Recording - September 2015 - 29

As I mentioned, it is sonically identical to
the original R-122, which was overall similar to the original R-121. That is, if you
account for possible microphone preamp
impedance issues, which do alter the sound
and response of all passive ribbon mics.
(The R-122 was designed to isolate the ribbon from these effects.)
However, impedance issues still came into
play with the phantom-powered R-122 when
used with low-impedance mic preamps.
These can cause the mic to distort/clip on
loud close-miked sources. That's why the R121 was often more popular than the R-122
for screaming guitar cabinets, while the R122 was better suited to sources at lower volumes.
This is the primary issue that the new MKII
model fixes with its pad switch. When
engaged, it lowers the sensitivity of the mic
to just below that of a R-121, thus giving the
R-122 MKII a ton of clean headroom and a
broader range of uses.
The other switch activates a highpass
filter with a 100 Hz corner frequency and
slope of 6 dB/octave. It not only removes
the mic's low-end bump, but also lessens
the mic's proximity effect and does away
with a touch of its overt thickness and
boom.
Note that when engaged, the filter in
no way makes the R-122 MKII sound thin
or bright, nor does it alter the mic's overall ribbon signature. It just makes the mic
ever so slightly more open-sounding and
more controlled in the lows.
In a recent chat with mic expert Matt
McGlynn from recordinghacks.com, we
discussed how it was interesting that in
this one microphone, Royer has now
tamed two of the biggest issues that have
plagued ribbon mics over the years. The
active head amp takes care of the ribbon's comparatively low output, and the
switches mitigate the thick sonic signature
that first-time ribbon users often perceive
as muddy.
A quick side note
I would also be remiss if I did not mention the Nuvo N22 microphone from AEA
(reviewed April 2014), as it may seem
like these two mics are competing products designed to do the same thing-offer
a ribbon sound while cutting the low end.
Yes, they both do this, but each mic
achieves this goal in a different way for
different reasons.
The N22, in a nutshell, is purposely
designed for up-close uses as a vocal and
primarily acoustic instrument mic, a
"singer-songwriter mic" if you will. Much
of its low-end control is achieved through
acoustic design and the screening around
the ribbon element. As a result, it offers little to no proximity effect to speak of,
unless you are right up on its grille.
The R-122 MKII achieves its bass control
through its active electronics, and its sound

when switched in is nowhere near as dramatically sculpted and pronounced as the
N22's. Two mics, two different designs
with completely different intentions... both
awesome in their execution and use.
And speaking of use...
I received a pair of R-122 MKII mics
with a pair of Sling-Shocks at the beginning of an album project. For this album,
the sonic goal was a collection of "jeans
and T-shirt" style guitar-based rock'n'roll.
Think Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Bruce
Springsteen... lots of classic Fender Amps,
Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, Hammond B3 and
Leslie (both real and not plug-ins!), 4-piece
drum kits, and big bass cabinets!

a great job of lessening some of the lowend mud that I usually EQ out anyway.
Second, the pad switch is essential
when tracking guitars. It's no big deal if
you are tracking your amps at moderate
volume (yeah, right), but if you crank up
the amp for cabinet breakup and are
using a high-gain mic preamp, like most
boutique preamps are today, the mic circuitry will clip... and that is not a pretty
sound. Engage the pad and the problem
is completely eliminated.
As I mentioned, this is why most engineers
still favor the R-121 in said application, but
then you become subject to the impedance
changes of different mic preamps. The R-122
MKII now offers just as much headroom as
the R-121-more, actually-but with the
sonic consistency that the R-122 has long
been known for.
Drums
I will start by saying the the R-122 has
never been my favorite drum overhead
ribbon. I usually prefer offerings by AEA,
Coles, and the Royer SF Series mics; I
want my drum sounds more open, laid
back, and natural than the R Series tends
to give me. However, with the low cut in
and the pad switch engaged, I was able
to do some vibey close-miked drum
recording with the mics just over the toms,
giving rise to a very cool sound.
Having said that, when I am not tracking
guitars, the R-121 in my studio sees its
biggest use as a front-of-kit and mono
room mic. It does great when blended with
traditional condenser mics on the overheads and the rest of the close kit mics,
offering the smooth full balance of a good
ribbon. The R-122 MKII excels in this area
as well, since I no longer need to worry
about using a high gain preamp or phantom powered mic booster to get a clean
signal as I would with the R-121, and the
filter helps lessen room rumble and buildup
if need be.

Along with a pair of Chandler REDD.47
tube microphone preamps (reviewed
January 2015), I used ribbon and dynamic
mics more than anything else on these sessions. The R-122 MKII was definitely a star
player all around, thanks to its increased
versatility. Here are some particulars...
Electric guitar cabinet
I should be able to skip this part, since
guitar cabs and Royers go together like
PB&J! But two points need mentioning.
First, I think the low cut switch makes
the R-122 MKII even better on guitar cabinets than any of its predecessors. This
may be personal taste, but it really does

Acoustic guitar
Because of its sound, I almost never use
a R-121 on acoustic guitar. Again, my
preference would be other ribbons, like
the SF Series, with a more open and natural tone.
However, for this album, we wanted the
acoustic guitars to exhibit a more constrained, vintage thrust. We were looking
for a classic, mono, in-your-face sound, like
one might find on a 1960s or 1970s
Rolling Stones album. Being able to get a
good clean level thanks to the active circuit,
lessening the acoustic guitar's low bloom
with the filter, and using liberal amounts of
classic compression via an ADR Compex
F760X-RS compressor (which I reviewed
September 2015), we were able to
achieve just that on several of the tracks.
The sound was awesome, just dripping
with vibe.
RECORDING September 2015

29


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015

Contents
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
Recording - September 2015 - 9
Recording - September 2015 - 10
Recording - September 2015 - 11
Recording - September 2015 - 12
Recording - September 2015 - 13
Recording - September 2015 - 14
Recording - September 2015 - 15
Recording - September 2015 - 16
Recording - September 2015 - 17
Recording - September 2015 - 18
Recording - September 2015 - 19
Recording - September 2015 - 20
Recording - September 2015 - 21
Recording - September 2015 - 22
Recording - September 2015 - 23
Recording - September 2015 - 24
Recording - September 2015 - 25
Recording - September 2015 - 26
Recording - September 2015 - 27
Recording - September 2015 - 28
Recording - September 2015 - 29
Recording - September 2015 - 30
Recording - September 2015 - 31
Recording - September 2015 - 32
Recording - September 2015 - 33
Recording - September 2015 - 34
Recording - September 2015 - 35
Recording - September 2015 - 36
Recording - September 2015 - 37
Recording - September 2015 - 38
Recording - September 2015 - 39
Recording - September 2015 - 40
Recording - September 2015 - 41
Recording - September 2015 - 42
Recording - September 2015 - 43
Recording - September 2015 - 44
Recording - September 2015 - 45
Recording - September 2015 - 46
Recording - September 2015 - 47
Recording - September 2015 - 48
Recording - September 2015 - 49
Recording - September 2015 - 50
Recording - September 2015 - 51
Recording - September 2015 - 52
Recording - September 2015 - 53
Recording - September 2015 - 54
Recording - September 2015 - 55
Recording - September 2015 - 56
Recording - September 2015 - 57
Recording - September 2015 - 58
Recording - September 2015 - 59
Recording - September 2015 - 60
Recording - September 2015 - 61
Recording - September 2015 - 62
Recording - September 2015 - 63
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Recording - September 2015 - 65
Recording - September 2015 - 66
Recording - September 2015 - 67
Recording - September 2015 - 68
Recording - September 2015 - 69
Recording - September 2015 - 70
Recording - September 2015 - 71
Recording - September 2015 - 72
Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
Recording - September 2015 - Cover4
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