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Despite looking very pro, the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone works VERY well with no drama during installation. Plug it in and go to work!
Click image to enlarge

Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone

Plug-N-Play perfection

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted – 9-16-2012

I use Adobe Audition to record and process sound files but when I tried using my voice-over microphone to capture my Peavey ValveKing® 112 Amp it was overwhelmed at all but nearly off volume levels. So off to the Guitar Center and then home with my new Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone.

The Basics

The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone is based on the well-known AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone. This USB version also uses a low-mass diaphragm, designed to capture extended frequency response and superior transient response. Audio-Technica literature claims that the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone has “low self-noise” and while I can’t test that scientifically, I can say that if this mic is adding anything to the sound it records I can’t hear or find it.

The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone has a frequency response range of 20-16,000 Hz. It is powered through the USB cable (5V DC) so no other outside power source is required. The mic itself weighs 13.2 oz (374 g) and is 6.38" (162.0 mm) long with a 2.05" (52.0 mm) body diameter.

The mounting adapter (left) conforms to standard mic stands and the desktop tripod furnished. Plugging into the USB port (right) really is the tough part. I like simple installations!
Click images to enlarge

The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone is truly “plug-and-play” when used with most relatively current Windows and Mac computer systems. My installation experience consisted of opening the box, plugging the USB cable into the mic and then into my computer, put the mic on my stand (using the included adapter) and then starting up my Audition software. I did have to check the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone box in that Audition “saw” right away but from there on it is all automatic. I love this kind of simplicity in setting up a new piece of equipment.

The box contains a simple tripod desk stand, pivoting stand mount, USB cable & storage pouch. You do get the mic itself as well. The adapter has 5/8"-27 for common threaded stands as well as a 5/8"-27 to 3/8"-16 threaded adapter for the smaller desk stand type threads.

Plugged In

The Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone is a side address mic with a Cardioid polar pattern that reduces extraneous sounds from the sides and rear, improving isolation of the target sound source. I put it on the stand, parked it parallel to the amp, about 12” away and have not moved it since.

I was amazed at how the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone handles the sound coming from the Peavey ValveKing® 112 Amp. I did not have to tone anything down in the Audition sound program yet when I played it back the sound was crystal clear and included the bottom end sounds without being overpowered. The result was no more muffled bass sounds, with those now replaced by a clarity and range of sound that surprised me.

Though I have been doing a bunch of recording (a sample is included in the video) with the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone no issues have emerged. It just works very well and then sits quietly waiting for the next time. No drama or special urging needed. That makes for a short review but a very happy and satisfied owner.

Video Tour

Conclusions

If you want to record a musical instrument right from an amplifier you need to take a long hard look at the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone. With a street price of $149.99 (9-15-2012) this is a great value with no hidden costs or problems that I can find. You just plug it in and go to work!

The sound quality is remarkable and that appears to hold out throughout the sound range that I can expect from a guitar. It also works great for voice recording as well. I have been experimenting with multi-track recordings playing rhythm, then lead and then a little fill and the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone brings all of the subtle differences in sound through perfectly. This is a very nice piece.

Visit the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Microphone web page - Click Here

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