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The R44 is one of those rare mics that has remained relatively unchanged from its inception, and still sounds great some 75 years later. Wes Dooley, a specialist in ribbon mics of all kinds, has now restored the 44 type microphone to its rightful position in the studio. After tracking down the engineers who designed and built the original RCA 44, AEA acquired ribbon material, made the tooling and custom machined all the parts necessary to build the original RCA 44 B/BX design to its original specifications, just as it was in the 1930s. After years of painstaking work, AEA has again begun production of the most important ribbon mic of all time: the AEA R44C.
RCA 44 ribbon microphones have remained an essential part of studio life well after RCA stopped manufacturing them in 1955. The sound and response of the 44 B/BX were unlike anything else available, and was cherished for its smoothness, forgiving nature and unique tonal balance. As collectors began to buy up the supply of RCA 44's through the 90's, the availability of this wonderful ribbon mic to the studio was greatly endangered.
The 44 was RCA's best microphone from the 1930s into the '50s. Is AEA's R44 that good? Both listeners and measurements say that the R44 is better and AEA has been listening to both users and ex-RCA engineers for over 25 years. They start by using only ribbon material originally manufactured for RCA. This is the best way to ensure that AEA's R44 ribbon mics are as close as humanly possible to vintage RCA 44s.
Next, they use modern magnet technology which is much more robust than period magnets. AEA also combined the original American undamped ribbon design with the British RCA 44 innovations that lower the weight and hum sensitivity. The R44 design runs contrary to all current ribbon microphone manufacturing. It is large and heavy when other microphones are smaller and lighter. The internal ribbon element is by far the longest and its resonance tuning the lowest of today's ribbon microphones. It is a pure undamped ribbon design, an approach that has been out of production for over 50 years while remaining in continuous studio use. It is different, and its sound is unique.
The R44 sounds good on everything. Leave it out and use it whenever you need to do a quick take. Bruce Swedien particularly likes them on vocals, Joe Chicarelli on sax, Allen Sides on electric guitar. Everyone has a favorite use and everyone finds they sound good anywhere: brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings or voice work.
|Package Contents||Microphones, case, stand adapter, and manual|
|Unit Weight||8 lb|
|Tube or Solid State||Solid State|
|Polar Pattern||Bi-Directional / Figure-Eight|
|Number of Microphones||Stereo Pair|
|Impedance||Nominal: 270 Ohms|
|Frequency Range||20 Hz - 15 kHz|
|Sensitivity||-53 dBV/Pa (2.25 mV) into unloaded circuit|
|Max. SPL||165+ dB (1% third harmonic > 1 kHz)|
By far the nicest pair of microphones I've ever purchased. Huge, very musical sound and a proximity effect that has to be experienced to be believed. Very robust build quality. I would recommend these microphones to virtually anyone who wants to upgrade their microphone locker.
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