AEA RPQ 500 Mic Preamp/High-frequency EQ


Very clean 500 series preamp with CurveShaper™ high-frequency "air" control! While it was designed with ribbon mics in mind, the RPQ produces outstanding results with any mic topology. 

What we think:

The AEA RPQ 500 is at a price point that literally any studio owner with a ribbon microphone should have one, if not two of these.  The extension of capability in a typical ribbon microphone is evident in the first moments you dial in the high frequency "tone shaping."  One of the most wonderful attributes of ribbons is their inherent EQ-friendliness, which this box truly embraces. 

Like the original 1U rack unit, the AEA RPQ, this little 500-series rack is a game changer for anyone who wants to take their Ribbon micorphone collection “all the way” in terms of functionality. An AEA RPQ (The traditional rack-version) lives in the control room of Sound Pure Studio A, and has served as the baseline to a great many records where ribbons were used over here at Sound Pure.

Click Here to check out the Stereo RPQ

The smooth and round transients of a great ribbon microphone, whether it be a classic Coles 4038, or a more modern and masterful ribbon such as the AEA R84 or Royer R121 can create remarkable musicality in certain circumstances. The organic and natural smoothness of a ribbon can translate musicality across a wide range of sound sources – whether taming the scratch and aggressive nature of an electric guitar cabinet up close, or smoothing out the potential abrasiveness of a screaming trumpet, ribbons can be an outstanding choice. Unfortunately, few preamps in the world have every truly been designed to give ribbons the best-possible representation. That's where the AEA RPQ comes into play, and then goes further.

Ribbon microphones finally have a flattering preamp designed specifically for their use. But, the truth is that AEA did this, and actually did this quite well already, with the original AEA TRP:

This article, written by leading microphone expert (and member of the Sound Pure team) Todd Atlas, describes just how the AEA RPQ takes a non-traditional use of ribbon microphones and makes them shine:

“Ribbon Mics on Acoustic Guitars: Royer R121 Ribbon Microphones with the AEA RPQ Mic Preamp: How To Get the most out of a Ribbon Microphone (ribbons are not just for electric guitars, anymore!)”

Don't hesitate to check out the video on the first tab that shows how ribbons can be “brightened and heightened” with the use of this absolutely brilliant preamp design, from one of the most ribbon-minded geniuses in the entire industry, Wes Dooley, owner of AEA along with one of the greatest living audio engineers, Fred Forssell who has secretly and not-so-secretly been involved in the design and creation of some of the finest preamp designs in modern recording history.

Manufacturer Description:

The RPQ500 module, designed after the successful RPQ preamp, provides the same ultra-clean, high-gain signal path that has earned AEA preamps their great reputation, in a 500 series package. The RPQ500 has been enhanced with additional features, turning it into a workhorse tool for your API 500 compatible rack. The preamp delivers the bandwidth and quietness needed for high resolution recording. JFET circuit topology provides all the dynamics, subwoofer bass, and fast transients that your microphones can record. The input impedance of 10,000 Ω means the RPQ500 will not load down a mic and change its sound. Low Energy Storage™ circuit design instantly recovers from overloads for superior dynamic performance.
The CurveShaper™ offers a natural option for sculpting your sound right at the start of the signal path. Switchable and tunable low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) controls allow you to tame proximity problems and provide HF extension and slope control. The high-frequency CurveShaper™ excels at adding a touch of air or presence, and the low-frequency control can remove boxiness and boominess in a fast and unobtrusive way. The bottom line is a versatile channel strip that will deliver an unadulterated performance in any application. The Line/Mic switch bypasses the microphone gain stage and allows the EQ to be used for tracking with other preamps or during mixdown. Add the output level control and the RPQ500 becomes a high-quality processing tool that can be used for mixing and mastering when combined with summing racks and mixers such as the Purple Audio Moiyn or the Roll Music Folcrom.
The original RPQ with CurveShaper™ was designed to fully capture every nuance of ribbon microphones: vintage or modern, passive or phantom-powered. Engineers have discovered that the RPQ also complements their moving coil, tube and solid-state mics. By virtue of its sonic qualities and versatility, the AEA RPQ500 is the tool of choice for all microphones whenever a true and pristine signal path is needed.

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