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Transporting RCA 44 mics Ribbon Microphones
Old 23rd March 2019
Gear Head
boomwhack's Avatar
Transporting RCA 44 mics

Hello Gearslutz,
My father recently passed away and I have inherited two RCA 44 mics. I’m planning to transport them back home in my carry on luggage. Any recommendations for how to wrap them and best protect them?
Thanks, Christian
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Old 23rd March 2019
Lives for gear
andersmv's Avatar

Your best option is the cases AEA makes for their 44 replicas:

R44 Series and KU4 Vertical Carrying Case | AEA Ribbon Mics & Preamps

They're pricey, but well worth it and the best option. It makes it easy to store them vertically when not in use too, ribbons sag over time. Those are some great mic's, I hope you're able to make some amazing music on them!
Old 23rd March 2019
Lives for gear
chet.d's Avatar

I'd suggest simply wrapping them in some bubble wrap, & creating a bed of cushion/clothes etc around them. Best to keep them vertical inside your carry on as much as poss.
Importantly, try not to jostle the bag around (going thru screening / above storage bins etc).

If you ever need to give them a tune up, check etc, Clarence Kane (Enak) is the man IMO.

It's very touching that you've inherited them from your Dad. Condolences, and hope you're able to use them well.
Old 23rd March 2019
Lives for gear

Vertical positioning is important, and more so the longer and rougher the trip. It’s a very long ribbon and can be jolted out of it’s gap. A plastic bag and then bubble wrap, then inside a padded box and you should be prepared for the apocalypse. But padding with the clothing inside your carry-on should be fine, post-bag and bubble wrap.
If they haven’t been serviced in years, they’ll likely need retensioned. Wes at AEA or Clarence can do this properly for you. If they’re out of whack, you may well be impressed at the additional HF response you see after retuning. I was.

Use them well.
Old 23rd March 2019
Lives for gear
andersmv's Avatar

You have to be careful with ribbons, but it's really more air blasts than blunt force trauma that will break them. Below is a picture of my 1932 RCA PB-90 from last year. UPS must have mistaken the box for a large snake and decided to monkey stomp it and run over it with a fork lift for good measure. Thanks guys...

The funny thing was, I plugged it in and it worked perfectly! I sent it BACK to ENAK to fix. Clarence fixed it up and made it look great, the only reason he replaced the ribbon was because he had to break it to get the internal metal grill away from the ribbon element in order to straiten it out.

So all that to say, ribbons are fragile. But, not necessarily in the ways you would think. Either that, or it's entirely possible that they truly "don't make them like they used to". I also went ahead and purchased one of the AEA cases for it to be shipped back in as 3 layers of industrial boxes, bubble wrap, and styrofoam peanuts were clearly not enough the first time.
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