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OK, Ive been looking at the Royer R-121 ,

Just before I purchase it, tell me something else that could be better
and why, because this is probably a one shot at a mic for vocals .

I ve been looking around for a primarily vocal mic that doesnt distort
Have a decent preamp ADL 7600 and just need a mic that will
complement and it does not matter if it is a one trick pony, as long as it does a great job .

cheers Ash


DonnyThompson Sun, 10/26/2014 - 09:42

The 121 is by no means a "one trick pony" - it's a wonderful ribbon mic, and a standard in pro studios everywhere. It does a fantastic job of doing what a ribbon does.

Now... on that note, it's important to know what to expect with a ribbon mic.. it's going to have the basic an expected characteristics that ribbon mics are known for; syrupy, warm vocals, smooth and even electric guitar tones, (through an amp), upright bass, group vocals (nice because ribbons tend to attenuate the "s's" more than condensers do) it's great for certain types of brass - dependent upon the style of brass, musically - it's also a great mic to use as the figure 8 mic necessary for an MS array. But, ribbons require beefy preamps. Their output is generally very low, so you really need to accordingly gain them up quite a bit... and you'll need a pre amp with enough gain to be able to do that without distorting or adding all kinds of unwanted electronic noise.

The things you won't get: hyped presence, particularly in the top end. If a more "modern" vocal sound is what you are after, a ribbon is probably not going to give you that sound. Ribbons are traditionally "darker" sonically, somewhat subdued, so their uses for more "contemporary" sounding tracks, where a hyped upper end edge is sought after, is very limited.
It doesn't have the uber-high frequency reaches that are associated with nice condenser mics. Nice condensers are generally better at picking up certain nuances and esoteric subtleties than a ribbon mic is.

While not a wallflower, you do need to be careful with it. It's not like a 57/58 in terms of solidity. The ribbon/motor is fragile, and built to pretty tight tolerances, and if the ribbon is stretched, or the motor damaged, it's "game over".... and, because they ain't cheap, you'll want to be aware of not only what you are using it for, but also whom you are using it on. For example, You don't wanna be putting that mic on a hip hop or rap vocal where there could be the potential for damage due to vocal plosives.

All that being said, the 121 is one of "those" mics that has its own certain special thing going on, and, it's a very nice "thing". So, if a ribbon mic is what you feel would be the best addition to your mic locker, then the Royer 121 is a wonderful microphone to have.



KurtFoster Sun, 10/26/2014 - 10:05

the 121 isn't regarded as a vocal mic so much as a a go to for recording guitar amps. they are great mics and i'm sure anyone could find a spot in their mic locker for a few. if you are having trouble overloading your mic pre, try a dynamic mic like a SHURE SM7. an EV RE20 is another one to look at. other dynamics to look at would include Beyer M201, sennheiser 421 or 441 (highly recommended).

if you do go with the ribbon, be sure to be very careful with it when you move it or set it up. don't even walk across the room with it out of the case or mic bag. any significant movement of air through the mic can deform the ribbon and damage the mic.

pcrecord Sun, 10/26/2014 - 18:42

I agree with the guys, The 121 is an amazing ribon mic, more often used on guitar cabs, room mic and on occasion on vocals.
It may be what your voice need to shine.. but there is a lot of alternatives.

My first thought is about a use U87 and there is one on ebay that may sell for the amount you want to pay.

Another to consider is the Neumann TLM 49.
The best thing you could do is to try some mics and decide for yourself, according to the sound you are looking for...

kmetal Sun, 10/26/2014 - 20:36

A senheisser 441 is a killer mic!! +1 that and a TLM 102 will cover most 90% of your vocals, add a 58 and you basically completely covered, and for the same price as a 121. Maybe an AT 4050? A mid priced LDC and a very nice dynamic, will go way way further for vocals for the same, or less $.

If you desperately want a ribbon get a cascade fathead. I wouldnt buy a 1200$ mic I wasn't sure I wanted, and if you were sure, you wouldn't be asking us.

Ribbons can be good vocal mics, but mot exactly a first call for that use, and that's thenarea I'd be shopping in for a potential mic that might be my 'only shot' for vocals.

anonymous Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:40

If you are looking at a mic that is primarily for vocals, Ash, and it's obvious you have a few bucks to spend, I would take a serious look at an AKG 414. It's got so many features, and is such a good sounding mic on everything, that it's been one of those pro industry standards for a long time now. Coupled with a nice pre, it sounds wonderful, can handle almost any app you throw at it, but always sounds really nice on vocals, and if vocals are your aim, you won't be unhappy with it.

Because it also has a variety of pickup patterns to choose from, it's also an excellent mic for ambient miking, or as part of a stereo array. The 414 will sound great on acoustic instruments of all kinds, as drum overheads, on brass, guitar amps, upright bass... it's uses are virtually limitless.

And, you just may be able to pick up a pair for that $1800 you have... and that will open many doors to you ... for stereo miking, MS/Blumlein, etc.

My two cents....


Smashh Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:55

Ok so after some sane consideration and the hang over , I done an about turn and purchased an AKG 414 today .
They had an XL or an XL2 ( which I was told by the sales guy had a more pronounced 4K ), and that scared me so I picked the XL.
I've read some good allround reviews and Donny mentioned them in my other post earlier on.

The idea of having kids gloves on the ribbon mic was to scarey , and down the line I may purchase a cheaper ribbon and
do a mod I guess .

So I'll take it for a spin later in the week when it arrives here .
My wife was looking at a neuman but it was 5 grand here and maybe one day we will be able to get one but not today .
Ebay would be good but with my lack of experience in mic land , I thought new with warranty would be better for now.

Thanks guys for your helpful suggestions on this(y).

kmetal Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:19

Congratulations, you will not regret your purchase. I've had good luck with female vocals and 414s. It's worth messing around and listening to the subtle but very real differences in the polar patterns. you will hear things you haven't heard before, this truly is a 'real' mic. I call it the 57 of LDCs not the best for everything, but not bad on anything, i love them!!!!!