Audio-Technica 30 Series
No matter what level of recording studio you have, there is always a need for quality microphones to complement the rest of your gear. Understanding that many musicians and project studio owners want a studio-quality line of condenser microphones at affordable prices, the design and engineering team at Audio-Technica developed the 30 Series of microphones. Engineered from the ground up to meet exacting performance standards while still maintaining a high level of affordability, the Audio-Technica 30 Series represents an excellent “bargain” for virtually any level of studio. The 30 Series includes three different microphone designs: the AT3525 ($399), the AT3527 ($299) and the AT3528 ($299).
The AT3525 is a wide-range, fixed-charge condenser with a cardioid polar pattern. Designed for a variety of studio and sound reinforcement applications, it exhibits an amazingly full-bodied sound. I tested the AT3525 with a wide range of flutes and ocarinas along with a variety of percussion instruments. The AT3525 reproduced these instruments flawlessly with a natural depth of presence. But for me, the proof of how good this mic sounds was in the vocal tests. I was impressed with the mic’s ability to handle high levels of sound pressure as well as adding a nice warmth to the voice without providing any unwanted coloration. The AT3525 comes with its own shock mount and includes an 80 Hz roll-off for reducing bass rumble.
The two other mics in the series are the AT3527 omnidirectional condenser, and the AT3528 cardioid condenser. Both mics have an extremely low profile in their small metal, non-reflective black housing, which makes them ideal for mic-ing instruments on stage. I tested both mics on a variety of instruments including percussion, drums and acoustic guitar. The real test, however, came when I used the AT3527 on my Crustacian, a specially designed instrument by Tom Nunn that utilizes bowed metal rods affixed to a sheet-metal sounding plate. The Crustacian generates a tremendous depth and breadth of harmonic and spectral content that is difficult to reproduce. I was impressed with how well the AT3527 captured both the meta-sound of the instrument as well as all of the more subtle sonic nuances.
It’s clear that the Audio-Technica engineers thought these microphones through thoroughly in every step of the design. If you are looking for some solid performing microphones that sound like instruments costing three times their price, then you may have to look no further than the 30 Series. Audio-Technica U.S., Inc., 1221 Commerce Drive, Stow, OH 44224; http://www.audio-technica.com