Microphones

Strother Bullins on AudioTechnica AT8024 Stereo/Mono Camera Mount Microphone

6/19/2016 4:57 PM Eastern
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PRODUCT SUMMARY

COMPANY: Audio-Technica

PROS: Pro-grade sound with helpful midrange frequency emphasis, impressive build quality, usefulness beyond simple DSLR and video camera-paired applications

CONS: Fuzzy windscreen tends to shed

PRICE (STREET): $249

SPECIFICATIONS

ELEMENTS: Fixed-charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser

POLAR PATTERNS: line-cardioid, LR stereo

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 40 Hz – 15 kHz

LOW FREQUENCY ROLL-OFF: 80 Hz, 12 dB/octave

MAXIMUM INPUT SOUND LEVEL (MONO AND LR STEREO): 128 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% THD

BATTERY: 1 1.5V AA (life expectancy: 80 hours typical)

SWITCHABLE PARAMETERS: Mono, M-S Stereo; 3-position attenuator; flat; roll-off

WEIGHT: 4 oz.

DIMENSIONS: 6.77” x 0.94” (length x diameter)

CABLE: permanently attached 7.8-39.3” coiled cable with 3.5 mm stereo mini-plug

ACCESSORIES: AT8124 Foam windscreen, AT8124F fuzzy windscreen, AA battery

Built for use with DLSR and various video cameras featuring an integral “shoe mount” for traditional flash attachments and the like, AudioTechnica’s AT8024 is an AA battery-powered condenser microphone providing selectable mono or stereo recording modes, complete with a consumer tech-friendly 3.5 mm stereo mini-plug output connector via permanently attached cable.

For those who specialize in A/V content creation and management or simply want a better microphone to capture video-paired live audio in the field, the AT8024 is a simple, great-sounding pro-capable tool, arguably rivaling the capabilities of A-T’s pro-grade XLR-outfitted condenser microphones, for only $249 street.

Features of the AT8024 include line cardioid (“shotgun” style) and mid/side (M/S) left-right stereo polar patterns, switchable via a three-position toggle atop and near the rear of its shotgun mic barrel; adjacent are two additional toggles for switching between flat and a 80 Hz high-pass filter (HPF) and a three-position attenuator switch (0 dB, -10 dB and -20 dB), respectively. A red/green LED is provided, too; it glows green with sufficient power and red when the battery is low. The AT8024 handles loud audio content well with its 128 dB maximum SPL capability (1 kHz at 1% THD).

Dual rubber shock mounts isolate the AT8024’s barrel from its battery compartment/shoe mount, which minimizes movement noise notably well. Two useful windscreens are also included: a thick foam version with Audio-Technica logo and a fuzzy, “dead cat” version (that tends to shed, but works well regardless).

In mono mode, the AT8024 shines in noisy environments where off-axis rejection is preferred, thanks to its line cardioid design. [Line, or “shotgun”, mics utilize an interference tube before the element for this desired cancellation of off-axis sound—Ed.] Whether recording live spoken word interviews or solo musical sound sources, the AT8024 was such a notable improvement over my Nikon DLSR’s built-in microphone that it meant the difference between pro-level audio and amateurish results. With a relatively flat frequency response of 40 Hz to 15 kHz and an approximately 3-5 kHz, +5 dB “bump,” the AT8024 provides just the right amount of realistic transduction and vocal-friendly forwardness to be useful in most applications.

In stereo mode, the AT8024’s internally-matrixed mid-side stereo provides a wide stereo image--wider, for example, than what is possible when using an X/Y technique, whether via an X/Y stereo microphone or while using an X/Y set-up with two cardioid microphones angled at 90 degrees. In a variety of settings--a loud gymnasium capturing a basketball game, a close-up capture of an acoustic guitar solo performance, and more--adjusting the physical distance from a given sound source provided a wide range of ambient to tighter stereo content, all of which were balanced and realistic.

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