Recording

Audio-Technica AT4047/SV, July 2000

CARDIOID CAPACITOR MICROPHONE 5/13/2004 8:00 AM Eastern

For nearly 40 years, the people at Audio-Technica have been dedicated to the advancement of electroacoustic design and manufacturing, establishing an enviable reputation for building good-sounding, reliable products. The company's microphones, in particular, can be found in leading studios worldwide.

A-T's latest large-diaphragm, cardioid capacitor microphone is the AT4047/SV, intended for critical recording and broadcast applications. The microphone has a gold-plated, XLR-type connector and ships in a foam-lined case with a matching silver-colored shockmount. Options include the AT8137 large cylindrical foam windscreen, a variety of cables and the AT8430 stand clamp.

This 48V phantom-powered mic is housed in a matte-silver-finished cylinder body that's 6.69 inches long, with a maximum body diameter of 2.1 inches, and a weight of 14.5 ounces. The instrument has a frequency response of 20 to 18k Hz, a signal-to-noise ratio of 85 dB (1 kHz at 1 Pascal), and an A-weighted noise rating of 9dB SPL.

The AT4047/SV was designed to produce a sonic quality reminiscent of early FET studio microphones, employing a transformer-coupled output. The capsule's dual, 2-micron-thick, vapor-deposited, gold diaphragms deliver a dynamic range of 140 dB and improve the microphone's ability to provide undistorted reproduction of high SPL signals. These diaphragms are aged using a proprietary five-step process to ensure consistent performance over years of use. Internal shock-mounting isolates the capsule from noise and vibration.

The mic's frequency response is quite flat through the upper midrange, at which point there is a slight bump of roughly 2 to 3 dB at about 5 kHz. Set to the Low Cut position, a 12dB/octave (at 80 Hz) low-frequency roll-off reduces the mic's sensitivity to vocal popping in close-miking applications or to low-frequency ambient noise. A pad switch increases the microphone's SPL capabilities by 10 dB.

The AT4047/SV has the look and feel of a quality instrument. Further, the shock-mount adapter is one of the best I've encountered. The microphone drops into the shock-mount's center well and is secured by a latex band that gently surrounds the lower portion of the instrument's main cylinder. This leaves just enough room for access to the Low Cut and Pad switches. Once in the shock-mount, the microphone has a secure resting place, yet this arrangement is more "fluid" and provides better mechanical isolation than the shockmounts I've seen from most other manufacturers.

My first sessions with the AT4047/SV were for dialog and vocal recording. The symmetrical housing assembly surrounding the microphone's capsule and its open acoustical environment facilitates a broad off-axis response that is ideal for vocal and instrumental recording. The microphone does not, however, provide a fine-woven inner headscreen. Consequently, it's very important to use a high-quality, sheer nylon pop filter-especially for close dialog work. Without it, popping and sibilants are likely to require a fair amount of editing.

For the dialog session, the microphone was positioned just slightly above the speaker's mouth, with the pop filter directly in front. With the talent speaking roughly four to six inches from the capsule, I was able to acquire very full, even-sounding dialog takes that exhibited almost no objectionable sibilance. I experimented with the Low Cut switch to determine whether I could reduce the small amount of low popping sounds that I was experiencing. While the Low Cut made a significant improvement, it also reduced the "fullness" of the sound. Ultimately, I opted to use takes that had been recorded flat, as they exhibited a more natural warmth and character along with a greater overall sense of detail.

For vocal recording, the AT4047/SV performed equally well. Positioning the vocalist approximately eight inches away, the mic offered rich, full-sounding vocal takes with a pleasing overall sheen. Throughout this session, the microphone exhibited its low noise floor, and I had an abundance of gain to work with.

I was equally successful recording flute. Because the flute has the least wind resistance of all wind instruments, flautists frequently move a good deal while playing. This movement can make the process of recording even-sounding takes a serious challenge. In this case, the microphone was positioned roughly 10 to 12 inches in front of the embouchure (the hole in the flute's headpiece) and at a slight upward angle. The AT4047/SV captured the performance with remarkable detail and a sense of vibrancy that sounded very "live." Of equal importance, the ambience that the mic captured was astounding. The flute's "breathiness" was there, as was the natural sound of the performer capturing her breath between phrases-all of which was coupled with a sense of the small chamber hall where the recording took place.

My evaluation package contained two AT4047/SV mics. So, I couldn't resist trying them on a drum set. With its ability to handle relatively high SPLs, the AT4047/SV is a terrific choice for drum overheads. I found the mics captured a very full, detailed sense of cymbals, snare, toms and kick without drawing one's attention to any specific instrument.

Next up was electric guitar. For this recording, the AT4047/SV's 10dB pad enabled me to capture the amp's output with more manageable signal level. With the mic positioned on-axis approximately 15 inches in front the cabinet's center, the AT4047/SV did an awesome job. The recorded sound had plenty of depth and detail, sounded very big and had all the character of the original performance.

Audio-Technica's AT4047/SV is the first transformer-coupled microphone in its 40 Series product line. With a capsule based on the company's popular 4060 tube mic and electronics similar to the 4054 and 4055 performance microphones, the AT4047/SV provides the best of both worlds-the accuracy of a refined element with proven, dependable design.

The AT4047/SV comes with one of the best shock-mounts I've seen and has a first-rate fit and finish. My only gripe is that I would have preferred more than just a single polar pattern. What makes Audio-Technica's new AT4047/SV so attractive is its ability to function well in many applications. It's an outstanding mic for vocal and instrumental recording-exhibiting a warm, full sound with plenty of depth and detail. Further, the microphone handles surprisingly high SPLs with ease and is awesome for ambience recording when used as a pair. Considering the AT4047/SV has a suggested retail price of $695, acquiring a pair is not so farfetched. I'd be thrilled to have three or four.

Audio-Technica U.S. Inc., www.audio-technica.com

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