The Art of the Ribbon Microphone: David Royer, founder of Royer Labs, is one of an elite group of microphone designers who know that music and sound are inseparable from electronic design. He founded his first company, Mojave Audio in his Fullerton garage, where he modified amps and made his own condenser mics, mic pre’s and compressors. Building gear under the Mojave and DVA labels, he created a number of popular condenser mics. During this “garage period,” Royer came across his first ribbon mic, a Reslo that needed repair, and his fascination for ribbon mics was born. The design of his first product, the R-121, led to the opening of Royer Labs in 1998. Shortly after the R-121, the Burbank based company released the SF-12 stereo ribbon mic, followed by the R-122 (the world’s first phantom powered ribbon mic) and the TEC Award winning R-122V tube ribbon mic and the live series ribbon mics for live use.
VP John Jennings: “Royer is made up entirely of musicians who really care about music and quality. Our commitment is to make the highest quality, best sounding hand-built mics possible. We don’t cut corners, we respect our clientele, and we give them the very best we can. Others may claim that, but those are the values we live by.”
The Flagship R-121: The award-winning R-121 is Royer’s flagship microphone; the world’s first radically reengineered ribbon microphone and the model that reintroduced ribbon mics to engineers around the world. The R-121 gives all of the warmth and natural sound that experienced engineers have long turned to ribbon mics for, but in a compact, light-weight, high output and tough-as-nails package that was unheard of in a ribbon mic before the R-121. Its users have included Al Schmitt, Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Bergeron, Jerry Hey, Zakk Wylde, Jeff Beck and the late Eddie Van Halen.
The dBooster: The latest Royer product is a departure from the company’s long evolution of ribbon mics. True to its name, the dBooster is an inline signal booster with two gain settings, 12 dB and 20 dB, which allow the user to dial in just the right amount of inline gain for different singers and instruments. The 20 dB setting gives great amounts of clean boost for recording soft instruments and vocalists. The dBooster’s Class A input stage delivers crystal clean gain with virtually no noise or self-distortion. Its low impedance output keeps the sound clean in the studio and in live settings, driving long cable lengths and difficult loads like mic splitters and vintage style preamps with no loss of gain, no increased distortion and excellent headroom.
“Many preamps don’t have enough gain to get a clean signal from a ribbon mic or dynamic mics,” says Jennings. “There are other signal lifters on the market, but we felt they should have better performance so we designed our own, modeling it after the front stage of a high-end mic preamplifier. The dBooster is a sophisticated device that truly helps you get more from your existing mic collection, so it’s an excellent and inexpensive addition to a mic closet.”
Contact Royer Labs, 818-847-012