Meeting Topic: Ribbon Mics of the Past and Future
Moderator Name: Bob Breen
Speaker Name: Wes Dooley of AEA Microphones
Meeting Location: OIART School, London, Ontario, Canada
Wes Dooley booked his hotel in London, Ontario, for an extra night, just so he could stay, and talk for as long as possible. What was supposed to be a regular meeting, turned into a 7 hour discussion about microphones and life from one of audio's greats.
Mr. Dooley has been an active member of AES for 47 years, and is also the man behind AEA Microphones, which is a well known microphone company that makes modern renditions of RCA microphones, as well as their own gear. He is an expert in ribbon microphones, as well as audio forensics and location sound. Wes started in audio in his freshmen year, where he helped out at the schools radio station. He later took an electronics course a the local junior collage. Later he worked with Wally Heider, and many other great engineers where he learned many things.
Wes Dooley talked about his views on audio recording etiquette and technique, such as "Don't use EQ unless its an emergency" and "Leave a studio cleaner then when you got there", most of which he learned while working with Wally. He sees the "holy trinity" of audio recording which includes; the music, the musicians, and the instrument. He is all about getting the perfect sound prior to a signal chain, the source is the most important part in every way. The simpler the recording chain the better, and less room for failure.
Wes then talked about his well known field of expertise in the audio industry, which was ribbon microphones, and his company AEA microphones. He talked about how ribbon microphones work, and how they compare to dynamic and condenser mics, as well as how and why certain microphones are the polar pattern they are. He had examples of the KU4, the A440, and the R84, which were demonstrated so we could hear their sound. He talked about the microphones he makes, and why he makes them the way he does, along with his ribbon mic pre.
Wes also gave the attendees a vast number of stories and experiences, and life lessons, which would be near impossible to summarize. And at the end of the presentation, he showed examples of recordings done with exclusively AEA mics, and did some micing with volunteers from the audience playing guitar. It was a long meeting, but a very pleasant surprise.
Written By: Alex Krotz