R84 Series

MSRP$1150 - 1444usd

Based on the character of the legendary R44, R84 series ribbon mics provide classic tonality with extended top-end and reduced proximity effect for medium and close range recording. The R84A is an active version of the R84, allowing its use with a wider range of preamplifiers.

Where To Buy

Hear the R84 Series

R84 Series Microphone Overview

  • Warm, smooth and detailed classic ribbon sound
  • Full and rich tonality with generous highs and lows
  • Voiced like the legendary R44 Series but with less proximity effect
  • Versatile for both close and ambient applications
  • Active R84A version has 12db level increase and is optimized for all preamps
  • Made in the U.S.A.

A Workhorse Ribbon

The R84 series quickly endears itself to engineers and musicians due to its remarkably expansive frequency range complete with sweeping highs and booming lows.

The R84’s balanced and manageable proximity effect just feet away from the source bolsters the low end of vocals, drums, and brass. With a ribbon mic as multi-purpose, lightweight, and maneuverable as the R84, it is well-suited for both close-up and ambient mic applications.

The R84A retains the same sonic character of the R84 but offers an additional 12dB of output and a stable impedance giving it even more flexibility when used with quiet sources and any preamp.

A Modern Classic

The R84 is a staple in numerous recording studios because of its unique tonality and classic sound. Its smooth, high-frequency roll-off and reduced sibilance make it the go-to choice for engineers tracking vocals and other instruments that often sound harsh when recorded with condenser mics.

The R84’s gorgeous mid-range captures the unique qualities of many instruments with detailed elegance. Its large low end is perfect for beefing up the sound of drum kits or thickening up the bass in thin vocals. It’s a mic that works well on practically any voice or musical instrument, making it useful tool in both recording and broadcast studios.

R84A-Trumpet

The R84A: An Active Version

For those who cannot always have the right preamp available, AEA offers the Active R84A (formerly known as the A840), a premium version of the R84 complete with JFET electronics and the same custom transformer used in our active R44. It’s basically an R84 with a built-in preamp.
The active R84A mic retains the same sonic character of the R84, but with an additional 12dB of output and a stable impedance. This gives a consistent frequency response and greater flexibility with different preamps, including those found in audio interfaces for personal computers. This is great for on-the-road musicians who might have to use a different preamp each night.

The extra 12db of output is a huge help when recording quiet sources like vocals and soft acoustic guitars. The active circuitry also prevents noise, interference on long cable runs or when operating near large lighting rigs. The R84A requires standard 48-volt phantom power to operate the active circuitry. The R84A also possesses an 18-karat, gold-plated grille.

The R84 In Action

The "Jack of All Trades" Ribbon Mic

Watch the R84 on lead vocals in the California Honeydrops live performance of “Long Way”.

See More R84 Series Videos

Big Sound in Compact Way

In 2000, AEA sought to design a more compact, lighter and less expensive version of the hefty, eight-pound RCA 44BX. The result was the R84, which includes the best of the 44 series in a lower cost, three-pound package.

The R84 and original RCA 44 (now our R44C) share the same Big Ribbon element, transformer and other elements in the design. By using modern design techniques and stronger — but smaller — magnets in the R84, the classic RCA ribbon sound is retained.

However, the R84 has improvements — including less proximity effect, better top end, vibration isolation and greater placement flexibility on tight stages and in studios. The mic’s U-shaped yoke acts as a shock mount and also enables the user to position the R84 at numerous angles even with a straight stand.

Which model is for me?

The R84 and R84A are almost identical in sound. The R84A is an R84 with the addition of a custom-made Lehle transformer and active electronics. Though the two versions of the microphone sound very similar and both offer that classic ribbon sound, they have different requirements. The choice between purchasing an R84 and R84A comes down to the decisions engineers make depending on where and how they use their ribbons.

Yes, There’s a Matching Preamp

Since the R84 is a passive ribbon microphone, the preamp is critical for optimum performance. Preamp gain should be at least +60dB or higher and it should have a very high impedance. It’s the same requirement with all passive ribbon mics.

To guarantee consistent, full-range ribbon sound with the passive R84, we recommend AEA’s RPQ2, RPQ500 and TRP2 preamps, which were specially designed for ribbon microphones. However, preamps with above a 5K ohm impedance found in many live soundboards are adequate for guitar amps and other louder instruments. On quiet sound sources or for distance recording, an AEA preamp is highly recommended.

If you do not own a ribbon preamp, we recommend the active R84A because of its higher output and preamp flexibility.

Artists

Joe Chiccarelli / The White Stripe, The Strokes

“I used the AEA R84 on recent sessions for vocal [and guitars]. It just kept on sounding better and better. It’s very bright and open with an extended low end…”

Robert Burger / Iron & Wine, Tin Hat Trio

“My absolute favorite combo on my upright pianos, mallet instruments, and reed organs are an R88 with the RPQ.”

Chris Eldrige / Punch Brothers, The Seldom Scene

“I’m loving the R84 – it’s such a great sounding mic! Music just sounds good through it.”


I'm loving the R84 - it's such a great sounding mic! I've used it with great success on upright bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, etc. Music just sounds good through it.

Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers, Julian Lage)

Sound On Sound

“Overall, the A840 sounded wonderfully smooth, but with plenty of detail and presence that defined the soprano's voice in a very natural way. Transients were crisp and clear, without any hint of ringing or edginess, and the frequency extremes were smooth and extended. […] the A840's active buffer meant complete freedom from the vagaries of preamp impedance, which was useful.”

– Hugh Robjohns read the full review

Mix Mag

“At this price, you should have at least one R84 in your locker, especially if you're looking to put some life into your digital signal chain. When using even high-quality condensers with a DAW, you forget how good things can sound and end up settling for “really good” instead of “excellent.” A quality ribbon like the R84 can take a production to the next level, injecting some butter into a margarine world.”

– Kevin Becka read the full review

Recording Mag

“I used the R84 and the RPQ500 as the only microphone/preamp combo in a recent Folk session, with two vocal tracks, two acoustic guitars, hi-hat and brushed snare, shaker and kick drum, and it gelled the track together in a nice warm classic way. 'Smooth' does not even begin to describe it.”

– Paul Vnuk Jr. read the full review

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