Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Type: Condenser
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Max SPL: 144dB
- Output Impedance: 100 ohms
- Sensitivity: 14.1 mV/Pa
- Standmount and soft zip-up vinyl case included
- Rugged Construction
- Requires +48V phantom power
To cut to the chase, if you’re looking for a general-purpose entry-level microphone that produces great results at a low cost, the Audio Technica AT2020 is it. Sitting around a hundred dollars, this “no frills” cardioid condenser is the Swiss Army knife of affordable condensers and is undoubtedly a more-than-sufficient choice for beginner recordists.
Small and durable, this condenser microphone contains a 16mm-diameter back-electret capsule with an impressive bass extention. A full linear frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz remains relatively flat across the spectrum making it great to reproduce signal from a variety of sources. A slight dip at around 70Hz helps with proximity effect and a very gentle presence hump between 5kHz and 15kHz breaths air into the signal.
The Audio Technica AT2020 is designed for vocal and general instrument recording in project and professional studio environments. This means guitars all the way down to drums and percussion. The maximum SPL is a high 144dBSPL which means you can record very loud sources such a brass or drum overhead—handling signal of wide dynamic range with minimal noise and distortion.
What impresses most engineers is that despite its low cost, this microphone reproduces a signal that is very mature and believable for literally everything that is placed in front of it. The characteristics of its frequency response flatters a wide range of singers as it offers clean warmth and air without any boominess or harshness. The response has depth and detail—free of any honky low end.
Built to last, the Audio Technica AT2020 is constructed in a thick cast metal casing, and a firm wire mesh protects the capsule inside. There is a second layer of finer mesh beneath to help with plosive sounds coming from the singer, but for optimal results you’re still going to want to pick up a pop screen.
If you want to capture the subtleties and nuances of your performance and want a multitool-like condenser microphone on a budget, then this is it. It has been a top-seller in its class for over ten years and continues to be heavily sought after today.
To help you out on your quest to find a great microphone for recording vocals at home, we’ve included links below to detailed reviews of a few models that feature similar characteristics to the Audio-Technica AT2020.
We’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Vocal Microphones that will teach you about all the components and characteristics that make up a microphone. Learn about a variety of popular vocal microphones and why some are best suited for particular voices and recording conditions.