These companies are two big names in the recording industry. If you’re looking to upgrade your equipment, you can’t go wrong choosing one of these microphones. Which one will be the best for your studio? Let’s look at them both to decide.
Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Most sound engineers and recording artists prefer condenser microphones with cardioid patterns. They make high-fidelity recordings, and pick up sounds in front of them while disregarding those to the sides and rear. The AT4040 is an excellent example of this type of mic and it’s very popular. It does well with vocals as well as strings and percussion, making it an all-purpose tool.
With the 10dB attenuating switch, this mic can take up to 155dB of sound pressure! Go ahead, record a rock concert, you won’t get distortion with the AT4040. But it also has low self-noise and low impedance so it doesn’t miss out on subtle sounds. If there’s popping from someone singing close to the mic, or if there’s vibration like traffic, the 80Hz high-pass filter takes care of the noise. The mic has a switch to choose between flat to low-end roll-off.
As for the construction of the AT4040, its body is made of nickel-plated brass with an acoustic baffle protecting the diaphragm. The metal body helps protect against radio frequency interference. The shock mount that comes in the box is made especially for this mic to isolate it from vibrations and handling noise.
More features of the Audio-Technica AT4040 microphone
- 5-year limited warranty, more than twice that of the AKG C214
- Externally polarized DC-bias condenser
- Self-noise rated at 12dB, impedance at 100 ohms, open circuit sensitivity 25.1mV/Pa
- Frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz
- Uses 48-volt phantom power through an XLR connector
- Comes with shock mount for 5/8” stands, dust cover, and carrying case
- Weighs 12.7 ounces and measures 6.69 inches long by 2.1 inches in diameter (slightly larger than the AKG C214)
AKG C214 Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone with Samson Pop Filter and Cable
The AKG C214 is a popular microphone for rap and other vocal artists, although it also does a great job recording instruments. Its ability to handle close-up vocals well comes in part from both its switchable attenuator and its low-cut filter. The 160Hz low or bass-cut filter reduces proximity effect, or the booming that happens when someone is too close to a mic. The 20dB attenuator switch gives the C214 the ability to handle a sound pressure level up to 156dB, one decibel more than the AT4040. AKG includes its Samson pop filter in the box with the mic. It reduces the plosive sounds of speakers and singers.
The C214 has a one-inch diaphragm backplate that is half of the two-capsule system in their higher-end mics. The diaphragm has integrated suspension to reduce handling noise and is gold-sputtered on one side to improve its conductivity. It comes with a shock mount made to reduce vibration even further. Its own self-noise is 13dB, just one decibel higher than the AT4040. Its impedance is 200 ohms, double that of the AT4040, but still in the low range appropriate for this quality of a microphone.
The all-metal body is strong and protects the microphone from RF interference from wireless equipment. Its switches are clearly marked. AKG thoughtfully includes all the needed accessories to get started right away, including a very helpful user manual with detailed instructions.
More features of the AKG C214 microphone
- 2-year limited warranty
- Measures 6.3 inches long, 2.1 inches in diameter, and weighs 10.2 ounces
- Comes with shock mount with 3/8” thread, carrying case, pop filter, and XLR cable
- Runs on 48-volt phantom power
- Open circuit sensitivity is 20mV/Pa
Both of these microphones come from respected brands. They have good reputations and lots of happy users. But if you can’t get them both, which one do you buy now?
It comes down to the main usage. Are you recording vocals? How about rap or R&B? If there’s passion in the song, this mic will capture it. The AKG C214 comes highly recommended for you. It comes with all the needed accessories. If you’re new to recording, AKG’s user manual is worth a read as they explain in detail the proper setup for vocal artists and many instruments.
If you’re working with both vocals and instruments, the Audio-Technica AT4040 is an excellent all-around microphone, on stage and in the studio. It’s sensitive and yet it withstands a high level of sound, too.