Dublin, Ireland … When you've spent the better part of a decade as FOH engineer for British rockers Muse—not to mention working with The Cure and Snow Patrol—you develop a second sense for knowing what it takes to properly capture and mix instruments and voices so that each artist conveys their signature sound. Welcome to engineer / producer Marc “MC” Carolan's world. In the case of lead vocalist, guitarist, and keyboards virtuoso Matthew Bellamy's guitar cabinet, the microphone of choice for acquiring all the subtleties of his playing is none other than the R-122 Live Active Ribbon Microphone from Royer Labs.
Originally introduced to Royer Labs microphones during one of his various studio endeavors, Carolan reports the R-122 Live is a robust performer that can handle high SPL sources without the acoustic anomalies served up by some microphones. As for miking Matthew Bellamy's guitar cabinet, Carolan reports, “Between myself, Adam Taylor (monitor engineer) and Jason Baskin (guitar tech), we came up with an optimum placement of about 4 inches from the cone and about 2 inches off center. While his cabinet produces extreme SPL's, it also delivers a wide range of tones and feels. The Royer R-122 Live is the only mic that can handle all of this. I like the fact that there's no artificial high end boost as is found with other manufacturer's microphones. The R-122 Live remains true to delivering the tonality Matt is trying to achieve.” Presently, Carolan has two R-122 Live ribbon microphones, with one mic dedicated to Bellamy's guitar sound and the other as a backup.
When he's not on tour, Carolan usually finds himself entrenched in a variety of studio projects and, here too, he considers his Royer ribbons essential tools of the trade. When using the R-122 Live in the studio,” Carolan says, “I find myself experimenting with a variety of microphone positions. The figure 8 polar pattern and the nulls that are an integral part of the mic's sonic signature provide tremendous flexibility. The amount of isolation from other sound sources that these mics can achieve with careful positioning is really impressive.”
“Obviously, its sound is the most important aspect of the microphone,” Carolan continues. “The R-122 LIve doesn't try to impose a character of its own on the source. Rather, the mic reproduces the source in a very satisfying manner—especially when things get loud. Its response means the ear is not assaulted with any hi-end nastiness.”
In addition to his use of the Royer R-122 Live, Carolan recently began working with a pair of Royer Labs' R-101 passive ribbon microphones. I'm still experimenting with them,” he says, “but so far, they have proven to be very versatile microphones. I see a lot of possibilities for the R-101.”
Whether on tour or in the studio, much of Carolan's time is spent in mission critical environments and, as such, quality customer service is essential. On that note, Carolan is very complimentary of Royer Labs. “Royer Lab's support services are excellent,” he reports. “Not only do they provide answers, but they're great about providing background information, which helps me use their products more effectively.”
Carolan has become a true fan of the Royer Labs R-122 Live—especially for use on guitars. He left us with this parting thought, “In all honesty, the Royer R-122 Live is the only guitar mic I need with Muse. All the complexity of Matt's sound ends up being reproduced by that one mic—and it sounds massive.”
About the R-122 Live Active Ribbon Microphone
The Royer R-122 Live is the world'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 SPL—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 Labs' microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities. Additional information on the new Live Series and all Royer microphones can be found at www.royerlabs.com.
Photo Info: Marc Carolan with his Royer R-122 Live microphones.