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Royer R-121 Microphone Review


Lauded by Recording Magazine as “one of the classic microphones of the 21st century,” the Royer 121 is the company’s flagship microphone. Radically re-engineered to bring ribbon microphones back into studios everywhere, the Royer R121 delivers all the best qualities of a ribbon mic in a quality, durable package that’s transformed expectations all across the board. 

The Royer R-121 has a warm, natural sound packaged in a compact, high-output package that makes it ideal for tracking electric guitar and brass. Having sold thousands of units worldwide, it’s become a standard in the industry thanks to its realistic sound and user-friendliness. Royer Labs has become what many consider to be the foremost manufacturer of ribbon microphones worldwide, and this Royer ribbon mic is exactly why.

About the Royer R-121 Microphone

Royer R-121 Microphone

Polar Pattern


Frequency Range

30 Hz – 15 kHz (+/- 3 dB)


-47 dBv Re. 1v/pa

Output Impedance

300 Ohms @ 1K (nominal)

Maximum SPL

>135 dB @ 20 Hz

In the early days of the professional audio industry, ribbon mics were a much more popular option when compared to the present. They were able to offer far better results than the moving coil microphones of the era, and as a result, the development of ribbon mic technology reached its peak in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Their popularity soon faded, however, when a burgeoning industry of capacitor microphone technology began to take their place.

Ribbon mic technology definitely has its advantages. A ribbon mic has a thin metal diaphragm that’s not too different in size from that of a condenser mic, which means that it’s equally capable of a wide bandwidth and dynamic range. It also has a lower residual noise floor when compared to a typical capacitor mic. The one downside they had was that their sensitivity was primarily determined by their magnetic field, and early magnetic technology required larger magnets, making them incredibly bulky.

Thanks to intensive research and advancements in technology over the years, however, Royer mics are able to make use of smaller magnets for similar or even better audio performance. And thanks to a patented offset ribbon technology, the Royer R 121 is able to maintain a full frequency response during high SPL recordings.

Benefits of the Royer R-121 Microphone

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Ribbon mics have a unique sound quality that puts them somewhere between a capacitor mic and a moving-coil mic. Smooth-sounding and flattering to vocals, brass, and woodwind instruments, it’s a distinctive sound that any sound engineer would love to play with. The Royer mic design takes that one step further by working with high sound-pressure levels while still being able to deliver a sound that is smooth and suave, making it an ideal part of any musician’s studio.

Patented Ribbon Mic Technology

Royer takes its ribbon mics seriously, and thanks to its patented offset ribbon technology, the company is able to produce a mic unlike anything else in the world. The R-121’s proprietary offset ribbon transducer is able to position the ribbon element closer to the front side of the microphone, giving the ribbon more room within the prime magnetic field. This allows the mic to maintain full frequency response during high SPL recordings without “cracking.” Thanks to this patented technology, there’s no reason to go for a Royer 121 clone when the real thing is just so much better.

Studio Companion

The R-121 performs excellently in the studio. Use it with anything from a loud electric guitar amp, an acoustic guitar, a kick drum set, or a human voice, and you’ll get a sound that is smooth, complimentary, and completely natural-sounding. The mic’s figure-of-eight polar pattern allows it to sound great in a variety of positions with only minor physical adjustments. Although the diaphragms of ribbon mics are notoriously sensitive to air pressure and wear and tear, the R-121 comes with a lifetime warranty so you can rest easy. Additionally, simple fixes like installing a pop filter or windshield will let you use your mic for longer.

Pros and Cons of the Royer R-121 Microphone

✔ Lifetime warranty
✔ Durable
✔ Lightweight build compared to most ribbon microphones
✔ Eliminated high-frequency phase distortion
✔ Impressive maximum sound pressure level
✘ Expensive price point

What People Are Saying

The R-121’s smooth frequency response, phase linearity, and incredible sensitivity levels produce a natural sound that brings warmth to digital recording. Royer Labs’ flagship model remains the industry standard for ribbon mics, and if you’re looking for a figure-of-eight mic with a bright response and a balanced, panoramic sound field, then this is exactly the mic that you need. Nobody does ribbon mics better.

“This is probably one of my favorite mics. The sound is smooth, clean, and clear no matter what you record with this. It doesn’t have a raspy sound to it like you might expect.”

Reviewer – gearscape

Where to Buy the Royer R-121 Microphone

Thanks to advancements in technology, Royer Labs has brought the ribbon mic back into the game. While the R-121 may be fairly pricey, it’s a versatile tool that’ll make a great addition to your studio setup. Electric guitarists especially will find that the R-121 may be the mic for them, as no other mic can also capture their sound. Find the best deals for the Royer R-121 Microphone here.

Royer R-121 Microphone

The Royer R-121 microphone is backed by a lifetime warranty, ensuring peace of mind and long-term reliability. It is built to last, with exceptional durability that withstands rigorous use. Despite its lightweight construction, it surpasses most ribbon microphones in terms of portability.

One standout feature is its elimination of high-frequency phase distortion, resulting in exceptionally accurate and transparent sound reproduction. Furthermore, it handles high sound pressure levels with ease, showcasing its impressive maximum SPL capabilities.

The Royer R-121 combines durability, clarity, and power, making it a top choice for professional audio recording.

Sound Quality


Royer Labs has made huge steps for ribbon mic technology with the R-121. The R-121 has beautiful sound quality with almost any source, as well as an incredible SPL capability. It may need a touch more careful handling than most mics, but definitely worth the investment.

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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