July's Mic of the Month: AEA R84
In 1976, AEA began servicing ribbon microphones, by 1998 they were manufacturing 100% of the parts for the RCA 44. They then released their own version of the 44, and at that moment AEA Ribbon Mics was born.
I hadn't owned many ribbon microphones until I purchased my first AEA, the R84. The R84 is a passive ribbon microphone that shares the same big ribbon, tuning, and transformer as the historic 44. The audio that I had been trying to capture for many years was finally unraveling in front of me. The big 2.35" by 0.185" by 2-micron pure aluminum low-tension ribbon element gives this microphone a very smooth and natural sound. The fine folks at AEA have named this microphone among other things, a Swiss army knife, your "desert island mic", or just "The Workhorse". I can confirm that the R84 is indeed all of the above. I couldn't believe my ears when I plugged this "workhorse" in. I had found the sound that I had been looking for.
I first tried the R84 with male vocals. Hearing the playback, I felt like I was standing in the room listening to the vocal right next to me. Amazed and thrilled with the results I immediately started trying it on other applications: female vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar amps, drum overheads, piano and brass. My ears were smiling! I was disappointed in myself that I hadn't tried the AEA mics sooner but was glad that I had finally made the leap into the pool of silky greatness.
At 165+ maximum SPL this microphone does extremely well in close proximity circumstances. I placed the mic close to the guitar amp grill, toms, horns and vocals with no handling issues at all. A lot of ribbon microphones can be very sensitive when placed too close to the application as it can be extremely hard on the ribbon inside the mic. AEA mics have been designed to be flexible and practical in most situations.
Not only were my ears smiling, but my eyes were smiling when they saw the intricate design of the mic. Cosmetically it reminds me of the classic RCA 77-DX. For what you get out of this microphone it is very affordable, and I can tell you that you won't be disappointed if you are looking for a buttery, silky smooth sound for your recordings. Wes Dooley, the owner of AEA stated that the R84 is the "R44 for us married guys". The result is a new microphone with a classic sound.
Do you want to try to win one of these microphones? You've come to the right place. AEA has generously agreed to give an R84 to one lucky winner! Visit our twitter page July 1st for more information about the giveaway.