Focused Vocal Pickup for Podcasting with the AT2040 Dynamic Mic07/29/2021
Purpose-built for podcasters and content creators on a limited budget, the Audio-Technica AT2040 Hypercardioid Dynamic Microphone benefits from A-T’s decades of expertise in constructing trusted microphones for the studio and stage. It features a large-diaphragm dynamic capsule in a classic end-address configuration, just like traditional broadcast-style mics used by pros on and off camera for years. Not only does the mic deliver a warm, yet robust vocal tone, but it also picks up minimal background noise and room reflections, thanks to its hypercardioid polar pattern.
By incorporating an internal multistage pop filter, the AT2040 is able to reduce vocal plosives—popping sounds from strong consonants such as “p” and “b”—without relying on an external pop screen. Additionally, the integrated shockmount helps prevent noise from stand handling and other vibrations while keeping the overall size down. The included pivoting stand mount makes positioning the mic problem-free, and it’s equally friendly to 5/8"-27 and 3/8"-16 threading. So, whether it is perched atop a studio mic stand or swinging from a tabletop boom arm, the AT2040 will be secure.
Due to its XLR 3-pin output connector and low sensitivity, the AT2040 should be used with a mic preamp that can provide moderate to high gain. Since it is an “XLR mic” rather than a USB mic, it won’t connect directly to your computer; it needs an XLR mic input as commonly found on audio interfaces, mixers, and outboard preamplifiers. Being a dynamic mic, it requires no batteries or phantom power; just plug it in and turn up the gain.
For those who like to examine mic specs, there is something worth writing down. The AT2040 has a frequency response of 80 Hz to 16 kHz, so it doesn’t capture as much sub-bass or extreme treble as a condenser mic that charts from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Is that a problem? No. It’s an advantage. It means that after recording your voice with the AT2040, you won’t have to use filters or EQ to remove rumbly lows or hissy highs. Many 20 Hz to 20 kHz mics have switchable low-cut filters at frequencies such as 75, 80, or 100 Hz to “clean up” the tone when tracking vocals, but that isn’t necessary with the AT2040.
Combine the AT2040 with a modest audio interface or a respectable preamp and you’ll be rewarded with a simple recording chain that’s perfect for capturing quality speech for your next podcast, online show, or livestream.
Simple or wild, small or large, we love equipment here at B&H, so don’t be shy about sharing your gear-related hopes and dreams in the Comments section, below.