Support Header Image


How to connect your AT2020 microphone to an audio interface

USB audio interfaces connect to a computer via a USB cable and are available in many configurations with various features. Interfaces can range from one microphone input up to eight inputs, and more. Multiple interfaces can be linked, either physically or logically through software, for multitrack recording, like what would be used in a studio to record a band. Most interfaces provide one or more headphone connection as well as phantom power to provide DC voltage for condenser microphones. Configuring an interface on a computer is usually quite straightforward and the manufacturer should provide instructions for doing so. Prices vary vastly depending on the features and quality of the device, so it is worth doing a little research before purchasing one.


Audio interface requirements

In order to use your AT2020 to record onto a computer you need make certain you have the correct audio interface to ensure that all of your equipment is compatible. The AT2020 is a side-address studio microphone that utilizes a standard XLR output. Also, it is a condenser microphone that requires phantom power to operate.

The most important thing you have consider is if the interface truly provides 48V DC of phantom power. Phantom power is DC voltage sent down the microphone cable to power the preamplifier of a condenser mic capsule and/or to provide a polarization charge to the backplate of the element. The AT2020 requires a full 48V DC of phantom power, which is supplied via a balanced XLR microphone cable. Please note that many audio interfaces require you to manually turn phantom power on or off.



Choosing an audio interface

Some audio interfaces advertise they provide 48V DC phantom power, but this may not be the case in all instances. Some devices will step down the voltage when they exceed an ampage threshold in order to maintain the current level. The AT2020 requires a full 48V DC so devices that do step down won't be able support it.

So how do you identify a suitable interface? Do some research before purchasing and carefully read customer reviews to see what issues others have encountered to ensure it provides the advertised amount of phantom power. If the AT2020 does not receive adequate phantom power i.e. the full 48V, it will cause issues that can seriously affect its ability to fully function or worse, it may not work at all. It could also compromise the signal-to-noise ratio, or it may just not be reliable.

If you have any further issues or have any follow-up questions, we invite you to contact us so that we can offer you further advice.