AT 4040 or AT 4033?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by therecordingart, Jun 27, 2005.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I was advised by quite a few of you to purchase one of these two mics to replace my Oktava MK319 as a vocal mic.

    Since the microphone will be my "go to" for both male and female vocals for a while....which would be a better purchase and why?

    I'm unfamiliar with both so your input would be great!
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    The 4033 is real good mic. I think it is better than the 4040.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Well, it's hard to say that one is better than another -

    The 4033 has a meatier, chunkier sound.

    The 4040 has a smoother, cleaner sound.

    It's your choice.

  4. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    I would not consider the 4040 as a primary anything mic. It is a nickel diaphram like the 4047. Nickels are a bit strident, especially the 4040 for vocals in my experience. I would use the 4040 as an overhead though.

    At one time I had every mic that AT made. They are all gone now. The 4033 is a toy compared to other mics in the studio. I would save my money and buy something bit more tasty.

    I never saw the value in those Russian mics. Those things are known to be inconsistant from mic to mic. But, I take into consideration that their economy was not driven by free market competition in the marketplace, so they didn't have to be any better than what they are. Now it's a whole new ball game for all manufacturers over there.
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004

    What do you recommend?
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Pardon me while I FART!

    I may seem overly P.O.'ed about this one, but here goes:

    This post is useless! What good is done by stating that the mics suck without providing alternatives or any GOOD reason why you feel that they suck?

    First of all - your information is just dead wrong. The diaphragm is gold sputtered on mylar. Only the baffle is nickel and even then, it's a combo of nickel and brass.

    Second, where do you get the notion that nickel diaphragm mics are strident? The only ones that I know of that actually use nickel are Microtech Gefell and some DPA mics. Neither of these fit the profile of "strident." Accurate - yes: clean - yes; strident - no.

    Then to say that you got rid of all of your AT mics!!!


    Even the most amatuer poster here realizes that virtually no mic is useless if used correctly.

    And please don't come back with the response that the only real vocal mic is the Brauner Valvet or the Neumann 149.


  7. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Thanks, Jeremy!

    I knew something wasn't right with that post because there wasn't an alternative offered. I don't know much about microphones, but I'm trying, and need all of the help I can get.

    So far you, Kurt, and AudioGaff have recommended the 4033 and that is enough for me to say is it good.

    Here is a kinda ignorant question, but what qualities should I look for in a mic when shopping? I know that freq response is a big thing, but what about build materials.

    Nickel was mentioned above as a bad thing, but your response makes it seem like not such a bad thing....I'm confused.
  8. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    Hey there TheRecordingArt,
    I don't currently own any of the AT mics. I did have an opprotunity to use them very extensively though (a couple of projects that spanned several months). I found that the AT4033 was very useful on female vocals. And another AT mic I liked was the AT3035. It worked well for vocals and drum OH. Good Luck!
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey Art:

    Yeah, the AT mics are great mics. All of the 40 series are very viable mics for hundreds of applications. Are there better mics on the market? Well, for some applications, sure.

    When shopping for a mic, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on "specs." First, no matter how honest the company, none of the specs are based on a little thing I like to call - "the truth." Not to say there aren't scrupulous manufacturers - simply that they're driven to provide these meaningless specs by the consumers who are all too quick to buy a product based solely on these arbitrary numbers. (Thanks Consumer Distorts!!)

    Build quality says a lot about a company's product. Of course, there are only a couple ways to determine this.
    1. Touch the mic yourself. Feel it, look at it, inspect it and use it. All of these will help you. If that means you have to waste the sales dude's time at GC poking through his mic selection for 2 hours, go for it. That's what they're paid for.
    2. Take peoples opinions. (of course, be careful about this one. Just to illustrate a point, only a couple people on this board know me personally - to all others, I may as well be a blind, deaf, deformed individual that loves the sounds of frogs mating but couldn't care all that much about real music -- So, take everything with a grain of salt.

    Company's Reputation - whether a company is easy to deal with (responds to e-mails, answers the phone when you call, etc.) How have their products fared over time? Do reviewers generally like them, or are there a lot of mixed reviews? One piece of advice - if there aren't any reviews it's either b/c the product is too new, or no one will touch it for fear that they'd give a horrible review.

    My advice - find a dealer that will allow you to try the mic on your own. They do exist. If you like it, keep it. If not, send it back. I know, as a retailer myself, that I don't mind it if someone sends me a product back. Rather, I feel awful if they kept a product that sucks for their application. Also, a dealer that knows what you do and what gear you have is VERY helpful. They can make informed recommendations that will help you for the rest of your life...

    As for the materials - Nickel isn't bad. Quite the contrary, it's quite a fine metal for microphonic use. The problem is, pure nickel is expensive and VERY fragile. Hand stretching it to make a diaphragm is tough and many pieces are often broken in the process. Mylar stretches MUCH easier.

    The physical properties of nickel make it an ideal metal for transducer use. It is VERY light and VERY rigid. These are two qualities that help to reproduce frequencies with a bit more accuracy. With the proper backplate, damping is quite easy. Factor this in with the mass of the material and you have a very fast responding diaphragm. Nickel diaphragm mics are generally reserved for incredibly expensive measurement mics made by Gefell and DPA. The Gefell M29x series are the only mics that I'm aware of that use a 100% pure nickel (no fillers) diaphragm in recording mics. DPAs use a high nickel content diaphragm as well. Neither of these mics or mic companies could be considered anything less than world class.

    I hope this helps.

  10. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    Studio Projects C1 for vocals. $200 bucks and cant go wrong.
  11. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    I have the following mics

    Oktave MC-012
    MXL 603
    MXL 990
    AKG D112

    Not exactly top of the line but the AT4033 stands out above the rest as a vocal and instrument mic. It is very detailed.
  12. vv-tim

    vv-tim Guest

    I asked the same question on these forums a while ago and the opinion was split. Some liked the 4040 and some liked the 4033. I eventually found a good deal on a 4033 on eBay, so I got that one instead.

    I absolutely love the 4033 (I've only tried it on male vocals, but between the three guys in the band, we have quite a range, from bass/baritone to a very high tenor). It sounds lovely and fits nicely in the mix without much/any EQ.
  13. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Thank you very much guys...and are awesome! Thanks for the response because it was exactly what I was looking for.
  14. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I concur with Jeremy on the above. I love AT mics.

    Anyway, yeah, the AT range is great. When I record vocals I generally choose the 4047, 4060 or Neumann U87. The thing about mics is that there is no 1-10 scale to judge them on, but I think the 4033 has more in common with the 4047 and U87 IMHO than the 4040. There's a sort of graininess in the 4033 and 4047 (depending on how you use them) that can be wonderful. I bought the 4047 instead of the 4033, but I'd be quite happy using either (not that they are interchangable). I think the 4040 is more neutral and depending on the voice, can work very well indeed.

    One thing to bear in mind is the the 4040 and 4033 have slightly different real-world polar patterns and one or the other might feel more at home in your room if it has a strong acoustic characteristic. The 4033 and 4060 are audibly closer to text-book cardioid (the very first thing I noticed). That is not to imply in any way that one is superior to the other, just different in this regard.

    If I were you, and there was any way to buy both I would do so. The cleaner sound of the 4040 is very nice.

    There's a new mic by AT -the 4035, which is a 4050 in cardioid only mode. I've never heard this one, but you might look into it. I don't know if it really sounds like a 4050.

    Enjoy whatever you buy!

    John Stafford
  15. Aziel

    Aziel Guest

    my first mic was a, i have 2 of´s a very versatile mic, can work fine in several kind of voices and it´s pretty good in´s what i call a poor man U87 :wink: i own an U87 myself too...
  16. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I would definitely put the 4033 and 4047 in the same family as the U87. I don't suppose either of us will be ditching our ATs any time soon!
  17. DJ FADE

    DJ FADE Guest

    i purchased the 4040 a while back, it was one of my first mic's. i've used it on a number of appilcations and haven't been disappointed at all. team it up with a good pre and you can record male and female vocals, as well as a number of instruments, etc. i havent used the 4033, so i dont know the comparison, but if youre in the market for a great, versatile mic for under $500, i know you won't be disapointed.
  18. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Sweet...I have the GT Brick that has made my Oktava MK319 sound wonderful, so I can't wait to use a better mic.
  19. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    I have owned tons of mics over the past too many years. I have a pair of AT4047s and a 4033. I am appalled that a moderator on RO would be so flip as to write them off as a cheap mic. Especially with the statement about nickel diaphragms...from one who regularly trashes anything that isn't DPA!
    The 4033 DOES have a reputation as being a bit "bright" on certain voices. That doesn't mean that it doesn't have its place in a mic locker. I can tell you that the AT4047s are great at pretty much anything that I have thrown at them. Much smoother. Highly recommended. And I have seen them on sale at Full Compass and the like at substantial discounts....And when you hear or read someone trashing those mics, ask them this:"What do YOU own?"
  20. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002

    Two mods have weighed in on the subject (AudioGaff and Cucco), and both of them like the AT mics. Who were you talking about?

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