If you are looking for a studio mic on a budget, Audio-Technica are usually a good bet! If $100 is your limit, this is still valid, as the large-diaphragm side-address AT2020 is one of the best condenser mics you can find for under $100. Let’s dive deeper into this popular little mic…
You aren’t buying the AT2020 solely for its design – ultimately it is pretty basic. Certainly nothing to write home about, however it is nothing you’d be upset about having in your studio lineup either. It features a minimalist all-black mic with a large three-piece grille and a side-address setup.
The small cylindrical shaft is made of a sturdy metal and, even for a budget model, it feels durable and capable of taking whatever abuse you can dish out on a daily basis. Other than that, the AT2020 is fairly lightweight, easy to work with and stealthy in nature.
At the core of the AT2020 is a large 16mm low-mass diaphragm packing a very decent performance. In terms of raw specs, you are looking at a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response range with a 144dB SPL. Pretty solid for a budget model.
For what is essentially a cheap condenser mic, this thing is actually very well thought out. The box it arrives in contains a couple of things, including a stand mount and a black leatherette zipper case. As the XLR connector is at the very bottom of the mic, the mount actually slides over this input and allows for quite a bit of flexibility. It’s little details like this that help cement the AT2020 as a winner.
However, nothing compares to the performance of this mic. If we had to find one defining aspect of its performance, it would be the transparency. There is a particular richness and warmth in the bottom portion of the midrange, which is exactly what most vocalists are looking for, yet it doesn’t alter your voice in any significant way.
When it comes to recording instruments, things are just as good. Acoustic guitars sound detailed and very natural with this microphone, and it can handle large amounts of volume. This is why, for under $100, the AT2020 has proved a very capable tool for vocalists as well as those looking to record instruments. However, that’s definitely not a deal breaker.
At the end of the day, the AT2020 is an awesome general-purpose condenser mic. It does everything well enough to be a practical and reliable addition to a budget home studio and genuinely feels like it should be sitting in a higher price category. Truth be told, at this price it’s probably worth buying two!