Royer Labs R122-MKII
Active Ribbon Microphone


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In 2002 Royer Labs introduced the R-122, the world's first phantom powered, active ribbon™ microphone. This was an important development in ribbon mics, combining impedance matching circuitry with condenser-like output levels that allowed Royer Labs' R-122 to be used on even the quietest sound sources.

The Royer Labs R-122 MKII takes the R-122 to a different level, delivering unprecedented flexibility for ribbons via the addition of a switchable -15 dB pad and a switchable bass-cut filter. The switches are completely out of the circuit when disengaged, so when both are off the microphone is for all purposes an original Royer Labs R-122. The switches are located on the back of the microphone and recessed to prevent accidental activation.

The Pad

The Royer Labs R-122 MKII’s switchable -15 dB pad is positioned before the microphone’s electronics and, when engaged, eliminates any potential for headroom-related distortion on even the loudest sound sources. Wide open electric guitars are no problem. With the pad in, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII’s output is actually 2 dB lower than the flagship R-121, and the pad has no sonic imprint. Once levels are matched, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII reproduces sound exactly the same with the pad in as with the pad out.

The Bass Cut

When switched in, the bass cut of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII starts filtering at 100 Hz, 6 dB per octave, effectively reducing the mic’s bass buildup due to proximity effect. This smooth filter is extremely useful on vocals, many acoustic instruments, and close-miked electric guitars when less bottom end is desired. The microphone utilizes a special Royer-designed toroidal transformer that delivers a faster transient response than traditional ribbons, making it a go-to ribbon mic for drum overheads, percussion and all acoustic instruments.


Conventional ribbon microphones need high-quality, high-gain microphone preamplifiers to record softer sound sources. The output level of Royer Labs' R-122 MKII is much higher, allowing you to use practically any mic preamplifier or board pre's to record even the quietest sounds. The Royer Labs R-122 MKII contains a fully balanced, hand-wired, discrete head amplifier system utilizing a specially wound toroidal transformer and ultra-low noise FET's. This system is extremely quiet and brings the microphone's sensitivity to 37 dB, all while allowing for high SPL recording. Plug a MKII into any preamp with average gain and you'll get full Royer performance with enough level to drive any recording medium.

Despite the higher sensitivity of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII, there is no increase in self-noise. All of the mic’s additional output comes from its large, specially wound toroidal transformer - something called "free gain." The phantom powered circuitry provides impedance conversion only, adding no noise of its own.

Impedance Matching

The active electronics of Royer Labs' R-122 MKII put a perfect load on the ribbon element at all times, allowing the microphone to deliver its full sonic potential regardless of the input characteristics of the following pre. Due to its low-impedance output, the Royer Labs R-122 MKII can be used on extremely long cable runs with minimal signal loss. In addition, the ribbon element can't be damaged by phantom power, miswired cables or electrical glitches.

Patented Offset Ribbon Technology

The Royer Labs R-122's proprietary offset ribbon transducer (Patent # 6,434,252) positions the ribbon element closer to the front (logo) side of the microphone. This configuration gives the ribbon more room to move within the prime magnetic field while maintaining full frequency response during high SPL recordings. It's an integral piece of all Royer R-series microphones.


The R-122 MKII is every bit as tough as the Royer Labs R-121. It is a first-call mic for electric and acoustic guitars, drum overheads, brass, percussion, electric and acoustic bass, piano, strings, woodwinds, Foley, and many other applications. The Royer Labs R-122 MKII is similar to the R-121, but the faster transient response and larger size of the MKII's audio transformer translates into more open highs and a tighter, more focused low end response. These characteristics make the Royer Labs R-122 MKII an exceptional choice for drum overheads, many acoustic instruments, percussion, strings, piano, standup bass and vocals. As with all Royer ribbons, pushing up the faders on your ribbon-recorded tracks at mixdown is a revelation. When your tracks sound natural and real, there's nothing to fight or “fix” and instruments drop into the mix easily.

Should I Use An R-122 MKll or R-121?

Because of the Royer Labs R-122 MKII's faster transient response and tighter low end, engineers often choose them over R-121's for drum overheads, acoustic instruments and vocals. R-121's sometimes edge out the Royer Labs R-122 MKII's on electric guitars and brass, but it's a matter of taste. If you're recording mostly electric guitars and/or brass, Royer Labs suggests going with the R-121 - it’s less expensive and sounds great. The MKII is equally good on these instruments, but you may not need (or want) the additional openness in the highs from the faster transient response, and you won't need the MKII’s higher sensitivity on these high SPL applications. If you plan on using the mics primarily for drum overheads, vocals, piano, acoustic instruments, strings, classical music applications and so forth, Royer Labs  recommends going with the R-122 MKII, which will also be excellent on electric guitars, percussion and brass.

Two Mics in One

Due to Royer Labs' patented offset ribbon transducer, the back of the R-122 MKII records slightly brighter than the front side at distances of three feet and closer. This can be extremely useful for recording acoustic guitars, vocals, drum overheads and other sound sources that you may want a slightly brighter response on.

Royer Labs R122-MKII Includes:

  • Ribbon Element Warranty: One Year

Royer Labs R122-MKII Features:

  • Phantom powered circuitry provides high output and impedance matching
  • -15 dB pad before the mic’s electronics gives more headroom when activated.
  • Bass cut filter reduces proximity effect and bass below 100 Hz when activated
  • High SPL Capabilities
  • No 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
  • Rear side of mic records slightly brighter when three feet or closer to sound source

Royer Labs R122-MKII Specifications:

  • Acoustic Operating Principle: Electrodynamic pressure gradient with active electronics
  • Polar Pattern: Figure-8
  • Generating Element: 2.5-micron aluminum ribbon
  • Magnets: Rare Earth Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 30 - 15,000 Hz ±3 dB
  • Sensitivity: -36 dB (re. 1v/pa ±1 dB)
  • Switchable Pad: -15 dB
  • Switchable Bass Cut: 100 Hz (6 dB per octave)
  • Self-Noise: < 18 dB
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohms, balanced
  • Output Connector: Male XLR 3-pin (Pin 2 Hot)
  • Rated Load Impedance: 1K-Ohm minimum
  • Maximum SPL: 135 dB @ 30 Hz
  • Power Requirements: 48-Volt Phantom Only
  • Supply Current: 4 mA
  • Dimensions: 206mm L X 25mm W (8 1/8” L X 1” W)
  • Weight: 309 grams (10.9 oz)
  • Finish: Burnished Satin Nickel / Matte Black
  • Chrome (optional)
  • Accessories: Protective wood case, mic sock
  • Optional Accessories: Wind screen, shock mount
  • Microphone Warranty: Lifetime to original owner (repair or replace at Royer’s option)
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