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Are the Royer's really a forget and go guitar amp mic?
Old 10th December 2006
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Are the Royer's really a forget and go guitar amp mic?

Just wondering what you guys that own them think.

With time and tinkering I can get pretty decent results with my 57 and 421.But the concept of just stuffing a mic in front of the speaker cab and forgetting about it is a very cool concept. Or does it end up really being that simple?

Since I've started recording about 5 years ago I've never gotten use to having the band members stand around for sound checks. I allways put the time in to get the best sound possible. But I hate killing the flow and momentum of the artists.

Maybe I've got this sh*t all mixed up in my head but the performance of the band allways seems to be better when I can get their performance onto tape as fast as possible. Especially on overdubs.

For me these mics are a very big investment where that money could be spent better elsewhere. But like i mentioned if the placement is no-brainer on all types of amps then the efficiency factor would tip the scales for me to consider buying one.

Thanks very much.
Old 10th December 2006
  #2
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studjo's Avatar
 

Sorry but no mic is a set and forget thing - but the Royer is pretty much as set and forget as is a 57 - perhaps it's even easier ... still worth to find the really sweet spot.

Jo
Old 10th December 2006
  #3
Moderator
 
Oroz's Avatar
 

It has been a few months since I began recording with a R-122, I always end up EQing guitars tracks, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot but always getting great results. At first I used the R-122 alone for electric guitars and I ended up EQing them a lot, especially for the top end but since ribbons take EQ very well that wasn't much of a problem. On the last recordings I started to combine the R-122 with a Rode NT-2 as a punch and definition (highs) combo and I don't need to EQ them anymore, except for a low cut fliter on the R-122 to get rid of some bottom end.
Old 11th December 2006
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's not. So no. Same with a 57. A 121, 57 and some kind of condensor (i've had good luck with the IFET7) should get you all the guitar sounds you'll need. Perhaps a 421 or 609 will help give you a different upper mid bite some each track doesn't occupy the same space.
Old 11th December 2006
  #5
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BradM's Avatar
I think you you can pretty much put an R121 dead center on the dust cap of the speaker about 4-8" away and you're going to get something more than useful on 90% of guitar/amp combinations. Is it going to be perfect? No. Will it suck? Definitely not. I find I do need a bit of EQ to make it work in a mix especially for overdriven guitars. On clean guitars it seems to be closer to what I want from the beginning. If you want an awesome guitar tone without having to reach for EQ then you have to work a little harder than just throwing up an R121 or an SM57 without looking or listening.

The trick to working efficiently is really knowing the strengths and weaknesses of all your tools inside out. Then when someone brings in a Les Paul and a Marshall and starts to play, you instantly know which mic is going to have the best chance of working for you in the context of a mix when you throw it in the "usual spot". Like all of this--it just takes practice and experimentation.

Don't be afraid to crank the EQ on the ribbon mics. Oh yeah--buying a pair of R121's was probably the best mic purchase I've ever made. The have proven to be the most versatile mics I own and are always used on every session.

Brad

Last edited by BradM; 11th December 2006 at 05:50 AM.. Reason: forgot to say something
Old 11th December 2006
  #6
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popmann's Avatar
I think you could safely say that if you put up the 121 and a mid foward dynamic...Sm7, 421, 57, etc...and record to two tracks...that one or the other-or some blend will get you where you need to be.

I did a track tonight that I put up the Sm7 and the 121. It was a skanky, twangy, Tele bridge part...so, I ended up using the Sm7. For distorted leads, I tend to prefer the 421. The 57 seems to combine the best with the 121. I can't remember the last time I used it on it's own...but, it seems to have what the 121 lacks--so blended, they're stellar.

The biggest difference with the 121 is that moving it in front of the cab, you 99 flavors of good to great. Mics like the 57 and 421 need to find just the right placement, else they sound BAD. I'll take a 121 track with "initial placement" over any typical dynamic.
Old 11th December 2006
  #7
pgk
Gear Nut
 

Maybe I've got this sh*t all mixed up in my head but the performance of the band allways seems to be better when I can get their performance onto tape as fast as possible. Especially on overdubs.

no you're absolutely right. and the royer is my favorite guitar amp mic hands down. the big plus about using the royer as a 'throw it up and go' mic is that it's virtually indestructible for a ribbon. jam it right up on an amp? no worries. we used it for a live recording last year (with a modded studer 169 console) on the smallest tightest stage imaginable, with a real cranking r&r band. LOUD. i mounted it onto a Z bar and away we went. and as always with that mic, it is the only time i've ever heard my guitar on tape sound the way it sounds when i'm standing next to it. there's just something magical about a great ribbon on a guitar amp.
Old 11th December 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 

The 121 has been used on 95% of the gits I've recorded in the last 6 yrs. The other 10% was when I sent the 121's back for a re-ribbon. I do sometimes add a 57 on the opposite side of the cone. With both mics very little eq is needed.

If the amp sounds good, the player is good and you use a good pre and don't screw it up then yes the 121 is a set it and forget it mic. If not, then like other mics you have to work for it. I do believe the 121 gets you a fair head start.
Old 11th December 2006
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
But like i mentioned if the placement is no-brainer on all types of amps then the efficiency factor would tip the scales for me to consider buying one.
I wouldn't say a "no brainer". If you notice - most people stick em right into the center of the cone. Why is that? Obviously because anywhere else is too dull sounding. So here's the thing - what if the center of cone approach with a 121 isn't aggressive enough? Then your bringing in a second mic <------ that's not a set and forget approach anymore.

And PS, that bright spot on the cone gives you about a 1.5 sq inch window with the 121 - so you can't just "stick it" there. You have to place it carefully.


Just as an aside, someone mentioned the ifet7. I hardly use the thing anymore, but I remember it being quite easy to get good guitar sounds from it about a foot away from the speaker without much tinkering around.
Old 11th December 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
BradM's Avatar
Kats speaks the truth. I find the "target" I'm aiming for with the R121 to be a pretty precise area so I always use a flashlight to position the mic correctly. If the R121 isn't bright enough that's when I juice the presence and treble on the amp itself. That's fair game in my book.

Brad
Old 11th December 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
Diff Flavor

It is a real good mic. May not be your flavor though. I am usually not for stuffing mics in front of amps. Try it out and see if it floats your boat. I have one and like it, but prefer on most elec guitars using a Gefell UMT-70.


Quote:
Originally Posted by demel View Post
Just wondering what you guys that own them think.

With time and tinkering I can get pretty decent results with my 57 and 421.But the concept of just stuffing a mic in front of the speaker cab and forgetting about it is a very cool concept. Or does it end up really being that simple?

Since I've started recording about 5 years ago I've never gotten use to having the band members stand around for sound checks. I allways put the time in to get the best sound possible. But I hate killing the flow and momentum of the artists.

Maybe I've got this sh*t all mixed up in my head but the performance of the band allways seems to be better when I can get their performance onto tape as fast as possible. Especially on overdubs.

For me these mics are a very big investment where that money could be spent better elsewhere. But like i mentioned if the placement is no-brainer on all types of amps then the efficiency factor would tip the scales for me to consider buying one.

Thanks very much.
Old 11th December 2006
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

A 121 and 57 phase-matched or a 121 and 421 phase-matched close mic'd and running separate tracks is as close as I'd personally get to "hang and fly," which I think is a horrible philosophy for any except the extremely tight-budgeted.

5 minutes (10 on a bad day) to phase-lock the mics -- then, if you're getting both tracks, one (or a combination) should be 90% right.

But aiming for "90% right" sucks in this world we're in -- with the glut of guitar oriented records on the street (and more being made every day).

Get the gear in the room and send them out for breakfast/lunch if you're trying to keep the vibe fresh. Then sit there with your assistant and make the sound coming out of the speakers sound like what's happening in the room. THEN call 'em and tell them to get their as$es back to the studio and cut a record.

My 2 cents.
Old 12th December 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

i have a 121 in a sealed wooden box with a speaker - two years unopened

forget

and


go


be well


- jack
Old 12th December 2006
  #14
Gear Addict
Heh.. guitar tones.. the source and capturing it and especially having a clue what it is supposed to sound like (the source that's being captured) which most often seems to be the real (and only) struggle of this equation. Part/arrangement, player, guitar, pick, amp, room... they all affect.

And the capturing moment: I normally find myself putting 3 mics in the room where the amp is.. 1 ribbon (4038, r121,m160,bx44, blah), 1 dynamic (sm7, sm57, md421, blah), 1 condenser (87, km84, c414, blah). Mix and match or more often end up using just 1 of the 3. For me it's very often a ribbon or dynamic but there's been times when a condenser has just worked the best (not many though).

R121 can be a killer but also a real let down every now and then. Whatever does the job really, innit? For the same money I would buy 4038 as it would shine as a better all purpose mic (imo). I own neither.. I have a pair of m160s which are funny characters but can work amazingly well on many things. Think Hendrix/Bonham/Blah. R121s.. Used to love them on piano first, then overheads, then guitar cabs.. now it's my first go for micing up leslie where they'll stay so I won't have a chance to use them on anything else anymore.. Actually, I still use them on cellos as well. I don't know
Old 12th December 2006
  #15
depends who's playing.

what their technique is like.

are they playing high up on the neck?,
playing HARD, WIDE strums, fast alternating picking, etc.


finger-picking, picks, fingerpicks, slides, e-bows, etc.


what the material is like.

what the arrangements are like.

who else is playing in the band, or on the recording,
and/ or what the over-all production is like.


what the guitar parts are.


which guitar is being played.
(how resonant the guitar is - semi-hollow body, archtop,
neck through body, type of block and bridge used, etc.)

how the guitar was set up (high action, wide frets, etc.).

who the on-hand guitar techs are.


which strings are being used (nylon, teflon-wound, what types of metals, etc.)

which guage strings are being used.


which pickups are being used (active, humbucking, tele, p-90, etc.)

which way the guitar player is facing,

as well as how the instrument is being held and played.


what the signal chain is:

compression, overdrive, eq, etc.

as well as multi effects, pedals, direct boxes, etc.

what all the pedal and effect module settings are.



what types of cables are being used.

what types of batteries are being used (ask Eric Johnson).


what pres are being used.

which amps are being used.

what all the pre and amp settings are.


which types of tubes, transistors, transformers, internal wiring, etc.
are being used in both pre and amp sections,
and all pedals and effect modules.


all voltage regulation and handling,
any mods, variac or power-scaling on the amplifier end of the signal path.


which cabinets are being used.

what kind of speakers are being used.

what kind of speaker cable is being used.


what mods have been done to any of the elctronics in any part of the signal chain,

and what components are being used.


the over-all integrity of the signal path in front of the preamps

including all splitters, level compensation, signal cleaning, etc.


the over-all integrity of the electrical system in each of the facilities
involved in your work (air conditioners, ground loops, line conditioning, etc.)


the over-all lengths of ALL cables used in every part of the process.

the quality of each of the cables, jacks, all switching, solder points, etc.
in all the cables and rest of the gear (ask Pete Cornish, etc.)



what the room is like.

what the surfaces of the room are like.

where the cabinets are in the room.

which direction (s) the cabs are facing.




as well as, details like:




who's producing the session.



who's recording the session.



who's editing the session.



who's mixing the session.



who's mastering the session.



what the recording facilities are like.



what the editing facilties are like.



what the mixing facilities are like.



what the mastering facilties are like.






all recording, editing, mixing and mastering gear used.








and, finally:




what kind of end result is required.






and the respective moods of everyone in all the sessions.



(what kind of coffee, tea, or other substances were consumed during the process,

and how much LIGHT and FRESH AIR was present in ech of the facilities.)










other than this, yes - totally.


just "set it and forget it."




lots of luck with those ribbons



heh heh heh heh heh heh


btw - i had NO idea how important those ribbons were,

until you just raised the issue heh
Old 12th December 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
DeathMonkey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
depends who's playing.

what their technique is like.


what the material is like.

what the arrangements are like.

what the guitar parts are like.


which guitar is being played.
(how resonant the guitar is, etc.)

how the guitar was set up.

who the on-hand guitar techs are.


which strings are being used.

which pickups are being used.

which way the guitar player is facing,

as well as how the instrument is being held and played.


what the signal chain is:

compression, overdrive, eq, etc.

as well as multi effects, pedals, direct boxes, etc.

what all the pedal and effect module settings are.



what types of cables are being used.

what types of batteries are being used (ask Eric Johnson).


what pres are being used.

which amps are being used.

what all the pre and amp settings are.


all voltage regulation and handling,
any mods, variac or power-scaling on the amplifier end of the signal path.


which cabinets are being used.

what kind of speakers are being used.

what kind of speaker cable is being used.


what the room is like.

where the cabinets are in the room.


what mods have been done to any of the elctronics,

and what components are being used.


the over-all integrity of the signal path in front of the preamps.




as well as:




who's producing the session.



who's recording the session.



who's mixing the session.



who's mastering the session.



what the recording facilities are like.



what the editing facilties are like.



what the mixing facilities are like.



what the mastering facilties are like.








and, finally:




what kind of end result is required.






and the respective moods of everyone in all the sessions.










other than this, yes - totally.


just "set it and forget it."




lots of luck with those ribbons heh
This may well be one of the most obnoxious posts I have ever seen. Well done.
Old 12th December 2006
  #17
i wasn't trying to be obnoxious,

merely SERIOUSLY answering your question.


SERIOUSLY



oh, and about the sarcasm at the end - sorry - i couldn't help myself. heh
Old 12th December 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
alschnier's Avatar
 

the royer 121 is my favorite gtr. amp mic.

a few mos. ago, I had the time to do a bit of a shootout in my studio. I was trying to find the mic that most accurately captured the guitar amp sound (which is not always the best thing for the mix we often find).

I put up a 121, 421, 57, 409, 414, & m88. all great gtr. mics. ea. had its merits, but the 121 won hands down for sounding like the amp in the room. (I also had similar results on an acoustic shootout w. some other mics - 121 was great).

bearing this in mind, I know I have a pretty decent shot @ the sound I'm looking for, esp. going in w. the right gtr+fx+amp combo up front.

having said this, I still think there is much to be gained from a pr. of mics w. varying positions.


* I used my trident series 24 desk pres for the shootout (no eq or comp). granted diff. mic/pre combos would yield diff. results
Old 12th December 2006
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye View Post
i wasn't trying to be obnoxious,

merely SERIOUSLY answering your question.


SERIOUSLY



oh, and about the sarcasm at the end - sorry - i couldn't help myself. heh
I guess if I was to stop asking such stupid questions I wouldn't have to worry about getting back stupid answers like the one that you so generously provided.

Thanks for helping to straighten out my own obvious personal issues.

Old 12th December 2006
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Protools Guy's Avatar
 

I love my 121. I'm saving my pennies for a second one. I find it to be very smooth and very well balanced. I find that I need very little eq with it.

Anybody out there trying the 2 cabs face to face w/ 1 out of phase trick? Good results? Do tell!
Old 12th December 2006
  #21
Gear Maniac
 

I always set up mics differently depending on who the on board guitar techs are. If Fred is around I'll set the mic up differently than if Phred is there. I'm that sensitive.

Otherwise, the Royer 121 is fabulous mic for guitar amps. It my best mic for capturing how the amp sounds in the room.
Old 12th December 2006
  #22
Lives for gear
 
swankdoc's Avatar
 

for me, no.

I dont prefer the sound of these on a guitar cab. I dont know, I just cant get that same percussive effect with a ribbon. Also, dont forget your getting 50% of the room, so if you're tracking the whole band or other instruments, isolation can be trickier. Or if your room is so so, you'll want to look elsewhere.
Old 12th December 2006
  #23
ok, how about this answer, instead.


"it depends"
Old 12th December 2006
  #24
or this one.



@ 90% of a guitar player's sound

is in the fingers of the player.


...


this may sound STUPID or OBVIOUS or IRRELEVANT to you,

but it may ALSO be the truth.


....
Old 12th December 2006
  #25
Gear Addict
 

doesn't sound stupid at all



Old 28th January 2014
  #26
There is no such thing as a "forget and go amp mic".

You always have to be careful with placement.

Always.

At best, it's the difference between "great" and "pretty good".

At worst it's the difference between "great" and "horrible".

That being said, I don't like Royers. I don't like their gimmick about "2 sounds in 1 mic".

When I have a bidirectional (figure 8) mic (of which I have several, ribbons and multi-pattern condensers) what I absolutely DO NOT WANT is for the back of the mic to sound different from the front. If it is, the room sound and reflections picked up by the back will have a different sonic character than the sound coming in the front. This can make for some really weird conundrums come mix time. For example, if the room sound coming in the back is brighter than the sound off the main source, rolling back the highs to control the room sound will make the source sound dull.

Gotta hand it to Dave though - he took a design error and, through clever marketing, spun it into a selling point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Gates
That's not a bug - it's a FEATURE!
Old 29th January 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
The Royer CAN be set-and-forget. There's less chasing the sweet spot than with a 57.
I personally like to move it back from the speaker a bit, but still aimed at the center, just so the lowend sounds balanced.
Too much proximity effect up close for my taste, unless the guitar player REALLY knows how to EQ his tone for a band context, instead of his fantasy of guitarristic world domination.
It'll still sound close, even about a foot away.
Old 29th January 2014
  #28
WAD
Gear Maniac
 

I happily place a 57 & R121/R122 (via Neve 1081's) on every guitar amp as a starting point & 99% of the time, I'm getting the sound I want. If I'm not, I'm generally looking at what's wrong with the amp.
Old 29th January 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Everyone forgets' things now and again, but eight years is a long time to leave a 121 just wasting away somewhere
Old 29th January 2014
  #30
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
For example, if the room sound coming in the back is brighter than the sound off the main source, rolling back the highs to control the room sound will make the source sound dull.
or you could point the other side of the mic at the speaker
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