Nashville, TN… As the preeminent jam band with a stylistic blend of jazz, funk, bluegrass, and pop, Phish has a long running reputation for excellence. Currently in the midst of their 2022 North American Tour, longtime FOH mix engineer Garry Brown is once again at the helm of the controls. And for several years at this point, Royer Labs ribbon microphones are important tools that help Brown achieve the ideal mix.
Brown has been in the sound business for 30 years, when he started back in the UK working on small touring productions and mixing bands in clubs. He moved to the US in 1998 and is based out of Nashville, TN. Over the years, Brown has worked in Christian music, where he mixed for the Newsboys, Third Day, and MercyMe. He started working for guitarist, singer, songwriter Trey Anastasio in 2005 and has also mixed Gnarls Barkley, Cyndi Lauper, and Blondie. When Phish reformed in 2009, he got the gig as the band’s FOH Mixer and has been with them ever since. He discussed his experience using Royer Labs ribbon microphones.
“Monitor engineer Mark Bradley and I (as FOH mix engineer) choose all the microphones that we use,” Brown explained. “Some mics are used solely by FOH, because of there being a large number of wedges onstage. To help us better control issues with potential feedback, we like to use Royer ribbon mics because the microphones’ nulls give us greater isolation. Currently, we’re using the Royer SF-24 phantom powered stereo ribbon mic, the R-122V tube ribbon mic, and a pair of R-121 ribbon mics. We’ve been using the SF-24 and R-121s for a good 10 – 12 years, with the R-122V being our newest mic, which at this point is about 2 years old.”
As for how we’re using the mics,” Brown continued, “the SF-24 is the drum overhead mic. I just love the complete picture that it gives of the drum kit. It’s very smooth. We use a high-pass filter and a slight amount of EQ in the low-mid, but that’s it. The R-122V is the primary choice for miking electric guitar. I love what this mic brings to the electric guitar: warmth, punch, and no problem handling the high SPL. Just add a high-pass filter and away we go! The R-121 mics are on the guitar FXs. These were my primary choice for electric mics until we got the R-122V. We’ve used these mics for a good 10 years. For us, they have become faithful, old friends.”
When asked what he liked most about using Royer ribbons live, Brown pointed to their sound and reliability. “The Royer ribbons deliver a very natural sound, without the need for a lot of processing,” he said. “And, over the years, the Royers have proven themselves to be very robust. We tend to be rather hard on them, as most of our shows are outdoors, where the humidity is frequently high and it’s not uncommon for storms to roll through. They have never failed us.”
Brown was also very complimentary of the company’s customer and technical support services, “The support I’ve received from Royer has been excellent. The staff have always been very responsive, and willing to help us in any way they can. When you’re on tour, time isn’t a luxury you have a lot of. The ability to get straight through to people who understand both the equipment and the application is a tremendous benefit. Royer is a first-class operation.”
Before shifting his focus back to the logistics of the next tour stop, Brown offered these parting thoughts, “Royer Labs has been a dream to work with. Their microphones are second to none. They deliver superior sound, they can handle high SPLs better than many other mics, and the nulls give a level of flexibility that you don’t encounter with other types of microphones. You can’t go wrong with a Royer ribbon!”
To learn more about Garry Brown, visit his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/garry-brown-7345859.
For additional information about Phish, visit the band’s website at https://phish.com/.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labs’ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities. Royer ribbons can be found on countless albums, and they feature prominently on projects such as the Academy Awards and other high-profile events. Additional information about the entire line of Royer Labs microphones can be found at www.royerlabs.com.