Item: Audio-Technica AT2020 Studio Condenser Microphone
Price: £79 (UK), $99 (US)
Quick Singer Assessment:
For under $100 it is hard to believe how good the AT2020 is. If you are looking for a budget microphone to record vocals on at home it should be top of your list for mics to audition.
At a Glance
The AT2020 is an entry-level studio condenser microphone from Japanese audio equipment manufacturer Audio-Technica. It is ideally suited for recording vocals and acoustic instruments in a home studio setting and comes with a basic stand mount and soft vinyl case. It has a fixed cardioid polar pattern and requires phantom power from your recording interface / preamplifier.
Considering the relatively low cost of the microphone it performs well when recording vocals, proving a flattering low-mid peak with a pleasant high frequency boost that adds air to recordings. The AT2020 also has a flat enough response over a wide frequency spectrum to make it capable of producing decent results on acoustic guitar or other instruments as well. Its off-axis rejection is particularly good, which is useful if, for example, you want to keep computer noise out of your recordings as much as possible. The AT2020 has a smaller diaphragm than most typical large-diaphragm condenser mics, however it still produces a warm and full sound that helps flatter vocals.
The included stand mount holds the mic firmly in place, however it is no replacement for a full shock-mount as it is quite prone to noise from external vibrations. Compared to higher end studio mics the AT2020’s noise level is slightly higher than many, however it is certainly useable in most situations and unlikely to cause any issues on close-mic’d vocal recordings.
Audio-Savvy Reviewer Says…
The AT2020 represents great value for money for people looking at buying their first studio microphone. Its sound is nicely balanced and the whole unit feels solidly constructed. The AT2020 will need phantom power to operate, however Audio-Technica also produce a USB version if you do not have an interface and preamp. Overall this in an impressive microphone for the money – you’d have to much more on other mics to get a substantial jump in quality. – Chris Kennedy
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.audio-technica.com
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Chris Kennedy is a songwriter, producer multi-instrumentalist and freelance journalist from the UK. He has performed extensively over Europe and written and produced over a dozen albums. Chris also has a passion for music technology and was the principal product reviewer and tech expert of the original Voice Council magazine.