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Microphones - FAQ

How much does a re-ribbon cost?

Putting a new ribbon into all AEA microphones costs $165.00 USD.

Please have a look at the AEA Equipment Repair Form for additional information and shipping instructions. Please note that for all non-warranty work, at the time the repair order is placed we require a valid credit card to secure the order prior to beginning the work on your microphone. The credit card will not be charged until the job is complete.

How much gain should a preamp have to accommodate your mics?

Passive ribbon microphones generally have low output level and require preamps that supply a high level of gain. If the preamp you use doesn’t have enough gain, the signal might seem too soft or noisy.

The preamp input impedance affects the output level of the mic in addition to the mic’s frequency and transient response characteristics. It is generally recommended to use a preamp that is at least 4 times the input impedance of the microphone’s output impedance. However, a low or very high input impedance on a preamp will not hurt a ribbon microphone. We recommend clean, high impedance preamps with a minimum input impedance of 1.2K Ohms and at least 65dB of gain.

What is the difference between the AEA R44 and the RCA 44?

The AEA R44-series microphones all share the authentic sound, feel and look of the 1936-38 RCA 44BX. The R44 series microphones are all detailed, hand-crafted replicas, using parts that are made to be interchangeable with an original RCA 44. They even feature ribbon material originally manufactured for RCA. The original 44 microphones were constantly updated during their twenty years of production, and after carefully looking at some of the technical modifications, we at AEA decided to adopt the British engineering from RCA that reduces the mic's weight and hum sensitivity. The R44C was designed to meet or exceed the output of a brand-new RCA 44. It is a museum-quality replica, featuring a bronze investment cast yoke, superior to the original zinc yokes by RCA (which tend to corrode over time), a hand-polished cushion mount and a cloth-covered Accusound Silver Studio Pro cable.

The R44 series microphones are passive, like the RCA 44, and are more forgiving in a wider range of situations than active microphones can be in terms of headroom. For the active version of the R44, check out the AEA A440 page. The A440 has the hottest signal, and can, therefore, boast, through highest signal to noise ratio, to be the quietest of any ribbon mic on the planet.

How much more output does the X-motor have compared to the standard R44?

The R44CX is a high-output, red-badge version of the R44C, specially designed for scoring and other applications demanding a wide dynamic range with the "classic 44" sound and delivers 6 dB more dynamic range. The R44CXE is the high output version of the R44CE combining the economical finish with the higher output of the R44CX.

What is the difference between the R44C and the R44CE?

The cost-effective R44CE features the exact same ribbon, transformer, and luscious sound as the R44C, but with a simpler, economical exterior trim. This version features a one-piece cushion mount, a formed steel yoke with satin nickel finish, and a star-quad XLR output cable. Finally, the R44CXE is the high output version of the R44CE combining the economical finish with the higher output of the R44CX.

AEA R44 version matrix

Figure-of-8 Ribbons: Sweet Spots Both Front and Rear

Large Sweet Spots Both Front and Rear

AEA Big Ribbons™ maintain accurate tonality for off-axis instruments and room tone and has wider sweet spots front and rear than large-diaphragm condenser mics. Due to their geometry, the high-frequency response is more consistent horizontally than most mics. As a sound source moves laterally around the mic towards the null plane, the output level goes down as expected but the mic’s high-frequency response is remarkably consistent and goes out well past 20 kHz. 

Variable High-Frequency EQ from Changes in Vertical Angle

The physics of AEA Big Ribbons™ design exhibits a high-frequency response decrease as you tip it either up or down off the main axis. This is in addition to the normal change in level as you move off axis. If you’re interested in a darker sound, while maintaining midrange presence, experiment with moving the aiming point up or down from where you’d normally aim it.