Some engineers like to use the preamp as an effect because it can drastically change the character of the mic. The active design has the benefits of a higher output level than traditional ribbon mics, which means less preamp gain in required which results in quieter recordings. For many years, all ribbon mics have come with a warning not to use phantom power. They required no phantom power and their simple design consisted of a thin aluminum ribbon, two magnets and a transformer. This includes 12dB more gain, a better signal-to-noise ratio and a consistent impedance regardless of the external mic preamp. Since 2008, AEA has been creating active versions of ribbon mics to compensate for the differences in preamp performance. Passive ribbon mics can be paired with a variety of preamps to experiment with the overall frequency response and sonic character of the audio. However, if the ground pin is shorting an XLR cable or if a TRS cable is patched to the input of a passive ribbon mic while phantom power is engaged, this can blow a ribbon. For many working musicians on the road — who never know what kind of console or preamp they will be plugging into on any given night — mic preamps can be a problem. sE Electronics VR2 Voodoo Active Ribbon Microphone with Shockmount and Case + Studio Referenc… Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. Pairing a passive ribbon mic with a low input impedance preamp can diminish the low-end, transient response and overall frequency response of the mic. ... it's worth mentioning the mic's strong proximity effect which can be worked for a richer vocal texture. View our NTR video playlist. Enter: The Active Ribbons. Something needed to be done to help these musicians overcome the problem. All AEA passive mics are equipped with the same Cinemag transformer as our flagship R44, a passive replica of the RCA 44BX. Active; Figure 8 AEA deliberately avoided any coloration of our mics’ tone by the electronics. The AT4081 is an active ribbon mic that, unlike most ribbons mics, requires phantom power. Many live musicians travel with their mics and plug in to different preamps at each venue along the way. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020,, Inc. or its affiliates. Ribbon microphones are traditionally passive and have been for decades since their inception in the 1930’s. However … The Audio Technica AT4081, at less than HALF the price of a Royer 122, is one of the only active ribbon mics even semi-affordable to the average person. Though passive designs, active designs, output level and impedance are all technical factors, they can have a significant effect on artistic decisions. Though we’ve outlined technical “rules” in this article, we encourage artists to break and bend them. The big advantage is that active ribbon mics are more consistent with a range of preamps with different input impedances and typically have stronger output levels than passive ribbons. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. This is why AEA designs diverse mics that can be uniquely employed by users. While the electronics protect the ribbon, we still recommend avoiding hot-patching while phantom power is engaged because it is hard on the electronics. It’s important to note that the additional 12dB of output comes from the Lehle transformer itself and not from the phantom-powered electronics. AEA provides you with the choice between active and passive ribbon technology to allow users to construct and shape their own unique sound. They were the high-performance microphone at that time, and most of the large 'vintage' mics you see in footage of this era are RCA ribbons. These touring artists needed more consistency from their ribbons on the road. The problem is…the active ones are even more expensive than the passive ones. This 12dB of extra gain helps avoid noise issues when using a lower gain preamp. RØDE Show 2015. Some artists prefer the color and tonality provided by low impedance preamps. All AEA active mics use a German-made Lehle transformer to deliver an additional 12dB of output. An active ribbon includes onboard electronics that allow the mic to deliver its full potential to a mic preamp regardless of the preamp’s input impedance. These touring artists needed more consistency from their ribbons on the road. Normally active ribbon microphones are very expensive, Audio Technica AT4081 is another affordable active ribbon microphone. Audio Technica AT4081 sounds great on guitar cabinets, it has a nice smooth and warm sound. AEA’s active electronics are supremely transparent because of their JFET technology and do not impart coloration to the sound. Passive R84 and Active R84A Passive vs Active Strategies. A passive ribbon will react differently to each preamp based on the respective impedance and gain levels. View our NTR video playlist. The low-profile stick design gives you more placement options. Luckily for us, its reviews are almost universally positive as well. But for you studio beginners, don’t worry! That isn’t always an option, but active ribbon mics are equipped for any circumstance. ©2020 AEA Ribbon Mics & Preamps, All Rights Reserved, consistent impedance regardless of the external mic preamp. A high-gain, high-impedance preamp allows a passive ribbon mic to operate at its peak performance level. Active microphones can be used with any preamp and their frequency response will sound quite consistent. Art & Science - bringing the RØDE NTR to life. Ribbon mics were the industry standard for recording and broadcast from about 1920 to 1950 and are one of the defining factors in the recordings from that period. In scoring stages, preamps are often in the recording space nearest the microphones and musicians, minimizing this interference. That’s it. The mics’ internal electronics provide key benefits that allow greater flexibility over their passive counterparts. That has now changed. Since 2008, AEA has been creating active versions of ribbon mics to compensate for the differences in preamp performance. There's a problem loading this menu right now. The high Max SPL allows it to handle any loud sounds. This mainly involved pairing the passive ribbon mic with a very high-gain, high-impedance mic preamp, which are scarce in the preamp market. Our active electronics are extremely transparent because of their JFET technology and do not impart any additional character. In certain instances, long cable runs from a passive ribbon mic to a preamp can cause noise issues as well as impedance problems. A passive ribbon will react differently to each preamp based on the respective impedance and gain levels. Of course, high-gain and high-impedance is not a rule. This transformer was modeled after the classic sound of the original RCA transformer from the 1930s. Active electronics protect the ribbon from blowing up if phantom power is accidentally engaged while patching a TRS cable on the input of the mic. Though passive ribbon mics have always been known for their incredible sound, their full sonic potential could only be achieved within certain parameters. With a developed understanding of how ribbon microphone technology works, engineers and musicians can harness these subtle differences to define their artistry. Engineers can add color and saturation using their preferred preamps without concern that the device will affect the low-frequency response of the microphone. Passive ribbon mics can be used with different preamps to really experiment with the overall frequency response. 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