Recording - December 2010 - 40

B Y PA U L V N U K J R .

Royer Labs R-101
Ribbon Microphone
New price point, new sonic signature —same great Royer quality About 12 years ago Royer Labs ignited
the ribbon microphone revolution with its R-121 microphone. Now in 2010, that same model, side-by-side with a Shure SM57, is possibly the de facto standard of modern rock’n’roll guitar recording. Royer only released a total of seven ribbon mics over the past decade, and most of those were variations on the R-121 and SF-12 themes (passive and phantom-powered, mono and stereo, solid state and tube-based), so the not previously announced release of the R-101 was an exciting surprise. The R-101 The R-101 is a mono, passive ribbon mic with a figure-8 polar pattern, and like all Royer R-Series mics uses Royer’s patented offset-ribbon technology. So far this sounds very much like the R-121 again, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. While on the inside the R-101 uses the same rare earth Neodymium magnets and 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon as its big brother, the difference lies in its body, in terms of internal bracing, grille design, and said body’s point of origin. With the R-101 Royer has joined the growing trend of importing overseas parts and blending them with American-made components in US assembly. Now, before you write off this mic as a “Shanghai Royer”, keep in mind that while the body is fabricated offshore to Royer’s design specs, the internal components like magnets, ribbon, and transformer are the same as those used in the R-121 and the rest of the Royer line. Body talk The new body is a big departure for Royer Labs... literally. At 7.9" tall and a diameter of 1.4" it is almost twice as big as a standard R-121, and at 17 oz. it weighs twice as much. It is finished in a classic matte black, and while it has the telltale Royer look, it is missing the little “wings” found on the R-121 and its active cousin the R-122. The grille of the R-101 is triple layered, which helps to protect from big blasts of air (the bane of any ribbon microphone),
40
RECORDING DECEMBER 2010

and it lessens the mic’s proximity effect. This is a ribbon you can get right up on. Another first for the R-101 is that it comes as part of a complete, integrated kit with its own custom screw-on shock mount, a velvet mic condom, and a hardshell carrying case. The numbers The factory-supplied specifications of the R-101 include a frequency response of 30 Hz–15 kHz, a –48 dB sensitivity, an output impedance of 300 Ohms @ 1 kHz (nominal) and a max SPL of 135 dB at 30 Hz. The frequency response of the R-101 is fairly smooth and flat with a slight rolloff below 50 Hz. It has slight presence peaks around 100 Hz and 2.5 kHz with a dropoff between 7.5 kHz and 12 kHz. From 12 kHz on the mic is again flat before falling off around 18 kHz. In use Soon after receiving a pair of R-101s for review I had them set up as overheads above a 1966 Slingerland 4-piece drum kit for an indie rock session. I drove them with both a Millennia Media HV-3 preamp and a Chandler TG-2 for these sessions, and like all ribbon mics, the R-101 needs a good clean preamp capable of driving its low levels. After having tracked the drum kit for a few weeks with a pair of Telefunken AR51s (reviewed November 2010), the sound of the R-101 did take a bit of getting used to. Gone was the sparkly, airy distance of those condensers, replaced by a smokey, smooth, even sound that held the cymbals nicely in place and gave the track an instant classic vibe that worked perfectly for that night’s tracking. Wow! The R-101 was also very nice on the outside of the loosely tuned 20" kick drum, about 16" away. It really grabbed the rubbery boom nicely. Amped up Of course comparisons with the venerable R-121 are inescapable, and since



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - December 2010

Recording - December 2010
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Primacoustic IsoTools
Avenson Audio IsoDI
Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Readers' Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Recording - December 2010
Recording - December 2010 - Cover2
Recording - December 2010 - 1
Recording - December 2010 - Fade In
Recording - December 2010 - 3
Recording - December 2010 - Contents
Recording - December 2010 - 5
Recording - December 2010 - Talkback
Recording - December 2010 - 7
Recording - December 2010 - Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Recording - December 2010 - 9
Recording - December 2010 - 10
Recording - December 2010 - 11
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Recording - December 2010 - 32
Recording - December 2010 - 33
Recording - December 2010 - Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Recording - December 2010 - 35
Recording - December 2010 - 36
Recording - December 2010 - 37
Recording - December 2010 - 38
Recording - December 2010 - 39
Recording - December 2010 - Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording - December 2010 - 41
Recording - December 2010 - Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Recording - December 2010 - 43
Recording - December 2010 - Primacoustic IsoTools
Recording - December 2010 - 45
Recording - December 2010 - Avenson Audio IsoDI
Recording - December 2010 - 47
Recording - December 2010 - Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Recording - December 2010 - 49
Recording - December 2010 - 50
Recording - December 2010 - 51
Recording - December 2010 - 52
Recording - December 2010 - 53
Recording - December 2010 - 54
Recording - December 2010 - 55
Recording - December 2010 - Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
Recording - December 2010 - 57
Recording - December 2010 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Recording - December 2010 - 59
Recording - December 2010 - 60
Recording - December 2010 - 61
Recording - December 2010 - Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Recording - December 2010 - 63
Recording - December 2010 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - December 2010 - Advertiser Index
Recording - December 2010 - 66
Recording - December 2010 - 67
Recording - December 2010 - 68
Recording - December 2010 - 69
Recording - December 2010 - 70
Recording - December 2010 - 71
Recording - December 2010 - Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Cover3
Recording - December 2010 - Cover4
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