Royer Labs has almost single-handedly reintroduced the ribbon microphone back into modern recording, and it’s products (especially the R-121) have become staples in most commercial studio’s mic cabinets. The only problem is that ribbon microphone manufacturing is fairly time-consuming to get it right and still maintain quality, so a Royer ribbon mic has been just out of reach for home studio owners because of the price. Those days may now be over, as the company has introduced an extremely affordably-priced microphone with the same Royer quality in its new R-10.
The Royer R-10 is significantly priced at just $499 which is fantastic for a great ribbon mic. The operative word here is “great” since it’s possible to buy one that’s inexpensive, only to find that it really doesn’t sound all that good. Even though it cost less than other models, the R-10 comes with the same Royer high quality.
As with all Royer ribbon mics, the R-10 handles high SPL levels extremely well – up to 160dB at 1kHz! That’s because it utilizes a David Royer custom-designed transformer that minimizes saturation even at extremely high sound pressure levels. It also sounds better because the mic’s open grill design minimizes standing waves and associated comb-filtering effects, so there’s an absence of high-frequency peaks, “ringing” and phase shifts.
Its 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon element (the heart of the mic) is formed with Royer’s patented direct-corrugation process and is protected by a 3-layer windscreen system and internally shock-mounted ribbon transducer. The ribbon transducer is also wired for humbucking to reject any electromagnetically induced noise.
The R-121 has become a standard on electric guitar cabinets, and you can expect to use the R-10 there too, as well as in other traditional applications such drum overheads and room miking, percussion instruments, brass and horn sections, strings, acoustic piano and yes, even vocals.
So what are the differences between the R-10 and R-121? Besides the around $800 difference in price, the R-121 has a tighter low end and more high end than the R-10. The R-10 also has 5dB less output level, but will take a lot more input level. In fact, Royer likes to say that this mic cannot be overloaded!
Still, the $499 price is a world-beater, and you can’t beat the 5 year warranty with the first re-ribbon for free either. Everyone needs a ribbon mic, and if your budget is limited, the Royer R-10 is the place to start.
Check out more on the R-10 on its dedicated page (including some great samples of what it sounds like), and watch this video by my buddy John Jennings about the ribbon construction of Royer R-series microphones.