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AEA RPQ3 Stereo Mic Preamp with EQ  From AEA

The RPQ3 preamp and EQ utilizes AEA's newest 3rd generation circuit design. Two channels of high-output, high-impedance, and low-noise gain with unique EQ architecture optimizes the performance of your microphones.



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Manufacturer's Description from AEA

The RPQ3 is the next evolution in AEA’s trusted lineage of high-impedance, high-gain preamplifiers.

Based on the circuit design of our celebrated RPQ2, the RPQ3 features a powerful combination of ultra-low noise, low-distortion op-amps, ultra-high 68KΩ input impedance, and 85dB of clean gain, all packaged in a durable full-rack chassis. The RPQ3 also includes an expanded EQ section with boost and cut controls for both low and high end as well as a low-end frequency sweep to identify and eliminate rumbles and resonances.

At once open and transparent but equally responsive and dynamic, the RPQ3 is a versatile tool for the front end of any signal path.

Improved EQ Section

The RPQ3 expands on our signature CurveShaper™ circuitry, offering boost and cut curves for both bands of the EQ allowing users to control their sound right at the start of the signal path. With easy-to-understand controls and sweepable frequency knobs, the expanded EQ section of the RPQ3 offers boost and cut options for both lows and highs. Even when boosting aggressively, the RPQ3 remains phase coherent and flatteringly natural. LF/HF LED indicators illuminate only when the EQ is engaged, eliminating confusion and simplifying workflow. The RPQ3 also has a +/- 10dB Gain Range for increased accuracy in boosting and cutting.

  • LF Boost/Cut: sweepable frequency adjustment from 40Hz to 675Hz (3 dB point), with max cut or boost from -20dB to 20dB
  • HF Boost/Cut: sweepable frequency adjustment from from 2.5kHz to 30kHz (3 dB point), with max cut or boost from -20dB to 20dB

Power Switching

The RPQ3 chassis features open-back access to the AC power switch, making voltage conversion between US standard 115V and 230V easy for set-up, anywhere in the world.


  • Two channels with 85dB of sweet, quiet, and mouthwatering JFET gain
  • High-frequency CurveShaper™ EQ and low frequency proximity control
  • 68k ohm high-impedance circuitry providing better overall transients, frequency response, and higher output sensitivity
  • Post-Mic and Pre-EQ Inserts for convenient routing options
  • Switchable phantom-power and polarity invert
  • Made in the U.S.A.


The AEA RPQ3 Ribbon Preamp and EQ provide two channels of high-output, high-impedance, and low-noise gain with a rich and natural sound that brings out the full potential of your microphones.

Specifically designed for ribbon microphones, the RPQ3 excels at drawing out the warmth and lush sound that ribbons are uniquely known for.


The RPQ3 is a powerhouse that provides unparalleled high gain with low-noise. With 85db of JFET output, the RPQ3 gives you enough juice to record soft sources without ever having to worry about noise.

The RPQ3 is the tool of choice for all microphones whenever a true and pristine signal path is desired. Our 3rd generation circuitry is the cleanest and most musical design we've done yet.


With the RPQ3, you will never consider a source too quiet to record with a ribbon mic ever again. Passive ribbons with low output levels require preamps that supply a high level of output. If the preamp you use doesn’t have enough clean gain, the mic signal may seem too soft or noisy which may be apparent when recording quiet acoustic guitars or strings, especially at a distance or with long cable runs. The RPQ3 eliminates this concern.


The RPQ3’s CurveShaper™ EQ is a powerful tool that gives you the ability to control your microphone right at the start of the signal path. The updated adjustable boost/cut low and high-frequency controls allow you to tame proximity problems and provide high-frequency extension with slope control.

The high-frequency filter boost enables you to add presence and air to your source  –perfect for sources like ribbons and 2-busses that often benefit from some extra top-end. The low-frequency control easily removes bass build-up in a fast and unobtrusive way.


The sound and tonality of dynamic microphones like ribbons and moving-coils are directly affected by the impedance of a preamp. The higher the impedance, the better the sound. The RPQ3 boasts an extra high input impedance of 68K Ohms (phantom power off).

Preamps with an impedance of under 10k ohms will limit the lows, highs, and transients of your passive microphones. The RPQ3’s high impedance will reveal your microphone’s true nature– a thick low-end, open top-end, and articulate transient response that you will need to hear to believe. Both condensers and active microphones also benefit from the RPQ3’s impedance.


The worlds best microphones, coupled with AEA’s range of transparent preamps, are the key choice for discerning recordists who want total control over their signal path.


AEA offers the RPQ3, RPQ500, TRP3 and TRP500 microphone preamps, all of which provide clean gain and ultra high impedance to open up the sound of your microphones. All AEA Ribbon Preamps all share the same topology and sound. The differences between each unit come down to extra EQ features and form factor.


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.


Spec Overview

  • Two-channel, high-gain, full-rack mic preamp
  • Ultra-high 68KΩ input impedance (phantom power off)
  • 7 to 85 dB of gain ● LF/HF boost and cut
  • EQ boost/cut, +/-20 dB (high range), +/- 10dB (low range)
  • EQ in/out switching (overall and individual bands)
  • +48V phantom ● Polarity switch
  • Pre-EQ line out (always active)
  • Insert Switch input switching (line input bypasses mic preamp)
  • Linear power supply with external 115V/230V switching


Max Gain at 1 kHz: 85 dB

EIN (Max gain, 22 Hz to 22 KHz, unweighted):

-130 dBu (typical), 40 Ω source

-128 dBu (typical), 150 Ω source

Frequency Response:

30 dB gain: (-0.6 dB 10 Hz, -3 dB 160 kHz)

85 dB gain: (-3 dB 10 Hz and 160 kHz)

THD+N: 0.0018% (1kHz, 22 Hz-22 kHz @30 dB Gain +4 dBu output)

XLR Output Max Level: +27 dBu into 600 Ω load

Input Impedance: 11.3 kΩ (with Phantom), 68 kΩ (no Phantom)

Output Impedance: 50 Ω

Max Input Signal Level: +20 dBu (minimum gain)

Stepped Gain Control: 12-position switch from +7 dB to +65 dB

Output Trim: Continuously variable from 0 dB to +20 dB

EQ Circuitry:

First order shelving response

20 dB max boost/cut high range, 10 dB max boost/cut low range

Low frequency sweep continuously variable 40 Hz to 675 Hz

High frequency sweep continuously variable 2 kHz to 28 kHz

Input and Output XLR Polarity: Pin 2 hot

LED Signal Level Indicators:

Green LED ≅ -20 dBu;

Yellow LED = 0 dBu;

Red LED ≅ +20 dBu (clipping +27 dBu)

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