View Full Version : AT4033CL vs AT4040
12-06-2002, 04:32 PM
Has anyone compared the AT4033 to the AT4040. I have heard that the AT4040 is brighter, almost harsh.
Also, as a compliment to the AT4041, which matches up better?
Any feedback would be helpful
12-06-2002, 05:34 PM
Both are bright mics. The 4040 has a little more of a top end boost to it than the 4033, but this is tempered by what seems to be a little more natural high-midrange than the 4033.
Your taste in mics will determine whether you think it's harsh or not. If you like mics like the Neumann KM184, Sony C800, and AKG 414, you'll probably like this one as well. Harshness would also be determined by what application you use it for. I like my 4033's quite a bit on acoustic guitar, percussion, occasional drum overheads, and sometimes on female or smooth tenor male vocals. Several major engineers I've talked with have been really impressed with the 4040 on piano, and liken it to an "improved" 414.
Your preamp will also factor in quite a bit, more than with other mics. It seems that most of the Audio-Technica 40-series condensers can go from decent to amazing just by using the right preamp. I love the Buzz Audio preamp and Great River (non NV) preamps with them, as well as several of the Avalons. Something cheaper like a Mackie preamp will not allow the mic to put its best foot forward.
The 4033/4040 and 4041 will play fine together, although the 4050 would probably be a better large-diaphragm match sonically and timbrally.
12-09-2002, 10:29 AM
Michael, can you describe the difference between AT4040 and RodeNTK? I'm looking for a brighter mic as a complement to my slightly darker sounding C4000B.
I've heard a lot of praise on both of them and I can't decide. I'd like to use it primarily for acoustic guitar and drum overheads (as these I find the sources that need a touch more treble than my C4000B delivers).
12-09-2002, 07:25 PM
I don't have a lot of experience with the NTK, but I'd say that the Rode will have more coloration overall, and as a result will seem warmer in the midrange. Whether this is a good thing or not will depend on your personal tastes. It's extremely esoteric, and I'm going more on my significant experience with the A-T condensers and conjecture more than anything, but I'd also expect the Audio-Technica mics to be a little "faster" in their transient response than the NTK. Again, whether or not this is a good thing is up to you. If I go any further, I'll be descending into BS land.
I will tell you that the 4040 will do wonderfully well on acoustic guitar and drum overheads, and I'd heartily recommend it for those applications. Great on acoustic piano as well.
12-10-2002, 09:53 AM
As for the acoustic guitar and drum overheads, do you prefer AT4040 or AT4050(set to cardioid)? I guess both are fairly bright.
(And I wonder if you ever tried a pair of AT4050s for drum OH in fig.8 setting? Is it worth?)
Currently I'm using a pair of C480B/ULS+CK61(card.) and I'm realy happy with the sound. I'd just like to have some suitable pair of LD mics in store as well. (what if LDs are really better at that? some people claim so)
I'm quite convinced of the qualities of AT4040 by now, but still I'm tempted to invest some extra bucks and go for the switchable 4050. I guess the two are pretty close to each other(?) Seems like I've made a circle back to the first question...
12-10-2002, 10:34 AM
The 4040 seems brighter than the 4050. It is also a smaller-diaphragm mic. Hands down, I prefer the 4040/4033 on acoustic guitar. I usually mic with a 4033 on the neck, and a Neumann KM83/84, KM184, or Shure SM81 on the body of the guitar. The 4050 is okay on guitar, but I don't think it's the best use for the mic.
I would not characterize the 4050 as overly bright. It's not dark either, but rather fairly neutral, especially when compared to the 4033 or AKG 414.
I use a pair 4050's set to cardioid a LOT for overheads. I have not experimented with them set to figure-8 in this application. I also like the 4033/4040 for overheads. It's not so much an issue of one being better than the other as it is a matter of taste. The 4033/4040 is more aggressive and "in your face," while the 4050 is more natural-sounding. The 4033 also works great as a hi-hat mic.
If you're looking for a multi-pattern condenser, the 4050 is a great mic, especially for the money. I have found very little that it doesn't sound at least good on. It even works on guitar cabs and kick drums fairly well.
Some people prefer the small-diaphragm sound for overheads, and others the large-diaphragm sound. I usually use LD condensers (4050, 414, U87, etc) overhead, and sometimes even PZMs. But I've also gotten good sounds with small diaphragms as well, so I think it's more a matter of taste.
12-12-2002, 08:58 AM
Michael, you may be an experienced recording engineer, but you're a bad guy to turn to for an advice. Do you realize that I'd be forced to buy ALL the 40series mics if I obeyed your recommendations? ;)
(Somebody sreaming around here? Oh, that's my credit card!)
OK, which one do you think is better to start with? 4040 or 4033?
(BTW: I was kinda surprised to find out that the new 4040 is a bit cheaper.)
12-12-2002, 10:17 AM
I also have an addiction to collecting mics and preamps, so I'm probably not the best person to ask what to buy! :)
Between the 4040 and the 4033, I'd get the 4040. A pair will do you nicely.
Then you can add a pair of 4050's, a 4060, and a 4047, and you're set. Just kidding. :)
12-15-2002, 06:18 PM
When using 4050 in cardioid on vocals, I guess you perhaps need an extra pop-filter, but is it required when set to omni?
I hardly ever need to employ pop-screen using C4000B in cardioid and never ever felt this need using it in omni. However, the basket of 4050 seems fairly open and that's what makes me wonder if it's not some more susceptible to pops.(?)
12-15-2002, 09:08 PM
I generally just use a Popper-Stopper with the 4050 for vocals. A couple of times, I've gotten away without it, but it really depends on the singer. The 4050 does seem to be a little more susceptable to plosives than, say, a 414. But not too much.
12-16-2002, 06:20 AM
After having read your posts. Do you generally prefer 4050 over 414/ULS?
(I'm sorry to have gone this far from the original topic.)
12-16-2002, 10:41 AM
Generally? Yes. There are a couple applications that I really do prefer the 414 for, namely drum overheads and piano miking, and this is because the 414 is a brighter. Except for not having multiple patterns, the 4040 does a good job in just about every application I like the 414 for.
The 4050 is one of those mics that's hard to make sound bad pretty much anywhere. With a few EQ tweaks, it also sounds great on drum overheads and piano (to my ears), and I often use them for those applications. It's a mic you'll use on just about every sessions for something.
So yes, I generally prefer the 4050 as a general purpose mic. Cheaper, too.
12-16-2002, 11:51 AM
The AT4040 would most likely be considered a 'harsh' mic if NOT run through an ouboard mic pre. It's not as bright as a C414TLII, but is brighter than a 414USL. The 414ULS is characterised as being a 'neutral' mic, but from my experience, it's what I call dead for vocals. I've found the best use for the 414ULS is piano. That's for me. For vocals, I want a little presence around 5-8k, not for sibilance, but for presence and 'air'. Acousitic guitars, a large diaphram, such as the 4040, over the fingerboard, or even a C3000 C4000, but a smaller condenser such as the 451 over the body. I find the SM81 muddy for most applications, even with the low cut curves on.
"Harsh" really depends on application, personal tastes, music styles and what your using to monitor the source.
12-16-2002, 01:52 PM
The 414ULS is brighter than the 4050, and I and many others would characterize it as being more on the bright side, though not as much as the 4040, or, say, a C12.
Cory, it's interesting that you find the SM81 muddy. Although it's not my favorite SD condenser, I do have a pair, and I find them fairly bright. Not KM184 bright, but not dull. "Hard" in the upper midrange would be a good descriptor, which is in some cases a bad thing, and in others a helpful thing.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. :)
12-17-2002, 06:26 AM
Interesting that you both use a LD on fingerboard and a SD on the body of acoustic guitar. I use C4000B in omni setting on the body and C480+CK61 on the fingerboard with its hi-pass filter full on.
To the 4050. What brought me into thinking of another LD is really not just the bright/dark issue, but mainly the obvious drop at 2kHz of C4000B (not just on the paper, I did some measurements to make sure my ear is OK;) ) I find myself in need to raise this band by about 2dB to get a good voice out of C4kB. To be honest it also makes me consider the AT 4047, which seems to be pretty much of a great vocal mic, but not that much of anything else though.
Seems like I got interested in 4050, 4047 and 4040 so far. God help my wallet!
12-17-2002, 09:01 AM
Yeah, I usually use a 4033 on the fingerboard and a KM184, KM83/84, or SM81 down past the soundhole or off axis from it. The 4033 is technically a small diaphragm, so I guess I would lean toward SD condensers in both positions. I've also used 414's, 4050's, U87s, and countless other things on the body of the guitar, retaining the SD on the neck, but I've always gotten consistently great results with the combinations I mentioned first above, so I use some variation of that 9 times out of 10.
The 4047 is an interesting mic. It's not terribly bright, but much more colorful than other AT mics. Also sounds good on lower brass instruments, as an electric guitar cabinet distant mic, and on things like tympani, or any "darker" percussion.
12-18-2002, 11:52 AM
Yeah, I forgot to mention that 4047 could also be good for guitar cabinet. Thanks for support!
Oh my, oh my, I've got so much to save for!:eek:
12-18-2002, 11:59 AM
BTW: Michael, I just realized that listing mics you don't have would be a short story, wouldn't it?
12-18-2002, 01:07 PM
No, it'd still be a pretty long list of what I don't have...
I have a personal collection which covers the bases pretty well. What I don't have, I can borrow or rent, this being New York and all. Since I work in a number of different studios, I come into contact with and use a lot of different mics.
I've generally tried to buy mics that will find use on every session, rather than those mics that you might only use occasionally, which I can obtain when the need arises. I have many of the usual Neumann, Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, and Audio-Technica models that you find as staples pretty much everywhere.
I love Audio-Technica mics because I think in general that you get a lot of mic for the money, and they're very useful for a lot of things and sound better than their price would lead you to believe.
This year, I want a Royer SF-12 of my very own, and a pair of Soundelux U99's. Santa?
12-19-2002, 04:33 AM
Wow! If he turns up be sure to send him right to my door, OK?
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