Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review:

The new standard for affordable side-address studio condensers.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review 3Lately, we have been gathering better equipment for our video reviews. One piece of equipment we needed was a professional grade microphone. I feel that the sound from our current microphone is blown out and sometimes distorted. This led me to look into the Audio-Technica Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone (model AT2020USB+).

Audio-Technica has been around for over 50 years and they are a trusted name for professional audio equipment. In fact, Audio-Technica has been the preferred audio equipment vendors for the U.S. Presidential debates since 1988. Even though I haven’t had the opportunity to use one of their USB microphones before now, I pretty much knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Compatible with both Mac and Windows, this microphone provides crystal-clear, natural sound for pod-casting, home studio recordings, singer/songwriters, video voice-overs and much more. The AT2020USB+ connects to your computer through a standard USB cable and was built for a wide variety of purposes. It’s got a low-mass diaphragm that is custom-engineered for an extended frequency response. This microphone offers a wide dynamic range and handles SPLs (Sound Pressure Level) with ease. It has a built-in headphone jack with volume control that allows you to monitor your recordings as they happen with no signal delay. There is also a mix control that blends the microphone and pre-recorded audio together.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review 4Another feature to note is the pickup pattern of the AT2020USB+. As its name suggests, has a cardioid, or unidirectional, polar pattern, which means that it will discriminate sounds arriving from the sides or rear of the microphone. The pickup pattern of the AT2020USB+ has an improved isolation of its sound source because of the cardioid polar pattern. And while the microphone isn’t omni-directional, its tripod desk stand does swivel on its base making it possible for users to use the microphone in a variety of angles. It also has an A/D converter with 16-bit, 44.1/48 kHz sampling rates.

Something else I noticed while testing out this microphone is how much smaller it is than my previous microphone. The AT2020USB+ is nowhere near as tall as the Yeti by Blue Microphones, which was my older mic and its compact stand leaves far less of an impact on my desk real estate. Sometimes, I feel the need to store my microphones away, but the AT2020USB+, has such a small footprint that I don’t mind leaving it out.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review 5When creating video reviews in the past, I’ve found myself redoing my voice-over work repeatedly because I don’t feel that I have the best sound quality from my older microphone. This has kept me from starting a MacSources podcast because I didn’t want to fight trying to make a 30-minute episode sound good when making my voice-over work for a short 2-minute video sound good was hard enough. Now that I’ve had the chance to use this new microphone from Audio-Technica, I’ve officially retired my old microphone and plan on doing more voice-overs and video reviews. We might even get the podcast started soon.

For a direct comparison between the Yeti by Blue Microphones and the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+, listen to the audio clips below.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone Review 6The AT2020USB+ from Audio-Technica makes such a big difference in even the simplest audio recording sessions. The sound quality it collects is so crisp and clear that there is very little, if any, sound mixing work that has to be done post-recording. After using the AT2020USB+, it’s apparent to me that one microphone really can make a big difference in the quality of your audio recordings.

Retailing at approximately $270, the AT2020USB+ sets a new performance standard for professional microphones at an affordable price. If you are looking to step up your audio projects, I can highly recommend the AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser Microphone from Audio-Technica.

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