As any clever shopper will tell you, when you want a great deal on a purchase it’s not about getting the lowest price. It’s about getting high-end features at low-end rates. That’s how you know you’ve done well with your choice. That’s also what you get with the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+ Microphone.
Its price is firmly in the mid-range, yet its features can match up with what you get from more expensive mics.
Features of Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+ Mic
- For non-techie newbies, the first thing that catches your attention is that it’s a USB microphone. Setting this up is just like plugging in your USB mouse or external hard disc. You just plug it in your USB port, and then you go to the control panel in your OS and set it up as your input source. That’s all you need to do. No extra drivers or other programs to install to make the mic work.
- The AT2020 design is available in several Audio-Technica mic models — that’s because this design allows for superb clarity in audio recordings. What you hear is what you get, in other words. You don’t get that muddied sound you may sometimes end up with when you convert your speech into a digital recording. It’s also good for musical instruments too, especially guitars.
- This also has a headphone jack, which enables you to monitor your mic signal in real time. For recorded podcasts, this is a crucial feature that enables you to make corrections on the fly. You don’t have to deal with the half-second delay that you get with PC monitoring.
- This is a cardioid pickup mic, which basically means it only picks up the sound coming from what’s in front of it. So you just need to remain within its pickup axis when you talk or play your guitar during your podcast. This pattern helps reduce the noise pickup that usually results when you make your podcast recordings at home.
- There’s a feature here that allows you to mix your mic signal with pre-recorded
- It comes with a tripod stand so you can just set it up on your PC desk. The USB cable is also 10 feet long.
So let’s tally all the advantages you enjoy with this mid-priced mic:
- You get truly terrific sound quality. This is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when you want to make your podcast sound professional. With this mic, you can achieve this goal with no problem. It faithfully captures your voice and your instrument, while it blithely ignores every other sound outside the pickup axis. If you’re talking, people can understand what you’re saying.
- Since it doesn’t pick up lots of extraneous background noise, you don’t have to exert a lot of time and effort for post-production editing.
- With the headphone jack, you’re able to have real-time monitoring. This means you can hear your voice and how you sound even as you record. You don’t have to finish the recording first, and then play it back to hear how you did. This can save you a lot of time and effort as you can make corrections and improvements on the fly during your podcasts.
- The ability to mix your voice (or instrument-playing) with prerecorded audio as you make your recording means that you can add greater sophistication for your podcast. You can add background music to your voice, and make sure that you’re still intelligible. Or you can add some drums to your guitar music.
- This is a USB mic and the setup is simple. Plug it in, set it up in the control panel, and you’re done. This is the stage that can intimidate newbies if it is too complicated. The simplicity of the setup is quite encouraging so more people can be enjoined to try out recording.
- The physical setup is also not a problem. The 10-foot USB cable means that you can set up the mic anywhere on your desk. The stand makes sure it stays in place.
While it’s good, it’s not really good for everyone.
- The limited cardioid single-direction pickup means that this isn’t what you buy when you do a lot of band recordings, group discussions, or one-on-one interviews. It’s more geared towards a single talker.
- It works better if you put in a foam pop filter in place.
Determining the best podcasting microphone depends on two basic factors: your budget and your specific recording requirements. The Audio Technica AT2020 USB+ is great if you have the budget for a mid-priced model, and you’re mainly using it as the lone speaker in your podcasts. If these descriptions fit your circumstances, then you now have a reasonably-priced mic that offers high-quality audio, low noise pickup, and a simple setup to boot.
For newbies, and maybe even many experienced users, that’s a combination of plusses that’s hard to resist.