What do the symbols mean on my Audio-Technica Microphone? (Part 1 – Low Cut & Pad)
Answer: User-adjustable switches on your Audio-Technica microphone create a flexible range of functions which meet the needs of various applications. These functions span from the pickup pattern of the microphone element(s) to using tools to filter out lower frequencies. These tools may include frequency filters and volume attenuators (pads). Switches can be found on the microphones themselves or on external devices such as power modules or in-line adapters.
This will be a three-part series looking at what the different symbols mean on your Audio-Technica microphone. This week, we’ll begin with Low Cut and Pad (Attenuators). (Feel free to click the hyperlinked words below for additional information from our online Glossary.)
Low Cut (aka Low Frequency Roll-Off and High-Pass Filter)
Filters or cuts out lower frequencies, usually 80 Hz and below or 100 Hz and below. These frequencies are often the same ones associated with ambient room noise, HVAC, and low rumbles. The Low Cut switch is engaged with the symbol of the bent line which represents the roll-off of a frequency curve. The Low Cut switch is disengaged with the symbol of a straight line which represents the flat (or unaltered) frequency curve.
A Pad or Attenuator will reduce the signal. It is often found on condenser microphones and used to step down the output signal if you have an extremely loud source. These steps commonly occur in increments of 10 dB, labeled as 0 dB, -10 dB, -20 dB, etc. The 0 dB symbol indicates that the Pad is not engaged and the signal is unaltered.
For mics that don’t have built-in Attenuators, in-line adapters, such as the AT8202, are available that attenuate the audio from the microphone and prevent input overload of mixing consoles and other electronics. The AT8202 has three attenuation steps: -10dB, -20dB, and -30dB.
Your microphone will perform at its best when it’s employed as an audio engineer’s tool, with its features utilized to the fullest. Understanding how to select, place, and set your microphone is important for properly capturing a sound source.
We hope this answered some questions you have, and as always, our Audio Solutions Department is here to help should you have any additional questions. And remember to check back next week for the next installment of this series when we look at Pickup Pattern Symbols with another “Question of the Week”!