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AEA RPQ really necessary for R44?
Old 5th July 2013
  #1
AEA RPQ really necessary for R44?

Hey folks. I'm loving my AEA R44c. I use it with either a BAE 1073 or my API's. I'm very curious about this 'specifically designed' AEA pre amp and I want to make sure I'm not missing out on anything my mic has to offer.
I just don't really get it-lower output, older designed RCA mics have been plugged into old consoles for years, so the concept doesn't really make sense to me. It already sounds amazing on both BAE and API pres, and I have a EQ2NV for any eq-ing. I really can't I imagine it sounding any better. Plenty of output and headroom.
Before I grab one from my dealer and try it out, I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Thanks
steve
Old 5th July 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

No it isn't necessary. It is wonderful. The hp filter on the rpq is remarkable for taming the proximity effect of the r44. Much better than a conventional hp filter or low shelf eq. Also the rpq is optimized impedance wise for the ribbon. An it has the extra gain needed for a ribbon for distant miking an it is clean as can be.

That said, for close miking, any decent preamp is fine. Like I said, the filter on the rpq is pretty great but it isn't totally necessary. I would say its worth trying out and if you use the 44 a lot it may be worth picking one up, but you are totally fine with what you have.

N
Old 5th July 2013
  #3
Thanks N. Just curious. I mean if it sounds that much better, than of course I'll grab one. Excellent point about distant miking. Perhaps I would use for more distant stuff with the RPQ, as opposed to my condensers.
Since I know all the details re. Impedance, hi pass filter, etc, I suppose I should just try one when I've got some time. Thanks again,
Steve
Old 5th July 2013
  #4
Gear Maniac
Btw..
Some dynamic mics you have lying around take on a whole new sound through the rpq...
The matched impedance for the ribbons makes a 57 actually sound great.
Old 5th July 2013 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by jglover View Post
Btw..
Some dynamic mics you have lying around take on a whole new sound through the rpq...
The matched impedance for the ribbons makes a 57 actually sound great.
Really! Hmmm. Maybe I'll grab one to try before today's session. Thanks!
Old 5th July 2013 | Show parent
  #6
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnajar View Post
No it isn't necessary. It is wonderful. The hp filter on the rpq is remarkable for taming the proximity effect of the r44. Much better than a conventional hp filter or low shelf eq. Also the rpq is optimized impedance wise for the ribbon. An it has the extra gain needed for a ribbon for distant miking an it is clean as can be.

That said, for close miking, any decent preamp is fine. Like I said, the filter on the rpq is pretty great but it isn't totally necessary. I would say its worth trying out and if you use the 44 a lot it may be worth picking one up, but you are totally fine with what you have.

N
yep!


RPQ rocks and that AEA 44 makes me weak in the knees!! Your REALLY going to HEAR the mic through the RPQ. It's over and above excellent regarding noise floor at high gain. That's really where they shine, using low output ribbons with quieter sources. Or basically, when you want to "open up" your low output microphones potential. There is no character on this preamp it is as clean as they get. Which is why you can hear all the lovely ribbon warmth better. The RPQ really works to your advantage with these microphones.
Old 5th July 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
I recommend also checking out the True Systems PT2. It's also designed for ribbon mics and sounds really great.
Old 6th July 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Singh View Post
Hey folks. I'm loving my AEA R44c. I use it with either a BAE 1073 or my API's. I'm very curious about this 'specifically designed' AEA pre amp and I want to make sure I'm not missing out on anything my mic has to offer.
I just don't really get it-lower output, older designed RCA mics have been plugged into old consoles for years, so the concept doesn't really make sense to me. It already sounds amazing on both BAE and API pres, and I have a EQ2NV for any eq-ing. I really can't I imagine it sounding any better. Plenty of output and headroom.
Before I grab one from my dealer and try it out, I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. Thanks
steve
Hi Steve,

I would second everything that's been said before regarding the usefulness of the RPQ when combined with the 44. Regarding your statement about not getting the concept and the fact that RCA mics have been used with old consoles for year: Of course that's true and many people love using ribbons with old tape machine preamps like the Ampex 351s. That being said, the engineers at RCA never had the chance to hear their mics coupled with a modern preamp like the AEA RPQ since JFETs were not available at that time. Whether or not they would have liked what that combination does obviously is impossible to know for sure, but there is evidence to assume that they would have. If you're interested, check out Richard Werner's (of RCA) AES Journal paper from 1955 called "On Electrical Loading of Microphones" available via the AES online library: AES E-Library

The idea behind the AEA preamps is to minimize the preamp loading effects that Werner describes, and to give you a killer toolkit for any mic, but particularly ribbons and moving-coil dynamics. I personally love the BAE Neve preamps and the APIs in a lot of applications, but in order to get the most out of a passive ribbon I would recommend having a pre like the RPQ around. The EQ in the RPQ was specifically tailored towards ribbons and 80 dB of clean, quiet gain are hard to come by with any other preamp.

Best regards,
Julian

Last edited by julian.david; 6th July 2013 at 12:53 AM.. Reason: typo!
Old 6th July 2013
  #9
Ok! I grabbed an RPQ 500. And a lunchbox. And a pair of used 550b's. And a Dual Vandergraph. Oops.
S
Old 6th July 2013
  #10
And thanks for all the great feedback folks. Adam-I find your posts very informative. Thanks again to all of you. I didn't mean to spend 5 grand but whatever I guess! I'll dig in when I'm back in my studio on Monday
Old 6th July 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Singh View Post
And thanks for all the great feedback folks. Adam-I find your posts very informative. Thanks again to all of you. I didn't mean to spend 5 grand but whatever I guess! I'll dig in when I'm back in my studio on Monday
You will be pleased
Old 6th July 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Singh View Post
Ok! I grabbed an RPQ 500. And a lunchbox. And a pair of used 550b's. And a Dual Vandergraph. Oops.
S
Haha, good for you
Old 6th July 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 

The trp is also great.
Old 1st August 2013
  #14
Well, after living with the RPQ for a while, I didn't really find it necessary for what I'm doing. My APIs seem totally fine, so I swapped the RPQ up for a Maag eq4 which I find better for my R44c. I also traded up for a 10 space, bought a Little Devil eq, a Harrison 32, and an SSL 611eq. This 500 series stuff is addictive !!!
Old 1st August 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for the update! I'm thinking about grabbing an AEA R44
Old 2nd August 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
emrr's Avatar
I have found many ribbons really sound better through the sort of transformer coupled amps they would have fed back before 1970, versus most things made since. I haven't used the AEA preamps, it may be they bridge the gap (and more) between new and old design approaches. I see the argument for the AEA design, I just haven't lived it to comment.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #18
Another option for the OP is a dual Cloudlifter.

This is a phantom powered device that gives you 20 db or so of super clean gain via a few low noise JFets, if I recall correctly. Obviously, the device does not pass through 48v to whatever mic is feeding it signal.

It's a much cheaper option than buying "ribbon specialized preamps" that allow you to use any preamp you like and can also work on dynamic mics as well. I bought my Cloudlifter for an SM7b at the recommendation of a friend.
Old 4th August 2013 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jglover View Post
Btw..
Some dynamic mics you have lying around take on a whole new sound through the rpq...
The matched impedance for the ribbons makes a 57 actually sound great.
This.

Having an RPQ on hand makes the pieces gathering dust in the corners of the mic locker look quite a bit more interesting. Or rather, sound quite a bit more exciting.
Old 9th August 2013
  #20
Gear Head
 
SoundReplay's Avatar
How does the RPQ compares to the Grace Design M201 when the ribbon knob is engaged? It has theoretical a higher impedance input (20k Ohm vs/ >10k Ohm on the RPQ).
Anyone?
Old 9th August 2013 | Show parent
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundReplay View Post
How does the RPQ compares to the Grace Design M201 when the ribbon knob is engaged? It has theoretical a higher impedance input (20k Ohm vs/ >10k Ohm on the RPQ).
Anyone?
The Grace Design units' "Ribbon Mode" is fantastic. Makes it more of a TRP thing than an RPQ thing though. No tone shaping like you have with the RPQ. But I routinely using the Grace "Ribbon Mode" and love the results.
Old 9th August 2013
  #22
Gear Head
 
SoundReplay's Avatar
So Ward, what would be the best new purchase for my AEA R88 and R121s? the RPQ or the Grace? Thanks!
Old 9th August 2013 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundReplay View Post
So Ward, what would be the best new purchase for my AEA R88 and R121s? the RPQ or the Grace? Thanks!
RPQ. Grace is a great general preamp that is super fast with transients. Very "immediate" and works fantastic on large diaphragm condenser microphones. It wasn't designed for ribbons, specifically, but has the "ribbon mode" add-on.

If I were just getting a pre for ribbons, it would definitely be the RPQ.
Old 10th August 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
no need. and for those who MAY need lots of clean boost for lower-output ribbons and dynamics, the less expensive ribbon pre from aea is all you need. i had one (didn't need it and sold it) and it was clean and clear as advertized, tho annoying power supply with no on/off on unit. but that 44c has plenty of gain for close-up use with anything over 60db gain. glad you're enjoying it.
Old 29th August 2013
  #25
Hi,

For Ribbons, how does the AEA RPQ compare with a Millennia HV-3C?

My other pres are API 3124+ and a Mackie Onyx 800R.

Thanks,

Gaz
Old 29th August 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaz28346 View Post
Hi,

For Ribbons, how does the AEA RPQ compare with a Millennia HV-3C?

My other pres are API 3124+ and a Mackie Onyx 800R.

Thanks,

Gaz
Very comparable in sound,. Big clean clear and open.

The main advantage of the rpq is the low frequency variable roll off. It is a smartly designed version of a hp filter that is intended and works perfectly as advertised to counter proximity effect when miking close up. And it is not nearly as easy to get that effect in software EQ.
Old 3rd October 2013 | Show parent
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnajar View Post
Very comparable in sound,. Big clean clear and open.

The main advantage of the rpq is the low frequency variable roll off. It is a smartly designed version of a hp filter that is intended and works perfectly as advertised to counter proximity effect when miking close up. And it is not nearly as easy to get that effect in software EQ.
Thanks for replying. Much appreciated. I'll be getting the rpq as the roll off seems very handy.
Old 3rd October 2013
  #28
FYI, we did a ribbon mic and preamp shootout with the RPQ, Millennia HV-3B, Grace m101, and Great River ME-1NV so you can hear how the RPQ compares to those:
https://soundcloud.com/audio-enginee...coustic-guitar

The sound quality within SoundCloud is pretty limited, but the cool thing is that you can download the high-res wav file of each track from the SoundCloud player by clicking the little downward pointing arrow!

Enjoy!
Old 9th October 2013 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Washington's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaz28346 View Post
Hi,

For Ribbons, how does the AEA RPQ compare with a Millennia HV-3C?

My other pres are API 3124+ and a Mackie Onyx 800R.

Thanks,

Gaz
Late answer, but anyway... I work with both, but use almost exclusively the RPQ with R44 and 88. More flexible, which - given the already unbelievable palette of responses you get from mic placement (particularly with the 44) - makes it a truly fabulous combo.

The HV-3D is also quite pleasing for situations where you don't need as much gain or the lift / hipass option. The impedance differs, but I so far (as strange as it may sound) find the difference more noticeable with a dynamic (Sennheiser 441 comes to mind).
Old 11th January 2014
  #30
Just heard it....

Just chiming in with my recent experience tracking Upright Bass (both pizz and Arco) for an indie film score. We tracked with a 44 as the main mic, and we auditioned several preamps - Neve 1064, 1272, API 312, Juggernaut, and a custom discrete pre....the AEA did a unique sonic thing that none of the others did. It didn't have as much mojo in the midrange as some of the others, but the sound was huge, deep, and clear - not to mention dead quiet....

After this experience, it immediately went on the want list - I don't know the tech talk on how it works, but it combined with the 44 in a really beautiful way....

Just my 2 cents...
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