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Review: Audio-Technica AT2040USB Microphone

Review: Audio-Technica AT2040USB Microphone

Audio-Technica have long been at the forefront of offering tools for the working creative, regardless of skill level, or the complexity of your recording and mixing equipment.

Read more gear reviews here.

Most everyone has something to say, and many take to podcasting or content creation to have their voice heard. The AT2040USB microphone makes these kinds of recordings easier than ever before. 

For those newer to digital recording, you often have to send audio into your computer first to record, before it’s routed back to your headphones or monitors for you to listen back. This round trip takes a moment and is described as latency, playing back your sound with a slight delay. More often than not, this is more complicated to fix than it seems, especially when you’ve got someone with something to say, sing, or scream and they’re struggling to hear their own performance. The AT2040USB eliminates this round trip with onboard, latency free headphone outputs, as well as USB connectivity instead of XLR cable-interface-DAW connectivity. How does all this work? Let’s dive into the specs.

The AT2040USB is a USB studio microphone designed for content creators. Its sleek black chassis is unassuming but built of quality, powder coated metal, so it’ll look the part on camera, while handling the rigors of content creation and travel. The body has an internal shock mount, but is also compatible with the AT8458a shock mount – but that’s sold separately!

Besides the robust thread to attach the AT2040USB to a mic stand or boom arm, connectivity is accessible via the USB-C cable (and includes cables!) There’s also a ⅛” headphone jack with its own volume control to play back its input with no latency, and a mic dial to toggle between your computer’s signal and the direct from the mic, depending on your preference. The AT2040USB has a hypercardioid polar pattern, providing a nicely isolated but natural-sound, picking up the user’s voice clearly, but also a little of the room ambience. Being USB, the microphone acts as your analogue to digital converter, delivering 24-bit/96 kHz sound. 

Audio-Technica AT240USB Microphone

Especially handy is the soft-touch capacitive mute button, allowing you to quickly mute the microphone without an annoying pop or click, so the content can continue uninterrupted. The ring around the button lets you know when it’s live (blue) and muted (red). In this sense, the light also serves as an indicator that the AT2040USB is receiving power and is ready.

As far as use goes, the AT2040USB from Audio-Technica is a breeze. While it’s generally good practice to get sounds right at the source, the AT2040USB allows yourself, your content creators and friends to hear themselves back immediately, able to jump right into content. As a mediator, you’re able to monitor from the computer, while your creators can focus on discussion and monitor just themselves if there’s any latency issues that you don’t have time to fix! The AT2040USB is built well, which means it has some weight to it – so ensure you’re using a robust mic stand – or at least some gaffer to stop it from drooping. The sound of the AT2040USB is nice, the hypercardioid polar pattern picking up enough of your space to feel natural, for example a little bleed from your co-hosts or surroundings. Overly isolated and treated spaces can sound unnatural, and while it works for music production, it’s not always ideal for podcasting where conversation should flow for the best outcome.

The AT2040USB was up and running in moments, immediately recognised as a soundcard by my computer, and available as an input and output source. This makes it available in your DAW, and you’re ready to record by arming a track. The low cut toggle came in handy where, quickly eliminating any rumble or bumps from a table or floor to consistent audio. Because of the balanced nature of the output of microphones, they often hear a lot more than we do, and turning up the gain on a mic can often reveal air conditioner hum, traffic rumble and footsteps. Removing the low frequencies at the source helps to overcome this!

Overall, the AT2040USB microphone is a great addition to anyone’s mic closet. For seasoned engineers it’s a great option to have handy incase you’re hired for a podcast session and you need a mobile solution fast, or for first time creators who are more focused on their content than the gear they use to make it. 

The AT2040USB takes the guesswork out of recording and monitoring audio, allowing for monitoring direct from the microphone itself, from your computer, or any blend of both. You’ve got a headphone control onboard, and you won’t be left ransacking your house for USB cables, as they’ve thrown them in too. While we’re on the subject of throwing, the AT2040USB can take a beating, and while we don’t literally recommend chucking it around, it can handle bouncing around in a bag or case when moving from job to job – ready to perform when you are. The AT2040USB is another great sounding microphone from a company very engaged with their customers, creating products that solve problems so we can focus on the making.

Fore more information on the Audio-Technica AT2040USB, visit their website.

The article was first published here

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