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Royer ribbon mics prove their mettle in live applications

Legendary jazz/rock fusion group Return to Forever reunited for the first time in 25 years for a summer tour of North America and Europe. The classic lineup of keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al DiMeola and drummer Lenny White played more than 50 shows and completed the tour Aug. 8 at the United Palace in New York City. Midway through the tour, two Royer Labs R-122 Live series microphones were used to mic guitarist Al DiMeola’s two amp cabinets.

Audio veteran Bernie Kirsh served as the FOH engineer for the Return to Forever tour. Kirsh, whose career has been closely tied to that of keyboardist Chick Corea, reports that right from the start, Royer Labs microphones were included in the tour manifest.

At the onset of the tour, the studio version of the R-122 was used. But when the group played Los Angeles, Kirsh met with Royer’s John Jennings, who suggested the R-122 Live models because of their ability to withstand higher SPLs.

Kirsh placed a single Royer R-122 Live on each of DiMeola’s guitar cabinets — a Mesa Boogie Lone Star 100 and a Fuchs Overdrive Supreme 100. Using close-miking techniques, Kirsh noticed subtle but significant changes between the studio and live models. “The studio version of the R-122 is a pretty hardy mic in its own right,” Kirsh said, “but I did discover a slight difference in the live model’s sound quality. To my ear, the R-122 Live has the same clarity as the studio R-122, but the live model seems a bit warmer, full sounding and more consistent in live sound environments. They really did a nice job on this project.”

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