Not many of the millions of movie goers that saw Finding Dory in its first weekend, propelling it to a record-breaking $136 million-plus Pixar debut, were thinking about how the sound was recorded.
Some AV-minded folks were, however, and engineer and scoring mixer Tommy Vicari CAS is willing to share. The two-time Grammy Award winner and six-time Emmy Award winner selected ribbon microphones from Royer Labs and condenser microphones from Mojave Audio for use on his latest project, Finding Dory, and there must be a good reason.
For Finding Dory, Vicari reports using Royer’s R-121 Mono Ribbon and SF-24 Stereo Active Ribbon microphones in conjunction with the Mojave Audio MA-300, MA-100, and MA-101fet condenser mics. He discussed his experiences on the project for a Royer Labs and Mojave Audio press release:
“The Royer R-121, SF-24, and the Mojave MA-300 were used extensively throughout the pre-recording process, which took place at composer Thomas Newman’s Deep Sleep studio,” Vicari reports. “The remaining recordings were captured at the Newman Scoring Stage in LA and the Streisand Scoring Stage in Culver City, CA with the tracks ultimately being mixed at the Village in Santa Monica. During the various sessions, I used a combination of the Royer SF-24 and the Mojave MA-100 on the piano and for the percussion, we captured those performances using the Royer SF-24 along with Mojave MA-101fets. The Royer R-121 was used to record the solo violin.”
According to Vicari, the orchestra recording was a complex affair. “The orchestra was recorded at Fox and Sony by Armin Steiner,” Vicari explained. “Because of the complex nature of this score, the orchestra was the last stage of this process. The merging of pre-record, environmental pads, rhythm loops, live percussion, electric wind instruments, accompanying string instruments such as dulcimers, Tahitian ukulele, banjo, plus bowed and electric bass was all captured first. After recording all of this information, we recorded the orchestra with Armin, and then we combined all these elements to create Thomas Newman’s totally unique score.”
Asked about his preference for Royer ribbons and Mojave condenser mics, Vicari offered the following thoughts, “The Royer R-121 is very capable when it comes to capturing the nuances of string and other instruments. The mic captures the instrument’s subtleties very well. Both Royer and Mojave microphones are a permanent part of my recording equipment. I use them on every session I do! Orchestras, big band, pop music—everywhere.”
Vicari appears equally impressed with the Royer Labs’ customer and technical support services. “Royer Labs technical support is, in my opinion, exceptional,” Vicari says. “My equipment is routinely checked and serviced on a regular basis. Everyone at the company is very supportive and a pleasure to work with.”
Before heading back to the studio, Vicari summed up his relationship with Royer Labs. “The entire Royer and Mojave team has been extremely supportive over the years,” said Vicari, “and on the few occasions where I found myself in a jam, they’ve been very responsive. These microphones consistently deliver a natural sound, they’re extremely reliable, and the company stands firmly behind the products they build. These microphones always provide the highest sound quality! I rely on them! I recommend them!”