The AEA KU4 Supercardioid Ribbon Microphone is a re-vision of the legendary RCA KU3A, a unidirectional microphone originally designed for the Hollywood movie studios. Also known as the “10001” (for its RCA manufacturing number), it was RCA’s most expensive ribbon microphone and fewer than 600 units were ever manufactured.
The AEA KU4 has the unmistakable characteristics of a smooth ribbon sound, yet it is uniquely different. Like other ribbons, its lightly-tensioned, ultra low mass ribbon has a frequency response beyond 20 kHz, an accurate transient response, and no upper midrange resonances common to large condenser mics. Having a supercardioid instead of a figure-eight polar response pattern mics sets it apart from other ribbon mics.
The KU4’s suppressed rear lobe reduces the pickup of room ambience and is especially useful when the rear of a figure-eight pattern would pick up undesirable sounds. The KU4’s reduced bass proximity effect facilitates closer miking, while its low-tuned ribbon does not exhibit bass distortion. These characteristics make the KU4 well-suited for the modern studio. It is currently the only supercardioid ribbon microphone in commercial production.
The KU4 utilizes a medium sized ribbon unlike all other AEA mics. While AEA’s Large Ribbon Geometry design offers advantages like extended bass response and maximum SPL level, the KU4’s shorter and narrower ribbon is characterized by a unique upper midrange presence that is particularly interesting for vocals and acoustic stringed instruments.
Because of the shorter ribbon, the KU4 is much more similar to the venerable RCA 77 type microphone rather than the RCA 44. By comparison to the 77, the KU4 has a slightly longer ribbon, a fixed polar pattern, and a more natural sounding unidirectional mode. Compared to other non-bidirectional ribbon mics like the Beyer M160, the KU4’s ribbon is 50% longer providing better bass response and higher SPL handling capabilities.
The main features of the AEA KU4 Supercardioid Ribbon Microphone include:
- Unidirectional (supercardioid) pickup pattern
- Reduced proximity effect and room ambience
- Extended top end with classic ribbon smoothness
- Modern, consistent version of the RCA KU3A
- Operating Principle: Pressure gradient microphone
- Directional Pattern: Supercardioid
- Frequency Range: Below 30 Hz to 20 kHz
- Maximum SPL: 140+ dB SPL (1% third harmonic > 1 kHz)
- Output Sensitivity: 2.8 mV/Pa (-51 dBV) into unloaded circuit
- Output Impedance: 300 Ohms nominal
- Recommended Load Impedance: 1.2 kOhms or greater
- Polarity: Pin 2 high for positive pressure at the front of the microphone
- Connector: XLR-3M wired to a 1.5 meter captive cable
- Accessories: Custom storage/shipping case, stand adapter, manual andâ€¨ attached 1.5 meter microphone cable
- Limited Warranty:
- One year parts and labor, shipping not included. Three year extended warranty if the product is registered.
- Weight with Cable: 4 lb 11 oz (2.15 kg)
- Weight with case: 7 pounds (3.2 kg)
- Height: 12.65” (32.4 cm)
- Width: 4.62” (11.7 cm)
- Depth: 3.75” (9.5 cm)
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