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Bought a "pro" mic. Sounds no better than "prosumer" :/

zeffbeff

Member
Messages
2,231
I've been using an AT2020 for years. Finally bought an industry-standard: AT4033.

I don't hear any definitive differences.

I recorded vocals through my usual setup: onboard pre's of my MOTU interface, into my hardware rack (VLA II, Warm Audio Pultec clone EQ).

Am I supposed to be hearing a huge difference? If not, then what accounts for the $300 price difference between these two mics?
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,151
I don't have an answer specific to your mics, but durability and off axis signal rejection could be part of the answer.
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
12,713
Am I supposed to be hearing a huge difference? If not, then what accounts for the $300 price difference between these two mics?
They're two cardioid condenser microphones from the same manufacturer, and they're only $300 apart in price. I don't think you ought to expect a huge difference. However, I think you should probably try recording a few sources other than your own voice before you conclude that the two mics sound very similar. It's possible that your own voice doesn't have a frequency curve that emphasizes the difference between the two mics. Maybe the differences would be easier to hear with a different voice, or with another source, like an acoustic guitar.
 
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Astronaut FX

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,101
Are you recording in a well treated room? You can spend lots of money on high end microphones and/or mic preamps, but if you're using them in an untreated space, you aren't going to get the most benefit. And for what it's worth, the AT4033 is not exactly in the category of high end "pro" microphones. Your upgrade was a marginal one, and again, without the benefit of a treated room, you aren't likely going to see an exponential difference.
 

zeffbeff

Member
Messages
2,231
Thanks, all. I'm just going to return the 4033. There isn't a colossal difference from the AT2020 on my recordings. I got a colossal change when I integrated my Warm Audio Pultec clone, the VLA II, and my dbx 160a, so I was hoping for a similar benefit with a "nicer" mic.

The cash I spent on this mic would have greater effect being spent elsewhere.
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
6,070
Just 2 cents, you want wow when you pull out the LDC, move off the AT line, very nice stuff, but not in the vein of say a nice tube mic ( like a Mohave or a U47)
 

Blooby

Member
Messages
1,598
Thanks, all. I'm just going to return the 4033. There isn't a colossal difference from the AT2020 on my recordings. I got a colossal change when I integrated my Warm Audio Pultec clone, the VLA II, and my dbx 160a, so I was hoping for a similar benefit with a "nicer" mic.

The cash I spent on this mic would have greater effect being spent elsewhere.
So what you're telling me is that it is actually possible to sell musical equipment deemed superfluous?

That's just about the craziest thing I've ever heard. I think I'll consider this while killing time on Reverb.com.

Blooby
 

vintagelove

Member
Messages
2,814
I've been using an AT2020 for years. Finally bought an industry-standard: AT4033.

I don't hear any definitive differences.

I recorded vocals through my usual setup: onboard pre's of my MOTU interface, into my hardware rack (VLA II, Warm Audio Pultec clone EQ).

Am I supposed to be hearing a huge difference? If not, then what accounts for the $300 price difference between these two mics?

Hello, I hate to sound like a mic snob...


There will very little difference on the low end of the spectrum. Doesn't mean they're terrible btw. But a real "pro" mic starts at a few thousand and only goes up from there. That is when you notice a huge difference.

It may make more sense to rent, or book studio time for critical tracks. Best of luck.
 

zeffbeff

Member
Messages
2,231
Hello, I hate to sound like a mic snob...


There will very little difference on the low end of the spectrum. Doesn't mean they're terrible btw. But a real "pro" mic starts at a few thousand and only goes up from there. That is when you notice a huge difference.

It may make more sense to rent, or book studio time for critical tracks. Best of luck.
Thanks, that's helpful to hear. I'm satisfied with my AT2020 and its tone. In hindsight, I was a bit naive to think that a $400 mic would be worlds better than a $100 mic.

I firmly believe that the craftsman matters much more than the tool, and for what I'm doing, the AT2020 is the right tool.
 

T Dizz

Member
Messages
21,205
I've been using an AT2020 for years. Finally bought an industry-standard: AT4033.

I don't hear any definitive differences.

I recorded vocals through my usual setup: onboard pre's of my MOTU interface, into my hardware rack (VLA II, Warm Audio Pultec clone EQ).

Am I supposed to be hearing a huge difference? If not, then what accounts for the $300 price difference between these two mics?
I have a 2020 also and it continues to impress
 

champion ruby

Member
Messages
1,803
It may make more sense to rent, or book studio time for critical tracks. Best of luck.
I agree with this. Not much point owning $$$ mics unless you use them all the time. I like my Sony C38b but it's not a high dollar mic, just the most I would spend for at home.
 

tenchijin2

Member
Messages
3,030
I have to echo what Vintagelove says. A "prosumer" LDC is probably in the range of USD500-1500. The "pro" range of LDC starts somewhere in the >1500 category, IMO. Even then you aren't likely to hear worlds of difference, but if you have a lot of experience you will hear much more of what you WANT to hear and less of what you don't. Also, anyone running a pro level mic is also using pro level preamps (never to be found in a prosumer audio interface), pro level converters (ditto), and pro level signal processing (not the Art Pro VLA).

This is NOT meant to discourage or sound snobbish, just to clarify expectations a bit. I see you've already noted that your expectations might have been unrealistic and what I'm very pleased to read is that you did not fall for the trap of liking the 4033 more because you spent more money on it. You were able to honestly say it wasn't worth it relative to your current chain.
 

Estock

Member
Messages
146
What are you monitoring through?

Your monitoring and your room are the most important part of any studio. If what you're hearing isn't accurate or truthful, you're making decisions based on false assumptions. Your monitors may not be able to reproduce the small differences in mics of a similar line or your room may be preventing preventing you from hearing clearly.

Don't get me wrong, the 2020 is the best $99 mic out there, but you should be hearing the difference. Aside from the source, the mic always has the most significant impact of any piece in a vocal chain (mic/pre/converter).

Also don't buy into the hype that a "high end" $1000+ mic is always better than a less expensive one. Sure, there is a some correlation there when comparing similar mics, but it's not a steadfast rule. After all, Michael Jackson used a Shure SM7 on Thriller ($349 mic today), Bono used a SM57 on the biggest U2 records, and even Dave Grohl used a Sennheiser 441 on a couple FF records. These guys could afford anything they wanted and they used those mics. Just because some mics are more expensive doesn't always mean they're a better mic. The biggest challenge is finding the mic that works best on the source. What sounds best for one vocalist may not be the best choice for the next.
 
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JCM 800

Member
Messages
6,614
I think you need to move up to at least the 4050 in the AT line to really hear a very noticeable difference. I have a couple and they are fantastic. I realize they are quite a bit more $ but not crazy expensive.
 

zeffbeff

Member
Messages
2,231
Hello, I hate to sound like a mic snob...


There will very little difference on the low end of the spectrum. Doesn't mean they're terrible btw. But a real "pro" mic starts at a few thousand and only goes up from there. That is when you notice a huge difference.

It may make more sense to rent, or book studio time for critical tracks. Best of luck.
Totally. That's what I already do for drums and guitar: I book studio time. Much cheaper.
 

orogeny

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,723
if you want to find yourself a huge bang for buck LDC, look for a used AKG Solidtube.
they were like a grand when they first sold and are now under 400.
i don't know why or how they fell so low. i just know it's the first think i reach for when recording my voice or an acoustic guitar. i don't even bother messing with anything else. i don't remember needing an eq in mixdown on those channels either.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,351
4033s were $300 not long ago (with shockmount). They were upped to $400 (Classic) - probably because they have such a high reputation. In fact, the 4033s were on sale all last month for $300.

It's a Pro mic, in the sense that it's used in studios. Alan Parsons loved 'em (years ago).

The common audible difference IIRC is that many people find the higher frequencies harsh on the AT2020.

If it doesn't do much for you… yeah, just return it (if possible). It's by no means a bad mic at its price point. The problem may be your pre, monitoring, source - or like you say, it may just not be enough of a difference to justify the cost. The 4033 is a classic of the home studio and a workhorse at pro studios. If Electrical Audio has 8 of them, it is probably no coincidence: http://www.electricalaudio.com/item.php?page=20&pic=pictures
 






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