The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone is a powerful and well-built bit of kit that belays its relatively low price. From taking this out of the well-packaged box you'll feel this is all about quality with a weight that you'd expect from a big name brand like Audio-Technica.
Ports: USB, 3.5mm aux out
Directional patterns: 120-degree Cardioid
Size: 6.38 x 2.05 inches
Weight: 0.85 lbs
This blurs the lines between a studio-quality mic and a beginner model thanks to top-quality audio and features in an easy-to-use setup, with that USB which makes it ideal for computers. From podcasting and vlogging to video chats and musical recordings, this cardioid mic is good for lots of uses.
So is this the mic for you? Read our full Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ review to find out.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+: Design and build
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone is a cardioid setup meaning it's perfect for close-range and focused audio recording. That makes this a specialist for voice recording.
This is a reassuringly weighty microphone that is metal in finish and features chunky and super solid connections. There's an included USB cable with plenty of length to use in most situations.
On the front are two controller wheels, one for the headphone volume and the other for monitor control, shifting between recorded and live recording audio, which is ideal for overlaying tracks.
The tripod comes as part of the kit, making it good to go right out of the box. This can be angled but does take some fiddling to make sure the mic's weight doesn't topple over the tripod stand. Angle the microphone back a little and this works just fine.
There is a USB out and a 3.5mm audio out so you can record to a device and have monitor headphones plugged in directly for no-latency audio.
There is a blue LED light that comes on when the mic is plugged in so you know you're powered up and ready to record. What there isn't is any software. The manual simply suggests you download the free Audacity app to record and edit. That's good advice, although some control over the gain would have been welcomed, perhaps in the form of more analog controllers on the mic itself.
You also get a really plush carry pouch which is so premium we wish we were using this on the move more to have an excuse to use the case.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+: Features and performance
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone features a fixed-charge backplate and a permanently polarized condenser setup for a 120-degree cardioid polar pattern. This is good for 20Hz to 20kHz and records audio at 16-bit and 44.1/48kHz. All that is fairly standard but thanks to the experience of Audio-Technica as a brand specializing in studio recording, the end result is fantastic in terms of quality.
To be clear, this is great for the price and there are better-sounding mics out there but for most uses – including professional – this will be more than enough in terms of quality.
The 3.5mm headphone output is useful for latency-free audio monitoring of how you sound. The monitor control is also helpful, letting you hear more of you or more of the audio you're recording over, with a manual slide of the wheel on the mic. It might sound basic but it really is invaluable if you record overlaying tracks regularly.
You will need some of the best audio editing software to get the most out of the end results if you're packaging up. But for video chat on platforms like Zoom, this is easy to set up and those listening to you at the other end will appreciate how clear you sound versus a standard in-built mic.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+: Price
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone is priced at a very reasonable $149. This gets it into that sweet sub-$200 category which places it ahead of most of the competition here in terms of quality as it sounds and feels like something in the $200+ category. That said, if you don't need the very, very best then there are some sub-$100 options with similar specs – Blue Yeti for example – that may serve you nearly as well.
Should I buy the Audio-Technica AT2020USB+?
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone is ideal for anyone that wants high-quality voice recording for podcasts for vlogs. It can also work well for musical vocals and is superb for video chats. That said, there are other options with omnidirectional modes which may work better for some situations, where a wider field of recording is needed. But, if you're sat in one place, with the mic on a desk relatively close, this is a perfect microphone for you.
If you want more manual controls, like gain, then you will be left wanting. It's also worth noting that if you stream as a pair, you may want a wider field of recording from a bidirectional mic. But for an easy-to-use system with super-quality components, this is a microphone that will serve you well.
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ microphone is a reasonably priced device for the quality it offers. While its specs are comparable to lower-priced models, this brand offers supreme build quality that can be heard in the end result. A solid microphone with useful manual controls, a handy tripod stand and ease of use that makes it good for even beginners to get started with, but a quality good enough for pros – this really does it all well.