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AEA R88 MKII Stereo Ribbon Microphone  From AEA

Big Ribbon™ Blumlein Stereo Microphone built around the R84, but in a convenient single point microphone. Behold! Your new favorite room mic!


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Retail:  $2,499.00

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What We Think

The R88 is a wonderful tool for the perfect "set-and-forget" 3-D stereo recording. After experimenting for a while, I've come to adore this mic for overheads; splitting the kit for smooth and surprisingly wide tracks that tame the crack of a snare and produce lush and flourishing cymbals. My favorite use for this, though, has been as a room mic. So many times I've recorded in rooms and smaller DIY studios that have had problematic rooms and sounds and this thing has been able to accommodate any scenario with rich results. The R88 has actually turned the room into sort of an instrument of its own. One thing I've enjoyed doing is finding the most reverberant spot in the studio or recording space and placing a guitar amp / singer / any source on the complete opposite end and projecting towards the mic. The result is capturing this wonderfully natural reverb that, when blended into the mix and hard panned, adds a sweet texture that never went to mute. The R88 really works FOR you and takes phase/mic placement out of the equation so you can focus on creativity and listening.

- Marc Kuzio, Pro Audio Specialist



Made famous by its smooth, natural performance and making un-ideal-sounding home studio rooms sound close to 'the real deal,' the R88 is one of the most versatile, creative, and fun-to-use microphones out there. Being set in a phase-aligned blumlein pattern, you get the sonic benefit of a wide stereo image but without the hassle of managing two separate microphones. While it’s become a 'must have' for all of my drum sessions (either as a quick and easy single mic OH choice or as a lush room mic), the R88’s incredible sound and ease of use cause it to see tremendous use in the majority of our Sound Pure studio sessions.

AEA R88 Stereo Ribbon Microphone Quick n' Dirty

In this video, Sound Pure pro audio expert Marc Kuzio reviews the AEA R88 Stereo Ribbon Microphone.

  • Signal Chain
    • AEA R88 MKII Stereo Ribbon Microphone

Manufacturer's Description from AEA

  • Big Ribbon™ Blumlein (XY) and MS stereo ribbon mic
  • Pure Ribbon™ design with open and natural sound
  • Used in many Grammy Award winning projects
  • Great foundation for main or sectional pickup

Being There in Stereo

In the 1930s, EMI engineer Alan Blumlein invented stereo recording by demonstrating the natural reproduction of the soundstage at one of the Abbey Road studios in London, UK. Still today, his coincident recording technique using two figure-of-8 ribbons is the benchmark for producing an authentic representation of a performance in a room. The R88 mk2 stereo microphone is a true Blumlein recording system optimized for recording instruments and ensembles in stereo. It utilizes two of AEA’s signature Big RibbonTM elements angled at 90 degrees and mounted in close proximity to each other along the vertical axis of the microphone. The natural soundstage and character of the R88’s Blumlein stereo make it a great main mic. As an alternative to the Blumlein (XY) technique, the microphone can also be used for MS stereo, providing excellent mono compatibility and full control over the width of the stereo image. An excellent orchestral and choral recording microphone, it also shines on applications such as horn sections and drum overheads, thanks to the pure sound of two undamped long ribbons and the passive circuit without the headroom limitations of active electronics. The R88 accurately records complex tones such as woodwinds, strings and cymbals.Whether it’s at Abbey Road or in your home studio, the R88 mk2 puts the listener right there with the performers in the recording room.

The Grammy-Winning Package

The list of Grammy and Academy Award winning projects recorded with the help of the R88 mk2 microphone is long and keeps growing: Turtle Island String Quartet, Los Tigres Del Norte, Juanes MTV Unplugged, Life Of Pi soundtrack to name but a few. The matched Blumlein pair of ribbons packaged in a sleek black shell designed for quick setup delivers a great sound right off the bat, making it an excellent choice for remote recording setups. As a drum overhead or room pick-up microphone, it instantly captures a punchy, “larger than life” image that is particularly well suited for rock, roots, Americana, and jazz genres. Seasoned engineers like Joe Chiccarelli, Chuck Ainlay or Vance Powell trust the AEA R88 mk2 so much that Nashville’s world-class Blackbird Studios now has an R88 available for every single room in their facility.

A Big Ribbon for a Big Sound

At the heart of the AEA R88 are two big, 2.35" by 0.185" by 2 micron pure aluminum low-tension ribbon elements just like the one used in the classic R44. Many ribbon mic manufacturers choose shorter ribbons that are easier to install, but AEA’s Large Ribbon Geometry TM design offers important advantages. Ribbon microphones operate linearly above their resonant frequency, unlike condenser or moving-coil transducers, so the resonant frequency of a good ribbon microphone design should be as low as possible. The longer the ribbon, the lower the resonant frequency will be. The ribbon has to move twice as far for every drop in octave as it vibrates within the magnetic gap, thus a longer ribbon will allow for further movement back and forth. This results in the ribbon handling louder sound sources and more sound pressure level (SPL). Most AEA ribbons are tuned to just 16.5 Hz, and because the R88 shares the same Big Ribbon™ as the rest of AEA's product line, you will achieve a sound that is smooth, natural and free from any of the uncomfortable resonances that shorter ribbons and condensers can exhibit. The result is a sound that many engineers say is astonishingly close to what their ears hear when they are actually standing in the studio.


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.


*Transducers: dual 2" ribbons oriented at 90 degrees

*Sensitivity: -52dBV/Pa

*Frequency Response: 20Hz-15kHz (+/- 3dB)

*Output Impendance: 270 ohms

*SPL Handling: 165dB SPL at 1 kHz

*Recommended Load: 1.2 K ohm or greater

*Powering: Not required or recommended

*Polarity: Pin 2 high

*Connector: XLR-3M wired to a 4 meter captive stereo cable

*Includes custom hard case with padded interior for storage and shipping

*Operating manual for proper care and usage.