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Royer Labs Microphones Integral To Production Of Latest Maroon 5 Album

Sound quality and ability to handle high SPL plus attack transients are key attributes

By PSW Staff August 30, 2012

Engineer/producer Noah “Mailbox” Passovoy in the studio

The latest album by Maroon 5, Overexposed, on the A&M/Octone label, was recorded at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with Royer Sound Labs ribbon microphones playing a significant role in the process.

LA-based Noah “Mailbox” Passovoy served as producer on five tracks and engineer on all tracks of the band’s latest recording, and his track record includes engineering the band’s number one hit Moves Like Jagger.

On this project,  Passovoy utilized Royer R-121, R-122 active ribbon, R-122V vacuum tube model,s as well as the SF-12 stereo ribbon and SF-24 stereo active ribbon models.

“Over the years, I’ve become a big fan of Royer ribbons,” Passovoy reports. “I consider them an invaluable complement to my recording process—giving warmth and a high degree of sonic accuracy that really brings out the best in a performance. I’ve become very fond of the R-121 and R-122V for miking the electric guitar cabinets.

“Depending on the sound I’m looking to capture, I’ll frequently pair one of these mics with a Shure SM57 and the sound that I’m able to achieve is nothing short of incredible. I love the fact that I can position the ribbon mic right up close to the grille in order to achieve the sound I want. When it comes to miking electric guitar, I’d have to say the Royer R-122V has become my ‘go-to’ microphone.

“A big part of that sound,” he continues, “is directly related to the Royer mics’ ability to handle high SPL (sound pressure level). I love the sound of a ribbon mic, but with many of them, if you place it anywhere near a guitar cabinet, it’s going to fold. By contrast, Royer mics can be placed right on the grille and the mic will just take everything you throw at it.

“Further, the R-121 and R-122V have a really wonderful midrange that is exactly what you want when recording electric guitars. The guitar comes through just as it should. With either of these mics, the instrument sounds just like I want it to.”

Passovoy also reports having considerable success with Royer Labs stereo microphones: the SF-12 and SF-24. “I typically use the SF-24 on the piano or to capture room ambience,” he says. “And I love the way the SF-12 works as a drum overhead. The stereo imaging is phenomenal. The fact that I can literally have that one mic over a drum kit and you can hear each drum in various places throughout the stereo field is incredible. You really get an accurate stereo recording with either of these mics.”

In addition to using the Royer R-121 for electric guitar miking, Passovoy finds its ability to handle the sharp attack transients of percussion instruments to be another huge benefit, “With the R-121, you don’t have to put anything else on the instrument.  Unlike a condenser mic—where you’d likely put a compressor into the signal path—an R-121 on a tambourine sounds great as it is.”

Completing the picture, Passovoy considers the Royer R-122 active ribbon mic an outstanding choice for capturing acoustic guitar. “The R-122 is my main acoustic guitar mic,” Passovoy notes. “This mic accurately represents the guitar exactly as I want it to sound without any special tweaking on my part.”

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