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Royer R10 vs other Economic Ribbons

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by 9_Lb_B_Twin, Dec 6, 2017.


  1. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    Does anyone have any experience recording double bass with the Royer R10?

    I am thinking of getting either a Golden Age Project R1 MKII Ribbon, for it's cheap price, or a Royer R10, still cheap but more than the GA. I think I want a passive because the cheaper actives I have read about have a louder noise floor, or so they say. I am leaning towards a ribbon, because a general consensus is such that that they can almost all seemingly record upright bass well, where it is not always the case with other mics.

    I have used an AKG Perception 200 and a Shure KSM137 and tried to record. They cannot pickup the UB to make either worth keeping as paper weights. When I play back my recordings, I wouldn't guess I was hearing an upright, much less a bass. Sometimes it sounds more like a drum with just a thup - thup and no sustain. My Dean acoustic sounds more like an upright.

    I want a mic that will pickup the upright bass, and I will hear it played back and be like, yeah, that's pretty freaking close to what my room sounds like, or what I would hear if my head were where that mic was. I don't need it to be perfect.

    I am not as concerned about my other instruments, the Royer R10 gets high marks in many reviews when recording the other stuff, as my current mics do an okay job, but if it were better, cool.

    Current setup:
    My cheap apartment
    Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface
    PreSonus TubePre V2
    Mac and Garage Band
    AKG Perception 200
    Shure KSM137

    Instruments to record:
    Upton Bohemian hybrid deluxe top (95% piz)
    Three custom electric basses I built - save questions for another day, they are all wild animals!
    Markbass CMD 102P 300/500W 2x10 Tilt-Back Bass Combo Amp
    Martin acoustic guitar - the cheap one
    Epiphone DOT (ES335 thing)
    Mission 5e3 - guitar amp
    Vocals
     
  2. cdavisshannon

    cdavisshannon

    Jun 11, 2014
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    employee Gollihur Music
    Where are you positioning your current Mics? I'm a huge fan of ribbons for upright (I use a Cascade vinjet, and also an AT 2020 from time to time on my sessions) , but positioning can matter more than the mic itself. Thump and no sustain makes me think that the mics may be too close to the F hole, or the sound table of the bass. Upright's sound takes a little bit of room to manifest itself, and putting mics a bit further out than you would with something like an acoustic guitar can get you a much more balanced sound.
     
    Adam Booker likes this.
  3. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    I have tried every silly position around my apartment. Putting the mic between me and a wall or corner. Right against the bridge, f-hole (both), positioned 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 inches away. I have even tried playing facing into a blanket draped over one side of my bed with the mic on a perpendicular side of the bed. I put a mic in the middle of my living room facing the bass some 4 or so feet away. All the sounds were, at best, not that of the bass or the room.

    The few times I got actual sound and sustain to develop, it still didn't sound much like what I was hearing. It sounded like I was only hearing part of the instrument. If you heard the take in the room, and heard the recording played back, you would swear it was a different take I was playing back used with entirely different equipment. I don't think I am being overly particular either. I don't need this to sound exactly like Tony Garnier on Dylan's "Shadows in the Night" (a personal favorite recording of an upright, even though it was not a ribbon mic used there). I just want a good sound out of the upright.

    I can get good sound out of my Dean acoustic bass, that's not too hard. A little moving around and it comes alive fairly well and end up just recording with that, which is a shame when I look at the money spent on each instrument.

    I know I have lots to learn about recording, and lots of time to develop a flavor for mics, but I need to get a, generally speaking, good sound first I feel.
     
    cdavisshannon likes this.
  4. cdavisshannon

    cdavisshannon

    Jun 11, 2014
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    employee Gollihur Music
    I live, and record in a 230SqFt apartment, and it can be challenging so I feel your pain. With what you're describing I think that a ribbon mic, due to the figure 8 pattern, will probably make the problem worse as it picks up more of the room sound than a cardoid.

    The big problem in smaller spaces is the build up of bass frequencies, and usually acoustically treating a room in an apartment isn't an option. Stay away from playing into corners, that's going to give you lots of thud. I use a thick blanket over a bifold door (closed at about a 30 degree angle) to isolate the mic as much as i can from the room. I've found that in my small space my mic position is drastically different from where it would be in a proper room.

    Try throwing up your AKG on a stand about 5ft off the ground and pointed towards the bottom of the fingerboard, about 3 feet out. While this seems silly, it will get away from the boomy sound of the body of the bass. Also remember that what you hear while playing the bass is not what people out from are hearing; we have a very skewed perception of our own sound. If you can have a friend play your bass and listen out front you'll get a much better idea of where the sweet spot for your instrument is.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  5. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    I see what you are saying about a ribbon picking up the room, but the mics I have, currently aren't doing much in that department. The frequencies that are being picked up are not the low bass frequencies. You can tell a bass is playing, but it is as if bass is turned all the way down and the mids are all you hear. I may be wrong.

    When I get home, I will try what you suggest, pointing the mic slightly down at the fretboard, 5 ft off the ground and 3 ft away from the bass.
     
  6. sowilson

    sowilson

    Jul 5, 2013
    The Royer is a good choice but the bi-directional pickup pattern will mean that you have to take your room environment and mic placement seriously. I would try a Beyer M160 which is one of the few (maybe only) ribbon mics with a cardioid (hypercardioid) pickup pattern that rejects off axis sounds (less effected by your room). I have the M160/M130 pair and both are great ribbon mics and together make for a nice M-S stereo pair.
     
  7. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    Low and behold, that is the best recording I have made with either the AKG or the Shure! The AKG does a much better job picking up the bass. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I thought I tried everything. It seems so many people say their primary choice for placement is bridge height, but that thing standing way out up high five feet up sounds good. So good, that I think I want a ribbon or a better mic just to spoil myself. It's like you made me addicted... Now I hate you! HAHA JKJK

    For laughs I tried the Shure in the same position and didn't get much. The Shure has never worked as well on upright as the AKG. In fact, I think I like the AKG for almost everything more than I like the Shure, despite the fact the Shure cost more... what do you know?

    But seriously, thank you. That was a wonderful suggestion. I can't wait to tamper with it more in the coming days.
     
    cdavisshannon likes this.
  8. cdavisshannon

    cdavisshannon

    Jun 11, 2014
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    employee Gollihur Music
    Great to hear it worked out! Happy to help :)
     
  9. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    I got the Royer R10 and just picked up a Cloudlifter CL-1. For recording upright bass, and picking up the ambiance of the room, this is a great platform to get a great sound at a, relatively, great value. The Cloudlifter, either the CL-1 or CL-2, is almost a must have for this mic. The volume coming in from the mic right into the Focusrite 2i2 at least, are very low. One "could" manage and make it work without. Even without the Cloudlifter, the mic is full sounding and has plenty of warmth. With the Cloudlifter, everything in the room comes alive cause it is louder. Vocals sound great, the little I have done. It is all very warm and natural sounding, and even breathing with your face a foot away from the mic is easily picked up.

    I have the Royer R10 (~$500 USD) going into a Cloudlifter CL-1 (~$150 USD) going into a PreSonus TubePre V2 (~$130) going into a Focurite Scarlett 2i2 (~$150 USD). All coming in under $1,000 together, this is a home recording setup worth considering if you feel the need to get an accurate reproduction of your upright via mic. There are much cheaper ways, certainly. Buy a pickup, cheaper mics are out there that do a good job. Go with a cheaper preamp or a cheaper audio interface can be a quick way to save a few bucks.

    For setup (physical) I have the mic anywhere from two to three feet in front of my bass, vertical, about 36-42 inches (~1 meter) above the ground. It picks up the bass nary a struggle and it sounds like it does in the room. Please note that last part - my room has a bit of echo or reverb that the mic does pick up. I like the result. It's what I wanted and at the tippy top of the price range I wanted.

    For anyone looking for a mic, ribbon or otherwise for home or studio recording, this is one to consider.
     
    cdavisshannon likes this.
  10. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    You are far better off with an AEA N22. It is Active (needs phantom) and gives a much stronger signal. It is also a much better sounding mic in my opinion.
    Baffle the back of the fig8 pattern and it will reject much more of a room than a cardioid as it has superb side rejection.
     
  11. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    Good to know... keeping in mind the AEA N22 is almost twice the price of the Royer R10.
     
  12. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    Yes, but you eliminate the need for the cloudlifter, with better results.
    A passive ribbon needs a much better preamp than an active one or you will have noise issues. It is only $900 new, I prefer the AEA A440, but that is a tiny bit more expensive and a lot larger. If you absolutely want a passive ribbon, look at the R92 from AEA which is $760.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not sure what is so horrible about the Cloudlifter. I use one with an RE 20 and I think it sounds great!
     
    Kickdrum and cdavisshannon like this.
  14. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    Yeah, you're one of the few people I have heard have a negative opinion about the cloud lifter. I am more of a minimalist. If I could do without it, I would gladly. I'm sure it is flawed, it is only a $150 component. I'm sure something that does its job, but does it unanimously well, would cost much much more with some higher grade components possibly.

    What has your experience been with it and where has it lead you astray? I am legit curious, I'm not calling you out in an offensive way.
     
  15. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    Just wrote a long reply and deleted.
    Try for yourself and compare an Active AEA or Royer vs a passive of the same with the cloudlifter. Also try a cheap pre with the CL and a preamp like Forssell or RPQ500 without. If you do not hear a difference in quiet material then your experience will differ from mine.
     
  16. Gregmak

    Gregmak

    Oct 1, 2009
    Larnaca, Cyprus
    I recently bought an AEA R88 with an AEA RPQ2 preamp. I'm getting a really great sound out of this combo. But I record in well treated rooms, and in big halls. I don't think a ribbon mic would work well in a small room no matter how much you try to fix the room with diy stuff. Maybe the aea n88 only. But do let me know, if you figure out something!
     
  17. 9_Lb_B_Twin

    9_Lb_B_Twin

    Jul 11, 2015
    Palatine, IL
    Voted Claypool for President.
    I’ve gotten replies on this board an PM’s from people about these AEA mics, other mics and other preamps. I want to say thank you to replying and putting in the time.

    I find this a good setup for entertaining ones self with recording. The setup I talk about above will get you that okay to good sound, think 5-7 out of 10, so you can at least not be frustrated by your recording equipment to the point you won’t want to record. You’ll enjoy it.

    I am not in a band. Never have been. Bass and guitar have always been a hobby. I am recording in a cheap apartment. My back is usually to a glass sliding door which is the width of my apt. I have no sound dampening other than a couch and the carpet. Plus, I’m using a focusrite and a presonus preamp. This is cheap stuff. Plus, I know nothing about EQing. I mean nothing. I adjust the volume levels and pan the way I want it, and I am happy with that. I’m not plugging a $800-$1,800 mic into that, putting my back against the glass, recording and hoping the HVAC unit doesn’t kick on and get picked up. I’m working to entertain myself with some minor quality. If that’s what you are looking for, consider the R10. If you are going into a studio, or just have the money and take this more seriously, I would not recommend the R10, at least not with the setup I have. By all means, get the fancy stuff.