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[Editor’s note – we recently sent the horn-infused Boston-based band The Macrotones on the road to test out the new ATM350a mic systems from Audio-Technica. They documented their experiences on social media, and were kind enough to write up this final testimonial after performing with the mics live for a few weeks.]
I had a clip-on mic for my trombone years ago. It wasn’t the Audio-Technica ATM350a. The gooseneck was floppy. It never securely clamped onto the bell. I had to rig up a system with duct tape to make sure the cord didn’t get yanked out. It always picked up ambient noise and maintained a steady hum. It made my tone brittle and abrasive. Soundguys hated it. I quit using it and never went back.
The Audio-Technica ATM350a is the opposite of all of this. The gooseneck is firm and keeps its shape however you angle it. The clamp has a screw system that keeps it secure on your bell. The cord is neatly clipped into the gooseneck. The sound is perfect and requires little else than plug-and-play. Two gigs (and a few rehearsals) so far and the soundguys love it. My afrofunk band’s horn section (The Macrotones) will now be using these exclusively moving forward.
The ATM350a has a cardioid condenser mic that can be used for woodwinds, strings, brass, percussion, drums, and piano – both on stage and in the studio. The design reduces side and rear pickup and protects against feedback, which we’re very appreciative of as a live band. It even has switchable 80 Hz hi-pass filter (for low frequency roll-off) if you do start picking up ambient noise, though I haven’t had to use it yet.
With a maximum SPL of 149dB and a frequency response ranging from 40Hz to 20kHz, the mic is extremely versatile (we’re using them for bari sax, tenor sax, trombone, and trumpet). It takes phantom power, so no need to clip anything on your belt or set up a separate power source. Just engage the +48 button on your mixer or audio interface and you’re good to go. It even comes with a fairly rugged case, though don’t bury it under mounds of gear.
The only source of concern we’ve noticed so far is the length of the goosenecks. But thankfully they come in two sizes, so be sure to get whichever fits your instrument best and you’ll be all set. Overall, the Audio-Technica ATM350a gets The Macrotones’ glowing recommendation.
-Nate Leskovic, trombonist for the Macrotones