ZZ Top is presently on its 50th Anniversary Tour, which began in April and continues into 2020. Being a 3-piece group, Billy Gibbons’ guitar is a driving force and, on the current tour, the R-10 ribbon microphone from Royer Labs is being used to mic Gibbons’ guitar cabs.
Jamie (J-Mo) Rephann of Simpsonville SC is serving as the band’s front of house engineer while on tour. In addition to his work with ZZ Top, Rephann has plied his trade for numerous other well-known artists, including Mars Volta, Jane’s Addiction, and Rickie Lee Jones. With a resume like this, Rephann can use any mic he wants, which makes his choice of the Royer ‘entry level’ R-10 all that more impressive. He discusses his experience with the R-10.
“On this tour, I’m using two Royer R-10 ribbons,” Rephann explains. “I have one mic on Billy’s Marshall cab and the other is used to mic his Magnatone setup. I have them both in isolation boxes off stage left in guitar world. Both mics are positioned slightly off center, left of the cone.”
When asked what makes the Royer R-10 such a compelling choice for use with Billy Gibbons’ guitar, Rephann offered the following thoughts, “Wow, is all I can say. The R-10 translates exactly what’s coming off the cab, to the point of it being stunning. It’s like Royer just pushed the ‘ease your life button’. Billy’s and ZZ ‘s sound is based off the guitar totally, so the ability to accurately capture this musical energy is crucial. The R-10 is the absolute best tool for capturing Billy’s sound. The midrange cuts so well, without the added top end of some other mics and it’s just a matter of pushing faders to get exactly what I am looking for. The Royer R-10 is just so rich and creamy, without the top end being rolled off at all.”
When your job is to ensure the accuracy of sound for a leading musical artist, the ability to get one’s questions answered in timely fashion is crucial. Here, too, Rephann had nothing but compliments about Royer Labs’ customer and technical support services. “John Jennings [the company’s VP of Marketing] has been outstanding—getting microphones to us to try first and then expediting the package so I could take them to Europe for our tour. I value John’s insight and knowledge. He’s been great to work with.”
With ZZ Top’s 50th Anniversary Tour well underway, Rephann sums up his experience with the Royer R-10. “The Royer R-10 is a superb microphone for being in the ‘entry range’ and I picked it over much more expensive mics because of the sound. It is unmatched for high SPL close miking of cabinets. If you’re an engineer looking to improve your guitar sound, just drop everything and get hold of Royer ribbons. The R-10 is, by far, the best guitar mic I have ever used. I will also have an R-10 on the bass guitar iso cab when we get back to the States. Aside from the sound of the mics, the service and support we have received from the company has been stellar and I couldn’t be happier.”