AEA TRP Stereo Ribbon Microphone Preamp


Stereo Ribbon Microphone Preamp (no phantom power) designed to highlight the sounds of your ribbon with plenty of gain and high impedance.

What we think:

The TRP is a truly excellent box for anyone who wants to make an investment in ribbon microphones, and wants the absolute cleanest signal path ever designed for ribbons in mind. This incredible preamp was designed by genius engineer, 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. This truly unique approach to ribbon microphone per-amplification has generated this a lean, mean, and clean ribbon-microphone machine.

In order to keep the costs down, and the signal path completely clean, AEA kept things incredibly streamlined with the TRP. Obviously, this was very purposeful – they set out to build a box with a specific purpose in mind – Ribbon mics. With this release, and because of all the features the box left out, there are a handful of criticisms:

  1. The half-rack format isn't for everyone but you should know that this can be worked around with a rack kit, and has kept the cost of the otherwise sensation until down;

  2. The lack of 48v phantom power prevents the clean-gain, and natural sound of this unit from being usable with phantom powered microphones such as condenser microphones, or even active ribbons which require power. However, this is a non-issue (it works just fine) for microphones that do not require phantom power including tube microphones, dynamic microphones, and pretty much any traditionally-designed ribbon microphone (what the unit was really originally designed for);

  3. Lack of an EQ to brighten or re-capture the top-end of ribbon microphones where they ordinarily start to roll-off.

In response to each of these three acute criticisms (really the only three complaints one can have about a preamp that was so wonderfully designed and executed for such a dedicated purpose), AEA later developed the RPQ, which is also worth a VERY serious look-sie:

The AEA builds on top of the framework and design of the TRP and is arguably the preamp that is most optimized for Ribbon microphones, ever created. If you are looking for affordability, and don't mind these handful of issues, do consider this Original AEA TRP – it's a very fine box, made with ribbons in mind, and very professionally constructed.

Manufacturer Description:

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.

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