Voiced to suit both male and

Smooth male vocal microphone on stage

The AT5040 is a brand new microphone in the Audio-Technica universe, one that is specifically tailored for top-flight vocal recording. Positioned as the flagship in a new 50 Series line, it arrived with a splash at the 2012 AES show in San Francisco and has been making waves ever since; I was very pleased to obtain a production model and put it through its paces at my studio.

The AT5040 is one of the few microphones in recent years that can truly be said to contain new cutting-edge technology and design principles. Perhaps most notably, it does away with the common circular diaphragm in favor of a rectangular one. Now, rectangular diaphragms are nothing new; prominent European manufacturers selling mics with rectangular diaphragms include Pearl Microphone Laboratory, whose mics we've reviewed a number of times in recent years, and Milab, most recently seen in our June 2012 issue, when we reviewed the DC-96B and DC-96C. However, the AT5040 takes this idea a step further by combining four rectangular diaphragms into one large "super-diaphragm". Intrigued yet?

When I was first shown this microphone at AES, I was told that the AT5040 was designed with no limitations in mind and zero restrictions of cost or materials. The only end goal was "purity of sound"... and I can give you a little spoiler about my conclusions by saying that that word - purity - truly does the best job of describing each and every aspect of this mic.

Simplicity and elegance

The mic itself has a 6.5" long body with a diameter of 2.25". Interestingly only 2.5" of its length is dedicated to that part of the body which houses the electronics; the rest of the mic is the large multi-diaphragm capsule assembly. At first glance, the mic looks to me to be closer in appearance to a modern ribbon mic than your typical large diaphragm condenser.

Cosmetically its aluminum and brass body is dressed in dark satin gray with a champagne-colored aluminum windscreen, whose layers of mesh have been fused together to lessen body resonance.

The AT5040 comes as part of a standard kit in a quality molded plastic foam-lined briefcase with one of the most interesting and well-designed shockmounts I have seen in my life (see the sidebar). It is hand-assembled at Audio-Technica's main facility in Japan and is up to A-T's established quality of fit and finish in every way.

Are four diaphragms better than one?

As mentioned the real marvel of this microphone is its four combined and internally shock-mounted/completely isolated diaphragms. See the photo of the mic's innards for a closer look at this fascinating design. The two most obvious questions that arise here are, "Why a rectangular diaphragm?" and "Why use four diaphragms in an array?"

To answer the first question I will refer to my Milab DC-96 review, where the merits of a rectangular diaphragm are discussed in detail as promoted by Milab and Pearl for decades: "It disperses the extreme midrange resonance peaks inherent in circular capsules, and it allows for an exceptionally neutral off-axis response". A circular diaphragm, when excited, vibrates like a drum head, and there are certain modes that resonate very strongly; a rectangular diaphragm damps down these resonances in a simple and effective way.

Live music use of expansion?

by a_non_anon

Hi ... I always thought expansion in live music meant that you basically tracked the program signals that were below a certain threshold and boosted them so that the signal (say a vocal via a microphone) has a more uniform volume level through the song.
I just read a spec that said "an expander reduces the volume of a signal in low level passages", which is the exact opposite of what I believed.
Is it a misprint?

Shure Shure SM58S Vocal Microphone (with On Off Switch)
Musical Instruments (Shure)
  • Frequency response tailored for vocals, with brightened midrange and bass rolloff to control proximity effect
  • Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source and minimizes background noise
  • Pneumatic shock-mount system cuts down handling noise
  • Effective built-in spherical wind and pop filter
  • On/off switch for onstage control

Samson Meteorite review | USB Microphone | TrustedReviews  — TrustedReviews
The Samson Meteorite is a cracking little portable USB microphone that will be perfect for those that want to take the first step towards higher quality audio recordings. It's incredibly portable, easy to use and provides good quality sound.

Better Cables Better Cables Silver Serpent Studio Reference Microphone Cable - 2 meter (6.56 feet) - Single Cable - High-End, High-Performance, Silver/Copper Hybrid, Low-Capacitance, Professional Stage and Studio Mic Cable (XLR Male to XLR Female) also for Digital AES/EBU
Network Media Player (Better Cables)
  • Award-winning Better Cables audiophile-grade balanced microphone cables.
  • The Silver Serpent Studio Reference Microphone Cable instantly improves your recording experience.
  • The Silver Serpent has large silver-coated copper conductors for guaranteed low-loss connections.
  • Better Cables Silver Serpent cable is manufactured and assembled in the USA (imported connectors).
  • Features high-end audiophile balanced XLR connectors (1 male 1 female) with gold pins.
Shure Shure PG58-XLR Cable Stand iKlip 2 iRig Pre iPhone/iPod touch/iPad Interface
Musical Instruments (Shure)
  • SHURE PG58-XLR A rugged microphone tuned to accentuate the clarity of lead and back-up vocals. Includes Shure PG58 Microphone 15 foot XLR-XLR Cable Microphone...
  • iRig PRE iRig PRE is the ultimate solution for connecting any type of microphone from regular stage microphones to expensive studio models to any iPhone, iPod touch...
  • iKlip 2 Introducing the iKlip 2 for iPad - a newly designed multi-angle lightweight universal iPad microphone stand adapter. We ve taken the hugely successful iKlip...
JBL AKG Pro Audio C1000s Condenser Microphone, Multipattern
Musical Instruments (JBL)
  • Gold sputtered microphone capsule and XLR pins give high immunity against humidity
  • Powered by internal AA batteries or by phantom power for use with any equipment and every application
  • Bass cut and -10 dB switchable for amazing versatility in every situation
  • Presence boost adapter provides three frequency settings for different sound sources
  • Unique polar pattern converter allows the microphone to be switched from cardioid to hyper-cardioid

Popular Q&A

What is the best brand of microphone for male vocals?

The MXL 990 Condenser Microphone is one of the best especially for the price. Thanks for doing the !

Related Posts