AEA R44CE R44C R44CXE and A440 Classic Ribbon Microphones
The AEA R44C is an exact replica of the vintage RCA 44BX ribbon microphone, considered the most musical sounding microphone ever built. Many of the 20th century’s most iconic recordings were recorded using the R44.
- Unparalleled warmth and legendary character
- Full and rich tonality with generous low end and proximity effect
- Faithful reproduction of the RCA R44BX with new old stock RCA ribbon material
- Economy exterior R44CE exhibits same, classic sound
- Active A440 upgrade has 12db level increase and is optimized for all preamps
- Made in the U.S.A.
THE LEGENDARY BIG RIBBON SOUNDThe AEA R44 maintains an iconic legacy of great ribbon mics by delivering a rich sound full of character and color.
Effective on a broad range of instruments and rooms, the R44 bolsters mids and lows while smoothing harsh high frequencies to produce a multi-dimensional sound unlike that of any microphone the world over.
Used on everything from crooning vocalists to full orchestras, the R44 is the ideal choice to capture the tone of any voice or instrument while imparting its legendary ribbon character.
DIFFERENT OUTSIDES, THE SAME SOUND
Our R44 Series microphones all share the authentic sound, feel and look of the 1936-38 RCA 44BX. The R44 series microphones are all detailed, hand-crafted replicas, using parts that are made to be interchangeable with an original RCA 44. We manufacture three different versions of the R44 and an optional hotrod.
At the core, every version of the R44 sounds the same when powered with a ribbon preamp. The major differences between the versions are the exterior look and the amount of output level.
THE R44 VARIANTS
The passive R44 is available in two exteriors– the original museum-quality replica R44C and the aesthetically cost-effective R44CE. Both mics have an identical sound and are exactly the same on the inside. The difference between the two is only cosmetics and price.
The active A440 is a preamp-flexible R44 with 18dB of extra output. It is custom-painted with the RCA classic umber-colored transformer case.
The original R44 microphones were constantly updated during their twenty years of production, and after carefully looking at some of the technical modifications, we've created two upgrades to the original R44.
The active A440 is an ultra-premium version of the R44C. It is complete with a custom Lehle transformer, RPQ JFET preamp electronics and the “X” motor hotrod and is the quietest ribbon microphone ever manufactured. It retains the same sonic character of the passive R44C, but with an additional 18dB of output and greater flexibility with different preamps. Many engineers favor their A440s over their vintage RCA 44s due to the advantages in noise performance.
We developed a modified R44 transducer, called the X-Motor, that includes two additional magnets that provide an extra 6db of output. With a sound identical to the original 44, the X-Motor ‘hot rod’ mod is useful for scoring and classical sessions and other applications demanding a wide dynamic range with the classic 44 sound. Available as an upgrade in R44C and CE models, the X-Motor version of the R44 bears a red-badge on the outside instead of the standard black badge.
YES, THERE’S A MATCHING PREAMP
The preamp is critical for optimum performance for our passive R44 models. Preamp gain should be at least +60dB or higher and it should have a very high impedance. It’s the same requirement with all passive ribbon mics.
To guarantee consistent, full-range ribbon sound, we recommend AEA’s RPQ2, RPQ500 and TRP2 preamps, which were specially designed for ribbon microphones. However, preamps with above a 5K ohm impedance found in many live soundboards are adequate for guitar amps and other louder instruments. On quiet sound sources or for distance recording, an AEA preamp is highly recommended.
“The [R44s] are BEYOND wonderful. I used them extensively on my recordings for the new Who record – on my vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos, piano, string quartet (the stereo)…It is without question the best mic I have ever used. The best sound I’ve ever achieved without tweaking a single knob apart from mic gain. I feel as though I’ve gone back in time to a place where getting a sound was easy. It’s almost impossible to make it sound bad!
"It sounds absolutely incredible on vocals, strings and horns alike. And that's no exaggeration. They are open, even and clear yet really smooth and creamy on top. Almost like the effect of recording to tape, it smoothes frequency peaks and dynamics in a completely transparent way."