The AEA KU5A Ribbon Microphone breaks new ground in ribbon technology with its acutely focused directionality that rejects bleed from other instruments, room reflections, and loud ambience in the studio and on stage.
Never before has a ribbon mic delivered as much clarity and breadth of sound in a package so fit for both studio and live use. As a near-field ribbon designed for close range recording, the KU5A delivers the low-end heft and pronounced midrange one expects of AEA ribbons and with moderate, manageable proximity effect. Vocalists can sing directly into the grill of the KU5A, as its interior components are the most protected of any in the AEA lineup.
The KU5A is equipped with active electronics, fit for any preamp in the studio and on the road, as well as an integrated high-pass filter to roll off low end in close range recording applications.
The Supercardioid Ribbon
The KU5A’s supercardioid polar pattern captures pure, direct sound while rejecting room tone from behind the mic. This feature prevents excessive monitor and audience bleed when tracking musicians live in one room or on stage. Traditional figure-of-8 ribbons, which distinctly incorporate both direct sound and room sound, rely on sharp nulls to reject unwanted bleed.
The KU5A’s end-address directionality and tight supercardioid pattern allow for effortless positioning on snare, toms, and other instruments that may be difficult to access. Signal bleed captured by dynamic mics and condensers often sounds harsh and brittle due to top-end frequencies. The minimal bleed captured by the KU5A sounds more natural as a result of its smooth top end and coheres well in a mix.
Active and Flexible
The active KU5A comes complete with a custom transformer and JFET electronics. It features the same custom transformer as the A440, R84A, and NUVO ribbon mics, providing greater output, less audible noise, and stable impedance. This allows for consistent frequency response and greater flexibility with different preamps, including those within audio interfaces. The boosted output of the KU5A is beneficial when recording quiet sources like vocals and soft acoustic guitars, and the active circuitry prevents noise interference. The KU5A operates with standard 48-volt phantom power.
If you are fond of ribbon tonality and want to capture the direct sound of your instrument without room reflections and bleed, the KU5A is a perfect choice. Its smooth ribbon midrange softens the sibilance that a condenser often accentuates, and its extended top end mitigates the need to blend it with other microphones for more bite.
Sources within 3 inches of the KU5A will benefit from the warm tonality of its proximity effect, and the mic can handle 141+ dB SPL at 1kHz. High volume sources will not damage the KU5A’s interior components, so the mic can be positioned just inches from a guitar or bass amp. However strong bursts of air may damage the ribbon, so exercise caution when positioning it in front of a kick drum. Air bursts produced from vocalists will not damage the KU5A ribbon, as it is the most protected of any mic in the AEA lineup.
The KU5A has an integrated electronic high-pass filter that can be engaged with an external pushbutton switch. This filter smoothly rolls off low-end with a 6db/octave shelf at 283 Hz. The switch activates the KU5A’s near-field mode for optimal close-range performance. This high-pass filter was designed specifically for singers who use the KU5A on the road and in the studio, and allows its user to position the mic right up against the source without experiencing overwhelming proximity effect.
Touring bands rely on the durability and low-profile of the KU5A for sound reinforcement at live shows. At outdoor festivals and indoor theaters alike, the KU5A is perfectly equipped to bring studio sound to the live stage. Its integrated windscreen protection prevents interference at windy venues and its active electronics allow for flexibility with virtually any mixing board or audio interface.
AEA KU5A Ribbon Microphone Features
- Supercardioid polar pattern that rejects room tone and instrument bleed
- Detailed, extended top end with ribbon smoothness and warmth
- Supreme durability for close-range, outdoor, and live use
- Active electronics and custom transformer optimized for all preamps
- Front address design with built-in yoke is simple to position
- Integrated high-pass filter switch reduces proximity effect at close-range
- Matte black finish is discreet on camera
- Made in the U.S.A.
2 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
The combination of the ribbon sound with the proximity boom reeled in, highs slightly enhanced, a supercardioid pickup pattern, and the internal phantom powered pre make this a fabulous mic. No need for a pre big enough to amp it. The supercardioid pattern will solve room reflections in a decent room without having to battle with the narrow pickup of a hypercardioid on vocals. EQ to taste and you've got a beautiful buttery smooth tone. There are two reasons I gave it a rating of 4 rather than 5 and said it was "almost" a grand slam. I don't understand the point of the built-in cable. That in combination with the fact that the mounting nut does not spin can get aggravating with a pop filter clamped to the stand. But once it's setup and doing its job all is forgotten. In the right tune or genre it can easily be a head turner. Be prepared for the questions on how you got those gorgeous vocals.
This is one of the more expensive mics I've bought (next to a tube condenser) but wow does it show. It quickly became my go-to mic for vocals and acoustic instruments. Deep and warm sounding without the mud and boom. My only minor complaint would be that I'm iffy on the built-in cable. It's only 10 feet (which can of course be daisy chained) but I always feel a little concerned that if the cable goes out it's a lot bigger deal than if it were a separate cable.