Audio-Technica ATM610a & AT2005USB Microphones Review
Jul 13, 2012 3:37 PM, Reviewer: John McJunkin
Two quality mics to fit a range of applications.
The AT2005USB mic is 7.25in. long and a little more than 2in. in diameter. Its flared cylindrical shape gives way to its metal mesh windscreen along the way, which is truncated and hence flat at its end. It’s also flat at the rear end, and what you’ll find there distinguishes this mic from virtually all others. There is the traditional 3-pin XLRM connector taking up just over half the real estate, but it has three unlikely neighbors: a USB Mini B jack, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a recessed volume control. This is where the real strength of this microphone exists. The two outputs facilitate use in a broader range of applications, and the monitor headphone jack and level control enable the user to quickly and easily record either monologues or dialogues in numerous settings, including in an office, boardroom, tradeshow floor, or hotel room. A recording can be made and then sent via email or cloud upload to someone who can further edit and polish it. Audio-Technica’s initial foray into USB microphones, the AT2020USB is a great mic, but it lacks the capacity for monitoring and/or a traditional XLR output. The AT2005USB is a dynamic mic with a cardioid pattern that adds these capabilities. It’s down 10dB at 50Hz, and quite flat from about 150Hz to 1.5kHz, above which is a broad bump between 1.5kHz and 15kHz with a maximum boost of roughly 6dB. This increase in output from the intelligibility frequencies up through the “air” frequencies makes this a great mic for speech, and makes recording podcasts and other Internet-oriented productions very easy.
Both of these mics sound great and they effectively meet the needs specific to the applications for which they’re touted. In the case of the ATM610a, mobility would be a welcome improvement, and is achievable via the addition of a plug-in transmitter and receiver combo, readily available from numerous manufacturers. Indeed, mics with integrated transmitters abound, but this mic sounds good enough and delivers such an extraordinarily tight pattern that it wouldn't warrant using a third-party transmitter/receiver pair.
The AT2005USB is a versatile mic, facilitating voice recording in a number of environments irrespective of whether a traditional balanced mic cable or a more modern USB output is necessary. The built-in monitoring capacity eliminates the need for additional hardware, making the mic portable and complete. It has increasingly made more sense for contractors to offer mics that interface directly with computers, and this mic fits the bill perfectly. For the types of applications that I have spelled out here, these mics are both worthy of consideration.
Pros: Great sound (both), highly directional (ATM610a), versatility (AT2005USB)
Cons: Metal grip area is slippery; a rubberized surface would be preferable (both).
Applications: Handheld use in potential feedback environments (ATM610a), recording speech with monitoring in varied environments (AT2005USB)
Price: $259 MSRP/$149 street (ATM610a); $149 MSRP/$99 street (AT2005USB)
Frequency response: 40Hz – 16kHz
Open circuit sensitivity: –55dB (1.7mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
Weight: 270g (9.5oz)
Dimensions: 177.0mm (6.97”) long, 48.0mm (1.89”) maximum diameter
Frequency response: 50Hz – 15kHz
Power requirements: USB Power (5VDC)
Bit depth: 16-bit
Sample rate: 44.1 kHz/48 kHz
Weight: 266g (9.4oz)
Dimensions: 183.6mm (7.23”) long, 51.0mm (2.01”)
Headphone output power: 10mW @ 16Ω
Headphone jack: 3.5mm TRS (stereo)
John McJunkin is the principal of Avalon Podcasting in Chandler, Ariz. He has consulted in the development of studios and installations and provides high-quality podcast-production services.
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