Reviewed: Audio-Technica AT4033a Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica Australia | audio-technica.com.au | Expect to Pay: $599

Audio-Technica has a large stable of microphones to suit just about every need. When it comes to large diaphragm condenser microphones, their expert team has worked hard over the years to deliver microphones to suit every price point, from a first microphone right up to a professional studio centrepiece. This is why you know before even hearing one of their microphones that you’ll get excellent quality within the price point. When it comes to the AT4033a, you soon realise that this is a standout capsule for the price. There are very few microphones that offer what the AT4033a does for under $1000, and this guy does it at a price quite below that.

There are always plenty of claims about flat frequency responses and clarity of sound when reading the technical specifications of any microphone. The real answers are found when listening to the device itself and recognising what can and can’t be heard with your own ears. This certainly doesn’t offer a flat frequency response, and that’s where the AT4033a gets much of its charm and character. It certainly has a smooth, clean sound, but there is a distinct increase in the presence somewhere around 2kHz and above. What this results in is a brittle top end that captures a lot of the liveliness of acoustic instruments that can often be left behind by ‘warmer’ sounding microphones.

 

It really is an excellent microphone for use with acoustic guitars and banjos, both of which come to life with the AT4033a. But it works well with guitar amps too, when set back at a short distance, revealing a lot of the speaker’s character in the sound. You’d also find the AT4033a at home in most studio recording applications. Percussion, pianos, wind instruments and vocals all find a certain place in the mix with this microphone that they may not achieve with others.

 

Of course, a good microphone needs a good setup. Being a fairly low noise, transformerless design, the included AT8449a shock mount is a welcome accessory to ensure the microphone is securely isolated from unwanted vibrations. This lightweight cradle has a clever design that sees the microphone held in place by eight rubber fine feet around the base to ensure a secure hold with minimal contact to the microphone housing. With a microphone as versatile and clear as the AT4033a, you’ll want to keep it set up in the home studio on its stand most of the time. To allow easy access for continual use, there is a small pouch to place over the unit to keep it free from dust and moisture when you don’t want to pack it down.

 

This is a great option as a first microphone for the home studio seeking clarity and consistency. At the same time, it makes a great addition to any microphone collection that is looking to add a little liveliness to the possibilities on hand.

Hits and Misses

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Clear, low noise audio capture

Bright, lively top end

Excellent suspension cradle design

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A little brittle with some vocals

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