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Thread: Audio Technica 5040 vs. SM57 on electric guitar

  1. #1
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    Default Audio Technica 5040 vs. SM57 on electric guitar

    I was in the studio cutting rhythm tracks and had the new AT 5040 on loan. I was trying it out on different sources. At the end of the day I put it up alongside my standard SM57 on the guitar cabinet.

    This was not a scientific test. I didn't break out the voltmeter to check levels. I know that the levels aren't matched perfectly. They vary by as little as 1 dB and as much as 3 dB depending on the phrase you sample. I matched them by ear on the fly. I decided to leave them that way instead of trying to match them because I think it's a fairer comparison. If you want them absolutely matched, you'll need to raise the level of the AT 5040 sample by ~1-2 dB, again depending on the phrase you choose.

    Both mics were positioned on the same cabinet with the diaphragms equidistant from the speaker. They were run into two sides of a Great River MP-2NV preamp and then straight to ProTools (using HD-192 converters) and this is with no EQ or other processing.

    The player is Dave Cleveland, who was really just goofing off and helping me out, just running through various tones. He's playing a 1967 335 through a 64 Tyler Princeton Reverb clone and the cabinet is a Bogner with a 1980 EV speaker in it. The pedals were Pedal Dr. 4 speed Overdrive, XTS Precision Overdrive, JHS Angry Charlie and XTS Atomic.

    I'll be curious to hear what you think. Here are two files, both 24/48K .wavs, that were recorded side by side. Load them into a DAW and A/B between them:

    http://www.3daudioinc.com/at5040_vs_sm57
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    The mitigating factor here is that it's impossible to have both mics in the *same physical space* in front of the cabinet at the same time. I know that.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    The difference I hear between the two, other than the obvious EQ difference, is the three dimensionality of the AT 5040 compared to the SM57 which feels very flat and cardboard-y by comparison. At least to my ears. Sitting in the studio in front of my studio monitors, the difference was shocking. The SM57 felt like a reasonable facsimile of the guitar cabinet while the 5040 felt like the cabinet was sitting right in front of my face, up on the meter bridge. Huge difference to me.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Wow. That is quite the difference.

    I strongly prefer the AT 5040. It has a certain 'reach out and touch you' sound (both and issue of the EQ and not, if that makes sense.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    Quote Originally Posted by PookyNR View Post
    Wow. That is quite the difference.

    I strongly prefer the AT 5040. It has a certain 'reach out and touch you' sound (both and issue of the EQ and not, if that makes sense.
    No kidding.

    Say Lynn, I have heard various beta testers say that his is a vocal mic only. Some said that they would never use it for drum over heads because of it's off axis response, etc. Obviously, it can be used for whatever, especially guitar. Would you agree about the over head application not being a good one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowdbrent View Post
    No kidding.

    Say Lynn, I have heard various beta testers say that his is a vocal mic only. Some said that they would never use it for drum over heads because of it's off axis response, etc. Obviously, it can be used for whatever, especially guitar. Would you agree about the over head application not being a good one?
    That "vocal mic only" line. I wonder if they got that from A-T or they came up with that themselves. I know that's what A-T told me when they sent me the mic. "It was designed for lead vocal applications."

    Well, OK. I didn't particularly care for it on lead vocals. I tried it on three different singers. I also used it for a day on a group of four sopranos. Didn't particularly thrill me. It was ok, but I would prefer other mics I own and have used in the past.

    I wonder if those who are touting it as a "vocal mic" actually tried it in other applications. I tried it on banjo, mandolin, group vocals, lead vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar. All that in two days. (We were moving fast.)

    For overheads? Hmmm. What I found most surprising about the mic, and I'm guessing it has to do with the multi-diaphragm design, was the narrow HF pickup in the vertical axis. It's tight, like headlights on a car. The off-axis HF response in the horizontal plane was noticeable to me in that group vocal recording and I wasn't thrilled by that. But in the vertical plane it was even more pronounced. I would not consider that an asset, however I'm sure some might. For use as drum overheads? I would have to reserve judgment unless I heard it. I honestly can't say I've ever used a mic on overhead with such a tightly *tailored* HF pickup pattern.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

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    That's what I figured. Thanks.

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    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    I tried it on banjo, mandolin, group vocals, lead vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar. All that in two days. (We were moving fast.)
    What were your impressions on those other instruments?
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?

    Nathan

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    Lynn, did you try your RCA 74b yet on e/gtr?
    Todd Robbins
    TX3 Productions, Inc.
    www.toddro.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Robbins View Post
    Lynn, did you try your RCA 74b yet on e/gtr?
    Not yet. Thanks for the reminder though.

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