75 Years of Ribbon Microphone Greatness!The R44CXE from AEA 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, this time with a high-output version dubbed the AEA R44CXE.
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 R44CXE 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 R44CXE ribbon mics are as close as humanly possible to vintage RCA 44s. The R44CXE offers 6dB more output that the original RCA 44B and BX, and offers a slightly more forward sound. The R44CXE comes with a hard-wired three meter starquad XLR output cable and AEA 44VC vertical carrying case for proper shipping and storage.
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 R44CXE 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 R44CXE sounds good on everything. Leave it out and use it whenever you need to do a quick take.
AEA R44CXE High-output Ribbon Mic Features at a Glance:
- An accurate reproduction of the original RCA Ribbon Mic
- Uses the same ribbon material as the original
- Built to the highest studio standards possible
- A single diaphragm Figure 8 ribbon microphone
- 6dB more output that the RCA 44B and BX
- High null-axis rejection
- Custom AEA Transformer
- High SPL capability, max level of 140dB plus above 200Hz
- Low Self Noise
- Consistent polar response
- Operable in high humidity environments
- Sounds equal to or better than the original RCA 44
- Operating Principle: Velocity microphone
- Frequency Response: Below 30 Hz to above 20 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 140 + dB SPL above 200Hz for 1% third harmonic
- Output Sensitivity: 2.25 mV / Pa into unloaded circuit
- Output Impedance: 270 ohms broadband
- Recommended Load: 1.2 K ohm or greater
- Powering: Not required or recommended
- Polarity: Pin 2 high for positive pressure on the front of the microphone.
- Connector: XLR-3M wired to a 3 meter captive cable
- Polar Pattern: Native bi-directional pattern
- Horizontal: Level changes with angle, frequency response is consistent, -90 dB null at 90 / 270 degrees
- Vertical: Level changes with angle, reduced HF response above and below 0/180 degree axis, null at 90/270 degrees
- Ribbon Thickness: 1.8 microns ( .0000018 meter ) of pure aluminum
- Ribbon Width: 4.7 mm
- Ribbon Length: 59.7 mm
- Accessories Included: Custom storage/shipping case, stand adapter, manual and attached 3-meter microphone cable