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AT4040 question. Is this how it is supposed to sound?
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nathanp
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#1
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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AT4040 question. Is this how it is supposed to sound?

I recently bought an Audio Technica AT4040. When I first hit record enable I was surprised by a low-midrange noise. I first figured it was just that sensitive that it was picking up the sound of the boiling water upstairs, or the open windows upstairs. I plugged in my Behringer B-2 Pro for comparison and there was no such noise. Then when the windows were closed and the pot of boiling water was off I tried the 4040 again and I still heard low-mid noise I heard before.

I have posted some rough audio I recorded with the microphone. Does the sound/description sound like something that is characteristic of the AT4040 or do you think that there is something out of order with the microphone?

The recording was done through a digi002 (built-in pres) with gain around 2 o'clock. No plug ins or processing of any kind. I tried multiple cables and they all sounded the same. I know that the 002s pres aren't that great, but I don't think they account for this sound because it doesn't show up in any of my other microphones.

Thanks to anyone who takes a moment to give me your thoughts.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 AT4040.mp3 (399.5 KB, 616 views)
#2
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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Welcome to GS, a place where all walks of audio creatures converse. A place where...... nevermind

Maybe the Behinger isn't as as sensitive or has low cut enabled? I listened on my new USBPre 2 and it sounds like room noise from something like a furnace, fan, or PC besides the low music coming from the headphones. I really don't think its the mic generating the sound, maybe just turn on low cut and see what happens. I'm assuming your not in a quiet vocal booth.

Side note: I was recently listening to some tracks I did back in 96 and it made me miss my AT-4050 because of its clean smooth sound. I wonder if the 4040 sounds similar to the 4050 in cardioid mode?
nathanp
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20th February 2011
Old 20th February 2011
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Thanks for the response.

However, I really think that room noise is not the issue. At the time of the recording, there was no noise really whatsoever. I had turned off the heat in the house prior to recording. No fan in the room or nearby rooms, pc noise is not the issue as I moved the computer (a laptop macbook pro) out of the room and shut the door to see if it would change anything and it did not. The thing about the behringer not being as sensitive. I don't think that is the case either, cause a few times my mom walked over the floor above where I record and it picked up about the same in both microphones. And no matter what room I put the mic in, I still get the same noise.

The low cut is engaged in the track I posted.
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20th February 2011
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Sounds ok to me.
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20th February 2011
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Smother the mic in a pillow or something, and see if the noise goes away. If it's ambient acoustic noise, the pillow will soak up the sound. But if it's faulty electronics, the noise will stay the same.
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20th February 2011
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I own an AT4040
It has a character that I don't like about it.
Its supposed to have a very flat response but for some reason when I play back something that I record on it, It does not sound good.

I think this mic maybe does not work well in most environments and needs to be in a acoustically dead space (like a booth)

I am going to listen to some stuff I did on it and see if the tone it has is what you describe...
nathanp
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20th February 2011
Old 20th February 2011
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Thanks for all the responses. I put a pillow over it and the noise remained the same. I'll post some audio of it when I get a chance today. I am not convinced it is faulty electronics though. It seems like it might just be a characteristic of the microphone... though I'm not sure how it would have gained the prestige it has if such a noise is the norm.
nathanp
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20th February 2011
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Basically, the reason I'm asking whether or not you guys think it is due to faulty electronics or if it's just how it sounds is I want to know what course I should pursue with this mic.

Either way, I do not want it. If it's just how it sounds, I will sell it on ebay, but if it is due to faulty electronics, I do not want to pass that on to someone else and will consult the seller from whom I purchased it.
I did purchase the mic used FYI.
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20th February 2011
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Do you have another preamp you could try it on? I would have thought it was a groundloop except you said the other mic doesn't have that sound.






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nathanp
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20th February 2011
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Unfortunately I do not have another preamp. I am currently kind of totally replacing most of my setup. I should be getting a focusrite saffire pro 40 in the next couple of weeks... so I could try it then.

Would it be helpful if I posted audio files of other microphones that I have? The behringer, an audix i5?
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20th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanp View Post
Thanks to anyone who takes a moment to give me your thoughts.

edit: there is fan like sound before and after your vocal take. i can clearly hear it when i push the gain.
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AT4040 question. Is this how it is supposed to sound?-noisepreamp.jpg  
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nathanp
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20th February 2011
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Sorry if this is dumb, but I don't see how that graph you posted states that the noise is a result of the preamp rather than from the microphone.
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20th February 2011
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no, it's not a dumb question at all. yes, it could be the mic that's faulty, but i doubt it.

you could try and record with both mics at the same time. set the input gain so that you're getting same level to your daw. post both clips so we can compare.

cheers.
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21st February 2011
Old 21st February 2011
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New mp3s

Okay guys. Here's some additional clips. The first 2 were recorded with the AT4040 and B2 Pro positioned horizontally head to head with about 2 cm between the headbaskets. No low cut/pad on either microphone, Cardioid pattern on B2. The third file is a separate recording I did with my audix i5.
In these recordings, the mics were positioned about 12 inches straight out from the sound hole, and I was playing quite softly to allow the background noises to be heard more clearly. Both were done with gain at 2 o'clock.

The 4th is a track of the AT4040 with me rapping it with 2 layers of 3" acoustic foam (the wedge kind, I think it's auralex or something). The crackles you may here every once in a while in this track are from the foam rubbing on the shock mount, but I tried to minimize that.

It may be also worth noting that with the AT4040, when I start with the gain at 0, and work my way up to full gain, the lower pitched noise (the one that sounds kinda like wind) increases like a straight line on a graph, whereas the hiss noise does not start until around 3 o'clock and then gets drastically more intense as you go up from there. This is true of both the B-2 and the AT4040, except the B-2 does not have the lower pitched hiss to begin with, it has a higher pitched hiss.

Finally, I posted a clip of just the preamp (no mic plugged in). I don't know if this is valuable information or not. But here it is in case. I started it off at the same level as it was set at for the AT4040. I moved it up to about 3 o'clock and then about 4:30 throughout the recording.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 AT4040guitar.mp3 (1.04 MB, 310 views)
File Type: mp3 B-2guitar.mp3 (1.04 MB, 179 views)
File Type: mp3 i5guitar.mp3 (693.6 KB, 110 views)
File Type: mp3 foam smothered AT4040.mp3 (271.2 KB, 219 views)
File Type: mp3 nomic.mp3 (467.0 KB, 115 views)
#15
21st February 2011
Old 21st February 2011
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Well those were great examples and really makes me wonder if the AT mic is defective. Surely that isn't the normal noise floor of that mic. I would return it if you could and maybe look into a 4050 which is a favorite of many professionals without breaking the bank. B&H has 'em for half a grand which I plan to get one again.
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21st February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbydesign View Post
Well those were great examples and really makes me wonder if the AT mic is defective. Surely that isn't the normal noise floor of that mic. I would return it if you could and maybe look into a 4050 which is a favorite of many professionals without breaking the bank. B&H has 'em for half a grand which I plan to get one again.
That's what I thought when I plugged the mic in... This surely can't be the sound quality that has earned the 4040 it's good name.

I'm gonna see what I can do about returning it.

About the 4050, I was under the impression that it was just a multi-pattern version of the 4040. Or is the quality of the capsule/electronics higher as well?

Thanks again for your help and taking the time to listen to the clips.
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21st February 2011
Old 21st February 2011
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Also, just to note, the 4050 is definitely out of my price range. I'm a poor college student who isn't working right now. The ones I was looking at were the 4040, the blue baby bottle, and the Oktava mk-219 or 319 with Joly mod (bought used and sent to him).

300 is pretty much the top end of my budget, 350 if its something that's really worth it. That's pretty much the bottom of my pit right now.
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21st February 2011
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Well I have a Baby Bottle, along with a Bluebird, and Blueberry. They all sound nice but different from each other of course. The Baby Bottle has a mid forward sound with softer highs while the Bluebird has more pronounced highs and maybe slightly less mids. I like em both and while you will get many varying opinions on here I think either is very nice.


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21st February 2011
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Well, I just got a reply from the seller of the microphone and he said he had 6 of them and sold 4 on ebay. He just tested the 2 he had left and said that they both had a faulty reduction of output. Which I'm guessing creates the effect of raising the noise floor.
He was very apologetic. Glad to have this microphone behind me.
Thanks for everyone's opinions and advice.

Nathan
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23rd February 2011
Old 23rd February 2011
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I kinda like how the AT4040 sounded, ignoring the background noise. I'm debating whether or not I should try another one that's not faulty or if I should just go with another model...

AT4040, Blue Baby Bottle, Bluebird, Oktava mk-219/319 w/ Joly mod, other sub-350 LDC.

Any opinions? There's so much gear out there these days it's hard for an indecisive individual such as myself to commit to clicking that "confirm buy" button.
#21
25th February 2011
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It sounds to me like there is something wrong with the mic you got as well. I've never had any problems with audible noise in any of my recordings that could be traced back to my AT-4040.
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25th February 2011
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i have two at4040's. never had any noise issues.
#23
25th April 2011
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Ok I think I had the same problem as you. Where I would get alot of hiss or constant background noise from the AT4040 even if I covered it up in pillows.

My solution was to try a different microphone cable. The usual cable I use, that works very well with other mics somehow makes the AT4040 produce hiss. So my advice is try another cable from a different manufacturer. And if possible try a different preamp combination too. And see if that is the problem.
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