If you ever did a quick search on the internet about good USB microphones, then you probably got flooded with way too many results and it’s understandable if you end up not knowing what to buy with so many different options.
I have a complete list of the best 15 USB microphones currently available which might be useful to you where I mention both the Blue Yeti and the Audio-Technica AT2020+ simply because they both are excellent microphones.
Now I will do my best to compare them both and give you an idea of which one you should go for depending on what you’re going to be using it for.
The Blue Yeti has a darker sound, it is bigger and heavier and offers 4 different pickup patterns; Cardioid, Stereo, Omnidirectional and Bidirectional.
The AT2020, on the other hand, sounds brighter and crispier, is small and light, making it ideal for taking on the road, but only offers a cardioid pickup pattern.
Blue is known for making excellent quality, and cool-looking microphones which certainly aren’t as expensive as some others out there.
The Blue Yeti (Link to Amazon where you can check the current price) is their most famous microphone which works through USB and is plug n’ play, meaning that all you need to do is connect it and that’s it, it’s ready for use.
It will work perfectly both on Windows and Mac OS.
The build quality is great, it feels very durable and not like some cheap microphone.
It features a multitude of pickup patterns like cardioid, omnidirectional, stereo and bidirectional, which makes the Blue Yeti an incredibly versatile microphone, especially for the price range.
You can get it in four colors; Silver, Blackout, Whiteout and Cool Grey.
It is not only an excellent microphone for podcasters, YouTubers and Voice-over artists, but it’s also pretty good for recording music… emphasis on pretty good.
This microphone also comes with a Gain control, mute button and a zero-latency headphone output, which is on the bottom.
All the knobs are easy to use, and you can quickly tell how much- or how little gain you’re dialing in.
The reason the Blue Yeti is a great option for recording music is, apart from its great sound quality, that it can record in stereo.
Why is the stereo pattern so useful?
We usually record acoustic guitars, pianos, etc. using two pencil condenser microphones which, when combined, give us some of the best sounding stereo recordings.
While the Blue Yeti won’t give you the exact same results as the two pencil microphones, it will certainly give you a better result than most cardioid microphones out there.
Another plus is that if you already own a cardioid microphone you can use the omni setting on the Blue Yeti and record with both of them at the same time, using the mid-side technique which is an excellent way of creating a stereo recording.
How does it Perform?
The Blue Yeti is very easy to use and doesn’t require any technical knowledge to be configured, just connect and use without the need to worry about any drivers or latency issues.
The sound quality is very good considering the price, plus having four different pickup patterns allows for a lot of versatility.
Need to record a bunch of people for a podcast? Or do you need to record and ensemble? Or maybe you just want it to have a conversation over skype…
With all of these pickup patterns you can easily do all of this without any issues.
Of course, there is no way it would beat any of the studio-grade microphones out there that cost over $1000, but it really does sound good!
I liked it especially for voice-related applications but not so much for recording music.
This is because even though the stereo pickup pattern can come in handy when recording something like an acoustic guitar, I just didn’t like the way it sounded as much; It doesn’t sound as bright as I would have hoped.
That’s why I said that it sounds “good” and not “great”.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic microphone and it’s super worth the money, plus someone with an untrained ear won’t probably even notice these subtleties.
If you want a good microphone for a podcasting project or simply for making YouTube videos, then I think that you should choose the Blue Yeti, especially if you are going to use the different pickup patterns.
Another alternative would be the Rode NT USB, and I even did a comparison between it and the Blue Yeti. Make sure to check out that post.
What do you get in the Box?
- The Blue Yeti Microphone
- USB Cable
- Tri-capsule array: three condenser capsules inside
- Multiple pattern selection: cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional and bidirectional
- Gain control, mute button, zero-latency headphone output
- Perfect for podcasting, voiceovers, game streaming, interviews, conference calls and music recording
- Plug ‘n play: Mac and PC compatible
- Desk stand included (already attached to the mic)
- Polar Pattern; Cardioid, stereo, omni- and bidirectional
- Frequency Response: 20Hz- 20kHz
- Sample Rate: 48kHz/16-bit
- Max SPL: 120dB
- Weight: 1.2 lbs
If you’re looking for a versatile microphone, then it might be a good idea to go for the Blue Yeti.
Make sure to check the current prices on Amazon here.
Audio-Technica AT2020+ USB
There are 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 have at least a couple of them.
The USB version of the Audio-Technica AT2020 (Link to Amazon where you can check the current price) is just as good as the XLR AT2020 with the advantage of being a plug n’ play microphone which works both on Windows and Mac OS.
It comes with a built-in headphone jack with a volume control that allows you to directly monitor your microphone signal with no delay.
It also offers a mix control that blends microphone and pre-recorded audio.
The controls on the AT2020 aren’t as easy to use as the ones on the Blue Yeti since it’s harder to know exactly where you’re at with the dials.
When setting the levels on the Blue Yeti you’ll find that it gives you a much more accurate representation of where you’re at.
One thing I like about the AT2020 is that it’s a lot smaller and lighter, which makes it a better microphone for travelling.
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 actually.
Just like the Blue Yeti, the AT2020 can be used for anything voice related, recording music, YouTube videos, etc.
How does it Perform?
Since the AT2020 is a plug n’ play microphone, you should have absolutely no issues getting it to work; simply connect it and that’s it, you can now record!
The sound quality is excellent, and I mean excellent, especially considering the price, since you probably won’t find another USB microphone at this price range that sounds like this.
The only thing I don’t like that much is that it can sound a bit crispy at times, but that isn’t that much of an issue really since you can fix that with just a bit of EQ afterwards.
The AT2020+ would be my top recommendation for anyone who is looking for a cardioid condenser USB microphone simply because of the sound quality.
Sure, the Blue Yeti might bring more versatility to the table, but if you’re only going to use the cardioid pattern, then I’d recommend the AT2020+ 100%.
It records your vocals extremely well, as well as acoustic and classical guitar, which is what I used it for before getting the AT3035 and the AT4040 (these are not USB mics and are much more expensive).
There’s a reason why the AT2020 is part of almost every music studio, and that is because when taking cost-effectiveness into account, there are few microphones that can stand up to it.
What do you get in the Box?
- The Audio-Technica AT2020+ USB microphone
- Tripod desk stand
- USB cable
- Storage Pouch
- Headphone Output with volume control
- Tripod desk stand and USB cable included
- Mac and PC Compatible
- Built-in headphone jack
- Mix and Volume Control
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid
- Frequency Response: 20Hz- 20kHz
- Sample Rate: 44.1kHz – 48kHz/16-bit
- Weight: 386g
You can check the current prices of the AT2020 on Amazon by clicking this link.
The Blue Yeti sounds a bit darker, which is something that I don’t really like that much, plus the overall Audio Quality, when compared to the AT2020, isn’t as good.
The included desk stand is really good since it can swivel around, and it comes with some padding on the bottom which should help reduce the vibration transmission generated by something like a keyboard.
Having all those extra pickup patterns is a definite plus for the Blue Yeti, even though I have to say that I like the AT2020+ a bit more mostly because we tend to use the cardioid pattern the most anyways, plus when compared side by side, the sound quality of the AT2020 comes out ahead.
Like I mentioned earlier, the AT2020 has some crisp to it which some of you might not like.
Note: Both microphones will require a bit of post work to get them to sound how you really want them to, which really isn’t too bad since we all do some EQing, etc. after recording.
The clear winner, in my opinion, is the Audio-Technica AT2020+ for the simple fact that it sounds a bit better.
The difference isn’t really that big, both microphones will be more than enough especially if you’re doing some Podcasting or if you’re recording YouTube videos.
If you think that you’re going to need the extra pickup patterns, then go for the Blue Yeti.
If you normally just use the cardioid pattern, like most people do, go for the AT2020+.
I hope this information was useful!
Have a wonderful day!
I've worked in a music studio a couple of years back and now I mostly record at home and try to learn as much as I can about producing music and about the gear that is required to do so.
This is something I really enjoy doing.
The whole point of this Website is to help you and others learn more about how to produce music, especially from home.
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