Frequently Asked Questions

Below are listed several frequently asked questions. Browse the list and you may find the answer to your question. If not, please contact our technical support team. We are more than happy to help.

General Questions

Wireless System Questions

Wired Microphone Questions

Headphone Questions

Camcorder Questions

Turntable Questions

Battery Questions

Wiring / Connector Questions

Can I buy products directly from Audio-Technica?

With the exception of certain spare parts and accessories, Audio-Technica does not sell its range of professional audio products directly to the end-user. Audio-Technica products are available only from authorized dealers.
Audio-Technica does sell its range of consumer headphones in Europe direct via it’s e-retail website: www.atheadphones.com.  

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What is "LINE" level and "MIC" level?

Line level refers to the typical level (strength or amplitude) of the audio signal from tape decks, CD players, VCR’s, mixers, signal processing equipment and other consumer and professional audio gear. There are two types of line level: consumer and professional. Consumer level line level is generally thought of as a signal whose level is at -10 dBV (0.316). CD players and VCR’s are examples of consumer line level equipment. Professional line level is generally thought of as a signal whose level is at +4 dBu (1.23 volts or significantly higher). Signal-processing equipment and professional mixing consoles are examples of professional line level equipment.

Mic level is the typical level (strength) of a microphone signal. Mic level is generally significantly lower than line level, although that is not always the case. Depending upon the microphone and the sound pressure level (SPL) injected into the microphone, the level may range from a few microvolts for a whisper, up to several volts for a microphone in front of a guitar cabinet.

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What does “open circuit sensitivity” mean?

Open circuit sensitivity is the microphone’s electrical voltage output for a given sound pressure input. This is tested by putting a 1kHz frequency tone at a sound pressure level of 1Pascal or 94 dB into the input of the microphone capsule with the voltage output being recorded.
The AE3000 cardioid condenser microphone has an Open Circuit Sensitivity of -43 dB (7.0 mV) re 1V at 1Pa. This means that a 1 kHz tone at a sound pressure level of 1 Pascal produces a voltage of 7.0 milivolts. The output voltage in decibels is referenced to 1 volt (dB re 1V) by using the following formula 20Log(0.007)= -43.098 dBV.

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How do I prevent feedback?

Feedback occurs when sound from a speaker is picked up by a microphone that is plugged into the system so that the signal does a full circuit of the audio system creating a tone.

  • Placing your PA speakers in front of the microphone and creating more distance between the microphone and speakers will help reduce feedback.
  • Placing microphones closer to the sound source will increase the volume into the microphone therefore the volume of the system can be reduced which in turn reduces feedback.
  • Pointing microphones to face away from speakers will also help. Cardioid or hypercardioid microphones will only pick up sound from the direction they are facing. A cardioid microphone picking sound up in a 120 degree arc and hypercardioid microphones pick sound up from 100 degrees arc so pointing the microphone away from the speaker will reduce feedback.

-When the feedback is at a particular frequency you can use an equalizer to tailor the systems and stop the feedback by turning down that frequency. Feedback eliminators are available which do a similar automatic EQ’ing of the system.

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How do I restring my AT8410a, AT8441 and AT8449 shock mounts?

A restring kit is available through the Audio-Technica Ltd service department. For instructions on how to restring the AT8410a shock mount, click here. For instructions on how to restring the AT8441 and AT8449 shock mounts, click here.

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How can I make a gooseneck microphone wireless?

There are two ways to make a wireless gooseneck microphone. The first is to purchase the U857LcW which is a screw thread mounted gooseneck microphone based on the U857AL. It has a HRS connector that can be used with any of the beltpack transmitters from our wireless systems.
The second option is to use the ATW-T1802 plug-up transmitter from the 1800 series with the ATW-R3100A receiver from the 3000 series. The T1802 can power the gooseneck microphones through the normal XLR connector as it provides the phantom power for gooseneck microphones. The T1802 can be mounted on the back of an AT8666 or AT8666RSP desk stand or at the bottom of the gooseneck microphone if it is mounted through a desk.

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How can I make a boundary microphone wireless?

There are two wireless boundary microphones available the omnidirectional U841cW and the cardioid U851cW both of which can be used with any of our beltpack transmitters.

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How do I connect a wireless system to my home stereo?

Connecting a wireless system directly to your home stereo system is not recommended, because the voltage provided by the wireless system may not be strong enough to drive the input on your home stereo system. Most home stereo system’s line level RCA inputs require a minimum voltage of 300 mV, while the balanced and unbalanced outputs on all Audio-Technica wireless systems are providing much less. We recommend that you connect the wireless system to an external mixer and then connect the mixer to the stereo. There are many mixers, including DJ mixers that work well for this application; some microphone pre-amps are also effective.

In some home stereo systems, voltage provided by the wireless system may be enough to drive the input. However, you may not be satisfied with the output level; you will probably want to connect the wireless system to an external mixer and then connect the mixer to the stereo to boost the output. If you decide to connect your wireless system directly to your home stereo system, there are many things to consider:

  • The first thing to consider is the output connector from the wireless system.
    • This is usually a 1/4 inch unbalanced output and an XLR balanced mic level output. Some receivers have a combination of output connectors.
    • Generally the mic level output is not strong enough to drive the input of a home stereo system.
    • You will probably need an adapter from 1/4 inch to whatever type input connector is on your stereo system, usually 2 RCA connectors.
    • You will need a "Y" adapter to send the mono signal from the wireless receiver to both the left and right inputs of your home stereo system. Otherwise the sound will only be present on either the right or left channels of your home stereo system.
  • The second thing to consider is where to connect the wireless system. Most systems have auxiliary inputs that you may use. Just make sure that the input is a line level input. Consult your home stereo system users manual for instructions on how to connect external devices
  • Also, you must determine if you want to use other devices connected to the home stereo at the same time as the wireless system. For example, singing through the wireless microphone while playing a CD or tape as accompaniment. Most home stereo systems will allow only one device to be played at a time. If this is a requirement you will need to connect both devices to an external mixer and then connect the mixer to the stereo. Again there are many mixers, including DJ mixers that will work well for this application.

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Why do I need a power module on my condenser microphone?

The power module attached to some condenser microphones provides several important functions. First, it converts the 11 – 52 VDC phantom power into a smaller DC bias voltage used to power the FET impedance matching circuit inside the microphone. Also, it provides low frequency roll off, supplies battery power if phantom power is not available, converts the signal to the proper impedance and balances the output. The power module is a necessary component.

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How can I use a condenser microphone without phantom power?

You can get a separate phantom power supply like the AT8801 which runs in line with the XLR cable. This unit is powered from a mains power supply and will provide phantom power for your condenser microphone.

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How do I stop my 30/40 series microphone making a humming sound?

The AT3035, AT3060, AT4033, AT4040, AT4050, AT4047 and AT4060 have three screws around the bottom of the main body which connects the “earth” path. Tighten up the three screws to stop the hum. If you are still having problems the microphone may need servicing.

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On the U891RC, what are the different cables for?

For the audio output of the microphone use the following

Red – signal negative
Yellow – signal positive
Uncoated – ground

For the contact closure use the following

Black – ground
White – remote contact
Blue – remote contact

The TA5F connector is wired as follow

Pin 1 Thick white or black cable plus thin black cable
Pin 2 Yellow cable
Pin 3 Red cable
Pin 4 Thin White cable
Pin 5 Blue cable

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Will phantom power damage a dynamic microphone?

The phantom power circuit will not be completed in modern dynamic microphones. Therefore there is no problem using dynamics with a global phantom power desk. Unlike ribbon microphones which will be damaged by phantom power.

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What is the roll-off switch on my microphone and what do the straight line and bent line at the switch mean?

This is referred to as a low-cut filter, bass roll off, low-frequency roll off or a high-pass filter. This switch enables internal circuitry that filters frequencies from the audio signal below the specified frequency. Enabling this switch can help filter out sounds in the low frequency range such as HVAC rumbles and certain wind sounds (in an outdoor application). Please note this filter does not completely cut all low frequencies. The straight line means that nothing is being filtered; the bent line means the filters are enabled.

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What are the differences between the ATM350 and the PRO35?

The major differences are as follows

The ATM350 has a fuller frequency response of 40Hz – 20KHz, the PRO35 have a frequency response of 50Hz – 15KHz
The ATM350 has a larger dynamic range of 122dB to the PRO35 dynamic range of 115dB.
The ATM350 also has a higher SPL (loudness) rating of 149dB, the PRO35’s maximum SPL is 145dB
The ATM350 also has inter-changeable elements so you can purchase hypercardioid and omnidirectional is also comes with the AT8468 Velcro violin mount.

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How do I connect a microphone to my computer?

There are many factors to consider when connecting a professional microphone to a computer. The two most important are:

  • What type of interface will be used to connect the microphone to the computer?
  • What type of microphone will be used and what are the specifications for that mic?

Interfaces
Interfaces will generally fall into one of two categories, internal (sound card) or external. The external interfaces are specifically designed for connecting professional microphones and / or instruments to a computer system and are by far the easiest to use. These external devices will connect to the computer via a USB port, Firewire or an internal card on the PC designed for this purpose. The external interfaces usually provide other features such as pre-amps and phantom power. Audio-Technica does not manufacture an external interface. For this discussion external interfaces will not be discussed in detail.

The most common type of interface found on the computer is the internal sound card. Although there are many brands and configurations of sound cards, most will have a 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) mic input and possibly a 3.5 mm line input. The line input is designed for use with CD players, tape decks and other consumer audio devices; it is not suitable for connecting a microphone. The 3.5 mm mic input is usually a "TRS" (Tip, Ring and Sleeve) sometimes called a stereo connector, although sometimes this may be a "mono" connector that has only the "Tip and "Sleeve". In both configurations the "Tip" will carry the audio signal and the "Sleeve" is the ground connection. On the "TRS" connection the "Ring" portion is often used to carry a low DC voltage (bias voltage) for powering a computer microphone. Consult your sound card documentation or computer manufacturer to determine the types and configuration of connector and the bias voltage that is provided.

Microphones
Most microphones can be placed in to one of two categories: dynamic and condenser. See our Brief Guide to Microphones for a detailed description of these two microphone types; for our discussion here, it is enough to remember that a condenser microphone needs power and a dynamic does not. Because of the power requirements, connecting a condenser microphone to a sound card is much more difficult than connecting a dynamic microphone. Some condenser microphones need phantom power to provide power for a small internal pre-amplifier; other condenser mics offer the option of using either an internal battery or phantom power. Phantom power is in the range of 9V DC to 52V DC and is not available on a typical sound card. Other microphones need bias voltage -- usually between 3V DC and 9V DC-- to power internal circuitry. Some internal sound cards are capable of providing bias voltage; to learn more about this option consult your sound card owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for instructions.

Other Considerations

  • Signal level
    Professional microphones produce a very weak electrical signal, usually much less than is needed by the audio input of most sound cards. This will manifest itself in a very low level when recording the microphone or low volume when outputting the microphone to a speaker. In order to compensate for discrepancy in signal, either the signal for the microphone must be boosted with an external device such as a pre-amplifier, or the sensitivity of the sound card can be increased. This is accomplished by adjusting the gain via the computer's software programs. Again, consult your computer or sound card owner's manual or contact the manufacturer for instructions.
    • Impedance - Impedance is the total passive opposition offered to the flow of electric current and is measured in "ohms". Professional microphones usually have an output impedance of 600 ohms or less; most sound card have a higher input impedance (up to 2000 ohms). The amount of signal transferred from the microphone to the sound card can be greatly reduced if the output impedance of the microphone is greater than input impedance of the sound card. This is usually not the case, but consult your sound card documentation and the microphone specifications to make sure that the output impedance of the microphone is less than the input impedance of the sound card.
    • Cable length - The microphone cable should be as short as possible (15 feet or less). The reason for this is that most professional microphones have balanced outputs while sound card inputs are unbalanced. The unbalanced input could allow electromagnetic interference to be introduced into the signal if a longer cable is used.
  • Making the Connection
    The professional microphone usually has a 3-pin XLR-type output connecter to allow for microphone cables of varying lengths, although some microphones have a cable hard-wired to the mic. In either case, the connection at the end of the cable will probably not match the input of the sound card—most commonly a 3.5 mm input. The microphone cable’s output connector will be either an XLR-type, 1/4" or 1/8" (3.5 mm) connecter. To connect the XLR and 1/4" connectors to the sound card, a special cable will need to be purchased or made; adapters are also available commercially.
  • Connecting a professional microphone to a Macintosh computer
    Most Macintosh computers have one audio input which is a stereo 3.5 mm input. This input requires a 100 millivolt input that no standard microphone can provide. In this case an external pre-amp is required.
    Some Macintosh computers have a special four-conductor input that will allow the computer to determine if the connected device is mono or stereo. Please note this is a non-standard jack and is longer than the standard 3.5 mm connector, although a standard 3.5 mm connector will work. Again, an external pre-amp is required.
    Other Macintosh computers do not have an audio interface. In this case, an external USB audio interface device is necessary to make the microphone connection.

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How do I change the computers microphone level?

You will need to use the pink microphone input on your computer. To set the microphone input level go to "Start" "Settings" "Control panel" "Sound and audio device" select the "Audio" tab, under the sound recording section press "Volume". Go "options" "properties" "recording" make sure the microphone option is also selected. Again under "options" make sure the advance controls are "selected" after which you should have under the microphone volume fader an "advanced" button select this and there you can set a "mic boost" to the volume of the microphone. Some computer sound card have there own control system. Please refer to the manufactures manual for controlling different audio managers.

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How do I replace the ear pads on the ATH-M40 and ATH-D40 headphones?

The ear pads for the ATH-M40 and ATH-D40 can be purchased through any Audio Technica dealer. The part number is FS-M40PAD for both headphones. To remove the old pads place your finger under the inside of the pad and pull diagonally out and up away from the headphone working the lose pad all the way around the ear cup. To put the new pad in place, use a flat headed screw driver under the lip of the pad taking care not to damage the pad and work it over the top of the headphone then into the gap.

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How do I make your microphone work with my camcorder?

Connecting an Audio-Technical microphone to a camcorder can greatly enhance the audio quality of the recording. When connecting an Audio-Technica microphone to a camcorder, there are many variables to consider in both the camcorder and the microphone. Please be prepared to read the users manual for the camcorder and / or to contact the camcorder manufacturer for configuration and accessories. Below are listed several things to consider.

  • Does the camcorder allow for an external microphone connection? Not all camcorders do; consult the user manual for the camcorder and / or contact the camcorder manufacturer for this information.
  • What type of input connector(s) does the camcorder have? Camcorders are available with a variety of different connectors, including 3 pin XLR, 1/4" mono, 1/4" stereo, 1/8" mono or 1/8" stereo.
  • What type of output connector(s) does the microphone have? Microphones are available with a variety of connectors, including 3 pin XLR, 1/4"mono, or 1/8" mono. Also, if the microphone is stereo it may have 2-3 pin XLR, 2- 1/8" mono or a 1/8" stereo connector.
  • Does the camcorder accept a mono or stereo connection? Connecting a single mono microphone to a camera with stereo inputs could be a bit complicated. Some camcorders allow you to assign one of its inputs to both left and right cannels; consult the user's manual for the camcorder and / or contact the camcorder manufacturer for this information. If the camcorder does not provide this function, then an adapter that splits the signal will be necessary.
  • Is an adapter necessary? If the input of the camcorder and the output of the microphone are different, then some type of adapter is necessary. Consult the user manual for the camcorder and / or contact the camcorder manufacturer for this information.

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How do I record a vinyl record from a turntable to my computer?

Both the AT-PL120 or ATH-PL50 turntables can be plugged into the computers line input via the line output from the turntable. You can record into your music onto your computer using Audacity, a free open source download for sound recording and editing. 

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Which batteries should I use with my wireless system?

Alkaline batteries are the best selection for the price, giving a 10mW transmitter 8 to 10 hours operation time. Be certain to purchase genuine brand name batteries from a reputable retailer as some batteries can be fraudulent.

Lithium batteries provide approximately 24 hour of wireless use but at eight times the cost of an alkaline battery. A lithium battery also performs better at lower temperatures that an alkaline battery.

For rechargeable batteries select nickel metal hydride, marked NiMH or NH they give a wireless system an operation time of up to 6 hours.
Rechargeable nickel cadmium or NI-CAD batteries are not recommended as they generally supply low voltages and give less than an hours wireless use. They also suffer from a memory affect causing the battery to not recharge fully unless it fully discharged.

It is not recommended that you use zinc-carbon batteries as they lose power as soon they are made and are susceptible to leaking.
To maximize battery life, turn off the wireless transmitters when it is not in use. Battery power is the same whether audio is being transmitted or not. High humidity shortens battery life significantly. Lower voltage batteries will result in significantly reduced transmitter power / range of the wireless system and create audio distortion.

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Should I remove the batteries when using phantom power?

It is not necessary to remove the battery when using phantom power. When phantom power is present, the batteries are not used. Keeping the batteries installed while using phantom power, although not necessary, is a good practice. If for some reason phantom power is dropped during operation, the batteries will take over and provide the needed power.

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On the wireless belt-packs what are the 4 input pins on the HRS connector?

Pin 1 - Ground
Pin 2 - High Z (instrument)
Pin 3 - Low Z (mic)
Pin 4 - Bias voltage

**Please note **
When wiring a microphone connect both Pin 1 and Pin 2 to shield. When wiring an instrument connect both Pin 1 and Pin 3 to shield.

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How is the TA3F / mini XLR wired for power modules?

Pin 1 - Ground - Shield
Pin 2 - Audio - 2 twisted yellow wires
Pin 3 - Bias voltage - 2 twisted red wires

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How do you unbalance a balanced audio line so you can drive an unbalanced input?

Balanced connectors are usually 3-pin XLR connectors in which Pin 1 is ground, Pin 2 is audio positive (also called Hot), and Pin 3 is audio negative (also called Cold). Balanced connectors may also be a 3 conductor TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) connector where Tip is audio positive, Ring is audio negative and Sleeve is ground. Unbalanced connectors are usually TS (Tip Sleeve) connectors; Tip is the audio signal and Sleeve is ground.

Whenever possible use a balanced line to protect against electromagnetic interference. If the balanced line must be converted to unbalanced an adapter or cable should be purchased or made. This adapter (or cable) connects audio positive of the balanced signal to the "hot" pin (Tip) of the unbalanced signal connector and connects audio negative of the balanced signal to the "ground" pin (Sleeve) of the unbalanced connector. The shield of the balanced signal is connected to the "ground" pin (Sleeve) of the unbalanced connector. Unbalanced cables can pick up electromagnetic interference particularly at distances. To preserve sound quality, use the shortest cable possible. If a long cable is necessary an isolation transformer should be used.

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What is phantom power? How is it provided to the XLR input?

Phantom power is DC voltage sent down the microphone cable to power the preamplifier of a condenser mic capsule - sometimes through a power module. The power module attached to the microphone unit converts the 9 - 52VDC into a small bias voltage that the microphone capsule needs to operate.

A balanced mic cable has three conductors; Pin 1 is ground, Pin 2 is audio positive, and Pin 3 is audio negative. Most microphones produce a positive voltage on Pin 2 when sound pressure is applied to the diaphragm.

Phantom power is 9 - 52VDC applied across Pin 1 and Pin 2 - and at the same time applied across Pin 1 and Pin 3. The term 'phantom power' was assigned because if you take a measurement across the two audio lines - Pin 2 and Pin 3 - you find 0 Volts DC. The voltage does not affect the mic signal.

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Which pin is "hot" and which pin supplies phantom power?

A balanced mic cable has three conductors; Pin 1 is ground, Pin 2 is audio positive (also called Hot), and Pin 3 is audio negative (also called Cold). Most microphones produce a positive voltage on Pin 2 when sound pressure is applied to the diaphragm.

Phantom power is 9 - 52VDC applied across Pin1 and Pin 2 - and at the same time applied across Pin 1 and Pin 3. The term 'phantom power' was assigned because if you take a measurement across the two audio lines - Pin 2 and Pin 3 - you find 0 Volts DC. The voltage does not affect the mic signal.

Keep in mind that all three balanced microphone cable conductors are needed for phantom power to reach the microphone. If one or more conductors in the cable (or at the XLR plugs) are broken or intermittent, phantom power will be compromised and the mic will not work.

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