It’s not often we see a well-established manufacturer in this industry really think outside of the box. However, that’s exactly what Audio-Technica have done here and I’m really encouraged by what I can see. The AT5040, which was already unique, has been given a transformer-coupled output resulting in this aptly named AT5047. Whilst the name might remind you of an iconic microphone, there aren’t any other similarities here. In fact, this is a quite a shocking release compared to regular modern microphones.
Audio-Technica AT5047 Transformer-coupled Cardioid Condenser Microphone
Based on the AT5040, these microphones share the same unique capsule design. In effect, there are 4 capsules inside this cardioid condenser. As well as there being 4 capsules, they’re unusually rectangular. Apparently, thanks to differing tensions across the surface of the diaphragm, Audio-Technica believe they have achieved a very natural-sounding microphone. The 4 diaphragms are there to try and achieve a large surface area for low frequency content and dynamic response, yet each individual diaphragm is still small enough to react quickly to fast transients. This seems like a really clever concept and I can only assume summing the 4 outputs isn’t heavily effected by time shifts due to their close proximity.
With the original AT5040, the output signal was quite high with an impedance that didn’t suit all mic pre-amps. Microphone and pre-amp matching plays a large role in a successful recording chain, which is why they’ve added an transformer-coupled output stage. As well as taking care of the technicalities such as sensitivity level and impedance, the output transformer is likely to effect the tone of the mic too. According to the video below, we can expect a more saturated and warmer tone, even though the two mics share the same capsule design.
I love some of tech displayed here and believe we should encourage manufacturers to continue pushing the boundaries of pro audio. Unfortunately this new technology doesn’t come cheap leaving the AT5047 with a heavy price tag. In this section of the market there are a plethora of mics to chose from, including iconic models which carry kudos for commercial facilities. I’d love to hear one of these mics and would strongly urge any new potential customer to try one out before you buy. Hopefully Audio-Technica have some special here.
Audio-Technica are clearly aiming this microphone at the pro users and commercial recording studios, with a price tag of 3499 GBP for the AT5047. I’m sure this is fair price for a mic that essentially has 4 capsules and a high-quality transformer output, but this feels high in today’s market, especially considering the new design concept. For more information visit the product webpage.
Here’s a YouTube video from the Sound On Sound magazine channel, looking at the new AT5047. This is a great watch, providing some really interesting facts and design concepts around this slightly unusual mic.