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Old September 9th, 2014, 11:55 AM   #31
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Boom mic

Fantastic! Thanks, Rob!

As always, leveling two mics is nearly impossible as one will be louder in one frequency range while another is louder in another frequency range. And humans being humans, we will like the louder signal.

Also, my available amp and headphones at the moment are consumer grade.

Given those caveats, both mics sound very good. The AT sound a bit fuller and may be slightly "scooped" (high bass and treble with lower mids.) The highs are significantly brighter than the AKG. The AKG sounds a bit more natural but thinner as well.

Some notes on the EQ of mics: Don't forget that one can apply EQ in post. One can easily tamp down the highs on the AT to decrease the "sss" sounds and one can easily boost the fundamentals of the AKG to make it sound fuller. What is difficult is fine tuning anomalies in the mids and boosting frequencies that are very weak. Neither mic presents problems that can't be easily tuned with a couple minutes of post. One advantage of the strong high frequencies of the AT is that they will be reduced if you add wind protection. That would likely give an excellent out-of-the-box result. The AKG, on the other hand, has a weaker signal to start with. Add some boost to normalize and then add more highs to compensate for wind protection and one might start getting a bit of noise - especially when using a mid-quality preamp.

Another note about EQ: It's speaker dependent. One speaker might sound boomy and dull while another might sound thin, nasal or even shrill.

So, if I have to choose, I'd go with the AT (with a touch of EQ to reduce the highs), but I wouldn't hesitate to use the AKG (with a touch of EQ to boost the fundamentals.) The EQ adjustments are based on this speaker in this space at this distance using my crummy, available headphones, so the situation will vary. But I don't hear anything out of order.

One thing I like about both mics is that they have a bit of "sizzle" in the mids. They both deliver that slight edge that makes a voice pop through a mix. The COS-11D has this in spades. Both mics should intercut reasonably well with the COS-11D, though I think the slightly scooped sound of the AT is likely the better out-of-the-box match.

Thanks again, Rob. I've wanted to hear a head-to-head comparison of these mics for years. I can see (or hear) why people on DV Info like both mics.

I've given the slight edge to the AT. What's your take, Rob?
Jon Fairhurst
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Old September 10th, 2014, 10:13 AM   #32
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 205
Re: Boom mic


Yes, my take is that is that the AT is slightly better. But I was actually a little surprised that it's only "slightly". I have been very pleased with the AKG SE393, but have always read good things about the AT4053 and heard a few samples that sounded good. Comparing them head-to-head, though, they are pretty similar, but with the differences you mentioned. I'm with you, I wouldn't hesitate to use either one, though if I had to pick just one, it would be the AT4053.

BTW - for those who record music as well as audio-for-video, both mics make great drum overheads. I have two and the CK91 cardioid capsules for the AKG as well. I sometimes use them for overheads (my primary OH pair are Audix scx-ones). I like using the CK93 hypercardioid when miking a hi-hat, however. The SE391 also sounds good when pointed at the 12th fret of an acoustic guitar.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:47 PM   #33
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
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Re: Boom mic

I was also surprised at how slight the differences are. The specs say that the AKG is 6 dB quieter, but they seem much closer than that to the ear. Clearly, specs based on tests with 1 kHz signals tell a very limited story.

If the $100 difference is very dear, get the AKG - or better yet: buy the first one you can find used of either brand.

If you don't plan to use wind protection (often not needed indoors) and hate doing EQ, get the AKG. The AT is a bit sharp on "sss" sounds and really needs a high frequency cut that a blimp or EQ can deliver.

If you plan to use wind protection, go for the AT. The AKG seemed a bit weak in the highs and is quieter. The risk is that the result will seem dull without EQ or will be noisy with it.

If you have a cheap recorder or preamp, get the AT. Every dB counts. In my experience, sensitivity and low noise are more important than "the perfect sound" when it comes to mid-tier audio.

If a friend offers of you either mic, take it and say "thank you", without even checking which model mic was offered. :)
Jon Fairhurst
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