Recording Banjo


Alison Brown and Stewart Duncan Recording Banjo With Ribbon Microphones

Royer Labs and Deering Banjo Company teamed up with renowned musicians Alison Brown and Stuart Duncan, with engineer Matt Coles at the controls at Nashville’s historic Compass Studio, to make this video series on recording the banjo with ribbon microphones. Alison and Stuart have played on many hundreds of recordings and share their deep knowledge of recording the banjo. Matt Coles gives expert advice on microphone placement, working with the back side of R-121s, how to work with the ribbon microphones figure-8 pattern, phase relationships, and more.

Recording Engineer:

Matt Coles. Recorded at Compass Records Sound Studio, Nashville TN. 

Signal Chain:

Royer ribbon mics through API 3124 preamplifiers, recorded to Pro Tools. No EQ or effects used.

Episode 1: Alison Brown At Compass Records Sound Studio Recording Banjo With Ribbon Mics
Episode 2: Alison Brown & Stuart Duncan Duet Recording Banjo with Ribbon Mics
Episode 3: Stuart Duncan Recording Old-Time Clawhammer Banjo With Ribbon Mics
Episode 4: Stuart Duncan on His Favorite Ribbon Microphone Positions
Episode 5: Engineer Matt Coles Tips on Recording Banjo, with Alison Brown

Episode 1: Alison Brown At Compass Records Sound Studio Recording Banjo With Ribbon Mics

Alison Brown introduces this video series, which was shot and recorded at the famous Compass Records Sound Studio in Nashville TN. Hear Alison play “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” and talk about her Deering Julia Belle banjo and how she records it with ribbon microphones. Recording Engineer Matt Coles joins her to talk about his favorite places to position a ribbon mic on the banjo.

Episode 2: Alison Brown & Stuart Duncan Duet Recording Banjo with Ribbon Mics

Alison Brown and Stuart Duncan play “Arkansas Traveler” together, then recording engineer Matt Coles walks us through his banjo recording methods. Matt talks about mic positioning, using the R-121 backwards on banjo, phase relationships, and more, while Alison plays solo banjo to demonstrate. In this video, Alison plays a Deering Julia Belle miked with two R-121s and Stuart plays a Deering Vega Vintage Star miked with one R-122V.

Episode 3: Stuart Duncan Recording Old-Time Clawhammer Banjo With Ribbon Mics

Stuart Duncan walks us through how he uses ribbon mics to record old-style Clawhammer banjo, plays “Arkansas Traveler” and shares his feelings about using ribbon microphones throughout his career. Stuart plays a Deering Vega Vintage Star banjo in this video, with an R-122V tube ribbon mic in front and an R-121 behind picking up the tone coming off the rear of the instrument.


Stuart Duncan Talks About His Favorite Ribbon Mic Positions for Recording Banjo With Ribbon Microphones

Episode 4: Violinist and banjo player extraordinaire Stuart Duncan shows us where he likes to put a ribbon mic on his banjo, and explains why you’ll want to move the mic closer or further from the instrument depending on the recording situation. Stuart also pulls out a second ribbon mic and shows two positions he likes when recording with two mics. Stuart plays a Deering Vega Vintage Star banjo during this video. 

Episode 5: Engineer Matt Coles Tips on Recording Banjo, with Alison Brown

Recording Engineer Matt Coles summarizes his banjo recording tips and shares a few more pearls of wisdom on how to get the most from banjos with ribbon microphones. Alison Brown caps off this video series, taking us out with a beautiful rendition of “Oh Susanna” on her Deering Julia Belle banjo.   


Recording the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square & Millennial Choirs and Orchestras with Royer

Jason Graham, Recording and Broadcast Engineer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, explains how he uses ribbon mics when recording The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and also The Millennial Choirs and Orchestras.

Preamplifier and placement information is included in the video. The songs featured in the video are included below in their entirety. 

Mics used:

SF-24V: Choir, Oipe Organ, Room
SF-2: Choir
SF-24: Sections
R-122V: Strings
R-121 Harp
dBooster: support Woodwind mics

Amazing Grace

Be Still My Soul

Bile Them Cabbage Down

Come, Come Ye Saints


Recording Trumpet with Engineer Michael Bishop & Cancer Blows Charity Concert

Multi-Grammy Award winning recording engineer Michael Bishop explains how he mics and records this phenomenal CancerBlows live performance. Featuring some of the best-known trumpet players alive, the music is fantastic and Michael’s thoughts on how to capture brass, orchestra and big band properly using ribbon microphones is invaluable.


Huge thanks to Ryan and Niki Anthony, Michael Bishop and Erica Brenner.

See more details about CancerBlows.

 The recording is available on Music=Hope Records and all proceeds from the sale of the recording help fund cancer research. Purchase the music: CD/DVD (the full concert and music experience):

High Resolution HDTracks 

Stream the music

Royer dBooster – In-Line Signal Booster

Guitarist Shawn Tubbs demos a dBooster in his home studio using a Royer R-10 ribbon mic and a Shure SM57 dynamic mic on acoustic guitar (tasty playing!). The dBooster is the industry’s cleanest in-line preamp for studio use and driving long cable runs on live stages.


Tim Pierce – Recording Electric Guitar With A Royer R-122V

Tim Pierce has been one of LA’s most prolific and in-demand session guitarists for decades. In this video Tim walks us through his basic home recording techniques (including gear used), builds guitar layers on a track, and demonstrates how he mixes a Royer R-122V and a Shure SM57 to shape and record his guitar tones.

In this video (#2 of 3) Tim digs into some great Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan electric guitar tones, demonstrating how he blends an R-122V and an SM57 to capture all the tone and power his 4×12 cabinet is kicking out.

Tim Pierce – Recording Heavy Rock Electric Guitar with an R-122V and SM57, #3 of 3 video series
In the final video of this 3-video series, Tim plays HEAVY detuned electric guitar and also does some screaming solos. Have some fun and turn this one up loud! Tim shows how he blends an R-122V and an SM57 to capture all the crunch and power of these styles.

FOH Engineer Kevin Madigan using an R-10 & R-121 on live electric guitars

When Lana Del Ray played the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, FOH engineer Kevin Madigan and guitar tech Carl Lewis took us behind the scenes to show us how they’re using R-10 and R-121 ribbons on the electric guitars. In this video they talk about the sonic impact ribbon mics have on the overall FOH sound and the better musical experience ribbons provide for in-ear monitor users.

Royer Factory Tour

Royer Labs President Rick Perrotta gives a video tour of our Burbank CA factory. Come inside and see how we build ribbon microphones!
Thanks to Musician’s Friend for the video.