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Royer R-121 - Why Is It Great For Guitar? Ribbon Microphones
Old 14th June 2007
  #1
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aryschien's Avatar
 

Royer R-121 - Why Is It Great For Guitar?

I've seen many people mention the Royer R-121 as THE electric guitar mic. It's a pity that we don't have one to demo here in Taiwan. Can you share your opinions with me, about why the R-121 is great for electric guitars?

Also I saw two versions. The black one costs a bit more. Does it sound better, or just the look?

Thanks in advance.
Old 14th June 2007
  #2
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seaneldon's Avatar
 

i don't think any one mic is THE mic for any one thing. that said, the r121s are cool for guitars because they sound like what i think guitar cabinets generally sound like, and they don't **** the bed when i blast the amp off the ground to 10.

they also make for a fancy-pants drum overhead in a particularly great sounding room. room definitely becomes a major player when we're talking any kind of "distance" mic stuff.
Old 14th June 2007
  #3
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peeder's Avatar
 

Well if you listen to condensers and dynamics they tend to buzz at upper mid frequencies a bit, which ribbons don't do (you might not even know this until you work with ribbons). When you're recording a guitar amp that's already got the buzz you want up there, you want the mic to just capture it cleanly. Couple that with fast transient response to get some punch and life to the signal.

Then the Royer R121 just has the perfect frequency response for a guitar cabinet. You speak into it and it yells "Guitar Cabinet!" at you.

Try it. You might like it. You can sell them easily.

I'm not as thrilled with the other Royers. This is their hit.
Old 14th June 2007
  #4
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 

The 121 is very smooth and a little bit dark, which helps tame the harshness of electric guitars.

121 = beautiful!
Old 14th June 2007
  #5
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i just had the most amazing experience with one. we were tracking clean funky guitar stuff with the 121 --- 1073 and distressor at westlake in L.A. i had never used one before this. i mentioned to the engineer i had never used and why he like 121's on guitars. he proceeded to show me. we was able to drmatically affect the tone by mic placement. at one point i had my tone knob rolled all the way off and he was able to brighten my to to the point that you could not tell that my tone was almost completely rolled of by how close the mick was to the cab. 4 inches back sounded on way and right on it souinded another.

i had never heard a mic respond the way that thisw one didi
Old 14th June 2007
  #6
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heyman's Avatar
All the above posts are correct. It sounds true and gets alot of the lows, mids and highs that a 57 cant touch.
Old 14th June 2007
  #7
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aryschien's Avatar
 

Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm getting one.
Old 14th June 2007
  #8
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lpkyer's Avatar
 

how do they compare with say a beyer m160?
Old 14th June 2007
  #9
Baz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aryschien View Post
Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm getting one.
I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Old 14th June 2007
  #10
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IMHOP its not.....I tried it on the last CD by The Breakfast on tim Palmieri's Boogie. After one sond we wnet back to a 421, which has worked in the past. I suspect it is better on loud Marshalls.
Old 14th June 2007
  #11
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retropete's Avatar
 

Actually I love the combination of the 421 and a 121. One on each cone of a 2x12. By itself, the 121 seems a little too dark for me. I'm intrigued by the above poster who talked about how much the placement was able to affect tone. But when I put the two of them up, it's such an instant gratification kinda thing ;-)
Old 14th June 2007
  #12
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

I mix mine with a 57 and the volume of the 57 becomes my tone knob.

The sound from the 121 is just not reproducible with the usual dynamic or cardioid suspects.
Old 14th June 2007
  #13
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MX582's Avatar
 

not trying to hi-jack but whats the difference between the 121 and 122 apart from phantom power?..i heard the 122 is alittle louder but are there actually any tone differences?

so far ive only used the 122
Old 14th June 2007
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MX582 View Post
not trying to hi-jack but whats the difference between the 121 and 122 apart from phantom power?..i heard the 122 is alittle louder but are there actually any tone differences?

so far ive only used the 122
i feel there are differences - the 122 doesn't quite have the tone of the 121. also, the 121 can achieve different tones by playing with the impedance level on some preamps.
Old 14th June 2007
  #15
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Oroz's Avatar
 

We have a R-122 at the studio and I love it for guitars, many times in combination with (lately) a Rode NT-2 but it depends on the song. One thing I like to do when mic'ing guitar amps with ONLY a R-122 is to put it in the center of speaker as opposed to my regular preference with a dynamic to put it offset (somewhere in the middle of the cone), also don't be afraid to put more treble than you would on your amp. BTW I've been playing guitar for 17 years and always felt that something was missing until I tried the R-122.

Last edited by Oroz; 15th June 2007 at 06:13 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 15th June 2007
  #16
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aryschien's Avatar
 

Hi-jack this thread any way you want! I know too little about guitar miking and would love to see as many discussions as possible.

The 121 is on the way. Should be in the studio by the end of next week. In the meantime, please share with me your opinions. Thanks.
Old 15th June 2007
  #17
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

I heard a Marshall with a r121 in the middle of the cone and a 57 at a 45 degree angle pointing towards the cone but off to the side near the edge of the cone , into a Chandler TG2 .......

Best Guitar tone I've ever heard !!!!
Old 15th June 2007
  #18
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peeder's Avatar
 

I think Stavrou has the best method for cab micing in his book (yeah I like that book)...re-amp pink noise through the amp, and wear headphones while you monitor what the mic is doing in different spots as you wave it around. Pick the place where the pink noise sounds best to you, and you'll probably get a very good guitar tone. You can also re-amp a guitar part looping, or just do this while the guitarist plays.

Re-amping pink noise and sines etc. will also show you how your amp works very quickly...you'll see how it gain stages, how the EQs interact, what the nature of the distortion is in different modes, the works. The guitar alone won't reveal all that as quickly...but of course the guitar is the proof in the pudding.

Mic positioning is all about listening. Can't over-emphasize that. If you just listen well enough while you determine placement, everything you do will sound a million times better. No more hit-and-miss he-said-she-said. Yes different placements will give different results...square on the center of the cone is brightest (this hotspot is so tiny that you have to listen for it as you place...no substitute!) and it changes greatly as you move off laterally. Bass can increase as you move off in depth, as will room sound. Experiment! Use (post-cabinet) EQ only after you've got the right mic in the right place (get a great tone on the amp first of course).
Old 15th June 2007
  #19
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bobx's Avatar
the thing about the 'darkness' of the r121 is that it EQ's really well. i tend to track things on the dark side because i like to boost a little high end rather than to tame something extremely harsh. and with a touch of the right EQ, it sounds really smooth.
Old 15th June 2007
  #20
mmm bad cat


I love r121s on guitars... I always wondered how much can it really take, I know ribbons in general are pretty fragile, and I figured blasting a cab of metal tone at it would take it out....
Old 15th June 2007
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

My Royer 121 has been sent to be reribboned. In its place I bought a Naked Eye and I'm feeling it's just as good as the Royer on guitar cabs.
Old 15th June 2007
  #22
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doug_hti's Avatar
 

I think 121s are useful on guitars (clean(ish) guitars, but still struggle getting any bite/mid/uppermid definition that the 57 gives on big crunch gtrs. This also pertains to how it sits in a dense track and not just listening to guitar alone...i would be sure to have your 421 or 57 backup until you REALLY know the 121 is the sound you need.
Old 15th June 2007
  #23
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StuartMac's Avatar
 

The Royer combined with a Josephson e22s is brilliant on guitars - but then, so is the AEA R92.
Old 15th June 2007
  #24
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Oroz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobxhopefield View Post
the thing about the 'darkness' of the r121 is that it EQ's really well. i tend to track things on the dark side because i like to boost a little high end rather than to tame something extremely harsh. and with a touch of the right EQ, it sounds really smooth.
I totally agree. It takes EQ pretty well!
Old 15th June 2007
  #25
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Not really trying to hijack but I love how guys say the 121 captures the full range of the guitar, then in mix threads people say to roll off everything below 250Hz.

Bottom line is the 121 is a great tool for your arsenal, but there are times where a 57 works better in the track. If you're doing death metal probably not the ticket. If you're doing pop it might be just what the doctor ordered.
Old 15th June 2007
  #26
Lots of folks talk about the R121 and mention how "dark" it is... just a few points on that.

1) Don't think of the R121 (or any ribbon) as you would other dynamic mics. A 57 and a R121 DO sound different and because of this you can't put the R121 in the same spot where you would put the 57.

The R121 works much better (for me anyway) straight on to the center of the cone, exactly where I would NOT put a 57 or a 421. When I first got my R121 I mentioned how I didn't like it so much and our own Michael W said something about putting it smack in the middle of the cone... just had not dawned on me after all these years of 57's off to the side.

2) Don't forget that the R121 is figure of 8, it is really going to get some proximity effect going if placed too close to the source i.e. speaker. Again, just like above, don't think of it as a standard dynamic mic like a 421 or a 57. Back that puppy up a few inches and watch your lows even out and your highs open up.

3) The R121 will take EQ like a mofo, especially on the highs so don't be afraid to crack the EQ come mix time if you need it... BUT placement placement placement is the watchword with the R121, it is more sensitive to where it physically sits than other more standard contenders on guitar amp.
Old 16th June 2007
  #27
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aryschien's Avatar
 

Thanks for the tips guys! I'll definitely try them out when I got the 121.

By the way, I'm using the H&K Triamp 4x12. When you said point the mic to the center of the cone, do you mean pointing it to the center of any one of the four cones?
Old 16th June 2007
  #28
Baz
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Baz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aryschien View Post

By the way, I'm using the H&K Triamp 4x12. When you said point the mic to the center of the cone, do you mean pointing it to the center of any one of the four cones?
yes, given that one mic can only occupy one space at a time
Old 16th June 2007
  #29
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peeder's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aryschien View Post
By the way, I'm using the H&K Triamp 4x12. When you said point the mic to the center of the cone, do you mean pointing it to the center of any one of the four cones?
Drivers can vary in quality after break-in...it's customary on a 4x12 to put the ones in better shape above the others. Listen to each of them and if you want you can re-arrange them for easy reference (use clip-on connectors, don't solder, it could melt your voice coil if you overdo it).

Mic the cone(s) that sound best, or best for your purpose. A distant mic can be placed to hear all of them.
Old 7th November 2014
  #30
Is it common to EQ the Royer and or the dynamic mic it's paired with?
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