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BidirectionalRoyer Labs SF-1

Bidirectional Ribbon Microphone

The SF-1 is a compact, mono (bidirectional) ribbon mic, with a smaller and lighter ribbon than used in the R-121. It is the mono version of the SF-12 stereo ribbon; both use a 1.8 micron ribbon, as compared to the 2.5 micron ribbon in the R-121 series.

Unlike Royer’s phantom-powered ribbons, the SF-1 exhibits low sensitivity characteristic of traditional ribbon designs, and needs a quiet, high-gain preamp for acoustic or distant-miked sources. For close-miked or electronic sources, the preamp’s gain levels are less critical. Note that the SF-1 handles relatively high SPL (rated at >130dB).

Royer Labs

The heart of the SF-1 is its proprietary cross-field ribbon transducer. Comprised of four powerful Neodymium magnets and Permendur iron pole-pieces, the cross-field design assures the shortest front-to-rear ribbon path length for best high frequency response. The case is fashioned from ingot iron and forms the magnetic return circuit, an effective system with low leakage flux which accounts for the relatively high sensitivity in a trim package.

Electronic Musician, 2001
As much as I appreciate the SF-1’s virtues as a flat and extremely warm mic, for electric guitar I usually want a mic with some attitude. The SF-1 has a neutral quality that makes the R-121 and Coles 4038 seem aggressive in comparison.

I also experimented with the SF-1 as a mono drum overhead, comparing it with a single Oktava 012. Placed above the center of the kit and about five feet from the floor, the SF-1 picked up viable cymbal sounds and captured a huge snare tone that sounded much truer than what the condenser mic captured. When raised two feet higher, the single SF-1 produced a sound surprisingly comparable to the Oktava 012.

The Royer Labs SF-1 is also known as: SF1.

The mic was released in 2001.


Frequency Response - BidirectionalClick Graph to Compare!
SF-1 Bidirectional Frequency Response Chart
Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Bidirectional (2.5 mV/Pa; 30 - 15,000 Hz)
Ribbon Construction Impedance SPL/Noise
1.8 micron aluminum ribbon 300 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 130 dB
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
264g (9.31oz) 142mm (5.59'') 25mm (0.98'')
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications

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