Royer R-121 Studio

Dynamic Ribbon Microphone with Figure-8 Polar Pattern, Comes in Beautiful Wooden Box - Nickel
Royer R-121 Studio image 1
Royer R-121 Studio image 1
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Royer R-121 Studio
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Capture a Pure, Natural Sound!

NEWS: Royer Labs has been given a GRAMMY award for their outstanding ribbon mics! In the words of the Academy, these mics "were revolutionary and moved the art of recording forward."

Royer ribbon microphones are simply wonderful! Here at Sweetwater, many of our Sales Engineers own and use these microphones due to their flexibility and versatility. The R-121 is a Sweetwater best-seller and hundreds of our customers agree that you can use it on everything from guitar amps and percussion to woodwind and acoustic instruments. Vocals? You bet. The R-121 is a wonderful studio must-have whether you're looking for just one microphone to do it all, or another flavor to add to your locker.

Royer R-121 Dynamic Ribbon Microphone at a Glance:
  • Warm, realistic tone with a flat frequency response.
  • Works well on just about everything.
  • The R-121 can take on high SPLs!
  • Sonically substantial: 2-in-1!
Ribbon-Velocity Studio Microphone

The Royer R-121 is a radically redesigned ribbon microphone and Royer's flagship product. Like most ribbons, the Royer R-121's pattern is figure 8, its sensitivity is roughly equal to a good dynamic mic, and it exhibits a warm, realistic tone and flat frequency response. But when it came to design time, Royer threw out the molds and took a fresh approach to ribbons using advanced materials and cutting edge construction techniques. The Royer R-121 redefines ribbon microphones, leading Recording Magazine to say "the Royer Royer R-121 is destined to become one of the classic microphones of the 21st century." It's a sleek, light, extremely versatile microphone that is easy to use, wonderfully musical, and extremely sturdy.

Recording With The Royer R-121

An Royer R-121 ribbon microphone hears things the way your ears hear them. If you've ever heard that incredible guitar, melodic trumpet, sweet flute, deep kick drum, (pick your sound), and found that getting that sound to tape or hard drive was impossible, you owe it to yourself to try a Royer ribbon. On playback you'll notice that the recorded sound is natural and alive, with a panoramic, ambient feel much like what you heard when you were standing in front of the instruments you recorded.

An Royer R-121's response is flat and well balanced; low end is deep and full without getting boomy, mids are well defined and realistic, and the high end response is sweet and natural sounding, never edgy or sibilant.

Need to record at insane levels?

No problem! The Royer R-121's maximum SPL rating is >135dB and it can take that all day long. In practical terms, that means you can put your Royer R-121 directly in front of a souped up mega-watts Marshall and turn it up to 11 without microphone distortion or doing any damage to the ribbon. We don't recommend trying this with other ribbon mics, but the Royer R-121 can take it, no sweat.

2 Mics In One

At distances of two feet and closer, the back of the Royer R-121 is brighter than the front side. The difference in the sound is somewhat like blending 10% of a condenser mic in with your ribbon mic signal. This can be extremely useful when you record acoustic guitars, vocals, and other sound sources that you may want to hear a little more top end on.

Royer R-121 Dynamic Ribbon Microphone Features:
  • 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
  • Field replaceable ribbon transducer
Capture any sound the way you hear it with a Royer R-121 dynamic ribbon microphone!

Additional Media

Cut Sheet
The Making Of An R-121
User Tips & Tricks!
Studio Microphone Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Microphone Type Ribbon
Ribbon Type 2.5-micron Aluminum
Mono/Stereo Stereo or leave blank
Polar Pattern Figure-8
Frequency Response 30Hz-15kHz
Max SPL 135dB
Output Impedance 300 ohms
Connector XLR
Weight 0.54 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number R-121

Customer Reviews

Based on 22 reviews
Write your review

Guitars, Go To...

I am using this mic in my small personal studio on a weekly basis. I've tracked enough songs now with this mic, on guitar amps, that I simply do not start a session without it set in dead center of the cone about 2 inches back from the grill to start. I add other mics, like a C414 or SM57, but the R121 has become the 'center image' when I mix. The other mics are added for taste. . The R121 adds a warmth and detail that other mics simply cannot touch. I've also used it for male harmony, for getting a nice room sound with drums and for drum overheads from time to time. . I cannot agree more that this mic comes the closest to ' what you hear' and it is certainly a go to mic.

A refreshing change......

Nice to have a mic that is not hyped and edgy. It represents sources very faithfully with a touch of warmth that is not stodgy or dull. As well as using it for electric guitar (which it excels at), my new favorite application is as the 'Mid' in an M/S configuration for acoustic guitar together with a Blue Kiwi in Figure 8 mode. The solidity of the Royer in the middle balances the highs of the Kiwi on the sides extremely well. I'm delighted with the Royer - a great first ribbon if you don't already one.
Music background: Hobbyist


This is THE mic for recording electric guitars. I know it does all sorts of other things very well, but I use it on elec guitars a ton! I primarily use the R-121 on a Vox AC-30, through a UA 2610 preamp, through Apogee converters. Sometimes I'll throw an SM57 or a Sennheiser MD421 right up in the middle of the cone and stick the Royer a little off to the side and behind or on the other cone matching the distance to keep it in phase. Either way, I'm usually tracking within 5 minutes of taking the mic out of its pretty little cherry box. In the mixing stage, the quality of this mic comes out more than you even knew it in the tracking stage. It sits in the mix better than you could ever imagine, sounds so natural, so lively, and I hardly even have to eq. Bottom line, this mic is pure butter. It's worth every penny if you're ready to record electric guitars with very high quality.
Music background: Producer, Recording/Mixing Engineer

this mic puts you in the room

If you've been searching for that perfect guitar tone but you just can't quite get there, this is what you've been missing. It's not the cheapest mic out there so it wasn't my first choice but after testing this mic for five minutes I knew I found what I was looking for. This mic puts you in the room, needs little eq and sounds great through many mic pres; avalon 737, BAE neve 1272, Trident S20 just to name a few.
Music background: recording engineer, live sound foh enengineer, guitarist

OH WOW!!!!

GENIUS....Dave you're the man. I use these mics on everything....literally. This is my studio workhorse. It is so three dimensional that it really does put you in the mix. I have a femal artist that I'm producing that loves this mic for vocals. Very Very warm and vintage. If you have these mics I would also recommend getting the AEA Ribbon Pre. It's a great price and it compliments these mics perfectly. I also love the Presonus ADL 600 and the Focusrite Red Series on ribbons.Get a couple.
Music background: Recording Engineer, pro musician, and Independant producer.

Sweetwater Advice

Ted Hunter

I bought a pair mainly for use as room microphones for my drums and for use on guitar amps, but they're so versatile they've really become my "desert island" microphones. I still find plenty of uses for my other microphones, but I'd be comfortable using my R121's on just about anything.

Ryan Ashby

Over countless hours tracking amps in the studio, I've come to prefer standard dynamic mics on guitar cabinets. I decided to give the Royer R-121 ribbon a try anyway, and I was amazed by the accurate tone I was able to get. The recording sound just like the amp does in the room, which makes it easy to dial in the tone. I've also used the R-121 on drum overheads and brass instruments, where its transparency provides a honest and organic sound.

Scott Augustyniak

Because I have inexpensive mics and an interface of similar quality, my recordings usually require a lot of processing and frustration in search of a decent tone. But the other night, I brought home a Royer R-121 ribbon mic. After plugging it into a True Systems P-Solo Ribbon pre, I threw on the headphones and grabbed my ukulele. When I heard the sound of the first strum come through my headphones, my jaw about hit the floor. It was so accurate, it sounded like I was standing in front of myself playing! After recording some ukulele, I had to grab my acoustic guitar because this GREAT SOUND meant I was having GREAT FUN! Lesson learned that night: You get what you pay for. And after that test, I knew the R-121 would be a permanent part of my mic collection.

AJ Becerra

The Royer R-121 sounds great on any source! I personally love them on electric cabs and for drum overheads. I use 121's on EVERY session I do and it is SO easy to get a great sound of them. You cannot make these mics sound bad!
See also: Ribbon Mics, Royer, Royer Ribbon Microphones