Audio-Technica AT3060 – The Tape Op Review

TapeOp Issue #37/September, 2003 | by

The AT3060 is a large diaphragm tube mic that runs on 48V phantom; there’s no external power supply.

There’s also no frills: it’s cardioid only, there’s no low cut, no pad, no nothing. Just mic. It showed up at my house awhile back and I put it right into the rotation.

My first impression was that it sounded good, but not particularly “tubey.” It’s brighter than I was expecting it to be, and the upper mids seem very forward. At first I was a little put off by this, but it grew on me the more I listened to tracks recorded with the AT3060.

I used it on a bunch of guitar tracks; in one case we had it up against a Neumann M147 and it held up just fine. I also tried it on a few of my singing friends. On one, the midrange was a little too pronounced and I ended up going with the Shure KSM141 instead, but on another the KSM was a bit clinical sounding, and the AT3060 won out.

When I was comparing these takes I began to appreciate the “tubeyness” of the AT3060. It isn’t what I’d call “warm”, but it is “round”. There’s a nice softness to the top end, and although the mids are forward, they’re not peaky. It’s a pretty smooth sound overall.

I wanted to see what it sounded like on drums, so I put it up as a room mic about five feet in front of the kit, a foot or two off the floor. The resulting track was pretty trashy by itself, but actually blended really well with the rest of the mics. Nice. I wasn’t playing very hard at all, but it definitely seemed like the mic was compressing the signal a lot, so it might not be a good choice if you have a barbarian on the kit.

Anyway, the last tube mic I had for review cost ten times what the AT3060 does, and… uh… it sounded like hell. While the AT3060 isn’t what I’d call a “mic for all sources”, it’s a lot more appealing than the-mic-that-will-remain-nameless, and at $600 list it’s certainly worth a listen. (Audio-Technica)

Read more about the AT3060 phantom-powered tube mic.

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