Los Angeles, CA… Formed in 1996 in Agoura Hills, CA, the rock band Linkin Park has established quite a name for itself. The band’s first album, Hybrid Theory, was certified Diamond by the RIAA and multi-platinum in several other countries. Subsequent albums Meteora, Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, and Living Things have all been highly acclaimed. Their latest release, The Hunting Party, carries the band’s tradition of excellence forward yet again. And with this latest album, microphones from Royer Labs and its sister company Mojave Audio feature prominently in the project’s production.
Los Angeles, CA-based mixer, recording engineer, and producer Ethan Mates served as the Engineer in the production of The Hunting Party, which was released in June of 2014 on the Warner Brothers label. In addition to his work with Linkin Park, Mates has also worked on projects for The Pussycat Dolls, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mötley Crüe, and 2Pac. He discussed The Hunting Party project and his use of Royer Labs and Mojave Audio microphones.
“The Hunting Party was recorded over the latter part of 2013 and early 2014 at Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood, CA, with drums and some overdubs taking place at EastWest studios in Hollywood,” Mates reports. “During these sessions, we used four Royer R-121 mics, one on each of the guitar cabinets, which were blended with SM57 and MD421 mics. Each cabinet had three mics. To capture the bass, we used a Royer R-122 in conjunction with either a FET 47 or a Heil PR40. We also used the R-122 as an occasional mono room mic for the drums. Further, we used a Royer SF-24 stereo Active Ribbon Mic for the room sound on the drums at EastWest, along with various overdubs, including Taiko drums and piano.”
Royer’s sister company, Mojave Audio, also fared prominently on The Hunting Party. According to Mates, an MA-100 was used on the guitar combo amps in addition to being blended with an SM57 on snare drum. Equally notable, a pair of Mojave MA-200 microphones were used as drum overheads on one of the drum setups.
Reflecting on his use of the Royer Labs microphones, Mates offered the following thoughts. “I am a huge fan of the phantom powered ribbons that Royer produces,” he said. “Being able to use any preamp I want, without having to worry about cranking it and inducing a lot of extra noise, is an amazing characteristic of these mics. In addition, the SF-24 provides a very clean, incredibly detailed natural picture of the drums. It is an essential piece of the room mic picture, and provides the perfect complement / contrast to all of the other room mics out there.”
Mates elaborated on his use of the Royer SF-24 on the drums, “The SF-24 drum room mic was placed head high, approximately 10 feet back, centered on the kit—run through a pair of Neve 1073’s with no compression, to 2-inch tape. The only EQ used was the hi-pass filter on the 1073, set to 50 Hz, just to eliminate any possible rumbling. The mic was moved slightly, both up and down on the stand, as well as angle-wise, to get the balance between the drums and cymbals correct, depending on the loudness, brightness, etc. of whatever cymbals were chosen for that particular song.”
Mates was also complimentary of Royer Lab’s build quality and customer / technical support services. “I have honestly never had a Royer break or even require service,” says Mates. “Someone dropped one of my mics once, and the Royer crew were more than happy to take a look at it for me. But as it turns out, these mics are built so well that it was totally fine.”
Before shifting his attention back to his current project, Mates offered these parting comments, “I’ve used Royer mics on every single band tracking session I’ve done for almost 15 years. It really is a feat of engineering how these mics are able to easily withstand the SPLs thrown at them by raging guitar amps and rock drums, while still being able to beautifully capture the subtleties of a string section or solo horn. Royer ribbons are a critical part of my setup, and I would hate to have to track without them.”
To learn more about Ethan Mates, visit his website at www.ethanmates.com.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labs’ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities. For additional information about the SF-24, R-121, R-122 and all Royer microphones, please visit the company at www.royerlabs.com. For information about the Mojave Audio MA-100 and MA-200, visit www.mojaveaudio.com.
Photo Information: Ethan Mates