The AT4040 is a condenser microphone from the always popular Audio-Technica brand. Of course, Audio-Technica is widely considered to be one of the top brands when it comes to condenser mics and audio equipment in general. Some people might be tempted to buy this microphone based on the brand’s reputation alone. But first, it’s important to take a look at what the AT4040 can do.
How Does It Compare to Other Condenser Microphones?
Naturally, there are a few things you need to consider. Is it something you can afford? Does it have the clarity and dependability you’re looking for? And how does it compare to the competition? These are all important things you need to examine before investing in this microphone.
What Is the AT4040?
The AT4040 is part of Audio-Technica’s 40 series. It is a large-diaphragm, externally powered true condenser microphone. That means it gets its power from an external energy source as opposed to being internally powered by an electret. It uses a cardioid pickup pattern that allows it to focus on sounds from the front of the microphone while rejecting noise from the back and sides.
This microphone is particularly well-known for offering very low noise. It uses transformerless circuitry which allows it to avoid the distortion you might hear in other microphones. It also features a bass roll-off switch, wide dynamic range, and high SPL capability. All of these things come to create together a very versatile microphone that’s capable of capturing a wide range of sounds consistently and accurately. This microphone has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.
What Should You Know About the AT4040?
Of course, there are a few other things you need to know about the AT4040. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
As mentioned before, the AT4040 is part of Audio-Technica’s 40 series. There are many microphones in this series, and most of them are different enough to be considered completely different microphones. However, there are two in particular that deserve special mention. These are the AT4033 and the AT4050.
- Transformerless circuitry virtually eliminates low-frequency distortion and provides superior correlation of high-speed transients
- Precision-machined, nickel-plated brass, acoustic element baffle provides enhanced element stability and optimal sensitivity
- The 2-micron-thick, vapor-deposited gold diaphragm undergoes a five-step aging process so that the optimum characteristics achieved remain constant over years of use
- Floating-construction capsule assembly provides isolation from noise and vibration
- Open acoustical environment of the symmetrical housing assembly minimizes unwanted internal reflections
The AT4040 was made to replace the AT4033. These two microphones are almost identical, but they differ in two important ways. For one, the AT4033 is a permanently polarized condenser mic as opposed to being externally polarized. Second, the AT4033 will typically cost at least $100 more than the AT4040. Regarding sound, they’re more or less equal. If you’re choosing between the two, your best bet is to try them out at your local music shop before making a decision.
The AT4050 is also very similar. The most important difference is it gives you the option to change your pickup pattern. You can switch between cardioid, omnidirectional, and figure-of-eight. This helps you apply it to different uses in the studio. Unfortunately, it also makes it cost quite a bit more. The AT4050 will generally cost between $200 and $300 more than the AT4040.
What does it come with?
The AT4040 comes with a protective carrying case and a velvet cover. These things help protect the microphone and prevent damage from dust and other pollutants. Most importantly, it comes with an AT8449A shock mount. This shock mount works with microphone stands with 3/8 inch-16 and 5/8 inch-27 threads, and it’s compatible with all of the mics in Audio-Technica’s 40 series. This helps reduce noise that might be caused by shock and vibration through the stand.
Many customers appreciate the addition of the shock mount. They felt it helped their recordings sound cleaner and more professional. Of course, this isn’t the only thing they liked about this microphone.
What do the customers think?
Customers have given the AT4040 great reviews, which is why it has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They especially loved how clear and accurate it is. It’s great at capturing the voice as it is without giving or taking anything away. Customers also appreciate its durability. It uses a solid metal material as opposed to flimsy plastic. Several people felt it was a noticeable upgrade to Audio-Technica’s previous AT2035. Many also said it compares favorably to the ever-popular Neumann brand.
Unfortunately, there have been a few complaints as well. The most common complaint is that the microphone is a bit too sensitive for its own good. It’s not uncommon for it to pick up sounds from another room or even outside the home. This is something to keep in mind if you want a mic for home recording. Also, some people had difficulty with low-end voices and instruments. They said the sound comes across as a bit dull in these cases.
How Much Does It Cost?
An AT4040 can cost anywhere from $175 to $400. Usually, they’ll be in the area of $300. This might be a bit too expensive for a starter microphone. However, it’s a fairly reasonable price considering the quality you’re getting. This is a very typical price range for good condenser mics. For the most part, you’d have to spend several hundred dollars more for a better microphone.
You can buy the AT4040 from Amazon, Sweetwater, and Guitar Center. You can also find it in many music stores around the country if you don’t want to shop online. Their official website has a store locator that can help you find places that sell it.
How We Reviewed
The basic information and specifications for these microphones were gathered from Amazon and their official websites. We also used sites such as Guitar Center and Sweetwater on occasion. Furthermore, our opinions were largely informed by customer reviews from Amazon, Sweetwater, and Guitar Center. When reviewing these products, we chose to focus on aspects such as clarity, versatility, durability, and features. Price was also a major factor in our reviews.
As you know, there are many excellent condenser mics on the market today. How does the AT4040 stack up against the competition?
Neumann TLM 103
- Large diaphragm cardioid microphone
- Extremely low noise: 7 dB-A. Supply voltage (P48, IEC 61938): 48 V ± 4 V
- Straightforward handling for homerecording and professional studios
- Set includes microphone, shockmount and briefcase
Of course, Neumann is one of the most legendary condenser mic brands, and the Neumann TLM 103 is one of its most popular products. This is a large diaphragm cardioid microphone with high SPL capability and a transformerless design. It also features an extremely low self-noise of only seven dB-A. This makes it among the quietest microphones you can find. It also has a presence boost for frequencies over 5,000 Hz. It has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.
This microphone is certainly worthy of the Neumann name. Customers have absolutely loved it. Many felt it was a major upgrade from the microphones they’d been using. They especially enjoyed how it can be used in a variety of different applications and how you can get different sounds with different placements. It’s a favorite among voice-over workers in particular. However, there’s one major downside. This microphone is not cheap.
Compared to the AT4040, this is obviously a major investment. Many will say the quality makes it worth the price. However, it’s simply going to be out of many people’s budgets. You might check it out if you’re looking for a high-quality microphone and can afford the extra cost. But if you’re looking for something a little more reasonable, you should stick with the AT4040. Amazon gives this microphone 4.3 out of 5 stars.
- Amazon as the seller is the ONLY authorized Fulfilled by Amazon Dealer, and purchases from unauthorized dealers carry No Warranty
- Delivers a warmth, extended dynamic range, and high SPL capability typical of more expensive offerings
- An incredible self-noise level of only 5dBA makes this an extremely quiet studio microphone
- The low noise makes it an ideal vocal microphone as well as perfect for recording guitars and percussion
- Includes everything you need to get a truly professional vocal recording and is ideal for home studio recording
The Rode NT1-A is another one of the most popular condenser microphones on the market. Like the Neumann TLM 103, it’s well-known for being extremely quiet. It has a self-noise of only five dB-A. It has a large one-inch capsule with a gold-plated diaphragm and a cardioid pickup pattern. This microphone also comes with internal shock mounting. It has a frequency range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.
Most customers were very satisfied with this microphone. They loved how quiet it is while also being very affordable. You won’t have to worry too much about noise with this microphone. Many people use it for recording music or podcasting. Overall, there haven’t been too many complaints. Unfortunately, a few customers have had issues with durability. Although these cases are rare, they did have trouble with it malfunctioning in a relatively short amount of time.
This is more or less comparable to the AT4040. A lot of this will come down to what you’re looking for in a microphone. The AT4040 is more durable and more accurate. On the other hand, the Rode NT1-A is famous for being an extremely quiet microphone. You’ll have to consider your needs and decide which of these is more important to you. Amazon gives this microphone 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Shure Beta 87A
- Smooth frequency response with gradual presence rise
- Highly consistent super cardioid polar pattern provides superior gain before feedback
- Electronic low-frequency roll off compensates for proximity effect
- Wide dynamic range (117 dB) and low distortion characteristics
- Built in pop filter reduces undesirable wind and breath sounds
Shure is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to dynamic microphones, but it has some great condenser mics as well. The Shure Beta 87A is proof of this. This microphone has a very consistent super-cardioid pickup pattern and a low-frequency roll off to compensate for proximity effect. It also has a gradual presence rise that helps brighten up the midrange. Furthermore, you get a built-in pop filter to help manage plosions. This microphone has a frequency range of 50 to 20,000 Hz.
This microphone has received rave reviews from its customers. This is because partially you can use it in a live setting. This is not the case for most condenser microphones. It excels in this area. It’s great at rejecting feedback and cutting through the other instruments. Complaints have been very few and far between. That said, some customers feel it’s more appropriate for some voices than others. It generally works better with lower to midrange singers.
Again, this is comparable to the AT4040. In this case, your decision will largely depend on what kind of voice you’re recording. The AT4040 is better at complimenting higher-range voices and instruments. On the other hand, the Shure Beta 87A work better with lower ranged voices. It also performs better in a live setting. Amazon has given this microphone 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Large 32mm pressure gradient condenser capsule
- Gold-sputtered, 6 micron density diaphragm
- Solid state preamp balanced transformer output
- MXL-57 isolation shock mount available
The MXL V67G is both beautiful and affordable. It has a unique look with its green body and gold-plated grill. It also uses a Class A FET design for producing warm vocals. Its sound is often compared to tube microphones. This microphone has a large diaphragm and a cardioid pickup pattern. Keep in mind that you’ll need an analog-to-digital interface if you plan to use it with your computer. It has a frequency range of 30 to 20,000 Hz.
Customers appreciated how affordable this microphone is. Several said its the best condenser mic you can find for this price. Many people have successfully used it for narration and voice-over work. Unfortunately, its low price means you’re sacrificing some quality. A few customers said it sounds flat compared to more expensive microphones. It’s also not very versatile. It’s specifically made for recording vocals.
Although it’s much more affordable than the other microphones on this list, it’s also a case of getting what you pay for. This is a good microphone for the price, but it can’t compare to the AT4040 regarding sound quality. Unless you’re really on a budget, you’re better off with the AT4040. Amazon gave this microphone 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Pros and Cons
The AT4040 is an excellent microphone if you’re looking for clarity and accuracy. Rap vocalists in particular favor this microphone. It’s also great for capturing high vocals and acoustic guitars. Furthermore, it’s durable and reasonably priced when you consider the quality. Unfortunately, it’s a little too sensitive and tends to pick up unwanted sounds. It also has difficulty with lower voices and instruments.
Is This the Mic for You?
The AT4040 has quite a bit going for it. Customers on Amazon gave it 4.4 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for a microphone that will capture your voice as it is, then look no further. And while it might seem expensive at first glance, it could prove to be a worthwhile investment. Odds are, you’ll have to spend at least this much for a good recording mic anyway.
However, there are a few things you have to keep in mind. You might run into trouble with outside noises if you plan to use this microphone for home recording. Also, you might want to look elsewhere if you have a lower voice type. Aside from that, the AT4040 is a great microphone that does exactly what you need it to do.