Its tough to get a review on gear such as mics. One- you really don’t know what it will sound like until you use it. Two- even during use you may find that it was a waste of time and money and now can’t return the mic due to health codes. We set out to find a great review of this product being used in the studio.We found this great article by Sterling Winfield giving his insights on the product.
Sterling Winfield is a Texas-based producer/engineer/mixer with gold and platinum credits for artists such as Pantera, Damageplan, and HELLYEAH. Sterling had a chance to use the AT2050 in comparison to a Neumann U87 as a studio standard to give us his experience and a trial so we can know what to expect. So lets Sterling share his experience on this product
“I am always ready to listen to any new microphone models from the folks at Audio-Technica. The company has always stood for high quality and the willingness to be affordable when many of their competitors were not. Since their 1962 launch in Tokyo, Japan, A-T has been, and continues to be, an innovator and leader in the world of microphone and wireless audio system design.”
“The AT2050 is a dual capsule, large-diaphragm condenser microphone that offers three switchable polar patterns: omni, cardioid, and figure-of-eight. The AT2050’s features include a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad; it can handle high SPL, too (149 dB, 159 dB with pad). Capsules are “gold-vaporized and aged,” according to A-T promotional material, and the AT2050 is built with surfacemount electronics. The package includes a shock mount and a padded vinyl pouch.”
“I have had a lot of experience with the Audio-Technica AT4050 microphone over the years, so for this evaluation, I immediately reached for one along with the ever-trustworthy Neumann U87 to compare them with the A-T AT2050. I used Otari Concept One console preamps for this evaluation; those amps are what I have used for the majority of my time with the 4050 over the years (most notably with King Diamond and Mercyful Fate). This gave me a good, familiar point of reference.”
“I expected that the AT2050 would be similar to the 4050, but it is, in fact, quite a different animal. With just a simple vocal test using identical gain on all three pres, the AT2050 as compared to the 4050 is about 5 to 7 dB lower in gain; this helped me get just a bit more granularity from the pre-amp with the AT2050. Also, the AT2050 has quite a bit tighter cardioid pattern; a vocalist can be closer to the AT2050 than what might be considered normal without proximity effect going crazy on you. As compared to the Neumann, the AT2050 was an apple; the U87 was an orange, as you might expect.”
“I quickly found another desirable quality of the AT2050 when putting it in an overhead position on a drum kit. This mic can definitely take a punch. Even without the -10 dB pad engaged, it can handle around 150 dB before it starts to break. The high-pass filter was also effective on the overheads as well. At this point I tried opening the pattern to the omni setting; in came a lot of pleasant space and room. There also seems to be quite a bit more “midrange punch” present in the AT2050 compared to the 4050 and U87, which I found to be helpful when putting the mic on a guitar cabinet. Those punchy qualities really helped me not need to reach for a midrange EQ boost in that upper-mid 3 kHz area.”
“I also liked how the mic responded when switched to figure-of-eight. Both diaphragms seemed to respond similarly on a Washburn twelve-string guitar, a gift from the late, great “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. The one thing that didn’t agree with me was the AT2050’s transient response; it was a little sluggish when it came to placing it directly on a ride cymbal or a floor tom.”
“Finally, I abundantly thank the people at A-T for the new shock mount (the AT8458) included with the AT2050. It is a heck of a lot more user friendly than the original AT4050 mount (the now-discontinued AT8441).”
“Overall, the AT2050 is a good quality, low-cost microphone built for a variety of tasks in the home studio, professional studio, or live settings. It’s a perfect mic for the home recording enthusiast on a budget, or the professional looking for a mic with a bit more midrange punch with flavor. It is a good multi-tasker that won’t break the bank.”
Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Gary Long at Nomad Recording in Carrolton, Texas for providing me with the tracking facility for this review.
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