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Why shouldn't I get a Royer 121? Ribbon Microphones
Old 1st December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Why shouldn't I get a Royer 121?

Good morning everybody. All this threads raving about the Royer 121 woke up the Gear Slut in me, wanting to buy it. It will be mainly used to mike my guitar amps (Marshall/Orange).
Since I already own a 57 (main mike), a Sennheiser 906 (don't really dig it but adds a decent flavor to the 57) and an AT 4050 (mostly used as room mike) I'm trying to tell myself "leave your bank account alone!!!!"
The little GS devil in my ear though says "get it".
Other than saving money, what rational reasons should keep me from spending money on it?
Btw. I'm going for a "mid-gain-rock-in-ya-face-sound" and I don't think my guitar sound is that bad, I almost like it but I'm always looking for improvement.

Thanx guys.
Old 1st December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
in the red's Avatar
 

you SHOULD NOT get it because:

1. because it is NOT the be all end all of guitar mics like some people make it up to be, at least not to me. i have two r 121´s, but on guitarcabs i tend to use other mics these days. guess what? sm57, 421, c414, and lately AT 4047!

2. because it is NOT as undestroyable like some make it up to be. you have to be careful with placement and volume of the amp! close up to a rectifier cabinet driven by a diezel vh4 blasting is NOT a good idea. had to replace the ribbon 2 times already in about 3 years.

other then that, it´s a great mic for a lot of other things! it doesn´t hurt to have ribbons around!
Old 1st December 2010
  #3
Gear Head
 

Dankeschön.....one point towards my bank account.

Bad thing....you brought up the 421, happens to be on my wish-list, too. They used to sell for 299 Euro, but are back up at 369, now. I'll wait for a better deal.

You don't sell one of your Royers by chance ????
Old 1st December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

If you don't have a ribbon, you SHOULD get it just to get acclimated to the sound of one and learn it's uses. If you think you might track any kind of horn or strings (violin etc) you definitely should have one.

Reasons not to get it:

-You don't care about adding an important flavor to your mic collection

-You don't want a great horn or violin sound


Ok, for some real reasons not to buy it:

-On it's own it's not the end all guitar amp mic. However I love it blended with the 57. It fills in around the 57 (or the other way around) quite well.

-You'll probably never pick it for vocals

-You might get away with a Beyer M160 for a much cheaper ribbon (not as refined as the 121 but still useful).
Old 1st December 2010
  #5
Gear Head
 

Thank you, I mainly would use it in front of Guitar Amps and I thought about trying it as a room mike for drums. As I'm not a big advocat of the pristine clear, modern vocal sound, I would have loved to hear that it's great on vocals, too.

I'm not so much recording brass or strings, as my homestudio gets used mainly to work on our own "straight-rock" kinda stuff. So pretty simple set up (Drums/percussion/Bass/Guitars and Vox)

But the "additional color" thing is something that really drives me towards the "don't worry about being broke and get it" attitude.

I also, even that I kinda like my sound, almost always have to push the EQ around 300-350 Hz during mixing (1-3dB), as I feel my guitar recordings lack a little bit of that area. Might be a ****ty technique, though.

I'm trying to get to the point, where I nail the tone I want, without to much ITB processing, afterwards. I hoped the 121 would be a step in that direction.

Thanks for your reply, that too helped a lot.

Btw. what makes th M160 less desirable than the 121?
Old 1st December 2010
  #6
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Why?

Because for the same price, you could get :

A modded 205
A modded Fathead

(Those two would cover your ribbon needs excellently)

A 421
and an i5.

That will yeild much more variety to your guitar recording than 1 121.



Then again, the 121 is a nice mic.
Old 1st December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

Not sure about a 205, never heard of it?!
I took the fathead into consideration, but as far as I know, they don't sell over here in Germany. So it's pretty tough to get a hold of one. If I would order one in the States and don't like it or it needs to be fixed or re-ribboned, it's probably to much of an effort and expensive to send it back and forth.
Old 1st December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
David-Morpheus's Avatar
 

I had the same dilema. ended up buying a pair of royers. My bank account regrests it but I don't. They are great mics, OH and cymbals, guitar and bass cabs.
Old 1st December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
tapehiss's Avatar
Because you can get an R-101 for $500 less.

However, it is a great ribbon...... but there is also the R84.... and for guitar cab the R92 looks great..... I really want to try that mic.

Been using the 44bx here..... but like said in Post 2..... ribbons are not always the best for guitar..... Dynamics are the best all-around cab mics for me.
-but it is certainly nice to have a ribbon!
Old 1st December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
 
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zep Dude View Post
Reasons not to get it:

-You don't care about adding an important flavor to your mic collection

-You don't want a great horn or violin sound
.
Are you suggesting its not possible to get a great horn or violin sound with out a Royer Ribbon?
Old 1st December 2010
  #11
Gear Head
 

A pair???? I wish I had tha dilemma. Way too expensive over here in Germany.
Old 1st December 2010
  #12
Gear Head
 

Wow....Ronan in the thread, I started . I watch all the clips of your recording show and I love them, thank you!

greetz from Germany.
Old 1st December 2010
  #13
Gear Head
 

@ Tapehiss: how does the 101 compare about the 121?
Old 1st December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Zep Dude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
Are you suggesting its not possible to get a great horn or violin sound with out a Royer Ribbon?
No, that was in the pre informative ball busting portion of my post
Old 1st December 2010
  #15
Ivo
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hai-fish View Post
Other than saving money, what rational reasons should keep me from spending money on it?
One reason not to get it could be that to some ears/tastes (mine included) the AEA R84 and/or R92 sound better on guitars than the Royer.

Having compared both on guitar cabinets, I'd say don't buy a Royer without auditioning AEA too, you might like AEA better. I did.

Not saying bad things about Royer, they are great, but for me the AEA mics won on guitar cabs.

cheers,

Ivo
Old 1st December 2010
  #16
Gear Addict
 
rob61's Avatar
 

An AEA R84 coupled with a Sen 421 is great on guitar cabinets.
Old 1st December 2010
  #17
Gear Head
 

How is the AEA 84 on Vocals compared to the Royer?
Has anyone tryed the new Audio Techica ribbons?
Old 1st December 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
in the red's Avatar
 

in combo with another mic the royer might be fine on guitar cabs, but i have come to prefer a one mic setup. less phase troubles...
the royer solo sounds plain weird on guitar, to my ears! BUT, when i started using it a few years ago i did use just the royer on guitars, and listening to these recordings now sounds pretty fine. hm.
anyway, having a ribbon doesn´t hurt! drumrooms, percussion, overhead sometimes, that´s where it shines in my book.
Old 1st December 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
BradLyons's Avatar
 

When it comes to ribbon microphones and guitar amps IMHO there are Royer's....and then there is everything else. IN fact I was featured in an advertisement with Royer Labs a few years back where I made that same comment. There are many WONDERFUL ribbons out there that will provide excellent results---but there is something about a Royer, specifically the R122, on guitar cabinets that are just amazing. I've been in sessions where X-ribbon for 1/4th the price was used and sounded good, but unless you are using the same high-end level of pres, converters, and monitors that really allow you to hear the differences----often the subtleties of the microphones are missed because the rest of the gear doesn't allow it to be. You also have to take into account the amplifier that you're using, because some guitar amps aren't going to really project a sound that is beyond the frequency and dynamic range response of certain microphones that the Royer can pick up.

A major difference between a high quality capsule and the cheaper-designed capsules from "off-shore" are often noticed when you start to drastically compress and EQ the signal. This is often where the short-comings in most products stand-out, but especially microphones. It's like an electric guitar with a noisy pickup----you aren't really going to hear it until you compress the heck out of it, then it sticks out like a sore-thumb.

I have access to any microphone I want---but I always go to to Royer R121 or R122 for guitar cabinet. Furthermore when I'm recording the Voices of Unity Youth Choir (#1 gospel choir in the world) I always uses Royers.....I don't have the luxury to second-guess, I need something that I just know is going to sound better than amazing. That's why I use Royers, and why I recommend them to my own clients...... as to whether YOU should buy it or not really comes down to you and no one else. There are lots of great solutions, which is a good thing.
Old 1st December 2010
  #20
Gear Head
 

Thank you all for taking the time to answer my question.
Aafter all I think, I'll have to get a hand on a 121 and maby one or two contenders that were mentioned (AEA/Beyer, etc.) and just try out, what works best for me. Hopefully this is possible for something fragile like a ribbon?! What I definately know is, I want to at least own one ribbon, as this is a flavor I'm still missing.

Regarding the pre-amp issue, I will run it through either an LA-610 (if it replaces the 57 as my main mike) or a Pacifica I have on order, right now.
I usually use the LA-610 for my main mike, since i can comp slightly on the way in. The additioinal close mike and the room mike are usually feeding the remaining 2-channel pre (SPL GoldMike at the moment/pacifica in the future) and will be processed ITB.

As compression goes, I hardly ever use more than about 6 db on distorted guitar, so there is no "smacking" there tutt.

Like I said, the main reason for the ribbon is to fill the bottom, I'm lacking with the 57.

and to be honest....there is a little bit of the "I wanna be in the R121 Club" "follow the herd" thingy spinning around in my head.

....probably shouldn't have said this.
Old 1st December 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
in the red's Avatar
 

the royer does fill the bottom end missing in the sm57!
Old 1st December 2010
  #22
Gear Head
 

hmm....that's what I was hoping.
Old 1st December 2010
  #23
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by in the red View Post
the royer does fill the bottom end missing in the sm57!
And the top end, too! The SM57 is great for that mid-range CRUNCH sound---the Royer still captures it as well, but it's not as rough. The best way to describe the Royer is that it captures the tone that you hear in the room. OVer my 15-years of consultation and sales the #1 issue I've received in feedback is "I love the sound of my amp but after I record it, the tracks don't sound the same". Obviously the pre and converter are important here, but it starts with the microphone. In nearly every one of those situations what they have been using has been an SM57, MD421, U87, etc. Yes, even a U87 doesn't really capture the sound of the amp becuase it's a microphone that adds its own character and coloration, besides---a condenser is going to do that anyway. Ribbons, IMHO, are ideal for guitar cabinets no matter what style of music you're playing.

As the commercial used to say....>TRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT! To the comment about with the PACIFICA---GREAT MIX!!!!
Old 1st December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 

because ..... COLES 4038 (get a pair) OR MAYBE THE AEAs suggested above. The coles are great on everything!


why would you need anything more than a 57 on a guitar cab?
Old 1st December 2010
  #25
Gear Head
 

why would I need anything more than a 57? To be honest sometimes I think this myself, too. It sounds great, but most of the time I have the feeling that adding a second close mike and a room mike just brings the track to live. If I mute them it still sounds decent, but somewhat flat to me. Also like I said, I'm missing the lower mids.

My instrumentation is pretty minimalistic, 2 Rythm Guitars, no track doubling and one melody line. Other than that, Drums, Base and some shakers. So that guitarsound better be kinda huge by itself =;o.

That all might be poor engeneering on my side though.....

Regarding the Pacifica.....I hope that, too.
Old 1st December 2010
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Its really very simple. A 121 can do things a 57 can't do and vice versa. Do you like chocolate or vanilla? If the Royer sound is the flavor for you then your preference is gonna cost ya! Trust me, I truly wish I prefered dynamic mics. But for me, recording to digital, the 121 just takes the edge off and I like that. Now I have a 122V on the way hoping to get more Royer greatness in my life.
Old 1st December 2010
  #27
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KIDBILL's Avatar
 

Because you could find a nice pair of m160 or 4038.
Old 1st December 2010
  #28
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hai-fish View Post

I also, even that I kinda like my sound, almost always have to push the EQ around 300-350 Hz during mixing (1-3dB), as I feel my guitar recordings lack a little bit of that area.
You really should try a Fathead, they are nice and thick in that frequency range. I think I read that Steely Dan choose the newer "thick ribbon" "live" version for a recent tour as Guitar cab mics. I like mine anyway. I'm sure the Royer is a "better" mic, but the Fathead might be all you need.
Old 1st December 2010
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KIDBILL View Post
Because you could find a nice pair of m160 or 4038.
Just this past weekend I did a session where we had a m160 and a heil PR30 on two guitar amps(an orange OD80 and a vox AC30). We auditioned switching out one of the m160s with a 122, and it didn't do it for us. The m160 won the day. It sounded amazing. Granted we were recording Torche-esque metal, so YMMV.
Old 1st December 2010
  #30
I'm with Brad. There are 121's, and then there is everything else. 121's do a creamy midrange thing that I absolutely love.

But now there is the R101. Royer left a couple at Faultline in San Francisco after AES, and since I have a mix room here, I got to play with one.

I used it on a reamped track, with the 121 and the 101 on the same 10" speaker of my old Bassman.

The 121 has ever-so-slightly more mojo, but definitely not something to lose sleep over, or - for that matter - pay an extra $500 for. In fact, unless you've got a lot of experience with 121's, I doubt you'd care about the difference that much. The 101 has all the ribbon character you'd expect and *almost* all the 121 character you'd expect.

If I were looking for a ribbon mic for guitars, I wouldn't hesitate on a 101, and this is coming from a guy who has three 121's.

-A
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