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Audio-Technica is a brand that is highly regarded for its combination of affordability and sonic performance, and it boasts a wide range of great mics.
Audio-Technica is a world-renowned audio manufacturer that has emerged as one of the leading producers of microphones for recording.
Many of Audio-Technica’s microphones look similar, making it difficult to differentiate between them. However, despite their signature appearance, the individual mics differ significantly in their qualities.
This guide will provide a breakdown of the very best mics Audio-Technica produces. You’ll also find essential information on making the right decision based on your specific recording and live sound needs.
In a Rush’ Round-Up
How We Tested
To get a clear idea of these Audio-Technica microphones, we ran them through a series of specific tests. This included monitoring the detail that the microphones could capture sounds from close range and longer distances.
We then tested their ability to handle different volumes and tones by recording drums, guitars, and vocals with them. Finally, we tested each microphone’s coloration to determine whether they have a natural sound. You can find a breakdown of what we discovered from our tests below.
Audio Technica Microphone Reviews
For such a capable microphone, the AT4050 is very reasonably priced. It ranks amongst Audio-Technica’s best sellers, thanks to its blend of sonic qualities and versatility.
With three onboard polar patterns, this microphone can be tailored to suit the specific type of recording that you use it for. The patterns include cardioid, figure-8, and omnidirectional.
The cardioid pickup pattern is suitable for recording one vocalist or an acoustic instrument. Figure-8 is excellent for live recordings, and omnidirectional is well suited to capturing multiple musicians or singers at once.
In addition to the switchable polar patterns, this microphone also has a highpass filter, which can instantly reduce the presence of boomy low-end frequencies without needing to adjust EQ settings in your DAW.
There’s also a 10dB pad, which further extends your control over how the recordings sound. Dual gold diaphragms, which are 2-microns in thickness, have been subjected to a specific aging process by Audio Technica.
These diaphragms play a significant role in creating the clear, immersive sound abundance that recordings made using the AT4050 possess.
- Three switchable polar patterns
- 20Hz-18kHz frequency response
- 149dB max SPL handling
- Suitable for vocals and a range of instrument recordings
- Can handle high volumes
- Comes with a shock mount
- Not ideal for recording low-end instruments
With its compact, sleek design, the ATM450 is a practical condenser microphone for live or recording studio use. Unlike most similarly shaped mics, this device has a unique side-address design, which makes it much easier to position in a recording environment.
Audio-Technica has installed an 80 Hz highpass filter on this condenser mic so that you can quickly roll off the low-end when necessary. The 10dB attenuation pad also reduces the overall sensitivity of the mic, which is ideal when recording particularly loud instruments.
By designing the ATM450 with a flat frequency response, Audio-Technica has ensured that the microphone can be used to capture a range of sound sources, including vocals, guitars, pianos, and drums.
It’s an excellent addition to a drum mic setup, as the mic can handle high SPLs and reduce the harshness of high-end frequencies that are often overpowering if the drummer uses a lot of crash and ride cymbals when playing.
Made from durable, rugged metal, this mic is typically robust. Audio-Technica designs its devices to stand the test of time, and you can tell by the way this microphone feels that it won’t break if accidentally dropped or bumped.
Finally, because of the compact design of this microphone, you can easily transport it to your live shows and use it for various purposes.
- 40Hz-18kHz frequency response
- 152dB max SPL
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Focused recordings
- Great for drums or amplified instruments
- Reduces harsh treble frequencies
- Not suitable to be used as a room microphone
The AT4047MP condenser microphone combines precise recording accuracy with undeniable versatility. It includes a trio of polar patterns you can toggle between to alter the directionality of the mic’s capsule.
The standard cardioid polar pattern is excellent for recording a singer’s voice, capturing the sound of an acoustic instrument, or being placed in front of the speaker on a guitar cabinet.
Figure-8 and omnidirectional pickup patterns also provide you with more options for recording groups of musicians or capturing more of the ambient sound from an acoustic space.
Sonically, the AT4047MP is very similar to the legendary FET studio mics that were popular in the 1950s and 1960s. You can also tell that Audio-Technica was inspired by the aesthetics of these vintage mics when designing this condenser.
The dual-diaphragm composition of this microphone ensures maximum precision when recording from close range. It allows you to utilize the entire span of the frequency response without any noticeably weak areas.
The matte-silver finish to the metal housing gives this microphone an authentically vintage appearance matched by its warm, inviting sound.
Finally, a custom shock mount has been installed by Audio-Technica so that you can isolate the sound of your recordings more effectively.
- Three switchable polar patterns
- 155dB max SPL handling
- 20Hz-18kHz frequency response
- Can capture multiple sound sources simultaneously
- Powerful sounding midrange
- Surprisingly substantial bass recordings
- Three polar patterns may be unnecessary for some recording setups.
The AT5040 is a stunning studio microphone. Audio-Technica used all of its knowledge and expertise to design this mic, and you can see how much effort went into its creation just by looking at its physical appearance.
Designed to produce the highest audio quality possible for vocal and instrument recordings, the AT5040 is crammed full of high-end components. At the heart of the mic is the exceptional diaphragm, double the size of the standard component.
Four diaphragms have been fitted into a single capsule, a clever move that creates an open, accurate sound with a usually low noise floor. A cardioid polar pattern has been employed to deliver the ideal amount of focus for your recordings.
Inside the microphone, there is a shockmount mechanism that prevents the capsule and body from interfering with one another. This means that handling noise is nonexistent.
For vocal recordings, this condenser microphone delivers in all aspects. It can pick up midrange and high frequencies with fantastic clarity, and the low-end is tight and refined.
Once you experience the stunning sound of the AT5040 condenser mic, you’ll understand why so many people rave about its capabilities.
- 142dB max SPL handling
- Internal shockmount
- 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
- Exceptional recording sound across the frequency range
- Stunning clarity for vocal recordings
- Classy design and appearance
- May be too “high-end” for home studios
One thing that impresses me the most about Audio Technica is that they offer a diverse selection of studio microphones that vary in cost but always deliver in terms of quality.
The AE3000 is part of Audio-Technica’s Artist Elite range. It can be used as a vocal mic but also has the frequency range and SPL handling capabilities required to capture the sound of a drum kit or guitar amp.
With an 80 Hz highpass filter installed on the microphone’s chassis, you can quickly remove any detrimental bass frequencies to your recordings. Furthermore, the pad can record exceedingly loud instruments or sounds.
The grille has been tapered slightly on this condenser microphone. This design makes it easier to position the mic in the perfect place, depending on the type of recording you’re undertaking.
The cardioid pickup pattern rejects sound from the back and the sides of the capsule, so your recordings won’t be filled with unwanted sounds that need to be removed during the mixing process.
Finally, this microphone is robust and durable, so you can use it in live settings or the studio without worrying about it being easily damaged.
- 148dB max SPL handling
- 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 80Hz high pass filter switch
- Can be used to record guitars, drums, and vocals
- Handles high volumes very well
- Reduces any electromagnetic hum or noise issues
- Lacks warmth in the midrange
Often, affordable condenser microphones come with noticeable weaknesses that we accept simply due to their low price. However, the AT2020 competes with mics that are twice or even three times its value.
With its large diaphragm condenser design, the AT2020 delivers clear recordings, especially of vocals. Regardless of the type of singing voice you’re recording, this mic will do the job.
Indeed, the components installed in this microphone aren’t as high-end or fancy as those used in Audio-Technica’s top condensers. Still, they combine to create an impressive sound quality that is versatile enough to be helpful in any studio setup.
This microphone can handle high-volume sound sources like guitar amps or drums, and it also has a comprehensive frequency response so that you won’t lose any details when recording audio.
Perhaps you’re looking for an Audio-Technica mic on a budget, or you’d like to save money to invest in multiple mics as you build a recording rig. Whatever the case may be, the AT2020 is worth considering.
- 144dB max SPL handling
- 20Hz-20kHz frequency response
- Cardioid polar pattern
- Affordable option
- Clear vocal recordings
- Durable chassis and grille
- Not as detailed as some of the other Audio Technica mics
Audio Technica Microphones Buyer's Guide
Audio-Technica is a manufacturer that has a rich history of producing microphones and other equipment. Their devices range from high-end to affordable so that everyone can enjoy the excellent creations of this brand regardless of their economic situation.
With an abundance of great condenser, dynamic, and ribbon microphones in production, choosing the ones that will best serve you in your home studio or live audio environment is very tricky.
Audio-Technica tends to use a blueprint for its microphones, but the advanced features and components vary. Therefore, it’s important to figure out what you need to facilitate the recordings that you want to make.
Microphones are like any other piece of audio equipment – they seem complicated at first, but when you break them down into their individual parts and components, they’re much easier to understand.
In the buyer’s guide below, we’ll provide you with the information you need to choose the right Audio-Technica mic.
Things to Consider When Buying Audio Technica Mics
Max SPL handling
FAUdio-Technica microphones that have higher SPL handling capabilities will be able to record loud instruments and sounds better than those with lower SPL handling.
Audio-Technica likes to include switchable polar patterns on many of their condenser microphones, offering you the chance to tailor the directionality to suit the specific type of recording that you intend to make.
The average frequency response for a condenser microphone is 20Hz-20kHz, but Audio Technica may switch this up on some of their other microphones to make them better suited for specific instruments.
It’s always a good idea to look at the diaphragm size and design when choosing a microphone. Audio-Technica is renowned for using some great diaphragms in its high-end mics.
Audio Technica Mics - What Should You Look For?
Renowned for their reliability, Audio-Technica microphones can be found in recording setups all around the world. The Japanese manufacturer originated in the 1960s and began making microphones in 1978.
Despite the many similarities between Audio-Technica microphones, the manufacturer likes to use slightly different components and designs to make certain models perform differently.
Audio-Technica microphones come in several different varieties, which consist of:
- Large-diaphragm condenser mics
- Small diaphragm condenser mics
- Dynamic mics
- Ribbon mics
Condenser microphones produced by Audio-Technica are renowned for their accuracy and attention to detail. If you choose one with a larger diaphragm, you’ll be able to record vocals and acoustic guitars with impressive clarity.
Audio-Technica’s small diaphragm condenser mics are great for recording cymbals or for live audio purposes.
It’s important to establish what you need your Audio-Technica mic to be capable of. Otherwise, you will end up with the wrong variety.
Some of the microphones produced by this prolific manufacturer are great all-rounders that can be used for various applications in a live setting or in the studio.
Others are specifically designed to be used for vocals, guitars, drums, or any other type of instrument that benefits from a certain type of microphone.
Switchable Polar Patterns
A common feature that Audio-Technica includes on its microphones is switchable polar patterns, which instantly alter the directionality of the mic capsule to suit your recordings.
These switchable polar patterns almost always consist of cardioid, figure-8, and omnidirectional.
Cardioid is the polar pattern that you’re likely to use the most because it focuses on capturing sound from in front of the capsule rather than allowing it to enter from the back and sides.
If you switch the settings to figure-8, your Audio-Technica microphone will begin to pick up some sound from the sides and an equal amount from the front and pack. This may be useful for recording two vocalists singing at once.
Omnidirectional polar patterns will allow your Audio Technica mic to be used to pick up sound equally from all sides so that you can capture the ambient sounds of a room.
Alternatively, you can choose an Audio-Technica mic that keeps things more simple and only has one polar pattern installed.
I would recommend this if you know that you only want to use the mic for a specific purpose, for example, live vocals or recording a guitar amplifier.
SPL Handling and Frequency Response
Two of the terms that get thrown around most frequently when talking about microphones are SPL handling and frequency response.
To ensure that you choose the best possible Audio-Technica mic, you need to understand what these terms mean and why they’re important.
Firstly, the SPL handling capability of a microphone indicates the maximum amount of sound pressure levels it can cope with before it begins to distort. Audio-Technica produces some mics specifically for louder instruments and sounds that have high SPL handling capabilities.
This may not be necessary if you’re intending on using an Audio Technica mic for recording an acoustic guitar or quiet vocals, but for things like drum recordings or guitar amps, high SPL handling is essential.
Audio Technica generally uses a flat frequency response on most of the condenser mics they produce, which often covers 20Hz-20kHz.
Audio Technica Mic FAQs
Where Are Audio-Technica Mics From?
Audio Technica’s headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan. This is the same place where the company was founded in 1962 by Hideo Matsushita to produce phonograph cartridges.
The company eventually branched out into other products, including microcassette recorders and eventually microphones, in the 1970s when it also set up an office in the city of Leeds, in the UK.
Why is The Audio-Technica AT2020 so Popular?
The AT2020 is one of the most popular condenser microphones, and there are several reasons for this. Firstly, it’s incredibly inexpensive for a high-quality condenser microphone, making it accessible to everyone.
The AT2020 performs to the level you’d expect from a much more expensive mic. People just getting into recording audio are drawn to this mic for its affordability and many positive reviews from users.
Does Audio-Technica Make Headphones?
In addition to their many microphones, Audio-Technica also manufactures a wide range of headphones. The headphones made b the brand are very popular amongst mixing engineers, DJs, and everyday music listeners.
Audio-Technica also manufactures speakers, studio monitors, turntables, and a wide range of other audio equipment sold worldwide.