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AEA TRP - The Ribbon Pre

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AEA TRP - The Ribbon Pre

The AEA Ribbon Mic Preamplifier is an ultra high-gain and impedance, minimal-path FET mic pre designed by Fred Forssell. This low-noise two-channel preamp is for ribbon, moving coil, and tube microphones that do not use or want phantom power. This allows for improvements in minimal path circuitry and also rids the unit of phantom-power blocking capacitors. Zener diodes on the input protect the input stage if external phantom power is applied.

First stage gain is set from +6 to +63 dB by a 12 position Grayhill switch. Another 20dB of gain is available after the output level potentiometer. Polarity reversal and high pass switches on the two channels are complimented by operating and overload LED metering.

Electronics Specifications

  • 83 dB of gain
  • -130 EIN noise figure
  • -3 dB at 300 kH
  • No phantom power, 18,000 ohms input impedance
  • Green and Red LEDs indicates channel level
  • Balanced XLR +4, and Unbalanced ¼ inch -10 outputs

External Features

  • Switched Gain and Continuous Level Controls
  • Phase reverse and high-pass switches
  • Anodized gray and black matte finished aluminum
  • Laser engraved legends and single line schematic
  • External power supply for minimum noise


  • Half-rack wide, one rack unit high (8.5" x 8.5" x 1.7")
  • Weight: Two pounds, plus power supply is (1.5 lbs.)


Magazine Reviews:

AEA TRP Review
April 15, 2007, Pro Audio Review, by Dr. Fredrick J. Bashour
"AEA TRP Ribbon Microphone Preamplifier"
"[TRP] is destined to become a first choice preamp for engineers who use ribbon mics with quiet sources...In other words, it's the first universal mic preamp for non-phantom powered mics! ... Since the Millennia Media preamp is such a standard around the world for classical recording, I'd consider that putting the TRP in the same category as the HV3C is giving it some pretty high-class company to keep."
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AEA TRP Review
April 1, 2007, Mix Magazine, by Joe Hannigan
"Field Test: AEA TRP Ribbon Mic Preamp"
"Several shoot-outs and tests against other preamps went about as expected: None had the flexibility for reliable, stable settings, nor had the kind of overall gain structure or repeatable results found in the TRP ... With such a smart blend of technology, it's difficult to tell where the beauty of the ribbon microphone experience ended and the preamp began, but the unit's lack of coloration and built-in features more than kept up with—and perhaps exceeded—the quality of the microphones I used."
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"On Test Microphone: AEA R92 & TRP Studio Ribbon Microphone and Preamp"
April 2007, Sound on Sound, by Hugh Robjohns
"The AEA TRP is an impressive preamp whichever way you look at it."
www.soundonsound.comRequires subscription

"Quick Picks"
March 2007, Electronic Musician, by Miles Boisen
"But even with an assortment of expensive solid state preamps at my disposal, I still wasn't satisfied with the sound we were getting. Then along came the TRP. Right away I was amazed at the difference that this preamp made on [Julia Shirar's] vocal tracks. Although I had previously struggled to get this singer to cut through, the TRP positioned her effortlessly in front of the mix with clarity and detail... I thought I had sworn off buying new preamps, but the AEA TRP is clearly a must-have to supplement my mic closet. It is an excellent mid-priced, 2-channel preamp that works wonders without breaking the bank. A staggering 84dB of gain makes the TRP one of the most potent preamps and one of the few optimized for ribbon mics."
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"Review: AEA The Ribbon Preamp"
March 2007, Recording Magazine, by Scott Dorsey
"In a few words, this preamp makes ribbon microphones sound brighter and more detailed than a conventional transformer-input preamp."
www.recordingmag.comRequires purchase

User Shout-outs

Do you own an AEA TRP? Register your mic pre and tell us all about it!

"Love the classic, punchy, in-your-face sound of these and I look forward to using them for years."
     – Robert Howe

"The Ribbon Preamp is amazing, sounds so wonderful paired with my R84."
     – Joe Sheairs

"It was exceptionally smooth, surprisingly quiet and the stereo imaging was impressive."
     – Stan Cyprys

"Quiet, clean, quiet, great gobs of gain, quiet did I mention quiet?"
     – Robert Sterns

"The pre is amazing, an excellent idea, and a great value."
     – Todd Sager