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Aea r84

AEA Ribbon Mics R84

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 11 Reviews

The R84 is a ribbon mic from AEA. I did not really like the sound samples I heard on the web, but my dealer insisted it was fantastic. They were right. I use it to mic guitar cabs and sax with a DW Fearn VT-1. Really, really fantastic and true to life with warmth. Can't recommend enough.


2nd December 2011

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by elamberth

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Aea r84

Like many hobbyists on Gearslutz, I do not have the opportunity to hear the products discussed, so I had to go on faith from the dealer that the R84 was what I wanted to mic guitar cabs for Jazz & Blues guitar.

Although I wasn't impressed with the online soundclips I had heard, I am very impressed with the R84. Great up close on cabs or from a distance, great on sax, and even acoustic guitar. Works very well for voice too if you are looking for a very "real" and accurate portrayal of the sound, but not a "flattering" type change to the sound source. I guess that is really what the R84 is about - capturing what you hear in the room with lots of detail. As a Jazz/ Blues guitarist, it's what I want as I have spent literally 30 years on getting "my sound" and want to record it as accurately as possible.

Very easy mic to use, hard to make it sound bad. Different positions just sound a bit different in a similar way as walking around a room will change how the sound source sounds. I have also gotten great results for tambourine and handclaps from the R84. I have not tried it on a drumkit.

The pre I use it on mostly is the DW Fearn VT-1 as it needs a lot of gain, and the Fearn does it nicely without noise. I have read elsewhere that this is a good combo.

UA has a video where they use Neil Young's 610 console with some R84's and it certainly is in the ballpark with what I am experiencing. I have tried the R84 with a UA 610 solo, but I just like the Fearrn/ R84 combo better.

6th December 2011

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by SoundWeavers

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Aea r84

The AEA R84 (DJV) is a modern ribbon (dynamic) microphone that is great for voice and other monophonic solo instrument such as sax, trumpet, violins and cello. The DJV option gives it a silky top and a creamy bottom reminiscent of a vintage 47.

This R84 is one of my prized microphones. It just records sounds so natural yet so much bigger than life, too. I typically use this with an AEA TRP preamp and a touch of compression and in an instant, it's the classic fat and silky sound found on lots of revered classic recordings.

The mic is big and bulky and can intimidate singers new in the studio environment. Heck, it can and has intimidated sound engineers as well. The mounting is not very easy for first time users but for me personally, part of the romance of the recording process with this mic is mounting it to a stand and uncoiling the attached cable. I almost always put it on an angle as would like to give it maximum protection against wind blast from vocal plosives.



Aside from voice, I also like to use the R84 on saxophones and solo string instruments like violin and cello. On the video below, the r84 is the selected main mic for the saxophone. Listen to how the sax sound is solid, clear and crisp (preamp used is API 512). Another plus factor is the figure of 8 pattern which enables fantastic off-axis rejection.

Hope this review helps.

Photo copyright 2011 Gerardo Diwa.
Video copyright 2011 Sound Weavers.

  • 2
6th December 2011

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by dmo

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Aea r84

We have this microphone in our mic locker at Trod Nossel Studios in Wallingford, Connecticut. I use it fairly often when tracking on the grand piano. It adds so much depth when I use it in combination with a nice stereo pair of mics like the AKG 414s. Depending on the day and style of what I'm recording I'll place the R84 in various different places and my all time favorite is placing this baby underneath the grand piano. It has filled out any piano recording I've done and clients are always happy with the result. I wanted to focus on recording piano with the R84 because the review didn't mention it as an application for it.

This mic works wonderfully on upright bass and strings as well. I tend to place it just about the bridge depending on the style of music and most bassist I've worked with also have a built in DI that I'll blend with the signal from the R84. It captures the bass nicely and gives a very smooth sound when tracking.

Another common application I use this mic for is on vocals. In general this microphone captures the low end very accurately and the highs are bright enough for my liking. This is a great microphone for $1000 and has plenty of uses. A must have for a studio's mic locker.

4th February 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by willylumplumps

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Aea r84

The AEA R84 is a medium-distance ribbon microphone. It, and ribbon mics in general, are not nearly as "hyped" sounding as condenser mics. This gives you the benefit of having a more natural "being there" kind of sound. I have used this mic on acoustic guitar and piano with great results. Its perfect for acoustic takes with a lot of finger noise or pick noise because its got enough distance between it and the guitar to not be so in your face with high-pitched string squeal.

My absolute favorite thing about this mic is the way it records vocals. My voice can be very sibilant, and this mic completely counteracts that in a perfect way. The vocal sits great in the mix without any unpleasant sibilance or mouth noise.

Since it is a medium distance mic you will want to have it about 18" away from the singer. This is important as you can potentially damage the ribbon in the mic with strong plosives or bursts of air. Because the mic typically has some distance between it and the source, it is very important that your room sounds good. If the room doesn't sound good, this mic won't help you much.

21st March 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by vlad8

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Aea r84

i bought this microphone when i was doing an unplugged recording.
my first impression was it looks very nice, with a retro but elegant style. it comes with a cushion bag, and attached accusound cable.
i also bought the trp preamp for matching the impedance and gain requirements.
when i understood how the sound is inherent to the mechanical components of this mic, i began to use it well.

it pickups room reflections and thats a good thing when you want that "air sound" for natural and organic sounding on wood instruments (you can hear the harmonics as if you where next to the player); or can put as closed micing with rejection filter to get a fastest transients and clear attack.

the midrange is very clear and sweet and the top end is smooth

the low end is one or their better attributes, the bass response is consistent, deep and clear.

in gtr cabinet (with a good chain) it just sounds like a record
in ac gtr is very open and natural
in horns and strings is good as well
with some male and female singers has the mojo than other mics can´t find

its a "must have" on every studio

I love my r84, next to have another

28th March 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by ejmmbrady

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Aea r84

This was the second ribbon mic to be added to my cabinet after the stc 4038. It's a bit brighter than the 4038; very natural sounding. IMVHO it's an all-rounder; excels where you'd expect (strings, horns and percussion) but is also marvellous on acoustic guitar, guitar amps/cabs, and particularly on vocals.

One does need to be wary of proximity effect as with most ribbon mics and figure-of-eight polar patterns in general, but once you find the sweet spot you'll find this microphone will work well on just about anything which I think is quite rare for ribbon microphones.

A good room is also vital, as the mic will pick up more of the room than other mics in your arsenal. I have however employed a reflexion filter in some situations, on location for example, where the room was less than satisfactory and the results were fantastic.

You also need a lot of clean gain to run this mic in most situations; I pair mine with the the AEA TRP mic pre on quieter sources and on louder sources I run into a with a chandler germanium preamp (e.g. guitar amps and drums/percussion etc.), which sounds really great.

I can't recommend this excellent microphone highly enough and plan to add another to my collection in the future. Give it a try!

29th March 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by gehauser

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Aea r84

I have been using the R84 since November 2011. For overall recording purposes and vocals, it is the best sounding mic I own. Before I got it, I thought my at4047, sm7b, and mk220 were “big” sounding mics. Now these tend to sound thin and crispy to me in A/B comparisons to the R84.

The best description for the sound of the R84 is big, full, rich, very real, and without any edge at all. It tends to be darker than my other mics. Experimenting with placement, however, I have found that 15”-20” is the sweet spot for most sources, including vocals. There is no escaping some room sound with this mic due to these mic distances, so it is not advisable in small room without treatment. Recording with a ribbon mic at this distance also requires a lot of preamp gain as well, too much in fact for many pres to provide quietly. I have found that my Grace m101 has plenty of gain for it and works well with the ribbon setting on the pre (higher impedance setting).

Placing the mic closer than 15” to the source introduces a huge proximity effect, and 150hz starts to overwhelm other frequencies creating muddiness, requiring lots of EQ so I don’t place it any closer than that. Sometimes at 15” I will still pull down 150hz a little and add a high shelf to flatten the frequency response a bit. This mic is highly effective at removing sibilance while remaining very real, and for taming otherwise shrill or harsh sources like fiddles, banjos, and autoharps. The back side of the mic sounds a little brighter than the front of the mic, which is useful.

The attached cable is bit of a pain when putting up, taking down, and storing the mic. I have found that it also makes it somewhat difficult to use the reverse side of mic.

31st March 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by spiral

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Aea r84

AEA makes beautiful products and the R84 is probably the most recognizable of the bunch. It has a huge sound which may be overwhelming if you are used to how condensers react, but if you treat it like the classic ribbon it is, it will give you a very natural sound which is forgiving on naturally resonating instruments like drums, strings, guitars, and voices. You do need a ton of gain and a great sounding room especially since you have to back it off a bit. This makes it less practical for the project studio when your room isn't treated and you may not have the gain on tap to drive the mic. For those that have the gain needed the R84 delivers on the promise of warm realism. You may need to do a little EQ tweaking which is expected with ribbons.

There are other ribbons that are starting to catch up to the R84 in performance, especially on price. If you are on a budget, i think there are other ribbons that will get you very close for much less cash. If you want to own the original design made in the US and need the pinnacle of performance, the R84 is it.

1st April 2012

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by Pale Pyramid

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Aea r84

This review is about the AEA R84 ribbon microphone . AEA stands for Audio Engineering Associates . The company is based out of Pasadena California and its owner and creator of the R84 is Wes Dooley . From what I've read he's something of an world class expert on ribbon microphone technology . This R84 is his take on a modern studio ribbon microphone . It retails for around $1000 U.S. I bought mine a little over half a year ago from Sweetwater .

BUILD - I'm going to assume these are built in California by hand . I think the ribbon must require hand tuning during assembly to ensure the proper amount of tension . It is quite light weight and long with flat black metal ends . It looks like a an egg that has been squeezed in the middle . It's look is retro . You should own at least one microphone that looks like it's out of a Frank Sinatra candid studio photo or a 1950's B-movie flying saucer . It's a solid build .

FUNCTION - Well , be for certain that you have phantom power disengaged before plugging it in . You may blow the ribbon if you forget . You may also use a pop filter out in front when recording electric guitar or voice . Aggressive plosives could damage it as well . It was designed to be placed a bit closer then older ribbon mics to it's source but I would still keep it backed off the source a bit . The AEA does have a proximity effect as well so keep that in mind on guitar cabinets . It's a ribbon so it has a lower noise floor but any of my API 500 series pres and my LA 610 can handle it with out to much gain introduced . I think it's floor is higher then other ribbons by about 10 db or so .

SOUND - This Mic sounds awesome on everything . It's very detailed and a tad dark but at the same time mellow unlike some condenser microphones . It starts to dip at 4k where your condenser dips much higher . It's a gentle dip . I think it's great for digital recording because of this . The low end has a bit of a bump at 150 hz and rolls off on either side gently . Great for bass guitar . It also captures fast transients very well . It's a super mic . This is the first ribbon I have personally owned but I have recorded with them a few time . I play and record indie rock . It sees constant use in my home studio .

CONCLUSION - If you want to save up and avoid cheep Chinese ribbons and want an alternative to a Royer I would seriously research this microphone . I think it's fantastic on so many sources and remains so natural . If I had to pick just one ribbon for a home studio and I had a budget of around $1000 , then I'd take this over the AEA R92 or Royers of similar price .

24th January 2013

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by wconnor

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Aea r84

This is a great sounding mic, I love it on instruments as well as vocals, check out this cover of Roxanne I did using the mic:

Roxanne Cover (The Police) by Wes Connor - YouTube

Quote:
Roxanne Cover (The Police) by Wes Connor - YouTube



Cover of Roxanne, including some footage from the music video for Roxanne. Equipment used: Roland VS-2480, AEA r84, AKG D112, Behringer C-2, UA 610 Solo, GAP...

2 weeks ago

AEA Ribbon Mics R84 by R2Mix2

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Aea r84

Fantastic
This mic is great at any price, but the fact that it is priced where it is makes it even more impressive. Very happy with my R84 and plan to eventually get another for stereo situations.

This is not, in my opinion, an all-purpose microphone. However, when it suits the situation it is mind-blowingly awesome... it clearly was the choice hands down on vocals for a recent client vs our Neumann U87....the next song not so much though.

Preamp: Make sure you have a quality preamp as this microphone actually needs one.

Electric guitars: I miked up the cab with our usual 57 and 421 combo... but also added the R84... and ended up using mostly just the R84 mic in the final mixes.

Bag for a case: Still deciding if I like it or not. It makes sense as it forces you to store it in the needed vertical position, but I wish it had a little more protection/padding on the bottom of the bag for when you are setting it down.

Overall it is a mic that does specific things extraordinarily well. I would highly recommend it (as long as you know what it is and when to use it...which AEA explains well on their site with literature and audio samples).

Kudos to AEA... will be buying another!!!

Daryl - Mix11 Studios

 
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