Audio-Technica AT2020 Reviews4.5/5.0 based on 26 customer reviews
The AT2020 delivers in every aspect that you want a good quality cardiod condenser mic to offer. The vocals are clean, crisp, and very direct. The mic really gives a very airy sound which, added with a preamp or compressor plug-in of choice, is the perfect combination a good vocal is looking for. I have used this mic on Hip Hop, R&B, and Rock recordings. For the price, this mic can't be beat. They say you get what you pay for. With the AT2020 you get an incredible value in a very affordable mic, and so much more.
from Elizabeth city, NC
February 5, 2013Music Background:
10 years strong recording and producing all over the world
The AT2020 AND THE JOB IT DOESWow i got this mic Monday and i was blew away.Just the sound this mic put to any recording software is enough to make any one say lets record some thing for the majors.This mic here is no laughing matter its all business and can take you to the promise land.
from Newton, IA
September 13, 2012Music Background:
Pro Musician-Live Sound-Student of Sound forever
AT2020A/B test using Mackie micro series 1402 mixer set flat with a Carver M-1.0t amplifier and one monitor speaker 8" with silk dome tweeter. This was in my wooden floored living room. A friend was over for a rehearsal and I wanted him to hear the response of this Medium diaphragm/Cardioid Condenser dandy little sound reproduction tool.
We tested this out as on overhead for my small Gretsch drum kit at first and were very happy with the smooth response from snare to
tom's and cymbals. The kick drum was utilizing on old Beyer mike.
As a vocal mike we were amazed of the response singing jazz, blues
and light stuff, the AT2020 was superb. As a vocalist I realized how much I have been cheating with the Sure SM 58, live standard of the industry. This AT2020 tells it like it is. From 3 to 9" from the boom
stand with several placements and angles it was verbatum exactly what was being produced. In the vein of folk music, bluegrass, light jazz and pop tunes........It will teach you how to use your body mechanics and not rely on a close proximity "lip to the grill" for tone changes etc. as with my old 58 vocal mike.
This 2020 will also make for a very nice overhead when I play more intense venues without compromising the true sound of an acoustic drum kit as my little condenser 'sizzler' cymbal catchers I have used for years did. I am very pleased to have this very versatile and value driven tool. I was so bored with the close mike pop/rock sound I was getting with live performance of miking every drum instead of
a true acoustic aural experience. The dynamics are represented with my performance so much better. I was also impressed with the AT2020 as a vocal tool in that if one remembers to slightly turn away
it will not give the signature 'pop' with the letter P or B. Only in an outdoor situation (with wind) will I need a pop sponge. I am in a high
ceiling jazz room with some 200 hz rolling around and with a simple -10db cut of the lows on the mixer this issue will be rectified. There is no need to purchase the high dollar feature of a filter cut on any microphone in my opinion.
Therefore I have no need to buy the more expensive Audio-Technica
unit. I am most satisfied with the AT2020!
July 5, 2012
Great Mic!This is a great condenser mic to start off with. Not only is it at an amazing price, but it sound extraordinary.
March 8, 2012Music Background:
Audio engineer - studio+live sound
Great value. Period.Without a doubt, this is one mic that you shouldn't be without - especially if you're just starting out your collection of microphones and need a reliable workhorse condenser mic.
I've used it on vocals, acoustic guitar and full-on overdriven guitar cabinets. During a recent weekend live recording session, I used the AT2020 heavily on the 10 bands and 30 songs that we tracked. And the it performed like a champ through it all.
Go ahead and buy one. Heck, I bought three!
from Newburgh, ny
February 28, 2012Music Background:
Finaly found its place.I bought one of these 4 years or so ago, and never really found a use for it until I bought the second. Now having a pair I use them to mic a guitar cabinet. I mainly work live and double mic my guitars with a 2020 and a Sennheiser 906. My guitar tones scream now. They sing if I want them to of course but the definition I acheive using this technique is pretty amazing. Really worth the money for a couple 2020's to use even with a simple 57. You'll thank me later.
David H. Bailey
from Nashua, NH USA
February 9, 2012Music Background:
AT2020 is a winner!This microphone is a great inexpensive mic for people looking to improve the quality of their recordings but not having the budget to get into the more expensive microphones. Previously I had been using some Shure SM57 mics and some knockoffs of the Shure SM58, but this blows them all out of the water in terms of detail and aural fidelity. I am delighted that my rep at Sweetwater, Josh, talked me into this mic when I was inquiring about another in the same price range.
November 17, 2011
GREATI JUST BOUGHT THIS MIC, AND I WAS HAVEING LITTLE DOUBTS ABOUT IT BUT WHEN I GOT IT AND HEARD THE QUALITY I WAS AMAZED!!! THIS IS DEF. WORTH BUYING!!!!!!
from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
May 18, 2011Music Background:
Recording Engineer, Music Producer, Pro Musician.
Great mic for the priceI bought the AT2020 when I started recorinding and I love it, obviously it dosn't compare to my Mojavee tube mic but it does what its suppose to do, I even bought a 2nd one because I love the air that it capture just to try it as a stereo pair for drums overheads and I was amazed at the results, this is a well constructed and practical cheap mic that I highly recommend!
from Avondale, AZ
September 2, 2009Music Background:
Pro Musician, Recording Engineer
Shootout winnerI recently decided to stop getting so stressed about reviews and what other people think of gear. Instead I'm just gonna go in and LISTEN to the gear to see if it works for me.
So I walked into my local Guitar Center to shoot out every condensor that they had for $99.
I brought my laptop and my Apogee Duet, and lined up the AT2020, MXL 990/991, Sterling Audio ST51, and the AKG Perception 120 and did a shootout with acoustic guitar.
Obviously for me, the AT2020 won out. It was clear full, and had an airy high end that gave the guitar some sparkle.
After bringing it home and testing it with vocals, I was even more impressed with the quality of this mic.
So far I have used it on Nylon String guitar, acoustic guitar, and vocals and it has really shined running through the Duet.
I highly recommend that you give this mic a listen. In fact, do that with all of your gear purchases and take opinions with a grain of salt. Find what works for what you are trying to do that fits your budget, and then make great music!
from Virginia Beach, VA
April 20, 2011Music Background:
Engineer, Session Drummer , Pro Musician
Great Versatile Mic!I am a drummer and use this (a pair) as overheads...then have a crisp clean sound for my cymbals...I really like my AT4050 and I didn't have the money at that time to buy another one so I got two of these...I've also used them on vocals, acoustic, and electric guitars. Always comes through! I wish they came with a shock mount but again it is only $99, so you can always get one later. Run it through a good mic pre and compressor and you won't be disappointed!!
December 16, 2010Music Background:
usefulI got this mic as a gift. It was my first condenser. I can promise you this, for 99 dollars, there is no better mic.
I used it on a LOT of vocals, and the results always impressed listeners. I made a lot of instrumental music using only this mic, and everything worked out great.
I still use it today. If you're working with a $100 budget, and you need a condenser, it's really simple.... BUY THIS MIC!
from Decatur, GA
August 18, 2010Music Background:
Recording Engineer, Vocalist
Greater Value in the QualityWhen this microphone came in the mail and i seen the appearance i thought "this mic is probably going to suck when i plug it up and start recording . . . but after recording with this microphone i was very satisfied with the quality that came with it. I promise the price might be cheap but its worth the money . . . Sweetwater went ham with this one!!!!!
from Fort Wayne, Indiana
April 26, 2007Music Background:
Rapper & Engineer
The AT2020 MicMe and my group bought this mic because of the cost and the reviews we heard about. So we put it to the test, and started recording with it. Many hits have came from this mic, including one radio hit. If you are looking to buy a new mic, and you don't wanna spend a lot of money, I recommend getting this one.
from London E16
January 24, 2007Music Background:
Pleasantly suprised with the quality considering the priceI wanted some decent condenser mics for home recording. I have a Tascam DP-01FX plus a Focusrite twin trak pro whic I use as a front on to the Tascam.in the past I have used a ADK A51 and an SE Electronics 2200A, they are both good mics but found them a bit boomy for my guitar.
I went to the PA centre in London and spoke to one of the staff who has had a lot of experiance in Sound Engineering and he told me to try this out.
I first did a search on the net and read many good reviews on this Audio Technica 2020 so I went back to the shop and tried it out. I am amazed at the quality and it was ideal for my acoustic guitar . I did'nt need to add to hardly any eq'ing it picked up the sound beautifully. I ended up buying two of these mics and I love then to bits.
It works beautifully with my Focusrite Twintrack pro .
June 30, 2006Music Background:
Musician, Recording engineer
AT2020 vs AKG C4000BRecently I had an opportunity to test AT2020 against the much more expensive AKG C4000B with really surprising results that I want to share. The test involved a guitar part and a vocal part with both mics running trhough an uncolored Mackie Onyx 400F preamp, with the microphones placed together and at the same distance and angle with respect to the sound source. I listened to the mix with the standard AKG k240 Studio headphones, a proven studio standard. Here are the results:
The results on guitar were to say the least unexpected. AT2020 revealed a crystal-clear image of the flamenco guitar part capturing all of the string buzz and sharp transients that are essential to flamenco. Due to proximity effect, (recording at 8 in) there was also a sizable low-end boost that I had to cut with EQ by applying a 150 Hz 12dB-per-octave cut. The AKG revealed the same low-end boost that I was able to cut with the inbuilt lo-cut filter, revealing an exceptionally warm and rounded sound which did not capture any of the strumming/pick noise and was noticeably weaker on the transients. A 6-dB dip above 15kHz in the documentation chart revealed this as a weak side of the AKG relative to the AT. Of the two mics, AT came out as substantially more accurate and faithful to the original sound, which is surprising given the price difference.
On vocals AT conveyed an airy, "breathy" and roomy sound with almost zero proximity effect recording a male basso profundo-type voice performing vocal arias from Bach. Despite the vocal's bass range, proximity was not at all apparent, it seems, due to the different radiation patterns of guitar vs voice.
AKG produced pretty much the same picture here as with guitar: sweet, overly mellow, non-edgy, a kind of 60's vacuum tube sound that might have done well for a jazz recording, but then again, this is not what I was recording. AT made the vocal just a tiny bit brighter than in reality due to the +3db presence peak at 10kHz, but remained essentially faithful to the original.
In conclusion, I was forced to make the conclusion that apparently AT is intended as an all-around mic, not coloring its sound input and reproducing very beautiful transients. By contrast, AKG C4000B came out as a strong "character mic" with its own personality which at times was not at all suitable for the kind of music I was recording. Other things notwithstanding, it did awful on flamenco guitar and hand claps but seemed more suited for classical guitar and certain vocals. This conclusion is reinforced by a recording I made recently at another studio where they used AKG SolidTube and we got similarly disappointing results on flamenco guitar. Later I learned that the C4000B capsule was descended from the Solid Tube capsule which was taken as a model.
To summarize: I give AT 2020 4.5 out of 5. The only reason I am hesitant to give 5 is the lack of shockmount and bass cut filter.
February 10, 2012
ValueIts the best mic ive purchased. The quality is fine. Only thing is the way it picks up your voice if your toooo close. Other then that its perfect for vocals in which i use it for.
from North Carolina
December 9, 2011Music Background:
GoodI've had this mic for a few months now. I only track vocals... This is maybe my 10th mic. I stick with under $300 mics. I feel like there are some great values in this price range. (Cad M9 is one of them). For $99 bucks, this mic is nice. I have found that it does not excel in broadcasting/voice-over/narration. It does excel at your everyday rap vocal and is pretty good at female vocals. It has a tame low end so don't expect a lot of deep tones, although the mid-bass is all there, sometimes too much. This mic has a good tight pickup pattern which I love. It keeps reflections attenuated. Overall this is a great first mic or a replacement for a dynamic and is probably all a home studio needs to sound nice.
from Montreal Canada
July 29, 2010Music Background:
Mixer, Musician, professional
Much better than I thought it would beI work in a big recording Studio. We've got all the classy mics. I bought an AT2020 for doing stuff at home. Bought it used for 60$!. I wanted to test it so I brought it to the studio and used it on a voice for a publicity I was working on. The mic pre was a Fearn ($$). I was expecting a harsh, peaky sound. Turned out smouth and well balanced. Not as boomy as other mics, wich is great since we're always cutting some bass out at the mix anyways. There seem to be a suttle low mid bump (200hz?) wich was eq'ed out easly. Final product turned out classy and open sounding. The low mass capsule picked up all the suttle voice harmonics in a controled manner. Frankly, if it wasn't for the danger of some one saying: Hey! what you doing with a 100$ mic in a big studio where we pay 300$ an hour? I could be working with that little wonder all the time and nobody would notice the difference. On guitar it sounds great also.
Can't miss with this one. There are better mics out there, but with the right mic pre, this mic sounds good enough to deliver professional results. I'm giving it a four. Could have a bit more caracter, but than again, that is something you can add later on in the mix.
from New York, NY
May 8, 2010
First true mic I ownedThis was the first true microphone I ever owned. I bought my AT2020 four years ago and I still pull it out and use it today. It's sound is detailed and on-point; it's a great working mic for voiceover or handy to have around as a backup mic. Considering the price against quality ratio with the AT2020, there's no reason why you shouldn't buy one. I'm over four years working with mine and I haven't been tempted to do away with it yet. Pick one up, you'll be glad you did.
September 14, 2008Music Background:
Recording Engineer and Musician
Awesome Mic Reasonably PricedI purchased this mic about 6 months ago. I was looking for a new mic to record vocals with. When I first saw the price I was a little skeptic but purchased it regardless. After taking it home and hooking it up I was very impressed. This is a great condenser mic and killer for recording vocals don't be fooled by the price!
Clifton L. Boyd
from Sherman Texas
March 27, 2008Music Background:
I love this mic...Let me tell you...if your looking for a great sounding mic, look no further. Now of course there are better mics out there, but for $100 bucks this is a great mic. You don't have to spend mega bucks to get a great sound. This mic is great on vocals, the sound is very crisp and clear. I really love this mic, I just might have to pic up another.
from Trinidad & Tobago
September 20, 2006Music Background:
Artiste , Producer , Recording/Mix Engineer.
Stumbling Upon A MiracleWhile waiting for my SE Gemini to complete my new production setup in Trinidad West Indies ,I went into a local music shop to purchase some strings for my guitars.
I saw the AT2020 in the showcase and given the price I decided to pick it up for the hell of it .
Needless to say that from Norway to Australia to Canada to Sweden (my current home for 13 years), to London ,my Clients continue to comment on the clarity and definition of my mixes. The crystal clear upfront vocal sound and crispy acoustic gtrs.
The AT2020 combined with the Focusrite ISA 220 SessionPak and RME Fireface 800 give me all the UMPH I need to get what's needed . From Vocals to Nylon and steel string gtrs to percussion I am thoroughly satisfied.
Audio Technica's AT2020 is ahead of the game in its price range and in combination with the right Pre-Amp / Processor and an Audio interface with exceptional A/D convertors and which preserves the integrity of the original signal , Anything is possible.
Conclusion : After recording and mixing on SSL , NEVE , Mackie , Soundcraft etc. and utilising the "BEST" mics the world has to offer , I choose to use the AT2020 and my clients can't tell the difference.
Just used it on the Theme songs for two Feature Films and everyone's screaming. Whatever the secret is ..............It works for me !!!!!
Miracles do happen every once in a while .
Thanks Audio Technica .
LUCKZ (Producer for :6 POiNTS , Danillee Mc Intosh , Jah Lightning , Blow , Keisha Charles , Cushan , 6:45 ,Vanessa S. , Kulaz , Trigger)
Ahmad W. aka Mouf Pieceof God 1/2 of FLOW
from Hewitt, Texas
July 7, 2006Music Background:
MC(Recording Artist) and Producer
Great Mic Great PriceThis was my first "real Mic" purchase. I use it for recording Holy hip hop vocals. It has great clarity. The playback from these recordings sounds like the artist "true voice" not too low not too high. If you don't have big dollars, but want big quality get the AT2020. I think it would be a welcome addition to any studio set up, especially home or project studios.
September 25, 2010Music Background:
A Solid ChoiceThe AT2020 is well built, small enough to place easily on an instrument or kit. I bought this mic to use try as a second mic on a guitar cabinet.
This mic does not have the open airy sound of the AT40 series, this makes it less versatile than that series, but for the price it is still worth owning. The slight high end roll off actual gives it a neutral sound that
works well blending with SM57. On bass cabinets the sound is warm and natural with booming or shrill highs. If you consider the cost is the same as an SM57 ( a must have ) it is a solid choice to expand any mic collection.
April 28, 2006
AT2020AT 2020 is an electret condenser mic with a permanently polarized 16-mm (0.63")diaphragm element and a preamp that requires 48V phantom power. It is built using a chassis for a large-diaphragm mic, i.e. a cylindrical box normally used for mics with diaphragm diameter of 25mm (1") or more, but AT2020's 16-mm diaphragm size does not allow one to put it in the true large-diaphragm mic category (More on why later). It has an almost flat frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz and cardioid pattern, but has no bass-roloff switch or 10dB attenuation pads. Comes with a pivot stand rather than a shock mount.
Overall the mic sounds very decent for the money. A couple of observations. In my experience the mic meets the frequency response specifications and even exceeds the given range (picks up to about 23kHz). The mic is tailored for closer miking than regular studio condensers: 6" to 8" rather than 12" from source. It has almost no proximity effect when used on vocals but substantial proximity bass boost when used on acoustic guitar (which you have to remove with EQs since it has no bass-roloff switch). Acoustic guitar and vocals sound very natural, guitar sounds very good with pick/strumming noise adding a nice bright touch to the recording. It sounds decent on shakers but would not be my first choice for that. I've had some problems removing excess boominess from the bass since with guitar it does get bass-heavy, but the overall quality is commendable. Lack of shock mount and bass-roloff switch I'd say are where AT cut quality to make the mic cheaper.
For a budget mic like this, it's important to know exactly where Audio-Technica is skipping on the quality since for $100 you know you can't get everything. Here are these points:
1)No shock mount and bass-roloff. The mic is sensitive and with no bass-cut you will pick up low-frequency noise that will have to get cut off with EQs. On very high gain levels (over 50dB gain without EQ) bass noise becomes audible. I am not totally clear whether this is self-induced noise or just existing noise that gets boosted by the gain.
2) Diaphragm size. If you look at AT2021 small diaphragm mic that comes with AT2020 when bought as a studio pack, you will notice the pencil mic measuring 16mm in diameter. I bet they used the same diaphragm size (16mm) for both 2020 and 2021 which makes 2 mics out of one. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the 16-mm diaprhagm, as I said, meets the advertised flat frequency response quite well, but this is why AT2020 can't get classified as a large-diaphragm mic.
3) This is an electret condenser with permanently charged diaphragm. It sounds comparable to a true condenser if not better, but experts say electrets may lose up to 3dB gain over 30 years as the material charging the diaphragm gradually gets de-polarized. Hopefully in 30 years you will have another $100 to replace it.
OVERALL: AT has made a very good sounding mic for the money. I would say if you don't have $1000 budget to get an AKG414 or Neumann TLM103, go for AT 2020. Buying mid-price mics in the $500 range will not get you any sizable improvement over AT2020.
July 1, 2005
Simple and to the pointWhen I first saw the AT2020 it had a list price of around $450. Then $199AUS! I had to get one. As far as build quality is concerned this mic is pleasing to look at with a solid feel. I have now used it as an overhead for my drums, backing vocals and all sorts of percussion instruments. I use Gretch drums and am pretty fussy about sound. It's also great on acoustic guitar. I have limited tech knowledge and base all my recordings on sound. I built my studio Oinkmuse see www.oinkmuse.com over the last four years, recorded my solo album "Faith" learning as I went. Don't be fooled by the price, as this mic is a great mic to have in your kit. To me it's honest with no added colouring. When placed over my 8"and 10" rack toms approx 12" above my 16" crash I found it to be dynamic and could handle punchy fills and quiet brush work with no problems whatsoever. I used no compression or EQ, simply sending it through my Sebatron vmp-4000e mic pre set at an even 3 and flat. As far as a vocal mic is concerned particularly when used for harmonies, it delivers the goods. I use a Neumann TLM103 for most lead vocals and the AT2020 is a good dynamic change for harmonies. At times when laying a backing track I will add a little answer back type vocal, working with the lead, it handles a good blues burst from about 6' to an intimate whisper. As I said, though not a technical person, I know what I like and the AT2020 has not let me down. I am purchasing another, simply because it's a good, honest and affordable mic. It's in full use at the moment as I am recording my new album. I have a moderate set up, using Pro Tools LE Digi 002, a couple of mic pres, Dynaudio BM6A monitors with my old Auratones. To me, if you like the sound and feel of the mic or instrument, that's it! Try one and let me know what you think. Cheers Iain Mclennan/Oinkmuse Studio Sydney/Australia