AEA RPQ2 2-channel, full-rack preamp with EQ & DI
The AEA RPQ2 2-channel Ribbon Microphone Preamplifier is a High-gain, high-impedance, 2-channel, full-rack preamp with EQ & DI. Having it's design roots firmly planted in the task of being optimized for ribbon microphone amplification, the RPQ2 catapults the original RPQ design into a unified Preamp / EQ / DI solution for all microphone (and instrument) types.
Specifically designed for ribbon microphones, the RPQ2 excels at drawing out the warmth and lush sound ribbons are uniquely known for. With 81dB of sweet JFET gain, the RPQ2 delivers the quietness, and headroom needed for todays high-resolution recordings. With phantom power disengaged, the NoLoad input impedance at 63K Ohms means the RPQ2 wont load down a mic and change its sound.
The RPQ2s CurveShaper EQ gives you the tools to control your ribbons right at the start of the signal path. Switchable and tunable low and high-frequency controls allow you to tame proximity and provide HF extension.
The RPQ2 also includes front panel Direct Inputs, Mic/Line switches for balanced line inputs and outputs, as well as inserts for patching compressors or other effects between the preamp and CurveShaper EQ section. This feature is particularly useful for bypassing the preamp section when you want to use the unit in Line Input mode for post-EQ processing. Engineers have discovered that the RPQ2 also complements their moving coil and condenser microphones, quite nicely.
Like AEA's Big Ribbons, they designed the RPQ2 to have a natural and musical tonality.
AEA RPQ2 Features
- Two channels with 81dB of sweet and quiet JFET gain
- NoLoad 63k ohm high-impedance circuitry providing better overall transients, frequency response, and higher output sensitivity
- High-resolution, high-impedance front-panel 1/4" DIs
- Mic/Line mode with Post-Mic and Pre-EQ Inserts for alternative and convenient routing options
AEA RPQ2 Specifications
- Gain at 1kHz: 81dB
- Noise figure, rms A-weighted: <2dB
- Noise figure, rms unweighted: <3dB, 20 kHz LPF bandwidth
- EIN: <-130 dBu A-weighted, 150 Ohm resistive source
- Frequency response: -3dB <1Hz and >100 kHz
- THD: <0.02% at 1 kHz
- Input impedance: Hi-Z Input Impedance >5M Ohms
- Balanced Microphone Input Impedance: 63K Ohms (10K Ohms with Phantom-Power engaged)
- Balanced Line Input Impedance: 18K Ohms
- Input Gain control: Twelve-position switch provides from +13dB to +62dB of gain
- Switched LF Shelving filter: -3dB break-frequency tunable from 22 Hz to 515 Hz; maximum reduction -20dB
- Switched CurveShape EQ: +3dB break-frequency tunable from 2.1 kHz to 26 kHz; HF gain adjustable from +0dB to +20dB
- Color LEDs: Green, Yellow, Red
- XLR output maximum level into 600Ω load: +28 dBu, balanced; 0 dBu = 0.7746 V rms
- XLR connectors polarity:
- Pin-1 is ground
- Pin-2 is high
- Pin-3 is low
- LED signal level indicators:
- The green LED snaps on at -20 dBu to indicate the presence of signal
- The yellow LED snaps on at 0 dBu
- The red LED snaps on at +24 dBu to warn of approaching signal overload.
- Size: Full-rack measured with knobs and switches: 19 w, 9 d, 1.75 h (48.5 cm x 23 cm x 4.45 cm)
- Weight: 4lb 5oz (~2 kg)
AEA RPQ2 Includes
- IEC Power Cable
- Owners Manual
- Fantastic Sound!
AEA RPQ2 Downloads
- AEA RPQ2 User Guide / Owners Manual (PDF)
- AEA RPQ2 Recall Sheet (PDF)
- AEA RPQ2 Technical Onesheet (PDF)
What We Think
The AEA RPQ2 is a fantastic upgrade to an already fantastic circuit! Most improvements come in regards to the user experience. New LEDs, chassis design, and knobs make recording with the RPQ2 even better than with the original RPQ. And the addition of the new DI circuit gives your instruments direct access to clean, powerful, and unfettered sound that you'd expect from AEA. But all of the classic benefits of the original remain intact.
The Curve Shaper EQ is a purpose made circuit which addresses both the natural characteristics of ribbon mics, and solving the engineer's common issues with them. The HF band is giant bell curve centered much higher than the range of human hearing. However, the slope dips back into the audible range and mirrors the natural roll-off of a fine ribbon microphone. By adjusting frequency and gain, it's possible to "negate" the effects of the roll-off and therefore bring the resulting sound up to a linear "0" across the higher frequencies. The LF on the other hand, is a -6dB Shelving EQ designed to "de-woofify" the lows and lower mids where ribbons can be very rich.
The original RPQ often evoked customer responses along the lines of, "I like the RPQ a whole lot more than I thought that I was going to;" and this was after I encouraged them to try it with condensers and dynamic mics, too. The RPQ2 adds to this with the new addition of the DI input.
We cannot stress enough the benefits of a purpose built ribbon microphone preamplifier, and AEA has led the way with the TRP, RPQ, RPQ500 and now the RPQ2 (and the similarly improved RPQ500). Sometimes you really won't benefit from a "heavy" sounding preamp, and what you really need is lots of clean gain. The RPQ2 truly delivers in that department. Owners and fans of the original RPQ will find a familiar, but new love in the new RPQ2.
- Front End Audio
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Used it with Royer SF-12 and absolutely love it. Was using a Great River which I like for different reasons; but the Aea is clear and uncolored with boatloads of gain. EQ section is a nice bonus