Close Up: Royer Labs

Royer Labs


25 Years of Modern Ribbon Mics: In 1996, Dave Royer, Rick Perrotta and John Jennings talked about starting a new pro audio company; then, in 1997 Dave Royer designed the first R-121 ribbon microphone in his garage in Fullerton, CA. Royer Labs opened in 1998, and the R-121 quickly became a sought after, award-winning staple of studios and live stages around the world. Before Royer, the only ribbon mics that existed were vintage models from the ‘40s and ‘50s, which were large, heavy and very fragile. The R-121 was the first ribbon mic that could handle high SPLs (sound pressure levels) and it was lightweight and compact. 

Another major advantage Royer discovered was how well ribbons addressed problems with early digital recording systems. Tape systems sounded warm and more natural, while the new digital systems of that time sounded harsh and unforgiving by comparison. The warm, natural response of ribbon mics made engineers feel like they were working with tape again so much that in 2013 Royer Labs became one of the youngest companies ever to win a Technical Grammy, for bringing ribbon mics back and helping digital recording sound better. 

Shortly after the R-121—whose high profile users have included Al Schmitt, Ross Hogarth, Joe Chiccarelli, Arturo Sandoval, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen and others—Royer Labs released the SF-12 stereo ribbon mic, followed by the R-122, the world’s first phantom powered ribbon mic.

R-10 “Hot Rod” 25th Anniversary Mic: To kick off its 25th anniversary celebration, Royer has  released the R-10 Hot Rod ribbon mic, which is designed for both studio and live stage use. Their standard R-10 was based somewhat on the R-121 technology but at a lower price point. When paired with their dBooster plug-in—an inline signal booster with two gain settings—the R-10 was also ideal for quiet instruments and vocals. The limited edition “Hot Rod” is fitted with a custom transformer that gives 5dB hotter output and a punchier, more open sound, and comes with a 25th Anniversary trim package that makes it unique from the standard R-10. It features a lowered proximity effect that makes it a perfect choice for close miking instruments and singers. For more bite in the highs without multi-miking, the R-10 Hot Rod takes EQ beautifully. Dave Grohl has used an R-10 on his guitar amp for Foo Fighters gigs for years, appreciating its extreme durability and natural sound.

Quote from John Jennings, VP of Sales and Marketing: “Royer Labs is thrilled to be in our 25th year, and kicking it off with the R-10 Hot Rod is just fun. The innovative guys in our shop cooked this mic up and we love it, with its cool looking trim package and its different sonic personality. It expands on the R-10 in interesting ways, creating a unique  flavor of R-10 with a beefier low end that we think recording engineers and FOH engineers will really like.”

Contact Royer Labs, 818-847-0121