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Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

Audio-Technica AT4033a

4.55 4.55 out of 5, based on 5 Reviews

Best all around microphone on the market at it's (mid-low) pricepoint. This large-diaphragm condenser mic sounds great on vocals, acoustic instruments, guitar amps, and drum overheads.


19th January 2012

Audio-Technica AT4033a by Cinnamon

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

Intro
I bought this mic about 5 years ago and I continue to use it in almost every application. It sounds great on vocals, acoustic guitar (most acoustic instruments...), electric guitar, and drum overheads.

Sound Quality
The AT4033a has a distinct color it adds that I would describe as a smooth warmth and also a bit of a bite around 3kHz and 6kHz. The frequency response is not flat, but it has a pleasing, smooth, color to it. I find at times that the bump at 3kHz is mildly unpleasant on piercing vocals, but it is possible to capture a nice airy sound with the bump at 6kHz and 10kHz.

The top end makes it great for drum overheads and high-hat, but the cardiod pattern does not make it ideal for use as a room mic. I've seen this mic used as a room mic many times before, but I have never been happy with the sound compared to a mic with a figure 8 or omni pattern to capture more of the "life" of the room.

The AT4033a sounds good on guitar amps as a compliment to an SM57 (or other brighter mic), but I have found it can be a little boomy and can cloud up a mix if the low end is not controlled with EQ.

Features
The AT4033a has a HPF switch and a -10dB pad. It can easily handle drums (it is rated to handle 145dB and 155dB with the pad). It is sturdy, built well, and has a nice weight to it.

History
Audio Technica has made several versions of this mic (the AT4033, the AT4033a, the AT4033/CL, etc.), but to my knowledge they are almost identical. I am specifically reviewing the AT4033a because I have not heard the CL version, but it appears to be identical with newer parts.

Audio Technica only sells the newer version of this mic called the AT4033/CL (which stands for CLASSIC) on their website, but it is possible to find the AT4033a used other places.

Recommendation
If you are starting out buying gear, this should be one of the first microphones you purchase. For ~$400, this is (IMO) the best mic you can purchase under $500 that will sound great on almost anything.

25th January 2012

Audio-Technica AT4033a by barforama

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

The AT4033 is a condensor microphone aimed at the project studio owners. But it turns out to be more than just that.

I have used the mics for stereo overheads, which they handle well. I could miss a tad more body in the low end, but if everything else is close miced then it will be quite fine. The AT4033 is actually a small diaphragm microphone all though the housing and grill suggests otherwise.

For acoustic guitars it is quite good as well. It adds lesser coloration than the typical low budget condenser does, which is a good thing when you take in consideration that the project studio owner often will record every acoustic source using the same one microphone. The hyped upper mids of most cheap microphones will stack up very bad when doing 8-10-15 tracks with the same microphone, and the problem is WAY smaller with the AT4033.

When using the AT4033 on guitarcabs it has the advantage of being capable of handling high SPL - up to 145dB (or even 155dB with the -10dB PAD engaged). AND it sounds really good on guitarcabs! Not as good as an Royer R121, but definitely adds some usable edge when combined with a R121 on high gain guitars.

For vocals it just mighty be the right match for the given vocalist. It sure can hold it's own against more expensive mics like for example the Neumann TLM 103.

It is study build. I have had a pair of these for the last 10 years I think. Never have I had any functionality problems with the AT4033 (or any other Audio Technica microphones for that matter). They are very reliable and compared to the very affordable price tag they carry, they sound exceptionally good. It comes with a rubberband shockmount. It works well with the AT4033, but a screw-on shockmount would be preferable.
I can easily find mics that will do a given assignment better, but that could easily mean microphones costing 2-3-4-5 times as much as the AT4033.
When setting out purchase your first condensor microphone I am convinced you will have a really hard time finding anything better than this mic.

27th January 2012

Audio-Technica AT4033a by skindogdms

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

Ok, first off, this is a small diaphram condensor microphone that looks like a large diaphram condensor microphone. It works great in a stereo pair for overheads as long as you do not have a really bright room, coupled with bright cymbals, and bright preamps.. Same goes for anything with the Audio Technica 4033a. This mic tends to be a bit bright, not in a cheap sounding way, and with great midrange information.

Wow can this mic handle loud sources (guitar amps and drums) - you have a -10dB pad and a high pass filter to really taylor the source to your liking. It really works well on most sources you would use a small diaphram pencil like condensor microphone for, but also works really well on vocals, depending on the vocalist of course! Apparently Jennifer Love Hewitt used the AT4033a on a couple tracks instead of a Sony C800G because it was more appropriate. If that is not enough reason to get this mic, I do not know what is. She is just as talented as Michael Jackson and he used a <$400 mic (Shure SM7) to record some vocal tracks.

On some sources, however, this mic can make your ears bleed, so make sure you pay attention to that and blindly use it on anything...

For a mic that costs $250 used, and its new generation sister, the at4033/cl $400 new - it is a mic that could be considered a studio staple. Sure there are better mics out there that cost two to three times as much, but this mic has been used on plenty of hit records with confidence. Just grab one.

10th August 2017

Audio-Technica AT4033a by Martel80

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

I think this one is pretty much in all my sessions.

Very versatile.
For the price and more, its very detailed and balanced or might have a small warm tone without being unbalanced.
Pretty clear and catching sometime a bit too much details on bad performers (Mouth noise ).

definitely a very good first mic and it will also be a keeper im pretty darn sure.

Not to be mistaken with the AT4033.....the 4033a sound quite different .

You want Cons ?

I,m getting one time out of eight takes some sizzling ( less then half a second ) on some vox and I'm not quite sure what happend there.... maybe a random bad contact in my old mic ? maybe my old 1176 creeping out on me lol

I might need to make it service....dunno.

All in all, I like this mic as a sur value in most of my sessions.

Get yourself one.

28th February 2018

Audio-Technica AT4033a by piercemurphy

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Audio Technica 4033a (AT4033a)

I bought this after reading it was the main vocal mic for The Strokes’ first record. Seems like weird inspiration considering their dirty vocal aesthetic, I know, but my logic was that it was damn cheap (bought mine for $150 used on eBay with a shockmount and everything), good enough to be used as the featured vocal mic on a very successful recording, and had a lot of character. Happy to report that all of that ended up working out.

Sound-

This thing gets called grainy a lot and I have to agree. There’s something Fujifilm 200 about it. It’s subtle most of the time, but it’s definitely got its own texture. I’ve found that if I overuse it on a project the whole thing ends up sounding kind of tape grain, and not always in a good way. But if used on a few choice applications (I love it on everything, but it’s a beast on bass—Steve Albini trick, apparently—and vocals is almost a must for me) then those pieces of the mix have this lovely, nuanced individuality to them. I agree with another user that it’s no good as a room mic, though. I’m currently in drum tracking sessions and tried it in this capacity and none of that sounds good to me at all, which is a bummer. It’s like too clear, hard, and fast to make the room sound warm or inviting in my opinion. It doesn’t have that problem in any other capacity in my experience. Also, this is a medium diaphragm condenser, not large or small. Which means it behaves sort of strangly. It’s pickup pattern is fairly even in front of it, and the response is very quick compared to larger diagram boys. It’s quite nice, but you have to know what you’re working with.

Ease-

I mean, it’s a mic. You put it in the stand, make sure it’s got phantom, and then make some noise at it. The switches are on or off, the direction is clear... I mean what do you want from me here?

Features-

The low cut is nice, though maybe a little drastic. I tend to not use it in favor of DAW eq on vocals that are rich on the low end. It just thins them out too much. It can be super cool on guitars, though. Especially if you’re not using this mic as the main signal for the cab. The dB cut is nice, too. Again, not super necessary, but does the thing it promises.

Buck Bang-

Like I said: $150 used. It’s insane. And for how versatile and useful this mic is, studio tested and proven on popular recordings, it’s the best you can get. Even new at like $400 bucks it beats the crap out of the competition.

Final-
It is not a smooth mic a la Neumann or Telefunken, but it is a charachter rich addition to your arsenal that can lift pretty much anything you hand it with ease and style. And it’s literally like a third the price of most of their lower priced offerings. It’s more interesting than a TLManything. I recommend it highly.

 
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