The Audio-Technica AT3035 cardioid condenser is, to put it simply, a good microphone at an excellent price. Audio-Technica has been in the professional audio business long enough to learn how to manufacture products at differing price points that remain consistent in terms of performance, specifications and reliability.
Product PointsApplications: Studio, project studio, broadcast
Key Features: Cardioid condenser microphone; 10 dB pad; 80 Hz low-cut switch; shockmount included; 148 dB max SPL
Contact: Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. at 330-686-2600 Web Site
+ Sounds good
+ Great value
+ Good shockmount
The Score: The Audio-Technica AT3035 cardioid condenser microphone is an excellent value.
Though manufactured in Japan, all 30 and 40 Series Audio-Technica microphones are run through quality control testing at the company’s U.S. facility in Stow, Ohio.
The AT3035 ($349) is a side-address, fixed-charge condenser microphone that operates in a cardioid-only pattern. Micro switches on the lower edge of the microphone body engage a low-frequency cut (80 Hz, 12 dB per octave) and a 10 dB pad. The microphone itself is finished in a semi-polished nickel case and weighs in at just under 14 ounces. According to the manufacturer, self-noise is a respectable 12 dB SPL.
A shockmount is included with the microphone, and, though it is constructed of plastic, it holds the mic extremely tightly and offers good isolation from stand-transmitted noises. I have no problem trusting the shockmount to hold the AT3035 upside-down, should that configuration be desired.
I had the opportunity to use a pair of AT3035s on a variety of sources for a number of recording sessions. My recording observations and impressions are detailed below.
Guitar amp: I used the AT3035 to close mic a Marshall 4×12 loaded with Celestion 70 watt speakers for an aggressive indie-rock project that I am producing. I found that the Audio-Technica had no problem handling an extremely cranked crunch rhythm track at a distance of about 1 1/2 inches from the speaker. I did not find it necessary to engage the pad on the microphone, however the tube mic pre that I was using seemed to be more comfortable with its pad engaged. The AT3035 provided a focused sound that fit nicely with the room mic track (a Microtech Gefell M71KMT).
Female vocal: Utilizing the onboard preamps on my Neotek IIIc console, I was quite impressed by the large and detailed image that I heard from the AT3035. I would characterize the sound as being somewhat hyped in the upper midrange, but in a good way. A thin sounding singer might not be the best match for this microphone, but one with a smooth or even slightly dull voice will benefit.
Kick drum: I was pleasantly surprised by the response of the AT3035 when placed a few inches away from the hole in the resonant head of my GMS maple kick drum. The thwack of the wood beater hitting the head was accurately rendered, as well as a fairly healthy whoosh of near subsonic air. Inserting the AT3035 into the drum yielded a slightly thin sound, but with good attack. I have found that most microphones that are not specifically designed for bass drum tend to sound a bit thin in that application. In this application I engaged the pad to avoid overloading the preamps in the console.
Room mic: Utilizing both of the AT3035s approximately 10 feet away from a full drum kit, I found the overall balance of the sound to be pleasing. The stereo image was well defined, and the transients were reproduced nicely. Once again the upper midrange lift added a bit of excitement to the overall sound.
Grand piano: I recently had the opportunity to try the pair of AT3035s on a restored Steinway Model D at the Southern Vermont Art Center. Freddy Cole, younger brother of Nat “King” Cole, was playing a concert with his quartet ensemble. Freddy possesses the elder Nat’s easy and relaxed style, plus incredible piano chops. I used the pair of AT3035s located about 4 to 6 inches away from the hammers and achieved excellent results. Both the house sound engineer and the artist were very pleased with the sound of the piano. To give credit where credit is due, between the remarkable piano and the extraordinary artist, I was more than halfway there before I connected a mike cable!
The Audio-Technica AT3035 is an excellent value. It sounds good on a variety of sources, includes an effective shockmount and can handle high SPLs without fear of damage. In addition, the AT3035 is backed by a company whose commitment to quality and consistency is well known. Kudos to Audio-Technica for developing an honest product at an accessible price. Anyone who is in the market for an inexpensive condenser microphone would do well to give the AT3035 a listen. Thumbs up!