Stellar Mic Preamp
I am proud to say that I own serial number #10 of this great ribbon preamp. Earlier this year I purchased two AEA N22 ribbon mics for the purpose of recording acoustic instruments and vocals (piano, guitar, and vocals). The phantom power on the mics helped create enough gain to make a decent recording with an interface preamp, but I knew that an optimized ribbon mic preamp would help make those microphones deliver what they are really capable of. The combination of the RPQ2 and the N22 ribbon mics exceeded my expectations and then some!
The AEA RPQ2 is an excellent stereo preamp for many different sources. In the limited time I've had it, I've tried different mics and DI instruments. Everything has sounded clean and enhanced with a nice warmth to it. Presence without the brittle brightness - check. Warmth and clarity - check. My AEA N22 ribbons absolutely came to life!
Ribbon mics certainly help take the digital sheen off of recordings. Sibilant harshness is a real obstacle to creating quality digital recordings. Tubes are a great way to warm recordings up, but not the only way. Tube preamps also have characteristics that are not always the best choice for certain recording applications in my humble opinion. High quality FET preamps have their own mojo, but most home/project studios do not have a rack full of Neves, API, or any of the other big names. AEA, at this price point, has really created an excellent product that stands on its own when compared to the established brand names in preamp/channel strip gear. This preamp helps make that happen with a lot of clean/quiet gain that remains musical without sounding clinically sterile. I love the EQ on this preamp! It really helps create a nice top end air with the few recordings I've done thus far.
The AEA Nuvo series mics (N8 & N22) were designed to be brighter and easier to work with as a result of phantom power and their respective baseline EQ settings (Nice boost at the top with a roll off to knock down harshness plus less rumble in the low frequencies so as to help mitigate the proximity effect.) I think they achieved what they were after, but the combination of a good preamp and those mics are essential for reaching their sonic potential. My acoustic guitar recorded through this signal path sounds amazingly similar to how my ears hear it live. Ribbons mics rock! Stereo microphones set up on an upright piano...Stellar! Vocals...Nice alternative to condenser mics. I have a Mojave MA300 that I love, but I am really drawn to the uncolored sound of the N22 ribbon mics. The combination of the ribbons and the Preamp/EQ from AEA really have helped me create that 3 dimensional sound I was after.
The RPQ2 from AEA is a real winner. I'm looking forward to adding more ribbon mics to the mic locker in the future. I now have an excellent recording front end preamp to quickly dial in a great sound before the audio ever gets "in the box". As with all my gear purchases - Sweetwater handled everything with clockwork precision. High-quality gear packaged well and delivered on time. Thank you!