'A budget mic with a big-ticket sound.'

See what the press has to say about Audio-Technica’s most affordable studio condenser. We’ve excerpted remarks from several reviews.


The reviews are in on the AT2020

See what the press has to say about Audio-Technica’s most affordable studio condenser, the AT2020. We’ve excerpted remarks from several reviews.

EQ
“If you want an affordable mic that will work on a wide variety of sources, the AT2020 is hard to beat. It sounds great, is quiet, and, sheesh, at that price, go out and buy a pile of them.”

“The AT2020 fills out the Audio-Technica line with an amazingly affordable side-address large-diaphragm mic that’s aimed at general-purpose use in home and project studios. But there’s no reason it can’t be used in pro studios, too!”

“The AT2020 has natural midrange and good dynamics. Its restrained low end kept boominess under control when the mic was too close to the soundhole; excellent for seating a strummed steel-string part in a rock mix.”

“If you want an affordable mic that will work on a wide variety of sources, the AT2020 is hard to beat. It sounds great, is quiet, and sheesh, at that price, go out and buy a pile of them. Not that you’ll want anything to happen to them, but for a “pro“ studio, if they get beat up by errant drum sticks, you won’t be out a bundle. For a home or project studio this is a great mic to get you started. Good for vocals and instruments, if you can only afford one decent condenser mic, the AT2020 should be a contender for you.”

“…the AT2020 [is] a fine microphone, offering a sound all its own that’s equally valid in the right applications—even in a mega-studio.”

    Mitch Gallagher
    EQ, September 2005


Performing Songwriter
“The hundred dollar wonder beat out all the competition.”

“The AT2020 comes from a company with an amazing list of great products for project and home studios, and will likely become a standard in that market.”

“Audio-Technica has aimed to raise the bar for performance at a home studio price with the AT2020. It has a straightforward and functional design and is built to handle high SPLs and weather years of handling. Its black metal body and small cylindrical shape look both stylish and humble, and the threaded stand mount lets you pivot the mic into any position you could need. The AT2020’s standmount gives you easy access to the mic’s XLR jack, and provides a satisfying ‘click’ when your connection is secure.”

“The AT2020 comes from a company with an amazing list of great products for project and home studios, and will likely become a standard in that market.”

“The AT2020 sounded detailed and clear; …overall it actually had the better sound [tested against the CAD e100˛ with a street price of about $250 and the Neumann BCM 104 with a street price of about $800] for the vocalists who were recorded.”

“Remarkably, I found a project on the first try where the hundred dollar wonder beat out all the competition.”
    Dave Jones
    Performing Songwriter, March/April 2005


Pro Audio Review
“A-T has produced a budget mic with a big-ticket sound.”
“A lot of mic for the money…you’ll get more than you pay for.”


“The sound was clear and natural without being harsh.”

“The AT2020 is a lot of mic for the money. It blends the smooth sound typical of a large-diaphragm unit with a touch of extra brightness. Low noise and high SPL capacity round out a truly impressive package. This microphone will appeal to amateur and professional alike, and at a price that almost guarantees that you’ll get more than you pay for.”
    Scott Burgess
    Pro Audio Review, June 2005


MIX
“A credible choice … to start or build up [your] collection”

“This mic doesn’t suffer from the body resonances that a lot of budget mics have when you tap them; in fact, it appears to be built every bit as well as the more expensive AT4050 in my arsenal.”

“The AT2020 is a credible choice for strummed, percussive acoustic guitar parts.”

“With the AT2020, Audio-Technica has succeeded in bringing its standard of construction quality into the entry-level price range.”

“The AT2020 is designed to be pleasingly bright, yet accurate-sounding. It would make a credible choice for anyone looking for an affordable, all-purpose mic to start or build up their collection.”
    Nick Batzdorf
    MIX, May 2005


Tape Op
“Not all inexpensive mics are the same. The AT2020 is proof. I don’t know how Audio-Technica did it, but this mic is well built, comes with useful accessories, and offers solid performance at an amazing price.”

"With inexpensive mics seemingly as common as guitar picks, one must ask, 'Does the world need another cheap mic?' But after testing the AT2020, my answer is a resounding, 'Yes!' Because the AT2020 is anything but 'another cheap mic.' "

"The AT2020 provides pleasant surprises in several areas. First, instead of it having a lightweight body with lots of plastic, its construction is metal, and the mic weighs in at a solid 12.3 oz. Do they skimp on the accessories? Well, not really. The AT2020 comes supplied with a metal swivel-mount (similar to the one found on the Neumann TLM 103) and a soft travel pouch. The flexibility of this mount is great. And it’s a lot less intrusive than a bulky suspended shockmount. I like. I like."

"… On acoustic guitar, we set up an AKG C 1000S (another low-cost Hong & Haines favorite) and the AT2020. In blind tests, we chose the AT2020, which was surprising. The C 1000S usually tops other mics in this application (to my ears). Although both sounded good, the AT2020 had a slightly more developed bottom end. …"

"At this point, I was starting to expect things from this mic, so we tried it for vocals. We set up the AT2020, an MXL V63M, and a Shure Beta 57. We asked the talented Kendell Romanelli do some backing tracks for her current project. Her lead vocals were recorded with a BLUE Kiwi or an ADK A?51 CE, so we were looking for a different texture. Again, in blind tests, we unanimously chose the AT2020. It provided the most depth and kept the highs smooth without getting harsh. … The MXL was solid, but it had neither the depth nor the high-end restraint of the AT2020."

"We also tried the AT2020 on other sources, including tambourine, which is a real torture test for most microphones. In all cases, the AT2020 handled itself well. In fact, I didn’t actually find a source for which the mic sounded bad. From electric guitar to toms, the AT2020 is generally flat, with a slight rise in the high end—but it’s very slight. … for a street price of under $100, this performance should be applauded."

"Not all inexpensive mics are the same. The AT2020 is proof. I don’t know how Audio-Technica did it, but this mic is well built, comes with useful accessories, and offers solid performance at an amazing price. If you’re in the market for a decent condenser, put the AT2020 on your short list. Project studios will stretch their equipment dollars far, and bigger studios can get a workhorse for around the same price as 'the' dynamic mic we always mention."

    Garrett Haines
    Tape Op, September/October 2005


Recording
“The AT2020 allows (and even begs) you to try it in applications that you might not consider optimal for a condenser. Since the mic delivers on all accounts, it’s hard not to envision a few of these in the mic cabinet.”

“You should be able to use this mic for everything from insect mating calls to jet propulsion testing.”


“The specs are pretty stellar: the frequency chart shows a slight dip in the low range, and slight hype in the 10-14 kHz range, and lists an expected 124 dB dynamic range. As a point of comparison, that means you should be able to use this mic for everything from insect mating calls to jet propulsion testing. But, by far the most interesting number is that sound level spec. Audio-Technica states that the mic is usable at an input level of 144 dB—somewhat greater than the sound level of military jet takeoff, and well above the normal threshold of pain.”

“Suggesting that a mic can withstand high sound levels is just the impetus I needed to get off the couch and head into the garage. I set up the AT2020 on a mic stand, plugged it into a Digidesign Mbox interface connected to my PC, and then proceeded to make an amazing racket. Saws, hammers and pickaxes were all called into duty for this review, and the 2020 was able to withstand every one of them…. Regardless of the wreckage, I was unable to uncover any distortion from the microphone. And when I wasn’t smashing things, it was nice and quiet.”

“How does it perform in more typical use? Removing my ear plugs and returning to my studio, I threw every acoustic guitar I had at it, and it sounded great. The high-end boost sounded nice with my dreadnought Martin, and my Fender twelve-string sounded bright and full.”

“The frequency response added some brightness to most voices, and worked very well for almost every vocalist.”

“Sticking the AT2020 on a snare provided a big, bright sound—and the wide dynamic range again offered the opportunity to try a mic option I’d normally shy away from.”

“Audio-Technica decided to take a hard swing at the low-cost microphone market, and I think they hit a home run. They’ve created an inexpensive mic that sounds good, looks great and has some stunning specs. By featuring its wide dynamic range, the AT2020 allows (and even begs) you to try it in applications that you might not consider optimal for a condenser. Since the mic delivers on all accounts, it’s hard not to envision a few of these in the mic cabinet.”
    Darwin Grosse
    Recording, June 2005


Remix
“Judging by the price, [the AT2020] is aimed at project and budding home studios. But given the horizonlike frequency-response chart, this puppy may be aimed at more experienced studios, as well. Who couldn’t use an extra studio condenser or, at this price, several?”


“It was crisp, clear and warm-sounding on everything I threw at it. The mic never sounded distorted, handled high SPLs without a problem, picked up quiet sources and seemed to possess a very low self-noise. It did especially well with lower-midrange to mid-high frequencies, which makes it a good choice for vocals; guitar; and likely for woodwind instruments, such as alto sax.”

“The rock-bottom pricing may also make the 2020 an attractive piece for recordists who are just getting into recording live drums; although not currently available in matched pairs, a pair of 2020s will run just higher than $300 and will work quite well as some modest overheads or room mics.”

“As a versatile addition to the mic locker or to start off your collection, the AT2020 gets a high GPA on this report card, especially considering its flat, unembellished response on a variety of sources and its impressive anyone-can-afford-it price point.”
    Doug Eisengrein
    Remix, July 2005


Radio Magazine
“This mic compares well to much more expensive condenser microphones….On a cost vs. performance basis it is tough to beat.”

“My previous experience with low-cost condenser microphones had not been positive, so my expectations were not high when I began the evaluation. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of this microphone.”

“In the studio, the mic demonstrates a smooth linear frequency response with a crispness and clarity in the upper frequency range common to other Audio-Technica microphones, yet the AT2020 displayed a more pronounced low end than other Audio-Technica mics.“

“With the cooperation of a local voice-over talent, I compared the AT2020 with a Rode NT-1000 [list price $599] and a Neumann U-87 [list price $2,849] in a real studio environment.“

“The AT2020 had a much more rounded and clearer high end than the NT-1000 and was less boomy on the low end. The mic was more forgiving on placement and worked well even when close miked. …The AT2020 handled plosives and pops that overloaded the U-87 and the NT-1000. The voice-over talent could not overdrive the AT2020 even by speaking extremely loud.“

“I preferred the sound of the AT2020 to that of the NT-1000 and was especially impressed with its dynamic range. The AT2020 is easy to work with and much more forgiving than the other two microphones.“

“Overall, the performance of this mic compares well to other much more expensive condenser microphones. …On a cost vs. performance basis it is tough to beat. This microphone would be ideal for a home studio or entry-level use and it is well suited to mobile recording environments.“
    Marshall Rice
    Radio magazine, April 2005


Guitar Player
“A $99 condenser that can deliver the goods”

“Simply put, the AT2020 is a fine mic at any price, but at $99 it’s a value proposition you almost can’t afford to refuse.”


“It’s all kinds of cool to grab a $99 condenser that can deliver the goods. As a cat who remembers when even crap condensers cost $1000 or more, I can appreciate the angst and R&D it must take to manufacture a bargain microphone that offers enough sonic quality to be a trusted partner in one’s personal studio. Happily, the Audio-Technica AT2020 is not cheap home (studio) wrecker. …Its full-bandwidth frequency range and high sound-level resilience make it a versatile option for miking acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, bass cabs, percussion, and drums.“

“Although the AT2020 may never leave the relative safety of your studio, it’s built tough enough to handle stage bashing without whining… The mesh protective cage even absorbed a couple of drumstick swats without suffering a dent. The AT2020 also comes with a sturdy swivel mount that allows you to easily position the mic at just about any angle.“

“Overall, the AT2020’s relatively transparent sonic personality gives you a good shot at getting right for most miking applications. … When close-miking a Marshall half-stack and a Vox AC15, the AT2020 was a champ at documenting clean guitar tones with a marvelous shimmer and punch.“

“As a room mic, the AT2020 delivered visceral and exciting timbres whether I was miking a high-gain monster, a tame clean machine, or even a drum kit.“ “The AT2020 also captured sparkling acoustic-guitar tones (especially when the mic was positioned about a foot from the 12th fret) and clear, articulate vocals (adding just a hint of sibilance). Simply put, the AT2020 is a fine mic at any price, but at $99 it’s a value proposition you almost can’t afford to refuse.“
    Michael Molenda
    Guitar Player, April 2005


Radio World
“A contender for on-air and production.”

“The AT2020 is suitable for on-air or production studio work, and at a list price of $169, it deserves a second and even third look—or rather, listen.”

“I compared the AT2020 with an RE27N/D (with HF tilt switch on). To my surprise, when the mics were trimmed for equal loudness, they had similar patterns. The main difference was that, even from 180 degrees, the AT2020 heard more high frequencies and they were clearer. It also heard more low frequencies.”

“Proximity effect usually determines how close you can get to a mic. The AT2020 low end appears to have been engineered with close mic work in mind. Even without the pop filter and without any EQ, I was able to get an inch to 1-1/2 inches away without the low end blooming excessively. AT that distance, the sound of the AT2020 was clearer and sounded more natural than my RE27N/C.”

“I used the AT2020 to cut some of my own voice tracks… I didn’t have to use any EQ and even after compression and limiting, the tracks sounded quite good—not boomy, not edgy, not too bright.”

“At a price below that of most studio dynamics, the AT2020 is a contender for on-air and production.”
    Ty Ford
    Radio World, March 2005


mojopie.com
“As good as it gets”
“Audio-Technica AT2020 not the usual low budget condenser.”


“I don’t know of another side-address condenser that I’ve used in the price range of the AT2020 that can perform as well on both instruments and voice. Making a mic of quality build that sounds fine on more than one kind of source and streets for around $100 is an achievement. If the $100 price range is your budget, then rest assured that the AT2020 is as good as it gets in a condenser mic that can handle vocal and instrument duties.”
    Steve Langer
    mojopie.com April 9, 2005


Future Music
“With the introduction of the AT2020, Audio-Technica has broken the price barrier without sacrificing sound quality or rugged reliability.”

“It’s hard to believe that a well-known microphone company like Audio-Technica could offer a large-diaphragm side-address condenser mic for well under $200, but with the introduction of the AT2020 Audio-Technica has broken the price barrier without sacrificing sound quality or rugged reliability. This mic can handle very high SPLs (up to 144 dB), and the tightly woven grill protects the element from distorting excessively even when subjected to plosives, which makes the AT2020 great for recording hi-hop vocalists who like to use close-proximity effects to make their voice sound larger and boomier. The AT2020 is so inexpensive that it’s worth getting one as an alternative to your usual vocal mic.”
    Chris Gill
    Future Music, June 2005