The Audio-Technica AT2035 is often cited as one of the best affordable large diaphragm condensers (LDCs) on the market. Audio-Technica released the AT2035 alongside the AT2050, which features multiple pickup patterns. Both mics were inspired by the budget AT2020. The AT2035 features a low-cut filter, 10dB pad and cardioid pickup pattern. It requires +48V phantom power. The mic ships with a custom shockmount and a durable padded pouch. The plastic shockmount is study and does the job adequately. The vinyl pouch gives as much protection as a pouch is likely to be able to provide. However unless space was at a premium, I would transport the mic in the original cardboard box it is sold in, which has a shaped foam slot. If you are looking for a much cheaper studio mic, check out the Behringer C1 review.
Audio-Technica AT2035 a good introduction to LDCs
At $149, the AT2035 is a good candidate for a budding engineer’s first LDC. There are certainly cheaper LDCs, but this price range is a good medium, balancing features and affordability. Moving from a SM58 to this will be a pleasant surprise. On vocals in the studio, the SM58 sounds flat and lifeless when compared to the Audio-Technica. Compared to the 2020, the 2035 has lower noise, flatter response and the extra features of the shockmount, low cut and pad. The AT2035 gives fair performance for the price on a variety of sources. Judging by user reviews, a very large number of buyers were happy with their purchase. I found the mic useful for certain applications but found that it fell short in other areas.
With a matte black finish and understated controls, the mic looks professional and classy. The pad and low-cut switches are recessed at the base of the back of the mic. I haven’t had the misfortune to drop the thing yet, but the mic’s metal construction seems sturdy enough. The shockmount is well-designed and doesn’t seem likely to result in any mishaps. The mic has a standard LDC frequency response of20Hz-20kHz. The response is fairly flat, although there is a presence peak around 12 kHz. The AT2035 can handle up to 148dB SPL, 1 kHz. The pad can be engaged for another 10dB. This will enable it to handle most sources without any issues. The design pairs this high SPL rating with low self-noise of 12dB EIN. The signal to noise ratio is 82 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa. It has a 0.8″ electret capsule with a thin diaphragm (2 microns).
AT2035 vocal performance
When paired with a female vocalist with a full bassy voice, the AT2035 accentuated the bass far too much. Naturally I engaged the low cut to compensate. However for my purposes this chopped out too much of the bottom end and was not satisfactory either. I found the AT2035 resulted in similar issues when recording a coarse vocalist with a bass-heavy voice. In both situations I tried the MXL 2006, a significantly cheaper LDC, and got better results. It seemed to hit the right balance of bass more readily. When used on a male rock vocalist with a thin voice and very dynamic performance, the AT2035 hit the mark much better. The warm bass reproduction helped fill out the sound. The mids sounded beautiful and the highs were smooth.
The AT2035 can be used effectively on a wide range of instruments. With it’s broad, flat response, it sounds at home on acoustic instruments and pianos. It can function as a drum overhead, and it is also popular for voice work. Because of the high SPL rating, it can be used on brass instruments and electric guitar. When I miked up an amp to record rock guitars I found the 2035 sounded unfocused. Putting an SM57 in front of the amp produced much better results. Its narrower response allowed the guitar tone to sit more naturally with minimal EQ. Paired with a SM57, the AT2035 could be used to fill out the sound by covering different frequencies.
The Audio-Technica AT2035 is one of the best LDCs in the sub-$200 field. It has a good feature set, rugged construction and it is capable of performing well for a number of applications. Its warm sound is very much at home on acoustic instruments or vocals. Some users swear it outperforms much more expensive mics, although that hasn’t been my experience. In fact it’s been outperformed by cheaper mics on my set-up. It’s a good mic for the price but I would strongly suggest trying it before you buy as its response is only flattering for certain types of singers.