One very common question I see people ask all over the Internet is whether they should purchase the Audio-Technica AT2020 or the AT2035.
This is fair question simply because both of these microphones are so similar, however one of them is almost $50 more expensive.
So, in this post I’ll do my best to give you some good information about each microphone, their differences, and which one you should go for.
Let’s get straight into it…
There are probably few better-known brands in the music industry than Audio-Technica.
They make some of the best microphones on the market and the AT2020 is the go-to mic for almost every beginner home recording enthusiast.
Plus, you won’t see a studio that doesn’t at least have a couple of them…
The AT2020 is a cardioid condenser microphone, which means that it is going to need phantom power in order to work properly… Like all condenser microphones.
More on this in a bit…
Just like all the Audio-Technica microphones, the AT2020 is extremely well built.
When holding it in my hand it doesn’t feel like a cheap product at all, quite the opposite in fact.
However, since it’s a condenser microphone, I wouldn’t recommend dropping it or not worrying too much about it taking a beating…
Condenser microphones are a bit more sensitive than dynamic mics, so keep this in mind.
The AT2020 can be used for a lot of different applications, such as;
Recording music, doing voice-over work, streaming, creating YouTube videos, and more.
Since the Audio-Technica AT2020 has a Cardioid pickup pattern, it will mostly be picking up sound from the front while rejecting sound from the back and the sides.
This is essential because you want to avoid picking up unwanted noises and any of the room’s natural sound, and a cardioid pattern will help with this quite a lot!
It has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz which is standard for almost every large diaphragm condenser microphone out there.
Important note: In the beginning I mentioned that in order to record properly, the AT2020 will need a phantom power supply.
The good news is that almost every modern Audio Interface, even the cheapest ones, will be able to supply it.
However, some microphones can work within a range of voltages, like 11-52v, but the AT2020 needs exactly 48v of phantom power.
So, if you don’t already own an Audio Interface and are looking to purchase one, here are a couple articles I wrote which should be very helpful.
- Best Audio Interfaces under $300
- UMC22 Vs UM2 (Cheapest ones)
- Scarlett 2i2 vs UMC204HD (Higher quality and affordable)
- Scarlett 6i6 vs UMC 404HD (A bit more expensive but very cost-efficient)
How does it perform?
The recording quality is great, especially since this microphone costs only about $100.
It has a slightly reduced low-end which I personally don’t like for the simple fact that ends up lacking a bit of “body”, plus I prefer to control this in post later on.
The slight boost in the mid-high frequencies can actually help your vocals better cut through the mix, which is always nice!
All in all, it’s a terrific mic to get if you’re on a budget!
What comes in the box?
- The Audio-Technica AT2020 Mic
- A storage Pouch
- Microphone Clip
- Great Build quality
- High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide maximum versatility
- Cardioid polar patter which reduces the overall noise picked up
- 144 dB SPL Handling
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can check the price and reviews of the Audio-Technica AT2020.
Just like all the other AT20’ series, the AT2035 has a great Build quality… Pretty much identical to the one of the AT2020.
The body and the grille are all metal and it really does feel like a good microphone.
One difference between the AT2020 and this one is that it comes with a -10dB PAD as well as a high-pass filter.
Not only that, but when looking at the sensitivity you’ll notice that it has a louder output signal.
This means that you won’t need to drive the preamps on your Interface as much, yielding a cleaner signal.
Additionally, it has a lower self-noise.
This means that you won’t need to drive the preamps as hard, and even if you do, the noise generated by the microphone itself will be lower than with the AT2020.
The shock mount, which comes included, is made out of plastic, but it gets the job done…
And it’s also very durable, so no worries there.
Apparently, the AT2035 is modelled around the AT3035 (A mic which I currently Own and that just sounds fantastic), which has now been discontinued.
The only differences are a couple of the electronics and the color of the mics themselves… AND that the AT3035 used to sell for around $350…
Other than that, both the AT2035 and the AT3035 are the same.
Just like the AT2020, The AT2035 is a cardioid condenser microphone, which means that it is going to need phantom power in order to work properly.
Now, here’s another point where both these mics differ; The AT2020 requires 48v of phantom power while the AT2035 requires 11-52v.
99% of the time you’ll be able to power the AT2020 since almost every Audio Interface and Mixer provide 48v…
However, if for some reason there isn’t enough voltage to get to the 48v, the AT2020 won’t work…
On the other hand, as long as you feed the AT2035 at least 11v, it should work just fine!
I’ve read on some websites that you don’t really need an Interface to be able to use the AT2035…
This is wrong.
So, if you don’t have an Audio Interface and are thinking of buying the AT2035, take that extra cost into account.
Otherwise you’ll end up purchasing the mic and not the Interface, and won’t be able to record anything.
Most Audio Interfaces are super affordable though; you can even get some pretty good ones for under $70.
Here’s a post about two very inexpensive Audio Interfaces.
How does it Perform?
The sound quality is just astounding!… much better than the AT2020 in my opinion.
It sounds great when recording vocals or doing anything voice-related, as well as when recording acoustic guitars.
When mic’ing up guitar cabinets, on the other hand, I found it to sound a bit muddy…
But this isn’t anything that can’t be fixed in post by adding a high-pass filter, or even by engaging the one on the mic, so no worries there.
The AT2035 sounds flatter than the AT2020, and this is always a pro since it gives you the option to better tweak everything in post…
Plus, since it doesn’t have an artificially reduced low-end, like the AT2020 does, everything sounds way more natural to me…
And if you ever want to reduce the low-end, you can simply engage the HPF on the mic or add it in post in your DAW.
What comes in the box?
- Audio-Technica AT2035 Microphone
- Shock Mount
- Carrying Pouch
- Durable Build
- -10dB PAD
- High-Pass Filter
- No Artificially reduced low-end
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can check the price and reviews of the Audio-Technica AT2035.
As far as the sound quality goes, the AT2035 has a flatter frequency response, meaning it sounds more natural, and the overall audio quality is also better. The AT2020, on the other hand, has a reduced low-end and a slightly boosted mid-high range which is designed to help the sources better cut through the mix.
Which one should you choose?
To be honest, the only reason I would choose the Audio-Technica AT2020 is if I didn’t have the budget to purchase the AT2035.
The reason for this is that not only do you get the added High-Pass filter and PAD switches when purchasing the AT2035, but it’s also a different microphone in itself.
It sounds fuller and more natural…
And even though it sells for about 50% more than the AT2020, it’s definitely one of those mics that you won’t need to upgrade from for a long time.
I know that having a High-Pass filter on the mic itself isn’t anything too essential, but if you need to use multiple mics and you need a hpf engaged, then it’s far easier simply flick a switch and be done with it than having to go through each track setting one up.
Having said all of that, the AT2020 is still a fantastic mic for the price…
The AT2035 is just a better microphone overall, even while being more expensive.
If you can, go with the AT2035…
I promise you it’s a much better mic and you won’t be disappointed.
Still, if you only have the budget for the AT2020, or if you need to get an Audio Interface, which is going to add to the overall cost, then by all means, go with the AT2020.
I hope this information was useful!
Have a wonderful Day!