Royer Labs has announced the SF-2 Active Ribbon Microphone. They tell us that, 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 ribbon microphone and combines Royer's legendary audio performance attributes with their exclusive active electronics for ribbon microphones.
John Jennings, Royer's VP of Sales and Marketing, told us, "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 has 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."
Here's all the details in Royer's own words...
The new Royer Labs SF-2 has an output level of -38 dB--putting its sensitivity on par with that of phantom powered condenser microphones. This enables the microphone to be used with a wide variety of mic preamplifiers, regardless of gain characteristics. The SF-2's unique electronics and custom designed FET's deliver ultra-quiet operation; with self-noise of lower than 18 dB.
The SF-2's magnet/pole piece transducer structure provides a wide, uniform frequency response with no substantial peaks or dips, and the 1.8-micron ribbon element delivers superb transient response. The result is excellent frequency response, regardless of the angle of sound striking the ribbon. Equally noteworthy, the microphone's off-axis coloration is negligible. These characteristics enable the microphone to deliver rich, full-range sound quality indicative of Royer Labs' legendary reputation for sonic accuracy.
In terms of gain structure, Royer Labs' 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, room ambiance, etc. The SF-2 contains a fully balanced, discrete head amplifier system that utilizes a specially wound toroidal transformer and ultra-low noise FET's to deliver a sensitivity of -38 dB. Even with extremely quiet sound sources, the SF-2 provides enough level to drive any recording medium.
Equally notable, the SF-2's electronics create no additional self-noise. All of the microphone's higher output is the result of its large, specially wound toroidal transformer, which provides an additional 14 dB of 'free gain.' The phantom powered system operates at less than unity, adding no noise of its own.
The electronics in the SF-2 provide a perfect 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.
A proper impedance match is critical to the performance of any ribbon microphone. 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 Labs' 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 is never compromised by the effects of improper loading. Further, the ribbon element cannot be damaged by phantom power, electrical glitches, or incorrectly wired cables.
The Royer Labs SF-2 Active Ribbon Microphone ships in an aluminum presentation case with an SFS-2 shock mount, mic sock, documentation, and owner's manual. There is also an optionally available SF-2 Deluxe Package that includes a beautiful Padauk wood presentation case, a Royer-made 20-foot microphone cable, a premium RSM-24 shock mount, documentation, and owner's manual--all packaged in an aluminum carrying/storage case.
Pricing and Availability:
SF-2 Standard Package: $2,495. SF-2 Deluxe Package: $3,295.