R-121, R-122V, SF-24 and SF-24V in heavy rotation
Ross Hogarth is a multi-Grammy winning producer/mixer/engineer whose credits include Keb’ Mo, Rita Coolidge, Van Halen, James McMurtry, Sick Puppies, John Mellencamp and many more. Ross produced, recorded, and mixed Edgar Winter’s Brother Johnny, a musical tribute to Edgar’s older brother Johnny Winter, one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists and pioneers in rock & roll history. The album was released in April 2022.
“Brother Johnny was three years in the making” Ross says, “and was a labor of love for Edgar and everyone involved. We cut the basic tracks at Capitol Records’ Studio B, with Gregg Bissonette on drums for most of the record and Ringo Starr on drums for one of the tracks. Most of the overdubs were done at Infinite Spin Recording in Van Nuys, and a string quartet was recorded at East West Studios in Hollywood. I mixed the record at my studio, Boogie Motel, in Woodland Hills. Throughout the entire album, all of my Royer ribbon mics were up on almost everything we recorded.”
“Johnny Winter was a legendary guitarist, and this album is a bucket list of great guitar players honoring him,” Hogarth reports. “Joe Bonamassa, Billy Gibbons, Joe Walsh, Derek Trucks, Keb’ Mo, Steve Lukather, Warren Haynes, David Grissom, among many others. This is an emotional record because it relates to the lifetime and death of a brother. All these players came to show their respect and love for Edger and Johnny.”
Asked about why he leans on ribbon microphones so much, Ross said “I’m not trying to do anything more complicated than to record music and convey the emotion and intention of the artist. Some mics sound very dry and unemotional, and they have their place. But when I put my Royers up, what I capture is richer, deeper, and somehow more emotionally connected, friendly and warm. That’s what I go for, a natural, honest sound. My ultimate goal is to deliver emotion through two speakers.”
When asked about recording so many guitarists on one record, Ross said “Depending on the guitar amps and how many amps were in the session, I miked some of them with the classic Royer R-121/Shure SM57 combo and others with a Royer R-122V/SM 57 combo. Royer makes a dual microphone clip that lets you mount both mics on one stand, so I often use that for ease of positioning and shifting mics from one cabinet to another. In some instances, I also added a Royer SF-24V to capture room sound.”
“R-121s deliver a rich, low-mid warmth on guitars, with all the energy of the original performance. By contrast, the SM57 has a very hard ‘fist’ in the midrange. Combining an R-121 and 57 enables me to capture a very natural sound without having to EQ anything up front – you just blend the two mics to taste and it’s magic. The R-122V has a bit more reach and pulls out a more defined sound, so I like using that too.”
Hogarth uses his SF-24V tube stereo ribbon on a number of instruments. “On drums,” he added, “I always use the SF-24V for stereo room sound, with the mic positioned in the center of the kit, about 10 – 15 feet back. On Brother Johnny, Kenny Aronoff played percussion on a few songs and the SF-24V was perfect. I used it as an overhead mic to capture the timbales, shakers, and some additional percussion instruments. On the track Johnny B. Goode, Edgar plays saxophone. For this, I used an R-122V up close and an SF-24V for room sound. I always use the SF-24V on horns as a room mic. For capturing strings, I always use the SF-24V, in conjunction with other room mics. And all the piano tracks on this record have the SF-24V in conjunction with a pair of tube condensers. I lean on that mic a lot!”
Hogarth continued, “The SF-24 and SF-24V are both basically ‘set it and forget it’ tools that deliver an amazing room sound. As a point and shoot microphone, they both work exceptionally well for strings, percussion, and horns. These mics are also fantastic for capturing the low mids of a string ensemble.”
Regarding his relationship with Royer Labs, dating back to 1998, Ross said “In many ways, I think of myself as a partner with Royer. I’ve been working closely with John Jennings and Rick Perrotta since the early days of the company, testing new products, giving feedback, and inviting them to my sessions to see their designs in action. John always sends me prototype products to get my opinion. They respect the people who use their products and they want educated opinions on how their designs work in real-world settings before anything is released. We go back a long way, and that enables us to be truthful with each other. I feel like we’re a team and that the relationship keeps growing. Ultimately, that enables me to express myself to the best of my ability sonically in the studio. Royer ribbons will remain a constant on every session I ever record.”
To learn more about Ross Hogarth, visit http://www.hoaxproductions.com/.