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AEA RPQ - The Ribbon Pre with Curve Shaping

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AEA RPQ - The Ribbon Pre

The AEA RPQ Ribbon Preamp with Curve-Shaping provides two channels of high-quality, high-gain, low-noise microphone preamplification, and unlike the TRP provides phantom power for active electronics. Particularly well-suited for use with ribbon microphones, it delivers the speed, precision, quietness, and headroom needed for today's high-resolution recordings. The JFET circuit design generates up to 80 dB of clean and quiet gain, with extended bandwidth from below 1 Hz to beyond 200 kHz, for dynamic range and transient response that complements all of your microphones.

The RPQ's Curve-Shaper gives you the tools to control your ribbons. Ribbon mics are capable of delivering strong sub-woofer lows, and can have a significant bass proximity effect. Such strong low-frequency content can mask high-frequency intelligibility, so the tunable LF filter was engineered to tame low-frequency energy to appropriate levels.

The HF filter enables you to extend the high end adding a little extra "presence" or "air" to the pickup. The HF filter compensates for the high-frequency roll-off that is inherent to most ribbon microphones, distant mic placement, or an overly "dry" acoustical environment.

Electronics Specifications

  • 80 dB of gain at 1kHz, balanced-in to balanced-out
  • Noise figure, rms A-weighted: < 2 dB
  • EIN < -128 dBu A-weighted, 150 Ω resistive source
  • Balanced Microphone Input Impedance > 10 kΩ
  • Green, red, and yellow LEDs indicate line level
  • XLR output max level into 600Ω load: +28 dBu, balanced; +22 dBu, unbalanced
  • TRS output max level into 100 kΩ load: +22 dBu, unbalanced

Physical Features

  • Grayhill series 71 stepped gain switch
  • Rotary potentiometers detented at 12:00 o'clock position
  • Metallic blue and steel gray powder-coat finish
  • Silkscreened engraved legends and single line schematic
  • Detachable rack-ears included


  • 1 RU steel and aluminum chassis: 17.25" w, 11" d, 1.7" h (44 cm x 28 cm x 4.3 cm)
  • Weight: 6.75 pounds (3.1 Kg)


Magazine Reviews:

AEA RPQ Review
June 2012, Mix, by Kevin Becka
"AEA RPQ Ribbon Preamp"
"This mic preamp is a joy to use. Its clean design reveals exactly what's going on with your transducer, which can be a bummer if you're using a lower priced mic—you'll hear the noise and off-axis inaccuracies with stunning detail. On the plus side, if you're using a higher-end mic in a great room, the preamp gets out of the way, giving you all that your front end offers."

AEA A440/RPQ Review
Apr 2009, Resolution, by Jon Thornton
"AEA A440/RPQ ribbon pre P48"
"What you are paying for in the A440 is that 'magic' sound - and a degree of authenticity that's as close as is possible to the original 44 - in a package that delivers the goods in a more modern recording chain. And with the RPQ ribbon pre P48 you get a preamplifier that will do it - and for that matter, any other ribbon microphone - the utmost justice."
Read the review in PDF format.

AEA RPQ Review
Nov 2009, Mix, by Barry Rudolph
"AEA RPQ Ribbon Mic Preamp Review"
"This is the smoothest EQ I've ever heard...The AEA RPQ is an all-around super mic preamp. It caters to the requirements of any ribbon mic with its high gain, low noise, gigantic dynamic range and excellent Curve Shaper section."
Read the review.

AEA RPQ Review
Nov 2009, Sound On Sound, by Hugh Robjohns
"Product Review - AEA RPQ"
"If you're a fan of ribbon mics — and you have this kind of budget available — the RPQ is a must-buy product. I was astonished at how much better every ribbon I've ever reviewed sounded when it was connected to the TRP preamp as compared to other preamps (whether budget, professional or high-end boutique), and this RPQ version matches that all the way."
Read the review.

AEA RPQ Review
Sept 2009 (#73 UK Edition), TapeOp, by Thom Monahon
"AEA RPQ Mic Preamp"
"The RPQ had so much clean gain that I was easily able to drive a ProTools input into the red ... I moved through all the ribbons one by one, marveling at how quiet the preamp was."
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