In choosing the most appropriate microphone in live instrument applications, positioning can often be as important as sonic quality; today, there are many superb-sounding yet awkwardly sized or obtrusive microphones that I might like to use on, say, snare drum. But can I squeeze it between the high-hat and a myriad of stands and other obstacles?

Audio-Technica’s answers this perennial problem (among others) with its Artist Elite Series AE2300, a pint-sized (3.7-inch long) dynamic cardioid microphone featuring a relatively flat 60 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response (with a nice presence peak around 5 kHz). According to A-T, the notably high-frequency response of the AE2300 is due to a proprietary double-dome diaphragm; in use, it does provide more of a condenser-type performance in direct comparison to other standard dynamic microphones.

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Further, the AE2300 behaves almost like two microphones in one, as it uniquely offers a switchable lowpass filter, attenuating over 6 kHz at 6 dB per octave. I found this useful in some drum kit applications, especially in attempting to reduce hi-hat bleed into an AE2300 placed on snare drum. A-T also suggests this characteristic is useful in reducing hiss from guitar amplifiers, especially in live applications.

In use, I found the AE2300 handled high SPLs incredibly well, always sounding clean and open. It is also notably well constructed; as it is very lightweight (4.9 ounces), dropping it on any surface shouldn’t be a problem and impacts such as drumstick hits won’t mar its finish. It is also very easy to position, thanks to both its diminutive size and the well-designed AT8471 isolation stand clamp; featuring a knurled knob on mic holder, it’s easy to adjust, while the angle is adjustable via a traditional winged adjustment.

At $269 street, the AE2300 is not at the low end of dynamic instrument mics. Yet, in my book, its small size, condenser-rivaling sound, superb build quality and multi-instrument-spanning flexibility deems it a modern dynamic microphone investment worth making.