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Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone
- The price/performance standard in side-address studio condenser microphone technology
- Ideal for project/home-studio applications
- High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility
- Custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response
- Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of desired sound source
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Audio-Technica’s stringent quality and consistency standards set the AT2020 apart from other mics in its class. Its low-mass diaphragm is custom-engineered for extended frequency response and superior transient response. With rugged construction for durable performance, the microphone offers a wide dynamic range and handles high SPLs with ease. The AT2020: the new standard for affordable side-address studio condensers.
Top Customer Reviews
I've owned and used so many mics and brands through the years that I can't remember them all, but I can I say I've never had a bad A-T. 4033's, 4050's and 4080's I use every week and have for years, the 4033 going back to the mid 90's and the 2020 is just a lower priced electret condenser from the A-T family. You have no idea the % of recordings that you're hearing this brand on, it's used by almost every studio on every continent, I work in the US, Italy to Scotland and can attest to this. But first let me tell you, very simply, where the negative reviewers went wrong.
This is a XLR connection phantom powered mic, which is pro and best. So it requires a phantom powered XLR input, which all pro equipment provides and is also standard on most home recording audio interfaces. Which you should really purchase along with this, if you haven't already, because for around $100 you'll improve your recording and playback and have a preamp and monitoring, you'll find one by searching audio interfaces. I have a Roland TRI CAPTURE Audio Interface and a Focusrite I use just for playback in my office and den but they work well and you don't need Avid HD's to get started. Audio interface is just another name for an external sound card but will provide the proper input and gain meter. Getting your interface away from the electronically noisy computer has been SOP since the dawn of digital. I see that small USB mixers are available, which would be another option. Don't try an adapter on it, it won't work, as this needs power through the cord to charge the field effect transistor, but power supplies are available and after that adapt however you want. It doesn't come with the cord, what a surprise! Quality cords will cost about half the price of this, but a $15 version will probably do for most.
It doesn't come with a shock mount but you can purchase one if you like. Work with it, you may not need one and the recorded vibrations rumbling will tell you that you do. You'll need a windscreen and a popper stopper type Shure Popper Stopper Pop Filter is the usual, but I can also recommend using 2 large $1.49 foam screens with the top cut from one as this mic is side address and you will need to cover the entire screen. This isn't about being cheap, there are times that the goosenecks are very inconvenient and don't work at strange angles and you'll probably always need one or the other.
This does not come with a stand, so pick up a boom stand if you don't have one and pay no attention that the negative reviewers will tell you they tip over, 18 wheelers also tip over. Recommended Use a sandbag or whatever on the leg opposite the mic or remove the boom and top portion and slide on a barbell weight and put it back together or create a proper counterweight where they've put a faux plastic one. If it's possible, you could mount a boom from the ceiling and run the cable on hooks, eliminating vibration from the floor while keeping the cable out the way Microphone Flange Male. For desktop users, here's what I'd do. Using large Command strips and Velcro I'd fasten this to the desk Adjustable Desk Microphone Stand and attach this Telescoping Mini-Boom Here's another option MXL Mics MXL-BCD-STAND Understand that recording has progressed by meeting needs and experimenting, if you need something figure it out, your clean, quiet recording is proof that it works.
I can't justify comparing this to my $500 to $4000 mics like it but if there is a better value buy it. The price of this microphone wouldn't have bought a case for most of my condensers. It sure beats most non electret, electrostatic DC bias or dynamic style mics. The 2020 is certainly an entry level professional mic and in many situations could be substituted for a 4033 without issue. Also individual mics have a sound, of the eight 4033's I have, I prefer 3 of them and use them the most. So when reviewers say it's bright, I say compared to what? I can tell you what it sounds like.....KA-CHING! a great sound in audio recording. Uh huh, I know of one professional recording it's on and the client was clueless that I used an under $100 mic. Think about it, would this be as good as what was used 40 years ago? Have you heard good 70's recordings? Anyone purchasing equipment because it "sounds" better ought to have earned enough to slap down cash to pay for it. Lot's of reviewers have opinions about this mic so don't ignore them, but ask yourself this, do they have formal training and experience with 200 different mics in many studios and are they using expensive gear from their console to their monitors to reveal its true capabilities? Any noticeable increase in sound quality might cost $400 and won't be half of what you'll achieve by improving your recording technique.
This type of mic is excellent for overhead, acoustics, amps or brass and of course vocals, really most recording needs, having a less uni and more omni, cardioid directional pattern than stage mics hyper pattern it's better suited to recording. Just understand that you can't get too loud near it or you'll overdrive it since it's designed for up to screaming vocals, so back off with loud amps and brass, which also means you need a quiet place for recording because it'll pick up your AC ducts and your neighbor's TV. That, is a good thing, what's bad is you trying to do good recording in a noisy environment, so don't blame a mic for your extraneous room noise. You can't just use a different microphone or noise gates or processors of any kind, just quiet, anything else is a pail on a sinking ship because this is an acoustical, rather than electronic, signal to noise ratio. A 10db pad will reduce output but doesn't affect the diaphragm and its input and acoustical foam won't help, that's not even its purpose, I suggest reading this on acoustics and foam, music.tutsplus dot com/tutorials/beginners-guide-to-acoustic-treatment--audio-1274 (just replace the [dot]). Turn off your heat/air, be careful of headphone bleed and do your recording between 3 and 5 AM, when the world's a quieter place and that will really help, you'll likely hear how loud your computer fans are. You can get underground in your basement or build blanket walls, or buy used office partitions but you need quiet, I've known acoustic players who've worn gas masks to cut the sound of their breathing. If this is what your budget allows for it's an excellent first step into recording and this type of mic and likely this brand would be my first choice for a first recording mic no matter the cost. I keep saying "this type of mic" and the reason why is because A-T sells 14 models like this style up to $3000. This model is the lowest priced but you're buying a reputable brand. If your future plans include using only one mic, without the ability to use any traditional recording hardware, you can look here. Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone Or here Audio Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser Microphone w/Pop Filter This is not my advice, you will also lose the higher quality playback and the supplied recording software that comes with an interface. This model is not USB.
Now pay no attention to the descriptions of how it sounds, I won't tell you because how it sounds to me on my system won't apply to you and your system and that goes for all audio, descriptions are worthless, only unplugging one piece of gear for another matters. This is important, all audio equipment either accurately reproduces or doesn't, the recording cannot sound better than the source, so a microphone can only reproduce sound more or less accurate than a different microphone. Accurate or inaccurate, not good or bad, there's a difference. It's during the mix that you make it better or different from the original sound. Apply these same thoughts to your home stereo, saying instead, playback cannot sound better than the recording and that's why accuracy is important in your monitors.
So search out any info you don't understand and don't expect to be a competent engineer without years of schooling, training and having worked in a professional setting. If you're lucky like I was, after 1 year of tech school I worked on site repair (studios often need PT) and apprenticed while continuing my education for the next 3, then after 3 years of work (TV) with another year of school I became a studio owner. Real recording involves a facility, equipment and techniques as involved as a surgeon in a hospital. So study electronics, acoustics, the auditory cortex, everything audio, train yourself to hear the smallest sounds all day, it never stops. When making any purchases I recommend reading and research and realize this is a tool and because you can buy a tool doesn't mean you're educated in its use. So yes, I also don't recommend buying a scalpel and trying surgery on your little brother, unless.....But everyone of us started somewhere so get some equipment and start recording, quit all that sleeping, eating and other unnecessary activities and just read and record! Just short sessions at a real studio will also open your eyes and be educational and some will allow you to just stop in and talk, I have. So keep up the research because no man knows it all and I'm just here to help you out. If you need a good, small, inexpensive stereo amp check this one out. Topping TP22 Digital Mini Amplifier
I've posted a comment that might be helpful if you want a mic for uses other than recording.
In terms of condenser mics, the only other one that matches this guy for the price is the MXL 990. I would say the 2020 has a warmer reproduction.
As for quality, ive dropped this mic a couple times ( i know, thats a no-no for condenser mics) and it still works perfectly fine, my MXL 990 broke on the first drop.
I bought the microphone in 2010(for $65 on Amazon), and worked it nonstop since then. The microphone has been sat on and dropped multiple times. The rail body on the microphone was crushed inwards a bit, but the quality of the recordings never failed! (It really is "built like a tank" like many said, and does last long.)
I noticed that a lot of reviewers are making statements about the best microphone within the $100/$500 budget and naming all sorts of microphones as better solutions. I personally have tried all of the entry level MXL condensers, Sterling Audio, Studio Projects, etc. From all of those options, I do enjoy the AT-2020 best because of the "lack of characteristic" (Although it is a bit on the brighter side compared to many other microphones, considering) and it's clarity. You can record just about anything on this microphone, like a multi-purpose tool. (On a side note, my opinion of the best microphone under a $500 budget is the Avantone CV-12.) After purchasing this microphone, this has been my "go-to" microphone whenever I'm drafting a sketch or laying down demo recordings to share and keep as reference. Its less time consuming to set up with the audio interface than setting up the tube condensers with external power sources and power conditioners and then cleaning up afterwards to store them. The fact that this mic is built so well and comes with a minimal "leather" pouch, lets me just carry this in my backpack without having to worry about it getting crushed or destroyed. In my opinion, this is the best microphone for beginners who wants to record their own material. I would recommend this XLR version of the AT-2020 rather than the USB version, because once you have an audio interface, you can just switch to a better XLR condenser as an upgrade. An entry level interface would go well with this microphone. My first interface with this microphone was the PreSonus Audiobox USB.
I lowered the quality of the video in order to upload it onto this review, so if you want to check it out in a better quality or download the original file, go look for "haramshin" on YouTube.
The song is a cover of Officially Missing You by Tamia and its remixed with a Korean (Hip-Hop) remake by Geeks. I recorded this as a beginner in recording and mixing as a project for an intro tech class, so do excuse it's quality. I just thought it would be nice to share a video/audio in relation of the product. I like watching video reviews myself as they are a lot more than words and simple descriptions.
For all those who are starting out to record in their "home studios", please invest in acoustic treatments before being eager to buy equipments.
No, external preamps will not make your microphone sound heavenly especially when you just record in your living room or dorm room.
If you're just starting out to record and mix, you won't hear the difference anyways. Please do not go on a spontaneous shopping spree.
Spending thousands on gear will not matter if you cannot mix, and do not have a proper acoustically treated place to record and mix.
Hopefully this helped!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
10/10, Would definitely recommend
Just don't forget to buy a proper cable and a stand.