AEA N8 Active Ribbon Mic
Modern Look, Big Ribbon Sound
Following the successful N22 model designed for singer-songwriters and project studios, the N8 sounds distinctly different despite having a similar appearance to the N22. In designing the N8, we set out to create the most open and natural sounding ribbon microphone ever made. Conceived to render acoustic spaces as faithfully as possible, the new N8 microphone excels in capturing drum overheads and rooms, strings, classical ensembles, and orchestras. As such, it is the ideal complement to the N22 microphone. But even when used up close, the N8 delivers exceptional clarity and warmth, while also taking EQ extremely well without ever being harsh.
By employing a similar design philosophy as used on the popular R88 stereo ribbon microphone, the N8 achieves an astonishingly transparent sound with a superior transient response that lets AEA’s famed Big Ribbon truly shine. The aluminum ribbon in the N8 is identical to the flagship R44 model in its dimensions and tuning, putting it in direct lineage of the iconic RCA 44 type.
The N8’s unobtrusive size and black finish is ideal for orchestral and TV work, where microphones need to be easy to position and more or less invisible. The N8’s phantom-powered electronics and a custom German transformer complete the package and deliver groundbreaking low level detail and optimal distortion performance, even when driving long cable lines in remote recording situations. Just like all other AEA products, the N8 is 100% manufactured in Pasadena, CA.
The N8 is the second member of AEA’s NUVO series of microphones. Rooted in the RCA tradition just like other AEA ribbon microphones, all NUVO microphones are designed to offer a fresh approach to the ribbon transducer and represent Wes Dooley’s take on the evolution of the ribbon microphone.
About the NUVO Series
The N8 is the second member of AEA’s NUVO series of microphones. Rooted in the RCA tradition just like other AEA ribbons, all NUVO microphones are designed to offer a fresh approach to the ribbon transducer and represent Wes Dooley’s take on the evolution of the ribbon microphone.
The NUVO Stereo Kit
AEA’s NUVO Series Stereo Kit enables serious musicians and engineers to rapidly set up and accurately record in stereo on a single stand. The NUVO Stereo Kit consists of either two matched N22s or two matched N8s, and comes with all of the accessories necessary to easily configure the figure-eight microphones in Blumlein and near-coincident. Similar to the AEA’s Stereo R88, the N8 was designed to capture the natural tonality of an instrument with the least amount of coloration possible. Using AEA’s new SMS Stereo Bar and NUVO Microphone Coupler enables the user to arrange their N8s in a precise and accurate Blumlein array.
The NUVO Stereo Kit includes: a Heavy-Duty SKB travel case, the new AEA SMS stereo bar, two custom Windtech windscreens, a NUVO Blumlein coupler and mounting hardware. Download the NUVO Stereo Kit manual for more information.
– Open and natural
– Designed for far-field: overheads, strings, and room mics
– Unobtrusive, discreet and video friendly look
– The same Big Ribbon as the R44
– Phantom powered electronics for optimal performance with any preamp
– 100% manufactured in Pasadena, CA
Applications & Audio
Drum Overheads, Rooms, and Percussion
When recording drums, there are many techniques to capturing the sound of the kit. A good starting point is to use the N8s above the kit as a spaced pair. Try positioning them a couple of feet above the drummer’s head with a few feet of space in between the two mics. Make sure to listen to the combined signal summed to mono to catch potential comb filtering that could be caused by out-of-phase signals. A quick technique that can help avoid phase problems is to keep an equal distance between the two overhead mics and the snare or kick drum.
Another popular technique to record drum overheads is to setup the mics in a Blumlein configuration (coincident pair at 90 degree angle) above the head of the drummer with each mic pointing in a different direction. This will give you a very wide image of the drums that sounds like you are in sitting center stage.
Both of these techniques also work well for recording the sound of the room. The closer that the N8s are positioned to the drummer, the more direct sound and less reverb will be captured by the mics.
Strings, Brass, and Reed Instruments
Because the N8 has equal treble and bass response from a far distance, it can be placed almost anywhere without sounding thin. Feel free to position the mic both closer and further away than you normally would with a condenser.
When recording acoustic instruments, a good starting point is to walk around the room while the musician is playing. When you find a spot where you like the sound, try positioning the N8 there and move to taste.
For solo instruments, try placing the N8 a few feet away. This will give a very up-close and personal sound. Set the microphone above or in front of the instrument. The height of the mic in relation to the height of the room can have a large impact on the sound.
When positioning the N8, try aiming the backside towards a complex wall intersection. This can capture the reverberation of the room in an interesting way.
For bass string instruments that are bowed and plucked, placing the N8 about a foot away will give you a very nice and defined low end. The proximity effect of the N8 can be used to your advantage.
For instrument sections, a good starting point is to place the N8 a few meters away where the musicians have a nice balanced sound. Blumlein configuration positioned at a distance of 4 – 6 meters from a section can capture the sound with a lot depth.
The N8 delivers a great sound as a close-up and distant mic on both upright and grand pianos. On a grand piano, we have found two positions to be particularly useful.
1. Spaced pair of N8s looking at the hammers in the front. You will need to remove the front cover of the grand piano. This position will yield a very natural, hi-fi sound. It is common to pull the mics further out of the piano then you would with a pair of condensers. You can change the amount of natural room reverb by changing the distance between the mics and piano.
2. Blumlein pair (coincident pair at 90-degree angle) of N8s positioned on the side of the piano facing the player: one microphone pointing towards the treble side of the piano, and the other microphone facing towards the bass side that can result in a larger than life recording.
Electric Guitar and Bass
The N8 can handle very high sound pressure levels allowing you to place it close to amplifiers. Watch out for wind blasts, percussive players, and very loud bass cabinets that push air. The N8 has the least amount of protection in it for a more open sound which means you should be extra careful to avoid sudden blasts of wind.
Identify where the center of the speaker cone is located and place the N8 a few inches away from the speaker pointing right at its center for a very direct, “in-your-face” sound. This is the spot where you will get the most high-frequency content. If it sounds too harsh, try moving the microphone to the side parallel to the speaker. You can also try positioning the N8 at an angle. You will find that small differences in positioning can make huge differences in the sound, so experiment until you find the spot you like.
The N8 has much more proximity effect than the near-field N22. This can be an advantage when trying to thicken up a thin or tinny sounding guitar.