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Author Topic: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service  (Read 2543 times)

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Offline DSatz

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Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« on: May 02, 2019, 07:07:20 PM »
Hi. As a not-completely-retired-yet independent recording engineer, in various situations I use a variety of different microphones, not quite all of which (gasp!) are from Schoeps.

I recently bought a used Audio-Technica BP4029 (short stereo shotgun) that I thought might be useful for some documentary video work that I'll be doing soon. It's only for room sound; the main mike will be a lavalier. Whatever stereo I record in the room, I'll drop the lavalier track into it. M/S or ORTF using Schoeps mikes are also possibilities.

When I powered up the mike and listened to its output through a preamp and headphones, it didn't seem right; the stereo image that I expected just didn't seem to be there. I futzed around for about twenty minutes and still couldn't be sure what was happening.

So I packed up the mike and shipped it to A-T's U.S. headquarters in Ohio. They have a deal by which, if you ship an item to their service department via UPS overnight, they'll give it next-day service if they can. And that seems to be "for real". I sent the mike in on Tuesday; today is Thursday, and FedEx just notified me that it's on its way back to me already.

I was told that my mike passed QC without any evident need for repair. Seeing that I'd paid for the expensive overnight service, they reduced their charges to an absolute minimum, i.e. zero. I spoke on the phone with the tech who'd handled the repair; to my pleasure and astonishment, she didn't try to bullshit me even once during the entire conversation. I worked as a repair technician for a while in the early 1980s; bullshitting the customer is endemic to that profession (in case you got that feeling but weren't completely sure).

So I would like to put in a good word for their service operation. I mean, I think well of the company as a whole--they have a very high level of engineering competency, and their technical literature is well-edited and well-produced (something that I care a lot about personally). But good after-sales service is one of the real hallmarks of a company that wants to attract and keep customers for the long haul, and I just wanted to acknowledge theirs in a public way.

--best regards
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 12:27:26 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2019, 07:47:28 PM »
so the service was good but at the end of the day the mic isnt good for your application? what was 'wrong' with it relative to what you were expecting?
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Offline heathen

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 08:05:33 PM »
From the first mic I ever used to mics I still use regularly, I'm definitely an Audio-Technica fan.  Even though AT gets some props around here, I think they're still underrated.  Good to hear that their customer service is high quality too.
Recordings on LMA: https://archive.org/search.php?query=taper%3A%22Lucas+Lorenz%22
Mics: AT4031 | AT853 (C/SC) | Line Audio CM3 | Sennheiser e614 | Sennheiser MKE2 | DPA 4061 | CA-14 omni Pre: CA9200 Decks: Zoom F8 | Roland R-05

Offline noahbickart

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 11:47:54 PM »
Dsatz reminds us of an often ignored truth.

While, obviously, the primary consideration is sonic quality, there are lots of non, purely audio reasons to buy particular brands of gear.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 01:01:18 AM »
jerryfreak, my perception when I tested the mike was that it was putting out a mono or almost-mono signal in both channels when set to either of its L/R stereo modes ("wide" or "narrow").

I suspected that the "S" channel microphone (or its circuit path through the built-in matrix) wasn't working, or that perhaps only one side of "S" was working, on the assumption that it uses a pair of back-to-back cardioid elements to generate the figure-8 pattern (a common design for such microphones, and the tech confirmed on the phone that the BP4029 shares it. -- For funsies, attached is a photo of the capsule arrangement in a Neumann RSM 191 stereo shotgun. Yes, there's a physical offset along the axis of the shotgun, equivalent to a full sound wavelength near the top of the audio frequency range--and no, I don't know why that wouldn't be a problem).

In M/S mode the mike was putting out signals from both channels, but when I dematrixed them to L/R stereo externally, they still didn't sound like stereo; I couldn't localize any sound sources around the microphone.

I thought I knew what to expect. This isn't the only stereo shotgun mike that I've owned or used. I've also piggybacked an MK 8 or a CCM 8 on top of a Schoeps CMIT a time or two for M/S recording.

But now that the mike is known to be in good working order, I'll try to listen again with fresh ears. I'll also record some samples and look at their waveforms in Adobe Audition. And I'll recheck the spec sheets to make sure that A-T uses the same pin assignments that the rest of the world uses for stereo audio on an XLR-5 connector.

But first, I'm going to bed.

--best regards

Edited later to add: R.I.P. Peter Mayhew

Edited even later to add: Yes, A-T uses the standard XLR-5M pin assignments; see below.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 02:59:03 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline yug du nord

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 09:31:36 AM »
7' 2" and magnificent.
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Offline lsd2525

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 11:12:34 AM »
She did a repair on one of my AT4041's, and also checked the other one to make sure it was within spec. Super quick, super reasonable and great communication. She even checked to see if they had any 853 subcard caps laying around.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 02:06:58 PM by lsd2525 »
Mics: SKM184's; ADK A51s; AT4041; Line CM3; Superlux S502; CK91 active w/homebrew BB; AT853; Naiant X-X; Nak 300's
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Offline MakersMarc

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2019, 11:57:37 AM »
Dsatz reminds us of an often ignored truth.

While, obviously, the primary consideration is sonic quality, there are lots of non, purely audio reasons to buy particular brands of gear.

Ditto for this. I own  Schoeps instead of DPA because of 1) poor active cable quality, 2) poor and expensive customer service.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2019, 01:41:12 PM »
The mike is back. This time I had no difficulty tracking a moving sound source from left to right and back again, using the same preamp and headphones as before. I also saw appropriate level differences between the output channels.

There must be some unpublicized corollary to Murphy's Law that explains why I got the wrong impression and sent the mike in for service. But at the moment, I can't think of a concise way of stating it.

I already claim one such corollary as my own; this one is up for grabs.
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline mandodon

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2019, 04:28:15 PM »
I bought a used AT4033 and shockmount. The shockmount elastics needed replacing so I called AT to order them. The guy who answered the phone took my name and address and sent them to me for free. Great to know that wasn't an isolated incident--sounds like the people who work for AT have the power to do whatever they think will make us customers for life.

Offline illconditioned

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Re: Some praise for Audio-Technica US service
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2019, 06:45:29 PM »
Thanks for the post.
Some good service (for a change).
Thanks for the picture of the innards of the Neumann mic.Wonder what capsules are inside the AT, and also Sennheiser stereo shotgun.

  Richard
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 06:47:04 PM by illconditioned »
Please DO NOT mail me with tech questions.  I will try to answer in the forums when I get a chance.  Thanks.

Sample recordings at: http://www.soundmann.com.

 

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