With the RPQ2, AEA have improved on what was already an excellent ribbon-mic preamp.
Audio Engineering Associates are American manufacturers who specialise in ribbon microphones and associated hardware. Ribbon mics present a particular challenge for the preamp since they prefer to work into unusually high impedances and need a lot of quiet gain — yet low noise and high impedances don’t normally sit very comfortably together! AEA’s first ribbon preamp was the TRP (‘The Ribbon Preamp’), which I reviewed in April 2007 and was so impressed with that I purchased the review model. However, its desktop format and relatively basic facilities (and absence of phantom power), inherently limited its application.
AEA’s next preamp (joining the TRP, rather than replacing it) was designed deliberately to have a wider and more versatile appeal. Based on the TRP’s core preamp circuitry, the RPQ was built as a 1U 19-inch rackmounting, low-noise, high-impedance, high-gain preamp, but with equalisation facilities and a second set of inputs with phantom power, allowing it to be used with the full range of microphones. I reviewed that model in November 2009 but now, eight years later, the RPQ has received a makeover expanding its facilities even further, and broadening its appeal considerably to a very wide range of potential users.
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