Recording at home has become even easier now that this entry-level mic has added USB
Item: Audio-Technica AT2020-USB, USB Condenser Microphone
Price: $199 US, £135 UK
At A Glance: We previously looked at the AT2020 in our review [http://voicecouncil.com/review-audio-technicas-at2020-mic] and praised its excellent value for money – since then Audio-Technica have released a USB version of the microphone, which means you no longer need a separate recording interface and preamplifier to use the microphone. This makes it ideal for singers wanting to get started with home studio recording as well as people looking to do field recording, podcasting and recording when traveling. The AT2020-USB is both Windows and Mac compatible and comes with a tripod desk stand, pivoting stand mount, USB cable & storage pouch.
High Notes: The microphone couldn’t be easier to use – simply plug it into your computer’s USB port, and it should function seamlessly with your favorite recording software. As with similar mics, it uses a cardioid polar pattern in order to reduce the pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear. Audio-Technica have sensibly included a long 10′ (3.1 m) USB cable with the microphone, which is essential if you want to record vocals on a stand a reasonable distance from your computer.
Off Pitch: It has a frequency response of 20-16,000Hz; this should be OK for vocal demos, falls a little short of what you often find on other condenser microphones. Also, there is no direct output on the microphone, which means there will be a slight delay (latency) between what you sing and what you hear if you also need to monitor your singing through headphones while you record (this delay will not appear on the recordings and is not a problem if you just have the backing track in your headphones).
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Though it won’t compete with a top studio mic, it has to be said that this mic has a rich and clear sound that performs surprisingly well considering its low cost. If you want to record simple demos at home on your laptop, then it is definitely worth checking out. Although the microphone offers excellent value for money, is does face stiff competition from other mics such as the Samson C01U, Blue Spark Digital, sE USB2200A and the Shure PG27 USB, to name a few.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.audio-technica.com