The Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live Matched Pair is a road-optimized set of their phantom powered R-122 MK-II ribbon microphone. The output of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live is on par with phantom powered condenser mics, allowing for long cable runs and the occasional sub-par mic preamps. In addition, the mic's switchable -15 dB pad and bass-cut filter deliver unprecedented flexibility on electric guitars, drum overheads, trumpets and other live instruments. Most importantly, it produces the warm, realistic sounds that only ribbon mics can deliver. Along with its smooth, natural response, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live virtually eliminates the shrill high-end often encountered with live guitars, brass and drum cymbals. Push up the faders and there's the instrument in all its fullness, minus the peaky highs that engineers spend so much time fighting.
The switchable -15 dB pad of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live is positioned before the microphone’s electronics and, when engaged, eliminates headroom-related distortion - or preamplifier overload on even the loudest sound sources. Wide open electric guitars pose no issues. With the pad in, the R-122 MKII’s output is actually 2 dB lower than Royer Labs' flagship R-121.
The Bass Cut:
When switched in, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII’s bass cut starts filtering at 100 Hz, 6 dB per octave, effectively reducing the mic’s bass buildup due to proximity effect. This smooth filter is extremely useful on close-miked electric guitars when less bottom end is desired. The microphone utilizes a special Royer-designed toroidal transformer that delivers a faster transient response than traditional ribbons. This produces a tighter, more focused low end and a sense of more open highs than with traditional ribbons, making it a first call ribbon mic for drum overheads and percussion. The Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live can be used on extremely long cable runs with minimal RF interference and signal loss, and the ribbon element cannot be damaged by phantom power, miswired cables or electrical glitches.
The Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live is visually differentiated by its red logo. The ribbon element thickness is increased from 2.5-microns to 4-microns, giving the microphone greater durability and a slightly reduced high end response. Highs are often rolled off in live performances, but due to the smooth, high frequency response of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live, it needs less EQ'ing than what's usually required with condenser and dynamic microphones.
The R-122 MKII Live is backed with Royer's lifetime warranty to the original owner, and the first re-ribbon is free. As with any high end microphone, proper storage during transit and careful handling during setup and breakdown is key to keeping the microphone in good working order.
Figure-8's On Stage:
The pickup pattern of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live is figure-8, which can be used to control stage bleed with great effect. Side rejection in the null points is strong – simply position the mic's "ears" to face the offending instrument(s) and bleed will be virtually eliminated. The top and bottom of the microphone are also null points. If monitors are in close proximity to the rear side of the microphone, a positioning adjustment can place the monitors output in the mic's null, isolating the monitor from the mic's pickup areas.
Patented Offset Ribbon Technology:
The Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live's proprietary offset ribbon transducer (Patent # 6,434,252) is the first of its kind, positioning the ribbon element closer to the front (logo) side of the microphone. This arrangement gives the ribbon more room to move within the prime magnetic field while maintaining full frequency response on high SPL applications. It's an integral piece of Royer Labs' R-series microphones.
The R-122 MKII Live accurately reproduces what you hear at the sound source. If your goal is to capture something the way it really sounds - that ripping electric guitar, that wailing trumpet, that full kit - and you've found that reproducing that sound was next to impossible, give the Royer Live Series mics a try. The response of the Royer Labs R-121s is flat and well balanced, with a deep, non-boomy low end, well defined and realistic mids, and a smooth and natural sounding high end response that's never edgy or hissy.
The Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live is similar to the R-121 Live, but the faster transient response and larger size of the R-122 MKII Live's audio transformer translates into more open highs and a tighter, more focused low end response. These characteristics make Royer Labs' R-122 an exceptional choice for live drum overheads, warm electric guitars, solo brass and saxophone, and percussion. When the instruments sound real, fitting them into the live mix is easy.
Be aware that the R-122 MKII Live puts out a lot of level when used to record very loud electric guitars. To keep from overdriving the front end of your mic pre, Royer Labs recommends using a Shure or Neutrik 10dB in-line pad. As with many high-end microphones, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII Live demands the full 48 volts when it's being pushed hard. Make sure your phantom power supply is putting out full power when tracking loud sound sources, as inadequate power can lead to loss of headroom and microphone distortion.