royer r121 mic
Music Gear Reviews

Royer R-121 Ribbon Mic

After unboxing the Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone; there were a few inquisitive looks due to its size compared with other ribbon mics.


  • High SPL Capabilities
  • No internal active electronics to overload or produce distortion up to maximum SPL rating
  • Extremely low residual noise
  • Ribbon element is not affected by heat or humidity
  • Absence of high-frequency phase distortion
  • Equal sensitivity from front or back of element
  • Consistent frequency response regardless of distance

Image source: Royer Labs

All ears

The first impressions of recording quality from a female vocalist, guitarist and a violinist were positive. We especially loved the crisp, clear and dynamic sound it played back. The tone was right and there was zero interference or feedback. We have used ribbon microphones previously but this one seemed different.

The usual approach from a “ribbon” design is clunky, cumbersome, fragile and overweight. The Royer 121 Studio has been radically re-engineered and will set our engineers into ribbon mic fans all over again.

The R-121 is lightweight, those who have been put off ribbon mics because of their features should try the R-121 because this being made portable it still maintains its crisp, eloquent sound.

Classic ribbon mics are still used by studios across the world and the Royer 121 Studio Ribbon Microphone maintains the output quality levels that challenge any of the best ribbons we have used previously.

In use

One of the strong features of the mic is its resilience to harsh sound. High treble metal guitar? No problem. Cranked up rock riffs? No problem. Thumping drum solos with focus on hi-hat? The R-121 soaks it all up and portrays the sound without a hitch.

We even tested a singer/songwriter female vocalist with a folk/ blues kind of voice that has plenty of harsh upper-mids. Previous mics have struggled to smooth out those upper-mid tones but the R-121 bossed it and really translated the sound well.

It was the guitarists in the studio who sung its praises the highest. We fed through one of our preamps and it responded with a warm tone through our monitors and an emotional response through the listeners.

Thoroughly impressed faces all around, the Royer R-121 Studio Ribbon Microphone should just be a byword in studios all round the world.

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