My Unbiased Review Of Audio-Technica AT2020USB

As the Era of desktop mic gradually draws to a close, the USB microphone is fast gaining ground. It is quickly replacing the traditional studio equipment which usually carries a hefty price tag. Audio-Technica is a front runner and has brought with it years of studio experience into the new USB microphone. The audio Technica AT2020USB microphone improves your desktop audio quality without the need for a mixing desk. It’s one of the best USB microphones available in the market & is very simple and easy to use. It works well with Mac and PCs. It is a great audio enhancer for voice over, podcast, webinars as well as Skype and Google hangouts. It delivers a sound quality that is superior to other microphones in its price range.

Audio-Technica AT2020USB

Features of the Audio Technica AT2020USB

Quality design

The AT2020USB microphone is made from metal to be durable. It feels sturdy and will not crack if it falls or takes a hit. It has a low mass custom-engineered diaphragm for longer frequency response and premium fleeting response. It is compact and nothing sticks out of it that can be broken. The capsule is tucked safely behind a metal grille. It has a black iodized finish to it. The USB connector is directly on the bottom of the microphone and stays on tightly. It is hard to detach or bend. It comes with a 10ft USB cable that you can plug into your computer or recording equipment. All you need to do is connect it to your computer, adjust the sound levels and you’re good to go.

Along with the microphone is a simple tripod stand for sitting on a table while you talk. The legs of the tripod stand fold in and out and has a knob to allow you to adjust the angle of the microphone. It also comes with a pivoted threaded stand mount for secure attachment and meticulous placement of the microphone. On the product packaging, it is indicated that it includes an exclusive podcast sound set. The podcast sound set is a downloadable sound bank with loops and sound effects. There is a code in the box which acts as a key for you to download it.

Also included in the box is a handy pouch and a user manual. The zipped pouch is padded and made from durable leather-like material. The pouch holds in the microphone, the tripod stand and the USB cable. It ends up tight when you put the items in it. The user manual carries operating instructions and illustrations with some details on how to set up and use with a Mac.

The audio Technica AT2020USB microphone weighs 12.1 oz (345 g) and has a dimension of 6.38 x 2.05 inches. The Output Connector is Integral 3-pin XLRM-type.

Audio output. 

Let’s get the specifications and technicalities out of the way. The AT2020USB microphone has a fixed-charge backplate and permanently polarized condenser element. With a cardioid polar pattern, it has a frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz and an open circuit sensitivity of –37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V at 1 PA. It has a maximum input sound level of 144 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D. The dynamic range is 124 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL and impedance is 100 ohms. Signal-to-Noise ratio is 74 dB, 1 kHz at 1 PA and the Phantom Power Requirement is 48V DC, 2 mA typical.

The microphone is extremely sensitive. It can pick up any ambient noise or taps from a keyboard. For this reason, it can only be optimally utilized in a studio or your private room where you can control the ambiance.  It has low self-noise. When you are working with a microphone there’s a hiss you’d notice, that’s the microphone picking up a sort of hum due to its sensitivity.

The sound quality is fantastic. You do not have to speak directly into the mic for it to pick up sounds. At about two feet or more away it works fine. The audio quality is a vast improvement from that recorded with a built-in microphone or a webcam. The vocals are a lot clearer, detailed and sound more natural as well.

If you turn away from the camera you will experience an audio shift. This is due to the cardioid recording polar pattern. It picks up every sound in the triangular area in front of it. If you turn the microphone around, the quality of the audio will drop.

To get the absolute best out of this speaker it is a good idea to get a pop filter. If you are wondering what a pop filter does, it filters the sound that gets into the mic. When you pronounce words that have a strong consonant sound like the P note, the rush of air over the mic produces an unattractive sound. The pop filter takes the hit and keeps your pitch level at all times.

Pros

It is very simple and easy to use and it works well with Mac and PCs. You would not encounter any problems connecting this microphone to your computer. As it does not have the high-end features, you don’t need to tune it to fit specific devices or software programs.

The price tag is a 

The price tag is juicy and irresistible. For a couple of bucks you can improve your recording sessions. It has a remarkable sound production that is better than a lot of traditional condenser microphone of similar price range.

It has a solid build quality. It is compact and has no hanging parts. It’s got a nice heft to it and it is not bogus. This makes it very comfortable to work with.

It has solid audio quality. It can be used by everyone to do a voice-over, webinars and audio recordings. It has a nice rich tone to it and sounds natural. It filters ambient noises outside of the triangular recording field.

It is a great choice for recording all acoustic instruments. The sound is really clear and you are drawn in when recording an acoustic guitar, mouth organ and piano. The sound reproduction is exquisite and anyone who listens to it will feel like they were in the room it was recorded.

It has a warranty period of over a year. This means that if your mic develops a fault that is entirely not caused by you, it can be exchanged.

Cons

It would have been great if the microphone had some sort of pop filter. This may look like a non-issue until you have to pronounce words that have strong P sound such as Potato. The sound reproduced when a word such as this is pronounced is not pleasant.

It picks up unwanted sound. The overtly sensitive microphone picks up any and every sound in the cardioid radius. This means all sounds, whether you like it or not. To prevent this and get the best from your microphone you have to use it in a really quiet environment.

The cardioid recording pattern means it can not be used by many people at the same time. Anyone sitting behind and out of the microphone radius is cut off.

It is simple to use and doesn’t have some high-end features. It is great for basic recordings and cannot be used for more serious purposes such as in radio stations.

It does not have built-in volume control and everything has to be controlled from the PC. It does not have a headphone jack so you can’t do self-monitoring. Self-monitoring is like what you’ll see on a radio show where the presenters are wearing headphones. It is to keep an eye or ear on what they’re saying in real-time. This is good for making sure they sound as good as possible.

Some buyers have complained about a funky paint finish. It has a few black paint freckles on it. It almost looks like someone dipped a brush into black paint and flicked it.

People with a high pitched voice do not get the best reproduction of sound. They have to use a pop filter to level out the tone of their voice.

Conclusion

The audio Technica AT2020USB cardioid condenser microphone is valuable to anyone with a plan to have a career in podcasts and webinars. It is handy and connects easily to PCs, Mac and other recording software. You can also use it to record your private piano sessions and replay it to a friend. The AT2020USB is very sensitive and picks up sounds in its cardioid radius. If the features are not motivating enough for you to pick up one, take a look at the price tag. It is affordable and does pretty well for the price point.…