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Royer R-10 Microphone Review


Ribbon mics might not be as popular as they were once before, but Royer Labs has certainly shown they’re back on the rise. For those unfamiliar, a ribbon microphone is a type of dynamic microphone, but with some fundamental differences. Rather than having a diaphragm attached to a coil suspended in a magnetic field, the ribbon mic has a thin strip of metal— sometimes 4 microns or thinner— that acts as both the diaphragm and transducer element.

This design allows for ribbon mics to achieve a level of sensitivity and response similar to condensers but with a character all on their own. They’re highly detailed without being oversensitive, allowing for the micing of close sounds without interference.

While ribbon mics have been around since the 1920s, their popularity in the 21st century is largely due to Royer Labs and the Royer R-121. The Royer flagship ribbon mic was soon followed by the R-101, which was eventually phased out in favor of the new Royer R-10. The R10 promises the same groundbreaking technology as the R-101, but in a more compact package and at a significantly more affordable price. Let’s see how it performs in the Royer R10 review below.

About the Royer R-10 Microphone

Royer R-10 Microphone
Polar PatternFigure-of-eight
Generating Element2.5 micron aluminum ribbon
Frequency Response30Hz-15,000Hz +/- 3dB
Sensitivity-54 dBv (re. 1v/pa)
Output impedance100 ohms
Maximum SPL135 dB @ 50 Hz, 160 dB @ 1 kHz

Given their delicate engineering, it’s no wonder that ribbon mics have a reputation for being a little fragile. They need careful handling, and a nasty fall can sometimes spell the end for your unit. However, users will be surprised to know just how well the Royer R10 holds up. This tiny mic is part of the Royer R series and is designed for high SPL and close-micing applications.

The Royer R-10 is a passive ribbon mic, which means that it has no pre-installed electronics for pre-amplification. This means that you’ll need the right kind of preamp to get the best sound out of your R-10, which might be difficult for amateur producers. Still, the R 10 has much to offer, and for musicians especially it’s worth a look.

Royer R-10 Microphone Pros

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Hand-built in Royer mics’ factories in Burbank, California, the Royer R-10 is carefully designed to bring the best possible qualities of a ribbon mic to the forefront. Designed for use in both live performances and studio settings, the R-10 offers incredible Royer ribbon mic quality at an affordable price.

No Compromises

The Royer R-121 transformed the landscape for ribbon mics, and so did the R-101 that followed it. However, their delicate designs and engineering have meant that ribbon mics can tend to be pricey additions to your mic cabinet. Royer Labs have engineered the R-10 to be compact and affordable without compromising quality sound.

The R-10 includes the R-101’s 3-layer windscreen system, internal shock-mounted ribbon transducer, as well as a new step-up transformer designed by David Royer. All this for only 40% of the price of the now-discontinued R-101 and 70% of the R-121.

Compactness and Comfort

Close-micing is an art, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having the right engineering but a bulky unit. The Royer R-10 is optimized for this purpose, at 149mm in length and 35mm in diameter. It’s compact at 368g, but despite its small size feels sturdy and durable, a great partner for live performances and onstage work. Its mount is also designed for flexible positioning that won’t get in the way of your performance.

Tough Ribbon Engineering

The R-10 features a 2.5-micron-thick, pure aluminum ribbon with offset ribbon technology. The offset ribbon technology allows it to be suspended closer to the front end of the R-10’s Neodymium magnets, which with the R-series transducer allows the R-10 to mic SPLs of up to 160 dB at 1 kHz.

The ribbon is also shaped with Royer’s direct corrugation process, making it hardier and less prone to misshaping. In the event that something does happen to your ribbon, however, the R-10 has a five-year warranty, with re-ribboning free for your first year.

Incredible Sound

In terms of engineering, the R-10 is certainly fantastic, but how does it hold up in the studio or on stage? The answer is, fantastic. When used to mic acoustic guitars the raw sound of the R-10 was incredible, with smooth, natural tone and depth. There is some extra brightness when using the rear end to the record, but overall it handles most sound sources with ease.

When compared with the R-121, the R-10 does sound a little less “there,” but the difference is only there if you look out for it. In general, the R-10 is well-balanced, with a rich, natural-sounding high-end that’s well worth the price.

Guitar Hero

Perhaps the best use for any ribbon mic is for micing guitars, and it’s here that the R-10 certainly shines. It’s able to produce a warm, full-bodied tone that’s nonetheless faithful to the sound source. Its high SPL allows musicians to let loose, especially on electric guitar, without fear of distortion or overwhelming the mic. Its design makes it easy to get up close and personal with the instrument, and Royer’s robust engineering means that it’ll hold up to live performances and more.

Pros and Cons of the Royer R-10 Microphone

✔ Fantastic value
✔ Compact and high portable
✔ 5-year warranty
✘ Quieter sounds may require mic preamps and preamp gain

What People Are Saying

Micing instruments can be a struggle, especially when you need your mic to perform double duty by getting as close as possible to a very loud sound source. Luckily, the R-10 fits the bill exactly. With its state-of-the-art engineering and fantastic sound, there’s no mic better suited to record those long guitar runs.

“The R10 is a brilliant little mic for the money. I’ve found it really shines on Acoustic Guitars (both steel and nylon), often favoring the reverse of the mic. It also records percussion very well indeed. Enjoyed it on Guitar Cab too, but it didn’t speak to me quite like the Acoustic Guitar recordings. Handles EQ very well and plays very nicely with my main condenser mic when they are paired up. Definitely recommend this mic.”

Reviewer – Sweetwater

Where to Buy the Royer R-10 Microphone

Ribbon mics have been out of the limelight for decades, but Royer Labs has brought them back with a bang. The R-121 has long been a favorite for its impeccable sound and quality, and the R-10 brings that same sound to your studio at a much more affordable price. With better engineering, more compact designs, and great value, it’s clear that ribbon mics are here to stay. Find the best deals for the Royer R-10 Microphone here.

Royer R-10

The Royer R-10 offers an exceptional bang for your buck, providing fantastic value for its features and performance. Its compact design makes it highly portable, allowing you to take it with you wherever you go.

Additionally, the product comes with a generous 5-year warranty, ensuring long-term peace of mind and customer satisfaction. The Royer R-10 combines affordability, portability, and reliability, making it a notable choice in its category.

Sound Quality


Ribbon microphones have been out of the spotlight for a few decades, but Royer Labs has brought them back in full force. The R-10 is the successor to the now-discontinued R-101, and brings that top-notch engineering, compact design, and smooth sound into your studio for a much more affordable price. Take the first step with this mic and you'll never go back.

Total Rating

Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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