AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone
The AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone w/ Cable and Case bring the same ribbon motor and transformer of the celebrated AEA R44 to a more cost effective - but no less stellar sounding - microphone chassis. This mic has become a modern-classic in its own right, and the AEA R84 is considered a necessary standard piece of studio inventory; if not a pair. Vocals, drums, bass, guitar (acoustic or electric), piano, whole ensembles... this microphone does it all, as its predecessor and inspiration was designed to do way back in 1936. The R84 proves that some classics don't fade away... they adapt, improve, and strengthen with age.
The AEA R84 is an affordable Large Ribbon Geometry (LRG) microphone suitable for use by the most demanding audio professional or hobbyist.
If you are new to ribbons, you are in for a treat! Experienced users have discovered the AEA R84 is an outstanding general-purpose microphone, ideally suited for solo and accent work. It is hard to find an application where this mic does not shine. It is a fine example of the natural sound and figure-8 directional sensitivity a quality ribbon mic delivers.
1. Pure natural sound, just as you hear it when you're placing your mic in the studio.
2. Quick smooth transients that capture the feeling of being there without sounding like a recording.
3. Extended bass and treble that captures the details without shoving anything in your face.
4. A figure-eight pattern that focuses your recording on the sound you want.
We believe you will enjoy the confidence this mic inspires. It's a forgiving tool that makes your recording work easier, as it literally sounds good on everything. Try it first and you'll usually like it and find it sits well in the mix. When time is scarce and quality necessary, put the AEA R84 to the test. Our users' experience is that you'll use it more and more (in pairs too!). Then it will start to really grow on you.
The versatile AEA R84 large ribbon microphone is suitable for a wide range of instruments, including brass, strings, percussion, electric guitar and bass. Utilizing the same basic acoustic structure as the AEA R44CNE, the AEA R84 delivers that "big ribbon" sound. At just 0.00007 of an inch, the ultra-thin, low-tension ribbon element of the AEA R84 ensures a quick response, whatever the application. Capable of handling better than 165 dB SPL at higher frequencies, when used on vocals or instruments the AEA R84 offers a performance that is intimate, warm and detailed, yet never harsh.
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Features
- Same Big Ribbon, tuning, and transformer as the R44 series
- Classic look, but with milder proximity effect than the R44
- Easy to use and affordable
- Versatile for close-up and ambient mic applications
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Options
- Standard AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone
- AEA R84 DJV Ribbon Microphone: This variation is a factory modification of the R84 which makes the R84 much more protected from wind blasts and moisture that result from close-up vocal recording/performance. So, with the AEA R84 DJV, you get the same incredible tone and sound of the R84, but with an additional tuning of the proximity effect which optimizes it for broadcast, voice over and very close and intimate vocal recordings.
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Includes
- R84 Microphone
- Shock mount/mic stand adapter
- Hard wired 10-foot starquad mic cable
- AEA 845C verticle carrying case
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Specifications
- Operating Principle: Pressure gradient microphone
- Directional Pattern: Bidirectional (Figure-of-8)
- Frequency Range: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 165+ dBSPL (1% third harmonic > 1 kHz)
- Output Sensitivity: 2.5 mV/Pa (-52 dBv/Pa) into unloaded circuit
- Output Impedance: 270 Ω nominal
- Recommended Load Impedance: 1.2 kΩ or greater
- Powering: Not required or recommended
- Polarity: Pin 2 high for positive pressure on front of microphone.
- Connector: XLR-3M wired to a 3 m captive cable
- Off Axis Response:
- Polar Pattern: Native bi-directional pattern
- Horizontal: Level changes with angle, frequency response is consistent, –35 dB null at 90° / 270°
- Vertical: Level changes with angle, reduced HF response above and below 0° / 180° axis, –35 dB null at 90° / 270°
- Transducer element:
- Ribbon Thickness: 1.8 μ (0.0000018 m) of pure aluminum
- Ribbon Width: 0.185” (4.7 mm)
- Ribbon Length: 2.35” (59.7 mm)
- Included: Custom storage / shipping case, manual
- Optional: Any length cable, inquire for price and delivery.
- Limited Warranty: One year parts and labor, shipping not included. Three year extended warranty if the product is registered.
- Physical Specs:
- Weight with Cable: 3 pounds (1.36 kg)
- Height: 11.6” (29.5 cm)
- Width: 3.9” (9.9 cm)
- Depth: 2.5” (6.4 cm)
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Downloads
AEA R84 Ribbon Microphone Reviews
What Professional Users Are Saying about the AEA R84...
"My favorite mic of the moment is the AEA R84...An emulation of an RCA ribbon mic is not going to sound like an RCA ribbon mic. Only Wes Dooley can come close today...Lately I've replaced the Neumann with the R84."
Excerpt from EQ Magazine Review, August 200
"The R84 is just surprising. I was expecting smooth; I wasn't expecting such incredible punch!"
Pete Townshend, The Who, London
"I have used one of these mics on almost all of the tracks we've taken, and always on jazz acoustic guitar. Wow. Double wow. This thing has got high end like I don't remember... Awesome, and I don't use that word often. Fantastic!"
George Massenburg, GML
"Just tried your latest, [the] R84... had it for a few days and one of our top engineers, Peter Cobbin, liked it so much he wants a pair. Congratulations again! ... a super price ... a real winner."
Lester Smith, Abbey Road
"I used the AEA R84 on recent sessions for vocal, electric and acoustic guitar. It just kept on sounding better and better. It's very bright and open with an extended low end - almost condenser-like but with smoother highs."
Joe Chiccarelli, multi-platinum producer/engineer
"Wes [Dooley] and company have done a wonderful thing with this mic ... You have given engineers and recordists a world-class option to return real instrumental and vocal character back into recording. I would recommend this microphone without reservation to anyone who is seeking a more natural, lifelike sound in their recordings."
Kyle Harris, PlayR Recording in Phoenix
"The only problem is that I don't have more [R84s]! I've been using them as drum overheads, knocking the Neumann 184s out of that duty. I also use them for certain vocals, on guitar amps and my banjo! Somehow they make every sound more 'musical.' It's amazing, I used to avoid ribbon mics ... now I love them."
Tim Pak, The Woodshed
"I am extremely pleased with your new R84 ribbon. It has many of the mid-range characteristics of a condenser mic which gives it a rather distinctive sound. I think that you are making a significant contribution to the industry."
Walter Sear, Sear Sound
"I just bought your R84 and it has vibe for DAYS! [The R84] kicks A**!!!"
Alan Mirikitani, Dawghouse Studios
"I just got a pair of the new R84 large ribbon [mics] and they are the bomb! I used the R84 on trombone through Brent Averil's API 312 [preamp] and it was truly beautiful ...such a natural open sound."
Rob P., www.witchdoctorrecording.com
"I'm really enjoying the R84...it's wonderful for vocals. I'm seriously contemplating another one for stereo drum overheads."
Marshall Simmons, The Music Factory, Toledo, Ohio
"The R84 has made a ribbon believer out of me. Never before have I heard a ribbon mic sound so good on so many things: strings, brass, acoustic guitar, choir, even solo voice. It has beat out so many of my previous favorite non-ribbon mics on so many instruments that I am truly shocked. The biggest problem is that just one pair is not enough."
Lynn Fuston, 3D Audio Inc., Franklin, Tennessee
"When I purchased this microphone and started tracking with it, I knew that my voice found it's match. I have been searching for years for a mic that would give me the old Nat King Cole style sound, and didn't realize that it would be the answer for other things in my production like acoustic guitar and anything that I want to sound 'natural.' Bravo. Million dollar sound."
Lou Ferguson, Songwriter, Calgary, Alberta
"Capacitor mics certainly have their strengths, and for most people most of the time they provide the best combination of price, performance and practicality. However, the ribbon mic has a character and tonality all its own, and the R84 is a very good example of just what this technology has to offer. Many of the great recordings of the '40s, '50s and '60s owe their sound to the distinctively smooth and natural quality of ribbon mics.
"The R84 is certainly on a par with capacitor mics of a similar price, but it delivers a very different kind of sound which can become quite addictive, and makes a very worthy addition to a well-stocked mic cupboard. The figure-of-eight pattern won't suit every application or recording environment, but where it can be used the R84 makes a good alternative to any high-end condenser mic, and one I suspect many musicians may prefer once they have auditioned it for themselves."
Hugh Robjohns - Sound on Sound, Feb 2004
"At this price, you should have at least one R84 in your locker, especially if you're looking to put some life into your digital signal chain. When using even high-quality condensers with a DAW, you forget how good things can sound and end up settling for “really good” instead of “excellent.” A quality ribbon like the R84 can take a production to the next level, injecting some butter into a margarine world."
Kevin Becka - Mix Magazine, Oct 2003
What We Think
"The AEA R84 is perhaps the perfect antidote for the sterility of recording in the digital landscape. Why? Imagine depth, a smooth yet extended high frequency response, and a nicely balanced frequency response throughout. Great at distance mic placement, the R84 began as a more cost-conscious build of the high-dollar AEA R44 microphones. However, while it still sports the same ribbon material and the same transformer as the R44, the body resonance and the grille shape contribute to a unique and highly flexible sound all its own.
Looking to record a singer/songwriter with a single microphone; old-school style? The R84 is the answer. It's never too bright and when matched with the right microphone preamplifier, it's got a balance that just isn't achievable with most any FET or tube condenser. Ribbon microphones really are dynamic microphones - only, they are high-resolution dynamic microphones. There is a unique depth of field that they capture that is impossible otherwise. This really becomes a beautiful component of this microphone when recording anything, but especially when recording vocals with an expressive vocalist. The R84 really gets you out of a jam when you have a 'nasaly' sounding singer, or one who is particularly sibilant. I've recorded several vocalists who just don't sound right on even the most expensive tube microphones - no matter how smooth the top-end. The R84 became the clearly evident solution.
Drums can be hard to record with condensers in the digital realm since cymbals can all too often sound hard or washy in such a way that cannot be corrected with eq. A pair of R84s in the room is many times all you need for an excellent recording. Try about 6 feet out in front of the kit. Work a little bit to place them just right - or take the easy way out and go with the AEA R88 mkII - a Blumlein or Mid-Side Stereo version of the R84 - depending on how you set it up on the mixer or in your DAW. What an incredible sound. BIG and rich. Smooth and detailed. It really doesn't get any better than this. It's a jazz drummer's dream microphone.
There is a special thing that happens with normally difficult to record instruments that run the risk of being too 'toppy' or 'clacky' and where the body can get lost. The mandolin is one such instrument. I'm giving away a big secret here, but use the R84 with a TRP or AEA's new RPQ500 preamp, put it through a smooth opto-style compressor (a Universal Audio LA-2A provided excellent results for me) and compress just enough to get it to 'sit' amongst the other instruments properly while still being dynamic, and you're golden. You'll be the genius engineer hero of the day, guaranteed. Any stringed instrument benefits from this microphone if you're after a full and accurate tone. It's not a good choice for ultra-shimmery and fake sounding acoustics. Who wants that, anyway? And it is stunning on piano.
Speaking of microphone preamps, ribbon microphones require a little 'special care and feeding' when it comes to what you're plugging the mic into. The R84 is no exception. Your typical on-board interface's mic preamp is probably not going to go this microphone justice. So, you need to understand that if you think it doesn't sound like I've described it in the preceding paragraphs, that it's the impedance relationship between the mic and the preamp - and no ribbon microphone is immune; and I've found this to be true of even the best active ribbon mics. Do yourself a favor - view recording ribbon microphones as recording with a system. The results will be quite evident. Obviously, the ribbon-tailored preamps from AEA, such as the Fred Forssell designed TRP, RPQ, and RPQ500 offerings are going to work extremely well. They pack a lot of good, clean, and quiet gain into affordable packages that work incredibly well for dynamic, tube, and even condenser microphones (in the case of the RPQ models that sport phantom power).
I've become a very big fan of using the R84 with the A Designs Ventura. This preamp / equalizer combo provides some of the most detailed and frequency balanced sound I've ever heard with the R84. It's a killer on vocals, and on pretty much anything else, I might add. And if you need to do a little tonal shaping, the inductor-based equalizer (think Quad Eight) is rich with character. Since the R84 takes EQ so well, this could very well be the perfect pairing.
If you've got any questions about what an AEA microphone such as the R84 or its variants, such as the R84DJV or the active AEA A840, can to help your recorded (or even live) sound elevate to the realm of the inspiring, give us a call. We're all experienced ribbon microphone users and understand the intricacies, challenges, and many, many rewards of recording with ribbons. AEA and Front End Audio will get you on the path to sounding fantastic."
Alan Moon - Front End Audio
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