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.   


Fab Dupont / Will Knox

Acoustic Guitar – SF-1
Violin – R-121
Banjo – SF-2
Standup Bass – R-122
Drum Overhead – SF-24
Drums, Tom-Toms – R-122
Drums, Kick – R-122V
Drums, Hi-Hat – R-121

Producer: Fab Dupont.  Engineer: Meredith McCandless

When our friend Fab Dupont set out to record singer/songwriter Will Knox’s album “The Matador And The Acrobat” with engineer Meredith McCandless, they decided to track the album entirely with Royer ribbons (except for a condenser on Will’s vocal and a dynamic on the snare). Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process that Fab and company so kindly put together for us.



Vocals & Guitar: Will Knox
Violin: Clayton Mathews
Banjo: Kyle James Houser
Standup Bass: Chris Anderson
Drums: Timur Yusef

Visit Fab’s website at Visit Flux Studios at is an educational website featuring a wide assortment of videos on recording, mixing, mastering and much more. was created by Fab Dupont; his partners in Puremix now include Ben Lindell and Ryan West.


Michael DeTemple

Vocals – R-121
Banjo – R-121
Acoustic Guitar – R-121

Performed and recorded by Michael DeTemple.

Recording chain: R-121 directly into a Roland 1680 recorder in Michael’s home studio.

Banjo, guitar and vocal recorded separately using one R-121, then mixed in the Roland 1680.

“Fishin” (traditional)

Randy Kohrs

Dobro – R-122
Banjo – R-122

Recorded by Randy Kohrs
Dobro and Banjo recorded into ProTools.

In these two videos, Grammy winning engineer/producer/musician Randy Kohrs shows us his techniques for recording Dobro and Banjo. It’s a great here’s-how-to-do-it for each instrument from an outstanding musician and engineer.

Randy Kohrs on recording Dobro

Play Video

Randy Kohrs on recording Banjo

Tim Weed

Banjo – R-122

Engineers: Jeff Rodenkirch, Phil Lipman

Two R-122’s on banjo, with one U87 5 feet away and pointed into the corner baffles.

Recording chain: R-122’s into Great River MP-2NV mic preamps. U87 into a Buzz Audio MA-2.2 preamp. Recorded to 2-inch tape at 30 ips.

“Granada Vox” (Tim Weed)