Engineer/producer Marc “MC” Carolan (pictured), who is also the front-of-house engineer for British rockers Muse, announces that he uses Royer Labs' R-122 Live Active Ribbon Microphone to mike Matthew Bellamy’s guitar cabinet. Presently, Carolan has two R-122 Live ribbon microphones, with one mic dedicated to Bellamy’s guitar sound and the other as a backup.
Originally introduced to Royer Labs microphones during one of his various studio endeavors, Carolan reports the R-122 Live is a robust performer that can handle high SPL sources without the acoustic anomalies served up by some microphones.
Carolan says, “Between myself, [monitor engineer] Adam Taylor and [guitar tech] Jason Baskin, we came up with an optimum placement of about 4 inches from the cone and about 2 inches off center. While [Bellamy's] cabinet produces extreme SPLs, it also delivers a wide range of tones and feels. The Royer R-122 Live is the only mic that can handle all of this. I like the fact that there’s no artificial high-end boost as is found with other manufacturer’s microphones. The R-122 Live remains true to delivering the tonality Matt is trying to achieve. In all honesty, the Royer R-122 Live is the only guitar mic I need with Muse. All the complexity of Matt’s sound ends up being reproduced by that one mic—and it sounds massive.
"When using the R-122 Live in the studio,” Carolan continues, “I find myself experimenting with a variety of microphone positions. The figure-8 polar pattern and the nulls that are an integral part of the mic’s sonic signature provide tremendous flexibility. The amount of isolation from other sound sources that these mics can achieve with careful positioning is really impressive.
“Obviously, its sound is the most important aspect of the microphone. The R-122 LIve doesn’t try to impose a character of its own on the source. Rather, the mic reproduces the source in a very satisfying manner—especially when things get loud. Its response means the ear is not assaulted with any high-end nastiness.”
“Royer Lab’s support services are excellent,” Carolan concludes. “Not only do they provide answers, but they’re great about providing background information, which helps me use their products more effectively.”
To learn more about how engineers use ribbon microphones on tour, read 'Ribbons On The Road' by Steve La Cerra from Mix magazine's July 2011 issue.