AT2035 Vs AT4040: Which is Better?

(Last Updated On: December 28, 2020)
AUDIO TECHNICA AT4040 and AT2035 Microphones

Two of the most popular condenser microphones of Audio Technica are the AT2035 and the AT2040. These two microphones are professional-grade microphones that are great choices if you are looking for a condenser microphone that you can use for recording and broadcasting. Both share some common features aside from being produced by the same company.

As you search for the perfect condenser microphone for your use, you may find yourself confronted with a choice between these two microphones. Deciding between the two may confuse you if you don’t know the subtle differences between these two Audio Technica mics. Thus, you need a detailed review of these two microphone models to save you from such confusion.

Detailed Review of AT2035 and AT4040

Each of these two microphones’ actual usability is best understood if you know the similarities and differences between AT2035 and AT4040. Knowing these subtle differences, you can zero in on the best mic model for your use:

Audio-Technica AT2035

The AT2035 has a large diaphragm with a cardioid polar pattern perfect for both instrumental and vocals recording. Of course, its low pass and pad features make the AT2035 a good all-rounder option for most recording applications. You can create some quality tracks in your home studio with this microphone.

The best comparison to the AT2035 is that of AKG C214. The AKG C214 is a studio-grade condenser mic. When it comes to SPL, the two have almost similar SPL (158 dB to that of 156 dB). When it comes to signal-to-noise ratio, they are practically equal likewise (82 vs. 81 dB).

Moreover, the AT2035 also has almost the same sensitivity (22.4 vs. 20 mV/Pa). Plus, they almost have the same noise level (12 vs. 13 dB-A). If you look closely at these stats, the AT2035 comes out with more good stats than the AKG C214. 

Both microphones also are natural-sounding, detailed, and crispy on their high end. Their bottom end exhibits a certain richness and juiciness. Nevertheless, AKG comes with a larger diaphragm and shows a bit of smoothness with more flattery.

The AT2035 manifests neutral and pleasant frequency response, with solid mid-range and bottom end. Its high end comes with a gentle boost that adds a bit of brightness to its sound. This brightness begins to manifest itself after 2 kHz as it gains 1.5 dB. 

Moreover, it exhibits a stable curve, as opposed to the assumption that this curve is just a random curve or pattern. Of course, this microphone is designed to have this steady curve as it gives your vocals its flavored presence and clarity for the instruments it is recording.

Audio-Technica AT4040

The AT4040 comes with a fixed cardioid pattern and a large-diaphragm (externally-biased) capacitor capsule and without transformer circuitry. Its one-inch capsule makes use of a tensioned gold-sputtered diaphragm for a smooth and natural sound. Its surface-mount preamplifier electronics are perfect for providing low noise. It also comes with a wide dynamic range and a high SPL capability. 

It boasts of a 145dB maximum SPL that offers one percent distortion. It also comes with a 133dB dynamic range. 

The AT4040 exhibits a noise floor that is a bit lower than the AT4033a. Moreover, you can use this mic for whatever applications, though it offers a few decibels over the quietest mics. It also requires the standard 48V phantom power supply to make this mic work.

The AT4040 is a quiet microphone. Its signal-to-noise ratio comes at an excellent 12dB SPL. It shifts the noise floor to do away with much white noise that can muddle the gain-y recordings. It also utilizes its cardioid pick-up pattern that offers excellent off-axis rejection. With this pick-up pattern, it can block out distractions, and it does better than other condenser mics in doing so.


Direct Comparison of AT2035 and AT4040

To understand better the similarities and differences of AT2035 and AT4040, let’s make a direct comparison of the features of these two microphones as we do a comparative analysis of their characteristics:

Impedance

The microphone’s signal puts out voltage and power. This voltage and power are indicative of the microphone’s impedance. The higher the impedance, the louder and stronger the signal of the microphone will be. With lower impedance comes a weaker signal. Nevertheless, higher impedance doesn’t necessarily imply a better signal for the amps, and the cable will also impact the sound produced by the microphone.

If the mic has too much high impedance, you will lose control of the sound the mic creates, and the signal can get distorted quickly. On the other hand, too low impedance will make it difficult for the mic to project sound. 

Impedance, of course, is crucial to your audio settings. In some cases, low impedance may be a good thing for your recording, for you can better control and edit lower signal compared to the strong one. 

In the cases of AT4040 and AT2035, both these mics come with slightly below-average impedance. The AT4040, for example, comes with 100 ohms, while the AT2035 comes with 120 ohms. The AT4040’s impedance, of course, is slightly better than the impedance shown by the AT2035.

Polar or Pickup Patterns

The polar patterns refer to the manner the microphone picks up a sound. It refers to what direction it picks up the sound likewise. There are different types of polar patterns like cardioid, super-cardioid, omnidirectional, and wide cardioid.

Each pickup pattern comes with its pros and cons, and the most commonly used pickup pattern is the cardioid pickup pattern. The AT2035 and AT4040 come with a cardioid pattern, and both mics could not alter their polar pattern. 

The cardioid pattern is named cardioid because it is shaped like a heart. Both the AT2035 and AT4040 only got a cardioid pattern. Both mics, therefore, pick up sound from the microphone’s front. 

One distinct advantage of a cardioid pickup pattern is that it is most sensitive to front sounds and excludes the sounds from other directions. Thus, it is perfect for noise reduction.

Material and Made

The material that makes up a microphone is crucial to the durability and functionality of the microphone. Most microphones are either wrought in metal or plastic. Of course, plastic microphones are less heavy and cheaper. 

The downside of plastic mics is that they are breakable with inferior materials’ poor conductivity, leading to low sound quality. On the other hand, metal microphones are heavier and more expensive. Nevertheless, they have better durability and sound quality. 

AT4040 and 2035 are made of metal. They are professional-grade condenser mics likewise. The main difference between these mics lies in the type of metal used. The AT2035, for example, comes with a standard steel-based body that gives it a tough exterior and good sound. 

On the other hand, the AT4040 comes with a nickel-plated brass that is tougher and lighter than that of the AT2035. The brass helps in conducting pure and clear sound, which gives the AT4040 a better sound quality.

Microphone Category

Both AT2035 and AT4040 are condenser microphones. The condenser microphones, for example, are more complicated mics. They come with more electronics, and they are susceptible to breaking. 

However, when it comes to recording sound, they offer more astonishing recording and pure sound, allowing for better editability of the sound. Thus, many prefer condenser microphones for studio settings.

Dynamic Range

The difference between the mic’s Max SPL and the ambient white noise is the dynamic range. The dynamic range shows the amplitude’s ratio of loudest possible undistorted sound. It is the signal-to-noise ratio. The dynamic range refers to how soft or hard a mic can pick up. 

The mic with the broader dynamic range can handle better a loud or soft sound. It will be useful to choose the AT2035 because it has a dynamic range of 136 dB, 3 dB better than the AT4040’s 133 dB. This difference may be minimal and not noticeable, but it will still matter when recording.

Max SPL

The Max sound pressure level (SPL) refers to the sound’s loudness that the microphone can handle before it exhibits distortion. Both AT2035 and AT4040 come with higher Max SPL, so both will be working fine even with loud sounds. Nevertheless, AT2035 comes with a bit higher Max SPL. It has 148 dB, compared to 145dB of the AT4040.


Conclusion

The AT2035 and AT4040 have many similarities, being rolled out by the same company Audio-Technica, a Japanese company that manufactures professional-grade microphones, headphones, phonographic magnetic cartridges, turntables, and audio equipment.

Yet, when it comes to the details, you will notice the subtle differences between these two Audio-Technica microphones, and if you compare their impedance, polar patterns, frequency response, and Max SPL, you will clearly see that there are shades of differences between the two that may spell out the pros and cons between these two microphones.

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