The Audio Technica AT5045 (pictured in a stereo pair) is a unique microphone, and we had the pleasure of spending some time with it recently. The first interesting thing you learn about it, is that despite it's form factor – it is actually a large diaphragm microphone. The unique rectangular capsule measures (on it long side) around 1.25 inches, thus making it a large diaphragm. There are some benefits to a rectangular capsule, being:
- The shape diffuses membrane vibration more effectively (where a circular capsule, much like a drum head, will have some of the membrane's vibration splash back to the center when it reaches the outer ring). This greatly reduces the resonance peak (typically more present in the mid range), as well as improves transient response.
- Improved sensitivity, this is again also noticed with the improved transient response.
- Allows for large diaphragm condensers to be produced in a more compact size.
- Allows for more placement options, as well as rejection placement, as the pattern and behavior of the mic changes when set up horizontally vs vertically (pattern is more narrow when mic is placed horizontally to the sound source).
- Brings the best of both worlds with the improve fidelity and rejection of a small diaphragm condenser, combined with the higher sensitivity and lower self noise of a large diaphragm condenser.
Using this mic, we immediately heard a difference. The most notable difference being in the transient response. Even on simply an acoustic guitar, the detail of the pick strikes, palm slaps/mutes, hammer-ons and pull-offs, the percussive undertone of the acoustic was brought forward in such a pronounced way – which was very exciting. The performance became much more alive. Yet, every detail and transient was presented in a slight soften, gently rounded was that was pleasing – and not harsh or hard. And still, the fullness and body of the guitar, with the air and clarity, and sonic dimension was still there. Further more, in a test recording in an untreated office, four feet from a computer, the rejection of the mic was impressive. Add in the high quality construction of the mic, and the fast functional and uniquely designed shockmount – there isn't anything to complain about here. Audio Technica has done something special here, and backed it with the quality we expect from them. Whether doing acoustic guitars, drum overheads/room, piano, strings, etc – this mic can handle it, and is something we highly recommend considering.