Review: AEA RPQ-500
Positives:High gain for low output mics.
Negatives:None, near perfect design!
AEA (Audio Engineering Associates) came out with their ribbon pre a few years back, and after that successful lauch, they ported their high gain unit to the 500 series format. This pre sounds great with just about any mic, but its real claim to fame is what it does when used with ribbon microphones. Having an impedance of 10kohms, the pre will not load down your mic and alter the tonal characteristics of it (perfect for ribbons). The other neat feature of the pre is the gain. GAIN FOR DAYS!!! An insane 81dB of pristine gain makes it perfect for any vintage ribbon or any low output mic (think Shures SM7b). The unit features a treble tuning eq which is great if you are using an older ribbon mic that might not have the brightness you’re looking for. I have an old Reslo mic that this pre really makes shine. In addition there is an adjustable low cut filter allowing you to remove any unwanted rumble your mic might be picking up. Phantom power is available on the pre (which makes it a great candidate for older Neumann U87 mics which had lower output than modern mics). In addition, there is also a line input, which will allow you to run tracks back through the unit for mix down if you wish to use the treble filter. If you’re not yet on the 500 series band wagon, the mic pre is also available as a dual mono rack mount unit and has all the same great features.