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CardioidAudio-Technica AT5040

Cardioid Condenser Microphone

The AT5040 is Audio-Technica’s new flagship vocal condenser microphone. Introduced at the 2012 AES convention, it simultaneously launches the company’s new “50 Series” of studio microphones.

AT5040The microphone’s capsule is remarkable. It is comprised of four separate rectangular elements, the output of which is summed electronically. According to the manufacturer, the use of four separate elements provides a very large surface area without a corresponding loss of transient response, as would be the case for a large single-element design. The total surface area is approximately twice the size of a traditional one-inch round condenser capsule.

The four elements are prepolarized electrets. The membrane material is 2 microns thick. The assembly is shockmounted within the microphone chassis.

The use of rectangular membranes reduces the amplitude of natural resonances within the diaphragm; whereas a round diaphragm has a single resonant frequency, a rectangular diaphragm has two — each of which has a lower amplitude given the same input signal. Because these resonances typically occur within the audio band, a rectangular capsule can theoretically have a flatter response than a similar-sized round capsule.

The large diaphragm surface area allows the microphone to have an extremely high sensitivity rating 56 mV/Pa. The mic’s high output level is entirely a function of the capsule.

AT5040 Circuit BoardThe mic’s circuit is a linear, two-stage buffered amplifier, built with a mix of surface-mount and through-hole discrete components. It applies no gain nor EQ to the signal from the capsule. Its output is transformerless.

The large capsule and high-quality electronics give the microphone a very low self-noise rating of 5 dBA.

The primary philosophy behind the design is described as “purity of sound.” The mic has no DC converter, no pad, no high-pass or other onboard EQ, as these circuits would color the sound.

The large, open headbasket is constructed of two layers of metal mesh. Unusually, these screens are bonded together to avoid the possibility of sympathetic resononance. The construction also acts as a Faraday cage, which allows the circuit to avoid the use of RFI filtering that could affect the mic’s sound quality.

AT5040With the launch of the AT5040, Audio-Technica has also announced a new shockmount design, called the AT8480. This mount was designed to not only decouple the mic from its stand, but also to avoid creating audible resonances or reflections.

The mic snaps into the arms of the shockmount, which can be locked to prevent escape.

The mic ships with its shockmount in a foam-lined carrying case.

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The mic was released in 2012.


Pickup Patterns Pads & Filters
Cardioid (56.2 mV/Pa; 20 - 20,000 Hz)
Capsule Dimensions Impedance SPL/Noise
Diameter n/a
Diaphragm gauge: 2 microns
50 Ohms (Low) Max SPL: 142 dB
Self-noise: 5.0 dB(A)
Weight Length Max Diameter Interface(s)
582g (20.53oz) 163mm (6.42'') n/a
  • 3-pin XLR male (1)
Power Specifications
  • Requires phantom power

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