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AEA TRP Stereo Ribbon Microphone Preamp  From AEA

Stereo Ribbon Microphone Preamp (no phantom power) designed to highlight the sounds of your ribbon with plenty of gain and high impedance.


What We Think

The TRP is a truly excellent box for anyone who wants to make an investment in ribbon microphones, and wants the absolute cleanest signal path ever designed for ribbons in mind. This incredible preamp was designed by genius engineer, 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. This truly unique approach to ribbon microphone per-amplification has generated this a lean, mean, and clean ribbon-microphone machine.

In order to keep the costs down, and the signal path completely clean, AEA kept things incredibly streamlined with the TRP. Obviously, this was very purposeful – they set out to build a box with a specific purpose in mind – Ribbon mics. With this release, and because of all the features the box left out, there are a handful of criticisms:

  1. The half-rack format isn't for everyone but you should know that this can be worked around with a rack kit, and has kept the cost of the otherwise sensation until down;

  2. The lack of 48v phantom power prevents the clean-gain, and natural sound of this unit from being usable with phantom powered microphones such as condenser microphones, or even active ribbons which require power. However, this is a non-issue (it works just fine) for microphones that do not require phantom power including tube microphones, dynamic microphones, and pretty much any traditionally-designed ribbon microphone (what the unit was really originally designed for);

  3. Lack of an EQ to brighten or re-capture the top-end of ribbon microphones where they ordinarily start to roll-off.

In response to each of these three acute criticisms (really the only three complaints one can have about a preamp that was so wonderfully designed and executed for such a dedicated purpose), AEA later developed the RPQ, which is also worth a VERY serious look-sie:


The AEA builds on top of the framework and design of the TRP and is arguably the preamp that is most optimized for Ribbon microphones, ever created. If you are looking for affordability, and don't mind these handful of issues, do consider this Original AEA TRP – it's a very fine box, made with ribbons in mind, and very professionally constructed.

Manufacturer's Description from AEA

The AEA Ribbon Mic Preamplifier is an ultra high-gain and impedance, minimal-path FET mic pre designed by Fred Forssell. This low-noise two-channel preamp is for ribbon, moving coil, and tube microphones that do not use or want phantom power. This allows for improvements in minimal path circuitry and also rids the unit of phantom-power blocking capacitors. Zener diodes on the input protect the input stage if external phantom power is applied.

First stage gain is set from +6 to +63 dB by a 12 position Grayhill switch. Another 20dB of gain is available after the output level potentiometer. Polarity reversal and high pass switches on the two channels are complimented by operating and overload LED metering.


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.


* 83 dB of gain
* -130 EIN noise figure
* -3 dB at 300 kH
* No phantom power, 18,000 ohms input impedance
* Green and Red LEDs indicates channel level
* Balanced XLR +4, and Unbalanced 1/4 inch -10 outputs

External Features

* Switched Gain and Continuous Level Controls
* Phase reverse and high-pass switches
* Anodized gray and black matte finished aluminum
* Laser engraved legends and single line schematic
* External power supply for minimum noise


* Half-rack wide, one rack unit high (8.5" x 8.5" x 1.7")
* Weight: Two pounds, plus power supply is (1.5 lbs.)

Sound Clips