Today I’m gonna be reviewing a microphone so good it will make you wanna slap yo momma! Haha just kidding, but seriously. The Audio Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone is a beast of a mic, and competes with other giants that are way out of their price range!!
Before we get started, sit back, relax, and grab a snack…
Included Accessories: Shock-mount, dust cover, carry case.
Manufacturer Part Number: AT4040.
This is a great all-around work-horse microphone that handles a variety of studio applications with ease. Its sound is immaculate, and it is also very affordable! If you’re a beginner or intermediate, looking to upgrade to something a little better, look no further. It sports a flat, neutral, but also warm sound. It will not color your voice, but rather presents it as is.
A very versatile mic, this will be an all-around great option for recording vocals, piano, sax, flutes, guitar amps, acoustic guitar, and more. It has a really clean sound that is easy to work with. It isn’t colored in any way and remains neutral and honest.
As stated above, the sound is very clean, clear, and uncolored. It is also very sensitive, picking up everything. This is pretty standard of all cardioid condensers, so adequate room treatment must be considered.
As for vocals, you will be able to hear details in the mix that were previously lost. One Amazon reviewer said the sound is a close second to a mic that is 10x the cost. A bold statement indeed! It is one of the few economically priced consumer-grade microphones that can be found in professional studios.
There is no proximity effect here. Get as close to the mic as you want and the clarity still comes through crystal clear.
One guy says it’s probably the best-sounding studio mic he’s used in 26 years of broadcasting. Very natural sounding, and comparable to the AKG C414 but a little more affordable.
As for the build of course it’s very rugged and durable. This has become a staple of the Audio Technica line. Mics ranging from the AT2020, AT2035, as well as this one, are all similar in aesthetic, and all remain very well crafted.
Silky smooth high end
Warm sounding yet remains flat and neutral
Durable and sexy looking
Comes with a good case and shock-mount
Great for male vocals
Longevity. This thing will last you for years given proper care.
Built-in hi-pass filter and -10db pad which can tame the low end if it becomes boomy on bass-heavy sources. However, a couple of people on Musicians’ friend said that the lows may be problematic because they have such a heavy impact.
Nice boost in the high end which gives it an enjoyable, airy quality.
Compares very favorably with a Neumann TLM 102 and 103. Saw quite a few people saying it really holds its own against a Neumann, as well as other higher-priced competitors.
recorded through an average pre-amp the mic sounds a bit harsh. Invest in a good one!
It may not like to be pushed too hard and could get distorted and thin in the upper registers.
Who this Mic Benefits?
Pretty much everyone. This is the standout feature of the Audio Technica AT4040. It is a great all-around mic that will handle almost anything you throw at it. I’ve seen it endorsed for all of the following:
Lead vocals/backing vocals
Band, orchestra, and chorus concerts
Rap, Hip-Hop, and R&B
*BUT .. don’t buy this mic expecting it to enhance your voice. It will present to you how it is. This was a constant in reviews. Expect the tone of it to be true to life.
Not the best for:
Rock or Pop vocals
Here’s a beautiful song highlighting the 4040!
What you will need?
This is an XLR condenser mic, so you will need:
48v Phantom Power via an audio interface or some type of mic preamp. Preamp vs. Interface. Also, check out my guide on Choosing a DAW! Make sure that your interface or preamp is of a higher quality than the average. This mic needs a little extra love 🙂 I’ve heard it pairs well with the Focusrite 2i2 and the Steinberg UR22. It has been said that the UR22 has better preamps than the 2i2, so it may actually be a better option for a mic of this caliber. I own the 2i2 and love it. Either of those 2 would work wonders though. Check out my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Review!
Some sort of sequencing program. You can also use Audacity. It’s free and works like a charm! It’s great for starting out, but don’t rely on it forever. A good step up from it would be Reaper.
Shock-mount (The AT4040 comes with a good one).
Also, you will need to treat your room prior to using this, or the mic will probably sound bad. It is very sensitive which is a good thing but benefits highly from proper sound treatment. Some ideas:
Try to work in an enclosed space, away from windows, fans, A/C units, ambient noise, etc.
Use old comforters, or Acoustic Studio Foam to line the walls and absorb the sound. Acoustic Sound Treatment goes a long way!
Basically, anything to encase the sound in and make your voice sound lush and clear. Here is a great example illustrating the overall point:
There’s not much else out there in this price range that competes with the likes of this bad boy. You can basically record anything with it, and do it well.
It looks great, the sound is top-notch, and people basically drool over this thing in reviews. Talking in all caps, swooning over the sound, etc. If you’re in the market for a mic of this stature, you may want to check it out. It’s also a nice upgrade from the Audio Technica AT2035, as well as the AT2020.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.