Audio Technica AT2020USB+

When researching into microphones the Audio Technica AT2020 is often recommended as it is modestly price and it sounds great too. From its success came the AT2020 USB microphone, but as with many early USB mics it lacked features such as headphone output which is must for many applications. This lead to the release of AT2020 USB+ microphone, an upgraded AT2020 USB bundled with accessories which include a small tripod desk stand, 10 foot USB cable and pop filter.

This microphone is similar in design to the previous variants with a medium diaphragm 16mm cardioid mic. It is powered directly by a USB (type A to type B) cable where the connector takes the places of the previous XLR socket. The microphone has a self-noise figure of 20dB, which is not brilliant for is adequately low for most studio applications. There is no means of on the fly filtering so any necessary filters must be applied after recording.

The USB side takes care of the 16bit Analogue to Digital conversion which is convenient, but the user is restricted to this convertor. Headphone can be plugged into the phono jack socket on the side of the mic and two thumbwheels on the front of the device control the headphone volume and the balance between the microphone signal and the computers stereo output. The microphone is a class-compliant device and requires no additional driver to use on Apple operating systems and a suitable driver should download automatically on Windows (if not already installed).

Recorded speech confirms that this mic has the same characteristic of the XLR variants but with the added warmth to the lower mids in vocals. It is well suited to all vocal styles and can double as a very capable acoustic instrument mic.

The tripod stand carries the weight of the microphone very well and it is of very high quality. However it is prone to falling over if it is knocked. The included pop filter is intended to be clamped to a suspension boom arm, but for our purposes we cut a custom piece of wood which allowed it to be clamped to a desk.

For audio recordings it is recommended to use the free software Audacity and apply software filers. However for our video recordings we use Camtasia (which does not support audio filters) and instead use Voice Shaper (intended for AM radio) combined with a virtual audio cable to filter audio on the fly.