Audio-Technica AT2040 Review – best $99 podcast mic? – Audio Media International

August 20, 2022

What is it?
Competitively priced dynamic microphone designed for podcast and other vocal use.
What’s great?
Great looking microphone with a good weighty feel and well-voiced capsule suitable for many vocal uses.
What’s not?
The microphone has none of the USB compatibility of many of its competitors and will require an audio interface to reach its full potential.
The bottom line:
If you are looking for that ‘radio sound’, an intimate, tight vocal with warmth and depth at a budget price, this is a good, well featured option. There’s many rivals but if you’re a fan of the Audio-Technica sound, this is good value.
The verdict
I was heading into some production rehearsals when the microphone arrived for review. Opening the box for the first time I was surprised by the size and weight of the AT2040. It is not as large as a Shure SM7, but again it is a substantial size. It has a weight to it that inspires confidence. The construction is great and again speaks of the quality engineering we have come to expect from Audio-Technica.
The microphone itself ‘takes cues’ from AT’s higher-priced broadcast microphone the BP40, which in turn could be accused of taking cues from the Electrovoice RE20, certainly in terms of looks. However, the AT2040 is a good-looking, more modest microphone that will look the part in any situation. It is larger than I had expected at 145mm long and 52mm wide. It is finished in a satin black and comes with pivoting stand mount. It also comes with thread adaptors to mount to most popular mic stands and a nice padded bag.
The capsule is dynamic with a hyper-cardioid pick-up pattern. The side rejection is excellent with a very tight pickup. This microphones design, to quote AT “keeps the sound focused on your voice and helps to minimize unwanted room noise, ensuring professional quality broadcasts”.
So, what is it like in practice? Fresh out of the box it was put into use to record track idents’ for some playback material. Straight into an interface, no equalisation, no processing, it produced that solid radio-friendly sound. The vocal was clear with a nice depth and weight to the sound. “Sound’s proper” was my colleague’s opinion, and I would agree. It did what you hoped and did it well. This is a microphone that will suit many spoken word tasks comfortably.
The integrated shock mount appeared to work well, with little handling noise. The capsule is protected from wind noise by a multistage foam mesh windscreen that includes a nonwoven filter to allow close-up use without annoying pops.
The microphones frequency range is stated as being between 80- 16,000Hz and it has an impedance of 600 ohms. The AT2040 comes with a standard XLR connection.
So where does it sit against the competition?
Microphones in this price range tend to fall into two camps. They are either equipped with some kind of internal circuitry allowing direct connection to computers via USB, or, like the AT2040, have a standard XLR analogue output and will require some kind of audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2  to connect to your laptop and DAW. This will guide some people’s choices. If you have an interface or podcast mixer then this microphone is a great choice, a solidly performing microphone that should give you many, many, years of service. If however you want a plug and go solution this may not be the microphone for you.
The AT 2040 is available now at £89/99€/$99.
Audio-Technica mic AT240

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