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Audio-Technica AT4080 Bidirectional Ribbon Microphone with Shock Mount

Get the benefits of a ribbon mic without the fragility, with the rugged Audio-Technica AT4080 and its included shock mount. (1) Rate and review this product
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Product Description

With the groundbreaking AT4080, Audio-Technica achieves the coveted ribbon microphone sound while solving the problems of fragility and low output that have historically plagued ribbon mics. Delivering the warm, smooth sound of a classic ribbon microphone, Audio-Technica's handcrafted AT4080 Ribbon Microphone offers a robust build for long-lasting, reliable performance and higher output for maximum compatibility with microphone preamplifiers.

Equally at home in recording studios and live-sound settings, the microphone features Audio-Technica's innovative MicroLinear(tm) ribbon imprint, which protects the dual ribbons from lateral flexing and distortion. With 18 patents pending, Audio-Technica's innovative ribbon transducer advances the evolution of ribbon microphone design. Experience the difference.

Features:

- Smooth, warm and natural high-fidelity sound for professional recording, broadcast and sound reinforcement
- Groundbreaking Audio-Technica ribbon design with 18 patents pending
- Proprietary MicroLinear ribbon imprint for superior durability
- Innovative dual ribbon construction for increased sensitivity
- Extremely powerful N50 neodymium magnets for high output level
- Ultra-fine mesh helps protect against ribbon damage
- Classic bidirectional (figure-of-eight) polar pattern picks up sounds equally from the front and back of the element
- High-SPL capability and extended frequency response
- Extended frequency response for natural audio reproduction
- Acoustic baffle system and extra large output transformer provide natural low-frequency response and extended dynamic range
- Handmade production - including ribbon corrugation, imprint and assembly
- Open acoustical environment of the housing assembly minimizes unwanted internal reflections
- Phantom-powered active electronics provide stable impedance and higher output for maximum compatibility with microphone preamplifiers
- Custom shock mount provides superior isolation
- Certified by the METAlliance (Music Engineering and Technology Alliance)



zZounds is an authorized dealer of Audio-Technica products.

Specifications:
- Element: Ribbon
- Polar Pattern: Figure-Of-Eight
- Frequency Response: 20-18,000 Hz
- Open Circuit Sensitivity: -39 Db (11.2 Mv) Re 1v At 1 Pa
- Impedance: 100 Ohms
- Maximum Input Sound Level: 150 Db Spl, 1 Khz At 1% T.H.D.
- Noise: 22 Db Spl
- Dynamic Range (Typical): 128 Db, 1 Khz At Max Spl
- Signal-To-Noise Ratio: 72 Db, 1 Khz At 1 Pa
- Phantom Power Requirements: 48v Dc, 3.0 Ma Typical
- Weight: 474 G (16.7 Oz)
- Dimensions: 177.5 Mm (6.99") Long, 53.4 Mm (2.10") Maximum Body Diameter
- Output Connector: Integral 3-Pin Xlrm-Type
- Accessories Furnished: At8449/Sv Shock Mount For 5/8"-27 Threaded Stands; Microphone Dust Cover; Protective Carrying Case
- Audio-Technica Case Style: R1
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Shipping Weight: 3 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 4 in
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 330-686-2600
zZounds Expert Review
I've used several passive ribbon mics over the years, but wasn't quite sure what to expect with this active model. The first thing I noticed was solid heft of the AT4080. It weighs in at a little more than a pound, and felt substantial and professional in my hand. Audio Technica says each AT4080 is hand built, and the attention to detail was evident in my demo microphone. I set it up to run through a preamp and into my DAW with 24/96 conversion, and was surprised by the output level afforded by the AT4080. I usually need to crank the gain up fairly high with passive ribbon mics, but with the active circuitry on the AT4080 I only needed a few more dB than I would using a large-diaphragm studio condenser in the same rig.

Check, One Two
For the first test, I tracked some basic spoken word vocals. The playback was transparent and intimate, with a smooth, round tone. I wasn't sure what to expect on sung vocals, since other experiments I've done with ribbon mics have been hit or miss (mostly miss, unless the vocalist had a powerful voice). The hotter output of this active microphone matched up nicely with singing, though. The tone was rich and creamy, capturing more midrange than I would've had with a passive ribbon mic. I don't think I would choose it over a large diaphragm condenser mic for studio vocals, but the takes I tracked were definitely usable.

Audio Technica suggests the AT4080 for instrument recording, and with an SPL rating of 150dB, I figured it could handle electric guitar. I set up a Strat with a vintage Fender Twin, with the mic out about a foot from the grille cloth (I also put an SM57 up on the cone for blending/comparison). When I soloed the AT4080 track, I was pleased with the same roundness I noticed on the spoken word test, plus a healthy dose of low-end response; certainly more than I expected to get with a single-coil Strat. Bringing in the SM57 track only helped to underscore AT4080's success. It took a little fiddling with EQ and phase settings, but the end result was completely worth the effort. I tried the same AT4080/SM57 combination on a few different guitar/amp setups, with the same great results. I'm hooked.

Ribbon mics don't usually match up well with quieter acoustic instruments because of the low gain, but with the hotter output of the active AT4080, I figured I'd give it a go. Results were mixed. Acoustic guitars sounded very nice, with added girth in the low midrange for a big, chunky tone. On ukulele, the AT4080 sounded good, but not great. I blended with a standard studio condenser mic and was able to get a nice take, though. I felt the mandolin tracks I recorded were a bit too thin, though. Again, blending with a studio condenser filled out the track, but I could have just as easily pulled the AT4080 out and been satisfied.

Brass and woodwinds often pair well with ribbon mics, and the AT4080 performed admirably here as well. I captured a few takes with both sax and clarinet, and was able to get a nice, consistent tone. It took some time to position the mic around the sax, though. The hotter output of the AT4080 wasn't going to work right in front of the horn, but moving it out and away a bit helped. I recorded four tracks between the two instruments, and after some panning and EQ was able to get a lush, warm stereo mix.

I've always had good luck with ribbon mics on percussion, and the AT4080 was no exception. Hand percussion takes were crisp and articulate, and when used out in the room on a drum kit, the tone was rich and powerful. I especially liked the way the AT4080 mellowed out the brittle harshness of the cymbals I sometimes notice when using small condensers up top.

Bottom Line
The AT4080 sounded very good on just about every source I threw at it. For me, the biggest plus was the increased gain versus passive ribbon mics. I don't think I'd want the AT4080 to be the only mic in my locker, but it would be a solid addition to any studio collection. Audio Technica has a tradition of making good microphones, and the quality in evidence on the AT4080 leads me to believe it would be a reliable recording tool. If you already own an SM57 (and if not, you should), try the pair out on electric guitar; you won't be disappointed. The AT4080 is priced in line with other active ribbon microphones, and the specs are up to snuff for professional-quality results. Remember, the AT4080 is active, so you'll need 48V phantom power to drive it. Make sure your preamp, mixer, etc., is set up for this if you're going to pick one up.
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