air movements — avoiding exposing the ribbon to the air blasts from closing hi-hats, for example. Royer has always been an enthusiast when it comes to ribbon microphones and his knowledge and understanding of the classic designs from the first half of last century is claimed to be encyclopaedic. A 2.5µm-thick pure-aluminium ribbon is supported between the poles of a powerful rare-earth neodymium magnet assembly. I can see their point — the R121 works extremely well in this application and its particular blend of characteristics seems to complement electric guitars (or virtually any amplified instrument) very well. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. For stereo applications, a pair of precision-matched R121 mics can be supplied for a five percent premium over a pair of unmatched mics. All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2020. You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address. Similarly, bulky step-up transformers were often incorporated in an attempt to increase the output voltage, further adding to the size of the assembly. Royer Laboratories in Burbank, California, was founded by David Royer and Rick Perotta in order to bring Royer's ribbon-microphone designs to the pro‑audio marketplace. I bet the component price difference drives the desparity more than some guy just not getting it. He has also been responsible for the design of a number of custom capacitor microphones as well as valve-based output signal processors. Placement was centered, a bit off axis. The R121 exhibits a strong proximity effect as would be expected of a pure pressure-gradient microphone like this, but only when the source is very close to the mic — and far too close for safety. As only a single mic was supplied for the review, I am unable to comment on the consistency of the microphones — however, unlike most capacitor mics, the Royer is almost completely insensitive to variations in heat or humidity and has excellent phase linearity. The sensitivity of ribbon mics is determined largely by the strength of the magnetic field encompassing the diaphragm, and the magnetic structures available 50 or 60 years ago could only generate such powerful fields by employing massive magnets. The quoted frequency response is flat within around ±2dB from 30Hz to 15kHz, although these figures rather do the mic a disservice. For the sake of completeness, I should mention that Royer also produce a stereo coincident ribbon-microphone system called the Royer/Speiden SF12. United Audio Technologies UT FET 47 | Audio Examples. The basic design of the Royer R121 is fairly conventional as ribbon microphones go, despite the adoption of sophisticated modern materials. The review model had a burnished-satin nickel finish although a matt-black chrome alternative is also available. Electric guitarists, in particular, could well find that this is the microphone for capturing their sound, as it really does seem to be designed for this application above all others! The bipolar pattern can be used to great effect with backing singers by putting one singer either side of the mic. All in all, this is a very nice little microphone indeed and a very worthwhile addition to the microphone cabinet. The microphone sensitivity is quoted as -54dBV referenced to 1V per Pascal which equates to 2mV/Pa and is, surprisingly, only 1dB greater than the classic Coles 4038. The microphone needs to be treated with a little more respect and care than most of its siblings and I wouldn't recommend its use on the live stage, but in the relatively clean and controlled conditions of a studio environment the R121 is capable of delivering a very nice sound indeed. As an electromagnetic device it requires no high-impedance head amplifier so its residual noise floor, which is therefore determined only by the resistive impedance of the capsule assembly, is lower than that typical of a capacitor mic. Beautifully warm and smooth sound quality. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. I was so impressed, I even tried it on the 122 Leslie of my Hammond and, although I was careful not to expose it to the draft of the spinning top rotor, it was quite wonderful and produced a very rich, sonorous sound indeed. Dense wads of cotton wool pack the interior of the mic's tubular body to prevent resonances and to stop the connecting wires from rattling. Development of ribbon mics reached its peak in the late 1940s and early 1950s, until they were overtaken in the quality stakes by burgeoning capacitor microphone technology. I saw someone had mentioned phantom power with ribbons. Am I mistaken? On the human voice it was very smooth and complimentary, working well with both male and female singers, and I would imagine a pair would work wonders on a choir in a nice acoustic. However, the ribbon microphone has characteristics all of its own, achieving much of the finesse of a capacitor mic, but usually with a warmer timbre which can make an ideal complement to the analytical nature of digital recording formats. Do the front and rear of figure-8 mics sound the same? The positive-polarity lobe of the pickup pattern is identified by the Royer logo, and the pair of vertical metal fins running down either side of the slotted grille area serve to mark (and enhance) the side nulls. Win! Placing a good quality pop-screen or foam windshield in front of the mic would be a very sensible precaution! Transformers block DC. This mic is remarkably tolerant of high sound-pressure levels and still manages to deliver that silky smooth sound quality with which the ribbon is associated. From about six inches away and going further out the sound remains completely uniform and well balanced so, to all intents and purposes, the proximity effect can be ignored.