Burbank, CAâ€¦ Beginning in late May, legendary jazz/rock fusion group Return To Forever reunited for the first time in 25 years for a summer tour of North America and Europe. The classic lineup of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al DiMeola, and drummer Lenny White played over 50 shows and completed the tour on August 8th at the United Palace in New York City. Midway through the tour, two recently introduced Royer Labs R-122 Live series microphones accompanied the performers, which were used to mic guitarist Al DiMeolaâ€™s two amp cabinets.
Audio veteran Bernie Kirsh, whose credits include engineering positions with New Yorkâ€™s famed Electric Lady Studios and LAâ€™s Mad Hatter Studios, served as the FOH Engineer for the Return To Forever tour. Kirsh, whose career has been closely tied to that of keyboardist Chick Corea, reports that right from the start, Royer Labs microphones were included in the tour manifest.
â€œRoyer microphones have a stellar reputation,â€? says Kirsh. â€œThe R-122 has been a staple of the recording studio business for several years and is well known for its ability to do a great job miking guitar. Both Al and I have always been very impressed with the mic, and with more and more acts using them on tour, it made perfect sense for us to do so as well. Al specifically wanted Royers for the guitar cabs, so the only question was which model.â€?
â€œWe originally started the tour with the studio version of the R-122,â€? Kirsh continued. â€œWhen we played Los Angeles, we met with Royerâ€™s VP of Sales and Marketing, John Jennings, and he suggested we try the R-122 Live models because of their ability to withstand higher SPLs. This was just prior to the start of the European leg of the tour, so we began using the Live model at that point and continued with them right through to the end of the tour.â€?
Kirsh placed a single Royer R-122 Live on each of DiMeolaâ€™s guitar cabinetsâ€”a Mesa Boogie Lone Star 100 and a Fuchs Overdrive Supreme 100. Using close miking technique, Kirsh reports noticing subtle but significant changes between the studio and Live models. â€œThe studio version of the R-122 is a pretty hardy mic in its own right,â€? says Kirsh, â€œbut I did discover a slight difference in the Live modelâ€™s sound quality. To my ear, the R-122 Live has the same clarity as the studio R-122, but the Live model seems a bit warmer, full sounding, and more consistent in live sound environments. They really did a nice job on this project.â€?
â€œIn the context of an instrumental quartet like this,â€? explained Kirsh, â€œeach â€˜voiceâ€™ (or instrument within the ensemble) is important and they must each have their own place in the mix. The character with which the guitar was represented was served very well by the R-122 Live. Alâ€™s guitar had the size and presence it needed relative to the keyboard rig, bass, and drums.â€?
In addition to the highly regarded reputation of Royer Labsâ€™ microphones, Kirsh also credits the companyâ€™s customer and technical support services. â€œMy main contact has always been John Jennings,â€? says Kirsh. â€œJohn took a real interest in finding out how the mics were working for us and he is always very supportive in terms of offering tips and tricks that he and others have discovered. The company has consistently been very responsive and thatâ€™s extremely important, since you never know when you might need support.â€?
With the tour now completed, Kirsh offered this closing thought about the R-122 Live series microphones. â€œThey worked out great,â€? said Kirsh, â€œand we encountered absolutely no problems whatsoever. In terms of sound quality, the R-122â€™s delivered exactly the guitar sound Al was looking for. No matter what environment we were playing in, we were able to shape the character we needed to make the guitar sound the way we wanted.â€?
About the R-122 Live Active Ribbon Microphone
The Royer R-122 Live is the worldâ€™s first phantom powered, active ribbon microphone designed for live sound applications. It exhibits a flat frequency response and a well-balanced, panoramic soundfield with the ability to withstand 135 dB SPLâ€”making it an ideal tool for drum and guitar amp miking, as well as vocals and a variety of quieter instruments.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labsâ€™ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities as well as a popular choice for todayâ€™s live sound professionals. Additional information on the new Live Series and all Royer microphones can be found at www.royerlabs.com.