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AEA RPQ 500 Mic Preamp/High-frequency EQ  From AEA

Very clean 500 series preamp with CurveShaper™ high-frequency "air" control! While it was designed with ribbon mics in mind, the RPQ produces outstanding results with any mic topology. 

AEA

What We Think

The AEA RPQ 500 is at a price point that literally any studio owner with a ribbon microphone should have one, if not two of these.  The extension of capability in a typical ribbon microphone is evident in the first moments you dial in the high frequency "tone shaping."  One of the most wonderful attributes of ribbons is their inherent EQ-friendliness, which this box truly embraces. 

Like the original 1U rack unit, the AEA RPQ, this little 500-series rack is a game changer for anyone who wants to take their Ribbon micorphone collection “all the way” in terms of functionality. An AEA RPQ (The traditional rack-version) lives in the control room of Sound Pure Studio A, and has served as the baseline to a great many records where ribbons were used over here at Sound Pure.

Click Here to check out the Stereo RPQ

The smooth and round transients of a great ribbon microphone, whether it be a classic Coles 4038, or a more modern and masterful ribbon such as the AEA R84 or Royer R121 can create remarkable musicality in certain circumstances. The organic and natural smoothness of a ribbon can translate musicality across a wide range of sound sources – whether taming the scratch and aggressive nature of an electric guitar cabinet up close, or smoothing out the potential abrasiveness of a screaming trumpet, ribbons can be an outstanding choice. Unfortunately, few preamps in the world have every truly been designed to give ribbons the best-possible representation. That's where the AEA RPQ comes into play, and then goes further.

Ribbon microphones finally have a flattering preamp designed specifically for their use. But, the truth is that AEA did this, and actually did this quite well already, with the original AEA TRP:

http://www.soundpure.com/p/aea-trp-stereo-ribbon-microphone-preamp/829

This article, written by leading microphone expert (and member of the Sound Pure team) Todd Atlas, describes just how the AEA RPQ takes a non-traditional use of ribbon microphones and makes them shine:

“Ribbon Mics on Acoustic Guitars: Royer R121 Ribbon Microphones with the AEA RPQ Mic Preamp: How To Get the most out of a Ribbon Microphone (ribbons are not just for electric guitars, anymore!)”

Don't hesitate to check out the video on the first tab that shows how ribbons can be “brightened and heightened” with the use of this absolutely brilliant preamp design, from one of the most ribbon-minded geniuses in the entire industry, Wes Dooley, owner of AEA along with one of the greatest living audio engineers, Fred Forssell who has secretly and not-so-secretly been involved in the design and creation of some of the finest preamp designs in modern recording history.

AEA RPQ 500 Series Ribbon Mic Preamp - AES 2011

The RPQ 500 from Wes Dooley and AEA is an incredible ribbon microphone or condenser mic preamplifier based off of the two Channel RPQ that Audio Engineering Associates released a few years ago. The RPQ 500 is a 500 series module with an EQ section that eliminates some common issues that arise in ribbon mics such as the low end rumble or the high frequency. Thanks to Wes Dooley and AEA for the great demo this year at AES 2011 in New York. For more information about this great preamp that works well on a variety of ribbon mics or even condensers, call the expert recording engineers at SoundPure today!

Manufacturer's Description from AEA

The RPQ500 module, designed after the successful RPQ preamp, provides the same ultra-clean, high-gain signal path that has earned AEA preamps their great reputation, in a 500 series package. The RPQ500 has been enhanced with additional features, turning it into a workhorse tool for your API 500 compatible rack. The preamp delivers the bandwidth and quietness needed for high resolution recording. JFET circuit topology provides all the dynamics, subwoofer bass, and fast transients that your microphones can record. The input impedance of 10,000 Ω means the RPQ500 will not load down a mic and change its sound. Low Energy Storage™ circuit design instantly recovers from overloads for superior dynamic performance.
 
The CurveShaper™ offers a natural option for sculpting your sound right at the start of the signal path. Switchable and tunable low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) controls allow you to tame proximity problems and provide HF extension and slope control. The high-frequency CurveShaper™ excels at adding a touch of air or presence, and the low-frequency control can remove boxiness and boominess in a fast and unobtrusive way. The bottom line is a versatile channel strip that will deliver an unadulterated performance in any application. The Line/Mic switch bypasses the microphone gain stage and allows the EQ to be used for tracking with other preamps or during mixdown. Add the output level control and the RPQ500 becomes a high-quality processing tool that can be used for mixing and mastering when combined with summing racks and mixers such as the Purple Audio Moiyn or the Roll Music Folcrom.
 
The original RPQ with CurveShaper™ was designed to fully capture every nuance of ribbon microphones: vintage or modern, passive or phantom-powered. Engineers have discovered that the RPQ also complements their moving coil, tube and solid-state mics. By virtue of its sonic qualities and versatility, the AEA RPQ500 is the tool of choice for all microphones whenever a true and pristine signal path is needed.
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

  • 81 dB of gain at 1kHz, balanced-in to balanced-out in Microphone Input Mode
  • Noise figure, rms A-weighted: < 2 dB
  • Noise figure, rms unweighted: < 3 dB, 20 kHz LPF bandwidth
  • EIN < -130 dBu A-weighted, 150 Ω resistive source
  • Frequency response: -3dB < 1Hz and > 100 kHz
  • THD: < 0.02% at 1 kHz
  • Balanced Microphone Input Impedance: 10 kΩ
  • Balanced Line Input Impedance: 33 kΩ
  • Input Gain control: twelve-position switch provides from +7 dB to +56 dB of gain for the preamplifier circuit, as measured between the input and the before the output line driver.
  • Output Gain control: continuously variable from -64 dB to + 19 dB of additional output gain, following the CurveShaper™ circuitry
  • Switched LF Shelving filter: -3 dB break-frequency tunable from 18 Hz to 360 Hz; maximum reduction -20 dB
  • Switched CurveShaper™ EQ: +3dB break-frequency tunable from 2.1 kHz to 26 kHz; HF gain adjustable from +0 dB to +18 dB; the slope of the HF filter varies interactively and directly with the CurveShaper™ frequency and gain settings
  • XLR output maximum level into 600Ω load: +28 dBu, balanced; 0 dBu = 0.7746 V rms
  • XLR connectors polarity: pin-1 is ground, pin-2 is high, pin-3 is low
  • LED signal level indicators: green snaps on at -6 dBu, red snaps on at +23 dBu, and yellow varies in brightness with level from -3 dBu to +20 dBu.
Physical Features
 
  • Zinc-plated steel chassis with 0.125" anodized aluminum front panel (measured without knobs and switches): 1.488" w, 6.033" d, 5.247" h (3.78 cm x 15.32 cm x 13.32 cm)
  • Weight: 14.5 oz (411 g)
  • Laser engraved front panel markings
  • Grayhill series 71 stepped gain switch