Whether it was the smooth brass section of the soundtrack of a classic Hollywood film, the velvety lushness of a jazz vocal or the larger-than-life drum sound of a classic rock recording, chances are an RCA 44-series ribbon microphone was used in the studio when the sound was created.
In use for more than 80 years in recording and broadcast studios throughout the world, the RCA 44 ribbon design is as rich in history as it is in sound and character. This instantly recognizable sound produces thunderous lows due to the strong proximity effect, full and rich midrange and a unique top end taking the edge off of harsh instruments.
In 1976, AEA decided to begin servicing the thousands of existing RCA ribbon mics in the world. By 1998, AEA had acquired 100 percent of the interchangeable parts used within the original RCA 44. That same year we debuted our R44 reissue — called the AEA R44C — using RCA’s original methods and techniques.
THE LEGENDARY BIG RIBBON SOUND
The 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.
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.
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.
- 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 18dB level increase and is optimized for all preamps
- Made in the U.S.A.