Grammy nominated engineer/producer Steve Churchyard (pictured) used Royer Labs microphones for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell III on the Virgin Records label. Sessions for this project moved between O’Henry Recording Studios in Burbank, Calif., Capitol Studios in Hollywood and The Village Recording Studios in West Los Angeles.
“This was one of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on,” Churchyard notes. “Many of the songs are over seven minutes long and there’s an incredible amount of orchestrations by David Campbell. It wasn’t the least bit uncommon to find ourselves mixing over 200 tracks per song, and this is largely why the project took eight months to record.”
Equipped with R-121 ribbon microphones, R-122 phantom-powered ribbon mics and SF-24 phantom-powered stereo ribbon mics, Churchyard captured everything from electric guitar and trumpets to orchestral strings, horns and percussion.
“Without a doubt, the R-121 has become my go-to mic for recording electric guitar,” Churchyard says. “I position the R-121 close in on the amp cabinet and it’s amazing how this mic performs. Whereas a lot of the older generation ribbon mics would just crumble under this type of high-SPL application, the R-121 handles it quite easily.
“I had instances with other mics where the guitar player would complain the recorded track didn’t sound the way it does in the room. With the R-121, however, the guitarist would say, ‘That’s it. That’s the way it sounds in the room. That’s the sound I want.’ The R-121 really has the ability to capture the guitar exactly as it sounds.”
Churchyard used R-122s to record string sections. “I was using the R-122s as a spaced pair for room ambient miking. We had one on either side of the conductor, and they delivered a terrific room sound—very true to the original. The R-122 delivers a sound that isn’t colored on the high end the way a condenser mic frequently is.”
Churchyard also used R-122s as overheads for miking drums. “With the SF-24 microphone’s Blumlein configuration used for ambience, imaging is excellent,” he says. “You can really gain a sense of where each instrument within the drum kit is positioned.”