I do enjoy coming across a new microphone that offers better solutions to previous applications that haven’t been addressed properly before. There are plenty of microphones on the market all trying to achieve the same purpose, but it’s great when a manufacturer takes a step outside the box and considers how a microphone needs to be used in practical placement when designing not only the capsule, but also the housing. This is exactly what Audio-Technica have done with the ATM350a and its associated attachments. If you’re looking for a quality condenser microphone for drums, percussion and other instruments that requires precise placement and far from standard mounting, this is going to be worth a look.
This is a very simple design, with a compact microphone cartridge holding an interchangeable condenser capsule that is little more than an inch in total. The cardioid capsule is ideal for a wide range of applications, although not perfectly suited for very direct work, but this doesn’t matter so much as it can be placed right where you need it to be so as not to capture any other sound sources. The extend cable terminates in a connector that snaps onto a male XLY port with a high-pass filter attached, so it can be directly sent into any stage box, multicore, mixer or recording interface that supplies phantom power. It’s a great sounding little capsule capable of very high sound pressure levels, with a surprisingly full sound for such a small unit. It gives you a crisp and concise transient response with plenty of high frequency sizzle, and a load of punch in the lower mid-range. But it is in the mounting possibilities that this microphone really comes into its own.
This ultra-compact microphone allows for placement in some of the tightest of situations, making it ideal for a range of instrument applications. There are two gooseneck options: one is around four inches long, the other eight inches, both with a built-in wind shield and cable clips to keep everything nice and neat. The mounting attachments available for these goosenecks make this extremely versatile. A small magnetic base, an adjustable clamp, and a Velcro strap allow for a range of instruments to be used as a mounting source for this microphone. The real beauty is in the drum mounting option with a clever design that clips over the tension lug on just about any drum with a spring mounting hold, allowing the microphone to be placed over any section of the drum head and at a distance of anywhere from one to eight inches away from the surface. Audio-Technica have thought of everything with this device as you can still adjust and tune the drum tension with the clamp over the lug with a drum key on the protruding lug from the top of the mount.
Hits and Misses
Great sounding, compact instrument microphone
Plenty of mounting options
The ideal drum microphone solution