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Royer SF12 Problem - suggestions, please
Old 22nd August 2005
Gear Addict

Question Royer SF12 Problem - suggestions, please

First off, let me begin by saying that both Mercenary and Royer have been extremely helpful and an absolute pleasure to work with. Both companies take care of their clients and want their customers to walk away happy. Also, I believe my issues have nothing to do with Royer's manufacturing or QC process. I would definitely purchase from both companies again (and plan to)!

Bought a Royer SF12 from Mercenary a while back. Upon receiving it and setting up for a classical guitar recording, I noticed that the "hiss" from each ribbon sounded different. Turning up the input level on the board so I could see the "hiss" on the DK Audio FFT proved I was correct. The right (upper) ribbon sounds like normal, inherent hiss. The left (lower) ribbon is basically a white noise generator - full bandwidth hiss, with a nice little spike around 16khz! It's not pretty. Went ahead and used it on the guitar recording (it was an experiment anyway), and the recording was clouded in the hiss.

Spoke with Mercenary, who in turn had Royer call me. Even spoke with the president of the company. Everyone at Royer is very pleasant to deal with. Never once did I get the feeling that this was "my" problem.

I tried different pres, different mic lines, patches, places in the room. The facility is a large world-class room with big names from all walks of the musical world coming in daily. We have a large technical staff that really takes care of the room. All this to say that I did not believe it was the room, I thought it was the mic. They agreed to exchange the mic. Royer received the supposedly flawed mic and could not reproduce the problem. I even sent them audio CDs and took pictures of the FFT so they wouldn't think I was crazy! Royer concludes it may be a static issue in the facility.

Received the exchange, and immediately used it on a session. No problems, no hiss - I'm in love with the SF12! And so are the other engineers who got a chance to hear it.

Four days later, I set up for another session... only to find the hiss present on the left ribbon! Keep in mind this is the exchanged mic. Now I don't know what to do.

It's time for more experiments, but I need some suggestions please! I have yet to plug the mic directly into the board pres (a Studer D950), bypassing the studio wiring. I also plan to try the mic at home, to see if a different environment solves the problem.

Also, the mic is my personal mic, and is kept at my apartment, not at the studio. So, once a week it is taken from my apartment, outside, and the to studio (literally a 5 minute walk). I don't think this is the issue, though, because I have the left the mic in the studio for 2 days at a time and the problem did not resolve.

I keep it in the original shipping box, wrapped in foam, in the wood mic case, in the cloth mic bag. It also came with a plastic mic bag which I have just started to use as an experiment.

Any thoughts? The facility has been operational for about 10 years now, and we have not had this problem with other mics. The other ribbons in use here are Coles 4038's.

HELP! And thanks... this is a beautiful mic and I'd hate to give up on it.
Old 22nd August 2005
Lives for gear
cdog's Avatar
"Royer concludes it may be a static issue in the facility."

Hmmm thats bizzare but plausible. The SF12 is a unique ribbon design so its possible the static is only affecting this one ribbon mic (you mentioned the Coles are fine).

"I also plan to try the mic at home, to see if a different environment solves the problem."

I think this is definitely a good idea.

Old 22nd August 2005
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by cdog
"Royer concludes it may be a static issue in the facility."

......... The SF12 is a unique ribbon design so its possible the static is only affecting this one ribbon mic (you mentioned the Coles are fine).
The kicker is... it only affects ONE ribbon... not both. And in both instances, it was the lower (left) ribbon. I'm thinking that is coincidence.
Old 23rd August 2005

Are you sure it's the mic? You need a lot of gain on those ribbons...

It could be a bad connection, another piece of gear or????

Try trading out all the cables, use different connections on the patchbay, turn other gear in the studio on and off....


Old 23rd August 2005
Gear Addict


I'm not sure what it is. Received an exchanged mic that did not exhibit this problem for one session, but has since.

Have not tried turning other equipment on and off (other than the lights), but I have used different pres (Millenia, GML, and the Studer D950 pres). I have tried many different patchbays/points in the studio (it's a 1500 sq ft room, there's lots of lines to try).

I'll definitely try turning off equipment in the rack.

Old 25th August 2005
Gear Addict

More suggestions.... please!?!
Old 29th August 2005
Lives for gear
Marik's Avatar

Originally Posted by Robobo1
More suggestions.... please!?!
In fact, Royer's "facility static" explanation might be it.
Take the mic to some other studios and see if the problem persists.
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