AEA R44 CXE High Output Ribbon Microphone  From AEA

The more economical version of the classic passive R44 ribbon, but with a hotter output for use with a wider variety of preamps!

AEA

$3,299.00

Retail:  $3,400.00

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What We Think

It’s not near as common to see a ribbon microphone on vocals than a condenser microphone, but when the vibe of the song calls for an impeccably rich, impressively smooth, and vintage-leaning vocal timbre, the AEA R44CXE delivers in an incredibly powerful way. As a replica of one of the most classic microphones ever made (RCA 44), the R44CXE boasts a velvety smoothness and unique tone that’s near identical to its origination. The CXE model adds additional flexibility with a hotter output, which allows the microphone to be used with such a wide variety of preamps (not just those specifically designed to work optimally with ribbon microphones). This in turn provides the engineer with limitless creative freedom regarding preamp choice and also causes it to perform more consistently on dynamic vocalists by picking up more of the quieter sections.

Tour of Types Vocal Mic Shootout: Shure SM7B vs AEA R44 CXE vs Manley Ref C vs Neumann U87Ai

In this video, we put four different types of microphones up against each other on female vocals: the Shure SM7B (Dynamic Mic), the AEA R44 CXE (Ribbon Mic), the Manley Ref C (LDC Tube Mic), and the Neumann U87Ai (Solid State LDC Mic). Joining us for this shootout are Ayisa Adderley (vocals) and Caige Crampshee (guitar) from the band Eyes Eat Suns. Check them out at WWW.EYESEATSUNS.BAND.

Manufacturer's Description from AEA

- An accurate reproduction of the original RCA Ribbon Mic
- Uses the same ribbon material as the original
- Built to the highest studio standards possible
- A single diaphragm Figure 8 ribbon microphone
- 90dB down broadband at 90 degrees
- Custom AEA Transformer
- High SPL capability, max level is 140dB plus above 200Hz
- Low Self Noise
- Consistent polar response
- Operable in high humidity environments
- Sounds equal to or better than the original RCA 44
- ‘X’ motor option delivers 6 dB more dynamic range


RCA 44 ribbon microphones have remained an essential part of studiolife well after RCA stopped manufacturing them in 1955. The sound and response of the 44 B/BX were unlike anything else available, and was cherished for its smoothness, forgiving nature and unique tonal balance. As collectors began to buy up the supply of RCA 44's through the 90's, the availability of this wonderful ribbon mic to the studio was greatly endangered. Wes Dooley, a specialist in ribbon mics of all kinds, recently began a project to restore availability of the RCA 44 to its rightful position in the studio. After tracking down the folks who built and designed the original RCA 44, Wes company, Audio Engineering Associates, acquired the ribbon material, made the tooling and custom machined the parts necessary to build the original. RCA 44 B/BX design as it was in the 1930s. After years of painstaking work, AEA has again begun production of the most important ribbon mic of all time: the AEA R44C and R44CE.

Whether it be the smooth brass section of a Hollywood soundtrack, the velvety lushness of a jazz vocal, or the larger-than-life drum sound of a classic rock record - chances are that you will find a 44 ribbon mic used on most of your favorite albums. In studio use for more than 80 years, the 44 ribbon design by RCA is as rich in history as it is in sound and character. When the company’s microphone division was closed down in 1976, we at AEA began servicing ribbon microphones, and by 1998 we were manufacturing 100% of the parts for the 44, resulting in the release of our very own version of this classic mic. Its recognizable sound produces thunderous lows due to the strong proximity effect, full and rich mids, and a unique top end to take the edge off of harsh instruments. This beautiful, natural-sounding microphone provides an unmatched authenticity of sonic reproduction, particularly when placed at a distance in a well-tuned room. The CE (cost effective) version delivers exactly the same sound as the R44C with absolutely no exceptions. By simplifying the exterior trim of the microphone and reducing manual labor for assembly, we are able to offer a more affordable 44 model for those of us who don’t require the polish and museum-grade finish of the 44C version.

AEA

About Manufacturer

Wes Dooley's longtime passion for audio has infused his company, Audio Engineering Associates (AEA), with a well balanced blend of creativity and technical expertise for forty years. At the core of AEA is a genuine interest in the art and science of audio. From areas as diverse as forensic audio and microphone design, Wes' passion for audio has led him all over the world, from recording experiences in Europe, Africa, and New Zealand, to the courtrooms of Los Angeles as a forensic audio and video expert witness. Such experiences have led Wes to design products which help resolve problems commonly encountered by recording engineers. His portable recording tools including, multi-channel microphone arrays, MS stereo processors, stereo phase displays and very tall microphone stands, have all made on-site recording far more feasible. Despite his contributions to on-location recording, Wes is best known for his pursuit of excellence in ribbon microphone technology. After two decades of representing and servicing the BBC 4038 in the United States, he began to experiment with his own ribbon microphones. During the last decade Wes became aware of the increasing scarcity of R44's and other ribbon microphones. In 1998, responding to this need, Wes re-introduced the 44 much to the thrill of many in the recording industry. Les Paul told Wes that AEA's R44 is his favorite microphone and engineer/producers such as Bruce Swedien, Kevin Bacon, and Shawn Murphy routinely use AEA's R44. Even without such critical acclaim the numbers speak for themselves. Over half of the movies scored in Los Angeles have a 44 somewhere on the scoring stage. Building off of his successful reintroduction of the R44, in 2002 Wes designed and began producing an original ribbon mic, the AEA R84. His groundbreaking work with ribbon microphones helped him to secure the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Silver Medal Award in the fall of 2003. This award, established by the AES in 1971, in honor of audio pioneers Alexander Graham Bell, Emile Berliner, and Thomas A. Edison, is given in recognition of outstanding development or achievement in the field of audio engineering. Wes has also co-authored two AES Journal articles about stereo microphone techniques, chaired workshops on mic techniques and mixing strategies for compatible multiple releases for cinema, broadcast and home video, and has presented section meetings on stereo techniques and forensic audio. He is involved with AES standards work and currently serves on the SC-03-12 Working Group on Forensic Audio and SC-04-04 Working Group on Microphone Measurement and Characterization.

Specifications


*Operating Principle: Velocity microphone

*Frequency Response: Below 30 Hz to above 20 kHz

*Maximum SPL: 140 + dB SPL above 200Hz for 1% third harmonic

*Output Sensitivity: 2.25 mV / Pa into unloaded circuit

* Output Impedance: 270 ohms broadband

*Recommended Load: 1.2 K ohm or greater

*Powering: Not required or recommended

*Polarity: Pin 2 high for positive pressure on the front of the microphone

*Connector: XLR-3M wired to a 2 meter captive cable

*Polar Pattern: Native bi-directional pattern

*Horizontal: Level changes with angle, frequency response is consistent, -90 dB null at 90 / 270 degrees

*Vertical: Level changes with angle, reduced HF response above and below 0 / 180 degree axis, null at 90 / 270 degrees

*Transducer element: *Ribbon Thickness: 1.8 microns ( .0000018 meter ) of pure aluminum

* Ribbon Width: 4.7 mm

* Ribbon Length: 59.7 mm

*Accessories: *Included: Custom storage / shipping case, stand adapter, manual and attached two-meter microphone cable

*Limited Warranty: Three years parts and labor, shipping not included