Recording - May 2013 - 34

B Y PA U L V N U K J R .

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.

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.
The answer to the second query is even easier: the array offers increased surface area. It’s
similar in principle to how a 4 x 10" bass cabinet offers some sonic advantages over a single
15" speaker, with a tighter, better projection due
to greater combined surface area. There’s a limit
to how large you can make a single mic
diaphragm, but this array lets you combine several diaphragms for a much larger usable size.

Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
New technology and new aesthetics leads to a remarkable new vocal 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 welldesigned shockmounts I have seen in my life
(see the sidebar). It is hand-assembled at Audio34

RECORDING May 2013

Each individual diaphragm is 2 microns thick. I didn’t take the
mic apart, but each individual diaphragm appears to be approximately 1" tall by 0.5" wide. At a rough estimate, then, the combined diaphragm has twice as much surface area as the 1” circular variety found in most modern large-diaphragm condenser mics.
You also get the advantage of increased sensitivity. This is best
illustrated by comparing the fast and crisp transient response
found in most small-diaphragm pencil condensers with 1/2" or
smaller capsules to the average LDC, which tends to capture a
full tone but is often slower when it comes to transients. This
design gives the AT5040 the best of both worlds, and I can concur this is one of the “fastest” large-diaphragm mics I have used.
One more matter of interest: Unlike most modern LDCs, the
AT5040’s quad-capsules have a fixed-charge backplate, making this a permanently-polarized (or “electret”) condenser. At
one time electret-based microphones carried the stigma of being
a cheaper-quality design, but this has been long debunked by
exceptional permanently-polarized mics from companies like
Earthworks, DPA, and Shure (specifically the KSM32).



Recording - May 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - May 2013

Recording - May 2013
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Readers' Tapes
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Intro
Recording - May 2013 - Recording - May 2013
Recording - May 2013 - Cover2
Recording - May 2013 - 1
Recording - May 2013 - 2
Recording - May 2013 - 3
Recording - May 2013 - Fade In
Recording - May 2013 - 5
Recording - May 2013 - Contents
Recording - May 2013 - 7
Recording - May 2013 - Talkback
Recording - May 2013 - 9
Recording - May 2013 - Fast Forward
Recording - May 2013 - 11
Recording - May 2013 - 12
Recording - May 2013 - 13
Recording - May 2013 - Jim Anderson Records Patricia Barber
Recording - May 2013 - 15
Recording - May 2013 - 16
Recording - May 2013 - 17
Recording - May 2013 - Lewitt Authentica LCT 940
Recording - May 2013 - 19
Recording - May 2013 - PreSonus Eris Series High-Definition Studio Monitors
Recording - May 2013 - 21
Recording - May 2013 - 22
Recording - May 2013 - 23
Recording - May 2013 - How To Record Great Vocals At Home
Recording - May 2013 - 25
Recording - May 2013 - 26
Recording - May 2013 - 27
Recording - May 2013 - 28
Recording - May 2013 - 29
Recording - May 2013 - 30
Recording - May 2013 - 31
Recording - May 2013 - 32
Recording - May 2013 - 33
Recording - May 2013 - Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 35
Recording - May 2013 - 36
Recording - May 2013 - 37
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-ins To The Rescue—Real-Life Remedies For Vocal Tracks
Recording - May 2013 - 39
Recording - May 2013 - Moon Professional 3500MP 2-Channel Microphone Preamp
Recording - May 2013 - 41
Recording - May 2013 - DPA Microphones d:fine Series Headset Microphones
Recording - May 2013 - 43
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Toontrack EZmix Pack: Vocal Toolbox
Recording - May 2013 - 45
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: iZotope Nectar Elements
Recording - May 2013 - 47
Recording - May 2013 - 48
Recording - May 2013 - 49
Recording - May 2013 - Blue Spark Digital USB Microphone
Recording - May 2013 - 51
Recording - May 2013 - Plug-in Outlet: Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (and Character)
Recording - May 2013 - 53
Recording - May 2013 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - May 2013 - 55
Recording - May 2013 - 56
Recording - May 2013 - 57
Recording - May 2013 - 58
Recording - May 2013 - 59
Recording - May 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 17: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 4
Recording - May 2013 - 61
Recording - May 2013 - 62
Recording - May 2013 - 63
Recording - May 2013 - CAD Audio Acousti-shield 32
Recording - May 2013 - Advertiser Index
Recording - May 2013 - 66
Recording - May 2013 - 67
Recording - May 2013 - 68
Recording - May 2013 - 69
Recording - May 2013 - 70
Recording - May 2013 - 71
Recording - May 2013 - Fade Out
Recording - May 2013 - Cover3
Recording - May 2013 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202108
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_20205
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/musicmaker/musicmaker/recording_201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_201001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_200912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_200911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/recording_200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/musicmaker/nxtd
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com