Royer Labs introduces new SF-2 microphone

Microphone manufacturer Royer Labs has announced the launch of the SF-2 Active Ribbon Microphone.

Designed as a premium instrument for use in classical performance applications or to capture acoustic instruments, the SF-2 is a phantom powered version of the company’s original SF-1 and combines Royer’s audio performance attributes with their exclusive active electronics for ribbon microphones.

The SF-2 has an output level of -38 dB which puts its sensitivity on par with that of a phantom powered condenser microphone, enabling the microphone to be used with a variety of mic preamplifiers, regardless of gain characteristics. The SF-2’s electronic and custom designed FET’s deliver ultra-quiet operation, with self-noise of lower than 18 dB.

The microphone’s magnet/pole piece transducer structure provides a wide frequency response with no substantial peaks or dips and the 1.8-micron ribbon element is designed to deliver optimum transient response. The microphone’s off-axis coloration is negligible. These characteristics are said to enable the microphone to deliver rich, full-range sound quality indicative of Royer Lab’s reputation for sonic accuracy.

Royer Lab’s Active Series ribbon microphones are as sensitive as phantom powered condenser microphones, enabling one to use virtually any microphone preamplifier or board preamp. Conventional ribbon microphones are typically 15 to 30 dB less sensitive than condenser mics, necessitating the use of high-quality, high-gain microphone preamplifiers when recording quieter sound sources such as acoustic instruments, vocals and room ambience. The SF-2 contains a head amplifier system that utilises a specially wound toroidal transformer and ultra-low noise FET’s to deliver a sensitivity of -38 dB.

The SF-2’s electronics create no self-noise. All of the microphone’s higher output is the result of its large, specially would toroidal transformer, which provides an additional 14 dB of ‘free gain’. The phantom powered system operates a less than unity, adding no noise of its own.

The electronics in the SF-2 provide a load to the ribbon element at all times, enabling the microphone to deliver 100% of its full sonic potential regardless of the input characteristics of the following mic preamplifier. Due to its low-impedance output, the SF-2 can be used on extremely long cable runs with minimal signal loss.

Impedance mismatching loads a ribbon element improperly, resulting in loss of low-end fullness and body, lower sensitivity and an overall diminished level of microphone performance. With Royer Lab’s Active Series ribbon technology, the ribbon element sees a perfect impedance at all times, regardless of the preamp one chooses. As a result, the ribbon element’s performance isn’t compromised by the effects of improper loading and the ribbon element cannot be damaged by phantom power, electrical glitches or incorrectly wired cables.

John Jennings, Royer’s VP of sales and marketing, said: “Our new SF-2 is the product of extensive research and field testing. We’ve had twenty prototype SF-2’s circulating in major studios and scoring stages for years. It’s been well accepted in the classical recording and scoring worlds, which is where we see the microphone being of greatest benefit due to its extremely natural sounding pickup, flat frequency response and second-to-none off-axis response. The SF-2 already has a great track record with recording choir, piano, woodwinds, strings and a number of other applications, so we’re pleased to finally make it available to engineers worldwide.”

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