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.
This mic has been a mainstay in our studio from day one. Its practicality and durability (for a ribbon) have made it a no-brainer for countless engineers worldwide, but more so it’s the flattering tone and masterful smoothness that makes this a true classic.
Of course my favorite way to use the R-121 is directly in front of my guitar cab. High SPLs are no problem for this mic so feel free to crank the amp and get those speakers to break up a bit. I also find proximity effect to be much less of a problem with this ribbon (not the case with certain ribbon designs), instead it’s actually a very helpful tool for moving the mic closer to the source pickup more low-end frequencies in a natural and flattering way. After using using the R-121 for countless years now, I’ve realized without this mic in the chain, I cannot get the guitar sound that I hear in my head.
I also must add that if you’re struggling to get a smooth recording of your horn or woodwind, look no further. The R-121 tames the brash, blaring tendencies of trumpets while adding a depth and dimension that a dynamic mic just can’t provide. All in all, it’s very clear once you hear it why the Royer R-121 is considered to be one of “THE” standard ribbon mics!
Released in 1998, the award-winning R-121 is our flagship microphone; the world's first radically reengineered ribbon microphone and the model that reintroduced ribbon mics to engineers around the world. We did away with the large, heavy, fragile "classic" approach to ribbon microphones and went in a completely new direction. 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. In its 10+ years in the market, thousands of R-121's have been sold around the world and it's well established as a standard for tracking electric guitar and brass.
The R-121 accurately reproduces what you hear at the sound source. Most microphones add their own characteristics; some have hyped highs and lows with scooped out mids, some are extremely sizzly in the highs, some accentuate midrange, some respond to nothing but low end... They all serve a purpose and have their place in the studio. But if your goal is to capture something the way it really sounds - that unbelievable electric guitar, that wailing trumpet, that full kit - and you've found that recording that sound was next to impossible, put up an R-121 and get ready. The R-121's response is flat and well balanced, with a deep, non-boomy low end, well defined and realistic mids, and a smooth and natural sounding high end response that's never edgy or sibilant.
When it's time to mix, push up the faders on your ribbon-recorded tracks and you'll see why so many of today's engineers rely on R-121's. When your tracks sound real, fitting them into the mix is a breeze.
On playback you'll find the sound is natural and alive, with a panoramic, ambient feel much like what you heard when you were standing in the room with the instruments(s) you were recording.
The R-121 redefined ribbon microphones so completely that Recording Magazine wrote "...the Royer R-121 is destined to become one of the classic microphones of the 21st century."
Like many of the best classic ribbon mics, the R-121 has a figure-8 pattern, output level comparable to a dynamic mic, and a warm, realistic tone and flat frequency response. But that's where the similarities end. By using advanced materials and a blend of cutting edge and old-school, hand-build construction techniques, the R-121 is an extremely versatile and user-friendly ribbon mic that can stand up to the most demanding tasks. Cranked up electric guitars, close up brass, drums - you name it, the R-121 will help you record it with realism you have to hear to believe.
The R-121's maximum SPL rating is 135dB at 20 Hz and it can handle that for years. In practical terms, that means you can put your R-121 directly in front of a souped up 100-watt Marshall and open it up without microphone distortion or damage to the ribbon. We don't recommend trying this with other ribbon mics, but the R-121 was built to take it.
We build the R-121 solid enough to give it a lifetime warranty. We expect you to own it for as long as you record, and we'll stand behind it the whole way.
The R-121's proprietary offset ribbon transducer (Patent # 6,434,252) is the first of its kind, positioning the ribbon element closer to the front (logo) side of the microphone. This arrangement gives the ribbon more room to move within the prime magnetic field while maintaining full frequency response during high SPL recordings. It's an integral piece of the magic of all Royer R-series microphones.
At distances of three feet and closer, the back of the R-121 records slightly brighter than the front side. This can be extremely useful when recording acoustic guitars, vocals, and other sound sources that you may need a slightly brighter response on.
High SPL Capabilities
No internal active electronics to overload or produce distortion up to maximum SPL rating
Extremely low residual noise
Ribbon element is not affected by heat or humidity
Absence of high frequency phase distortion
Equal sensitivity from front or back of element
Consistent frequency response regardless of distance
Electric Guitar Amps
String Instruments & Sections
Choirs & Orchestras