Recording - May 2013 - 36

BeezNeez, Brauner, Lauten, Shure, Peluso,
Milab, Telefunken, MXL... and this mic
sounds like none of them. That is quite a
feat! It is not classic, vintage, Neumannesque, shiny and bright... none of it.

What the AT5040 has is a laserfocused, forward, yet sweet and clean
sound. When Audio-Technica labeled this
a premium vocal microphone, they were
not kidding! When I ran my first vocal
session with it I was instantly impressed
with its forward clarity, but do admit it
took me some time to get used to its
sound and what to do with it. When I say
it gives vocals a laser-like focus, it’s not
that I mean the sound has a hard edge to
it; rather it is a sound that is right there,
front and center with no apologies.
Over a few months I used the AT5040
on both male and female vocals including
gospel, hard rock, spoken word, rap,
and jazz crooning, as well as a threepiece vocal folk trio. Note that with said
trio I had to track each voice separately,
as this is not a good mic for multi-part
backing vocals due its tight sweet spot.
Overall what this mic does to the
human voice is a thing of beauty.
Normally most vocal mic reviews have
the phrase “singer-specific” somewhere
in the review, but this mic is perhaps the
complete opposite. Out of all my sessions, only one singer gave me a moment
of doubt, a singer that I work with often
who could be Neil Young’s vocal doppelgänger. During tracking I wondered if a
mid-forward mic plus a mid-forward
singer may be just a touch too much midforward? But during mixdown I was surprised at how easy it was to place the
voice in the mix and use some eq to
sweeten the vocal take. (That’s “sweeten”, not “fix”... there’s a difference.)
The only vocal area where this mic was
not a clear winner was for spoken word
spots; it cut through nicely, but just did not
have that low-chest announcer voice I prefer.
36

RECORDING May 2013

One more note: the female singers I tried the
mic with had very controlled lovely voices
and translated beautifully. I did not have the
“pleasure” of trying this mic with a raucous
female screecher or a male or female heavy
metal screamer, so I do not know how it
would fare in those situations.
Singer-specific? No! Instrument-specific...?
Here is where the tables get turned!
Instead of this mic being one for lots of
instrument applications and only usable
for specific singers, I found it was lovely
for many different vocalists but only useful
on specific instruments. I found the
AT5040 too middy and forward for drum
overheads, front of kit, or most common
instrument situations, with one and a half
exceptions.
One: it makes a very nice electric guitar amp mic, where it brings the mids
cleanly forward with a nice hefty punch,
although on a screaming guitar amp an
inline pad is essential. And a half:
acoustic guitar, where it is very fussy
about the particular guitar, the playing

style, and the mic position, but when the
three align it can place a nicely strummed
rhythm part effortlessly in the mix.
Conclusions
The more I use the AT5040, the more I
like it. It does fall into the gear camp of
“high fidelity” rather than “vibe”, but it is
not a sterile or clinical mic by any means.
As I got used to this mic, I really came to
believe that Audio-Technica succeeded in
its goal of sonic purity, but in a really
sweet-sounding way. Again, rather than
vocal-specific, I found the AT5040 was
more vocal-inclusive... a mic that could
make almost any singing voice come
magically alive.
At a price of $2999 it sits on the same
top shelf as the best mics from Neumann,
Telefunken, Brauner, and the like, and it
sits there darn proudly.
Price: $2999
More from: Audio-Technica,
www.audio-technica.com

The AT8480 shockmount
Audio-Technica has always made custom
shock mounts to go with specific models of
their microphones, but the new AT8480
is in a whole new league. The AT8480
is a front loaded suspension-style shockmount. It is an all-aluminum design that
makes use of a dual moving cradle,
springs and magnets to snap and hold
the mic firmly in place with a simple locking
mechanism. Bottom line: unlike many clamp-style
mounts, once the AT5040 is snapped in place in
this mount, it’s not going anywhere!—PV


http://www.audio-technica.com

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
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