The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
AEA ribbons, 84a (840) vs Ku5a
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
AEA ribbons, 84a (840) vs Ku5a

Which would be best for baritone vocals? The 84a or Ku5a? Does the bigger ribbon necessarily have a bigger sound? Can't find as many examples online comparing the two so am interested to hear your opinions. Thank you !!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
I know the 84 can get a bit noisy with gain, hence the choice of an 84a however upon hearing examples online, it still sounds rather noisy when compared to the ku5a. Is that true? Maybe the videos I watched used different gain settings ( AEA website ) .
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenorSaxophone ➡️
Which would be best for baritone vocals? The 84a or Ku5a? Does the bigger ribbon necessarily have a bigger sound? Can't find as many examples online comparing the two so am interested to hear your opinions. Thank you !!
I'm so strongly attracted to the AEA A440 that I don't give their other ribbons a shot with my [now limited] baritone vocals. I do like the concept of the KU5A though and another poster here put up a compelling female vocal from his studio with it [below]. I tend to extrapolate from such fine examples - but I also tend to tease - as you've doubtless noticed by now. In this case I am not teasing. Seriously, it is a compelling mic. . .of course, a very long way from your Neumann preferences and options.



Also not a direct answer to your query, but a link I found useful. . .if you already have some notion of the Sennheiser 441:




Best wishes,

Ray H.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
I'm so strongly attracted to the AEA A440 that I don't give their other ribbons a shot with my [now limited] baritone vocals. I do like the concept of the KU5A though and another poster here put up a compelling female vocal from his studio with it [below]. I tend to extrapolate from such fine examples - but I also tend to tease - as you've doubtless noticed by now. In this case I am not teasing. Seriously, it is a compelling mic. . .of course, a very long way from your Neumann preferences and options.



Also not a direct answer to your query, but a link I found useful. . .if you already have some notion of the Sennheiser 441:




Best wishes,

Ray H.
The AEA R44C/X/RCE and 440 make the lower costs AEA ribbons sound "wrong" when you put them up next to each other IMO.

On their own they are useable if that's all you have, but the minute the 44 types enters the room its like "whoa" that's what all the hype is about.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor ➡️
The AEA R44C/X/RCE and 440 make the lower costs AEA ribbons sound "wrong" when you put them up next to each other IMO.

On their own they are useable if that's all you have, but the minute the 44 types enters the room its like "whoa" that's what all the hype is about.
Agreed, working with the budget I have now though ( not 4k but 2k ), I think the best for my home studio set up is the 84a primarily given the built-in preamp that would work best per their advice with an apollo. Thank you though for letting me know that in fact there is a difference in ribbon quality the bigger they get.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenorSaxophone ➡️
Agreed, working with the budget I have now though ( not 4k but 2k ), I think the best for my home studio set up is the 84a primarily given the built-in preamp that would work best per their advice with an apollo. Thank you though for letting me know that in fact there is a difference in ribbon quality the bigger they get.
The posts above make it sound as though AEA mics are disappointing except for the 44s. I disagree. I own 3 different models of AEA ribbon microphones and in my experience that statement is simply not true.

Do you want a cardioid microphone or a figure 8 microphone? Which mic you choose depends on your room. If your room is large and well treated acoustically then an 84 will work fine. If your room is small and doesn't have great acoustics then the KU5 would be the better choice.

For example, if you are recording in a 10 x 10 ft untreated room any figure 8 microphone will record a LOT of room ambience. Too much! What are your room dimensions? What are its acoustics like? Can you post a sample recording?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Under $2K, my fave ribbons, besides all the AEA's mentioned here...

AEA N22/Sontronics Sigma 2/Samar AL-95/4038. These and the others above, I've sang/tried them all.
From clips, the NoHypes are also impressive.

Even a KU5a vs. N22 comparison, might take some time for evaluation. I was surprised when Wes Dooley/AEA, preferred the N22 on my specific voice-between the two.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
I've got most of what AEA makes, and the first mic I'd reach for if a bari voice demanded a ribbon would be the r92. Seems to me the skinnier low end would fit a baritone voice nicely (it certainly works amazingly well on bari sax...)

The KU5a had a pretty strained-sounding (for lack of a better term) midrange; I don't love it on voice. It's kind of woolly and the upper mids are edgy but soft (am I even making sense) which is really really useful on guitars, but sounds kinda weird on vocals.

The R84 is a fine mic, but I don't often get "WOW" moments from it...it's just an excellent utility mic.

The 44 is incredible, and might work magic on a baritone, because it can work magic on anything. Ha. But it's a bit cumbersome (read: HEAVY) and very expensive, which may be factors to consider.

If I were you I'd a/b the r92 against a 44 and see what best suits ya.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto ➡️
The KU5a had a pretty strained-sounding (for lack of a better term) midrange; I don't love it on voice. It's kind of woolly and the upper mids are edgy but soft (am I even making sense) which is really really useful on guitars, but sounds kinda weird on vocals.
If you sing off-axis to the KU5A it will emphasize 4K-ish frequencies and sound harsh. If you sing on-axis there is a slight dip at that frequency and the mic sounds big and smooth.

As I understand it the folks at AEA found that the spike in the off axis response is the price they had to pay in order to make a ribbon mic that is hypercardioid. After I learned this from customer support I found the tone of my KU5A improved a lot LOL.

As to why Wes picked the N22 for Chris––my guess is that Chris moves as he sings. The N22 has a nice even off-axis response that never sounds harsh.

The KU5A has a tight carioid pattern making it easy for an animated singer or player to drift off axis and then... yes... there's an upper mid boost. Sing on axis and sit still. Problem solved.

The strength of the KU5A is the way it rejects room sound and rejects other sources while giving you the big warm AEA/RCA ribbon microphone sound. If off-axis response is an issue for whatever reason then I recommend choosing the N22 over the KU5A.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
bgrotto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Rogers ➡️
If you sing off-axis to the KU5A it will emphasize 4K-ish frequencies and sound harsh. If you sing on-axis there is a slight dip at that frequency and the mic sounds big and smooth.

As I understand it the folks at AEA found that the spike in the off axis response is the price they had to pay in order to make a ribbon mic that is hypercardioid. After I learned this from customer support I found the tone of my KU5A improved a lot LOL.

As to why Wes picked the N22 for Chris––my guess is that Chris moves as he sings. The N22 has a nice even off-axis response that never sounds harsh.

The KU5A has a tight carioid pattern making it easy for an animated singer or player to drift off axis and then... yes... there's an upper mid boost. Sing on axis and sit still. Problem solved.

The strength of the KU5A is the way it rejects room sound and rejects other sources while giving you the big warm AEA/RCA ribbon microphone sound. If off-axis response is an issue for whatever reason then I recommend choosing the N22 over the KU5A.
Good info, thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Guilty as charged Al! That was the primary reason-moving.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Rogers ➡️
The posts above make it sound as though AEA mics are disappointing except for the 44s. I disagree. I own 3 different models of AEA ribbon microphones and in my experience that statement is simply not true.
Agreed. The N8, R92, R84, N22 are all no compromise and stellar on the right source and positioned as intended (no rules of course but proximity effect is different intentionally among these), and all quite inexpensive (including the R88 which I consider one of the best mics in the world at $2000). Which is pretty much like any mic, including the most expensive AEA models. There is no one size fits all here IME.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
AB3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I never met an AEA mic I did not like.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 
+1 on R88. I peeked back on this thread, partly to say the same thing, via a P.S.
And John Cuniberti's "One Mic Series" with it, is awesome!
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Then - of course - there is the Royer Labs line of ribbons to consider. No 44, but some very pretty, pretty microphones.


. . .trouble maker,

Ray H.

Wes Dooley‘s AEA A440 is far and away my favorite. But my own second pick would go to Royer - in a distinctly different direction altogether.

http://royerlabs.com/library/
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
Thank you all for the advice. Indeed the r92 and r88 are nice mics. With the r92, I actually did want a bit more bass presence and with the r88, though it is a wonderful mic, I am not that much into recording stereo and using it as a single isn’t ideal as my first nice mic . Actually those reasons are barely the ones important at hand, gain. I needed a mic that not only has the warmth provided by an AEA ribbon ( no offense to other manufacturers like Royer, AEA has more warmth to my ear ), though one that also has a pre amp built in, being active. Which left me with only a few choices. And in my budget and given the sound quality on my voice, I decided (and just got today) an absolutely wonderful 84a which is everything I could have hoped for in a mic suitable for me and my recording environment . Thank you again all for the advice !! It is now paired in my little home studio set up with the Apollo twin x and Adam’s t5v monitors !!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Clips or it didn't happen.

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Clips or it didn't happen.

Chris
Haha, sure. I'll try to find a way to upload some pictures. It happened.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenorSaxophone ➡️
Which would be best for baritone vocals? The 84a or Ku5a? Does the bigger ribbon necessarily have a bigger sound? Can't find as many examples online comparing the two so am interested to hear your opinions. Thank you !!
You need to try both of them and AEA will let you do that.

I have not used the KU5A but I am a huge fan of the BK-5 as a vocal mike... leakage into it is very weird though, and it can be a problem in a situation with a lot of leakage. A figure-8 ribbon will have a good null but the rear lobe... so which is more of a problem depends a lot on what you're tracking together.

But of all the microphone companies out there, the one that is MOST willing to let you try stuff with a deposit is AEA. They are so helpful that you might as well.
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Rogers ➡️
If you sing off-axis to the KU5A it will emphasize 4K-ish frequencies and sound harsh. If you sing on-axis there is a slight dip at that frequency and the mic sounds big and smooth.

As I understand it the folks at AEA found that the spike in the off axis response is the price they had to pay in order to make a ribbon mic that is hypercardioid. After I learned this from customer support I found the tone of my KU5A improved a lot LOL.
The BK-5 is the same way.... you can avoid it but the BK-5 was basically designed for "directionality at all cost" and the off-axis weirdness is a consequence of that.

This can be a problem if you have a lot of off-axis sources (like leakage from the guitar into the vocal mike) but often moving the band around can help.
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Guru
 
If I understood Wes correctly, the KU5a is an "inspired by"
design. I realize Scott you'd know this, just wanted to mention it, for others following.

Along with the good folks on this thread...
When you get someone like Paul G "diggin' it",
that's something worth mentioning too.
Chris
P.S. Lots of 60's/70's listening again.
Whenever the "Groovy/Diggin" words arise that's a tip off!
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
If I understood Wes correctly, the KU5a is an "inspired by"
design. I realize Scott you'd know this, just wanted to mention it, for others following.
Yeah, I haven't actually tried the KU5, but I gather the labyrinth is very close to that of the RCA, but it has modern step-up electronics and an easier-to-manufacture grille. Talking into it on the trade show floor, it definitely exhibits that "wider pattern in the midrange than on the treble and bass" effect that the BK-5 has.
But I have never done more than just talk into it at a trade show unfortunately, so all I can say is how the RCA sounds. The BK-5 is one of my favorite spot mikes.
--scott
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 ➡️
I never met an AEA mic I did not like.
I was like that until I got a KU5. I spent almost a month with it before I returned it, really broke my heart... Guitar amps were about the only thing I thought it was decent at. I tried hard but just couldn’t get it to work on anything else, especially vocals. Seemed like no matter what I put it on, there was some weird ringing overtone that was hard to get rid of.

I thought it was broken after the first 2 days, sent it back and got another one. Same thing. Although it was decent at rejecting other instruments for live takes, it wasn’t any better than an SM7. The final straw was when I ran an SM7 through a Soyuz Launcher and compared it to the AEA on a few vocalists. For me the SM7 sounded a lot better every time, and I’ve never been that big of a fan of SM7’s on vocals.

Oh well, I tried. It’s funny hearing some sound samples from other forum members and seeing the Scary Pockets videos where they used it. I’ve like a lot of what I heard, but it just didn’t work out for me unfortunately.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
Gear Guru
 
I hear you. Ironically if/when I get another Ribbon again, am planning to run it (sometimes) through my Launcher.
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
I hear you. Ironically if/when I get another Ribbon again, am planning to run it (sometimes) through my Launcher.
Chris
Not to get off topic, but the launcher is freaking awesome.... My old RCA PB-90 sounds great with it when I'm not concerned about more noise.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Hey, that' never stopped any of us before! On my voice, I need to be selective about it. Since the Launcher tends to add "Fullness"/"Presence"...

I have to watch whether my specific voice, is starting to sound "Harsh". Due to the additional tonal shading. So it's best for me to combine it with a very smooth vocal mic. One positive aspect, of the Launcher, is that less Compression is needed, in order to have the vocal cut through a Mix.
Which is very cool also, if you're recording, in a less than sterling sounding room.
(vocal clip example below-I feel a little weird sometimes "only" talking about audio vs. actual example)
Chris
P.S. Please keep in mind this is just a "first take"/off the cuff practice recording, and that although I have fun doing these...
Am rather a "hack" recordist!
Attached Files

TWSong 117soyuzremixwithoutyouD790 (1).wav (1.25 MB, 317 views)

Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Lives for gear
 
chet.d's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I can add fwiw, I've been working with Karl Blau who I think has a really nice baritone. We've both been loving the Samar MF65 on him. For some more funky-ish directions, the BK5 has been cool. He mentioned that on a previous record he sang primarily into a 44. It has a commanding size of course. The MF65 brings less of that huge 44 (RCA / AEA) bottom depth but can work real well on the right vocalist / track.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Hey, that' never stopped any of us before! On my voice, I need to be selective about it. Since the Launcher tends to add "Fullness"/"Presence"...

I have to watch whether my specific voice, is starting to sound "Harsh". Due to the additional tonal shading. So it's best for me to combine it with a very smooth vocal mic. One positive aspect, of the Launcher, is that less Compression is needed, in order to have the vocal cut through a Mix.
Which is very cool also, if you're recording, in a less than sterling sounding room.
(vocal clip example below-I feel a little weird sometimes "only" talking about audio vs. actual example)
Chris
P.S. Please keep in mind this is just a "first take"/off the cuff practice recording, and that although I have fun doing these...
Am rather a "hack" recordist!
Nice sound Chris! Thanks for keeping it real and thanks for being a little weird. You're not alone in that here at Gearspace (still getting used to the GS name change).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Thanks Al! I only visited Austin once, but still use the bumper sticker, as a bench mark.

Really am an old Vaudevillian at heart, can't wait till our local stages open up!
Chris
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Al Rogers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 ➡️
Thanks Al! I only visited Austin once, but still use the bumper sticker, as a bench mark.

Really am an old Vaudevillian at heart, can't wait till our local stages open up!
Chris
Vaudeville gave us Will Rogers, WC Fields and of course... the Marx Brothers. And lots more

PS. I'm in Santa Fe but I lived in Austin back around 1980-1981. Back then we could see talent like Jerry Jeff Walker and Townes Van Zandt playing out in local bars. Fun times!
📝 Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 158 views: 20736
Avatar for De Trop
De Trop 3 days ago
replies: 3 views: 288
Avatar for Korcraft
Korcraft 15th February 2021
replies: 625 views: 14649
Avatar for kennybro
kennybro 24 minutes ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump