Microphones come in all sizes and shapes today because of their widespread use. There are many individuals and groups who use microphones to share their knowledge and expertise with others through the digital world. The many podcasts and YouTube videos are a testimony to this fact.
But this also presents a conundrum for consumers because it is hard to choose the microphone that is best for you from a multitude of choices. It requires an enormous amount of research to identify the one you want, which in turn, entails time and effort.
To ease this pressure and to help you pick the ones that best fit your needs, we are comparing two popular microphone models. We compare them against different attributes, so you can pick the one that is most suitable for you.
Table of Contets
AT2020 vs Blue Yeti – Comparison
Yeti from Blue and AT2020 from Audio Technica are two of the best models of microphones that are reasonably priced. But which of these two is better? Which mic scores in what areas? Let’s explore to get answers to all these questions.
Design is an important aspect as that is what creates the first impression about a product on a customer.
The design of AT2020 is simple, and at the same time elegant. The black color and superior finish make it look like a high-end microphone, and gives an extra touch of beauty. The build is solid and it is sure to last a long time for you. Try taking a look at the electronics inside! It is not easy and this is because the build is solid with the mic itself weighing a little more than 12 oz.
The cast metal is thick and maybe even a little chunky, while the wire mesh protects the capsule and acts as a natural screen to eliminate noise. There is also a secondary layer to eliminate the popping sound, you often hear in poorly recorded audios. Though this is not a substitute for an external pop filter, it nevertheless does a good job of eliminating first level noise.
The casing has a black electret capsule that is about 16mm in diameter. This dimension is slightly smaller than the standard capsule that you’ll find on other microphones of this type. As a result, there is an assumption that a small diaphragm means less sound or not a solid sound, but AT2020 completely disproves this assumption, as the sound quality is excellent.
What about Blue Yeti?
Blue Yeti’s design is somewhat similar to AT2020, but it is not the same. This is a retro design with a solid base that gives additional stability and support to the mic and prevents it from toppling over.
The arm on which the mic sits can be adjusted to match your preferences. You can push it away from you when you want to take a break from recording to ensure that unwanted noise doesn’t get recorded.
Like AT2020, the design is aesthetic and the color choice, which is an all-white or all-black, goes well with any decor.
Is there any difference in design and usability? There is one significant difference in design and this impacts the overall usability of the product. Blue Yeti is designed in such a way that the microphone has a good height, which means, you can talk directly into it without having to bend down. This is a useful feature especially for those tall people who find it hard and outright annoying to bend down to talk into a microphone. AT2020 is much shorter, which means, bending down is inevitable if you want to get a good voice recording.
Another aspect is that the stand of AT2020 feels a little flimsy whereas that of Yeti is solid and looks durable.
That said, both the products are simple to set up and use because they offer a plug and play setup option.
Now it is time to decide which of the two is better. After close analysis, our design team feels that both the products look great. There is no clear winner here, so the choice depends on what design you like the most.
But if you look at usability, Yeti is better because of its height and its easy adjustability – both of which are absent in AT2020.
Another defining aspect of any product is its performance. Even if a product doesn’t look all that great, if it’s performance is top-notch, then it is sure to be a hit among users. Let’s see how AT2020 and Blue Yeti score on this aspect.
AT2020 is Audio Technica’s first entry into the world of microphones. The company floated this product to signal its entry into this market, so the features are deemed to be fairly basic. Many reports suggest that Audio Technica included more features in subsequent models based on the feedback from this one.
Though AT2020 is an entry model, its sound quality is exceptionally good. The frequency response of this mic model is flat for the most part, though we can see a few cuts around the 70Hz mark. But the good news is there is a big boom at the higher end of the frequency response, and as a result, the sound clarity is excellent.
When it comes to the all-important polar patterns, AT2020 uses the popular Cardioid one. There is no support for other patterns such as Omnidirectional or Bidirectional. This can be somewhat of a drawback because this makes the product a lot less versatile. For example, a bidirectional polar pattern can provide great sound in an interview, but AT2020 does not have this flexibility.
The Cardioid polar pattern helps to pick up sounds from the front of the mic, and the sound isolation is good. But remember, this is a condenser mic and this makes it unsuitable in areas that have a lot of natural sounds. If you think you’ll work outdoors often, you are better off going for a dynamic mic model instead.
Though there are some limitations to AT2020 in terms of polar pattern, it is still a great choice because it works well across many applications. One of the highlights is that it works well in both Windows and Mac, and this alone is a compelling reason to buy this mic. In today’s market, you don’t find a lot of mics that are compatible with Apple products, so if you have a Mac, it is no brainer that you should opt for this product.
Since it works well across many applications, AT2020 can be used for a wide range of recordings such as,
- Electric guitar
- Recordings, and so much more
Moving on to the Yeti, it supports four polar patterns, which is incredible when compared to AT2020. Obviously, since it supports four patterns, it has greater versatility and offers more flexibility when compared to AT2020. The four polar patterns supported by Blue Yeti are:
- Cardioid – This polar pattern records sounds from the front and sometimes from the side. This pattern is most ideal for conversations, narration, commentary, singing and any other recording that requires you to talk or sing from the front side of the mic.
- Stereo – This polar pattern records sound from the right and left sides to give a stunning stereo effect. You can use this pattern for recording instrumental music to give a concert-like feel.
- Omnidirectional – This polar pattern picks sounds from all directions. Though it is no used as much as the other patterns, it is still a good choice to have.
- Bi-directional – A highlight of Blue Yeti is this polar pattern because you don’t often find this in other mics. This pattern is most ideal for a two-way conversation, say something like an interview.
As you can see, the flexibility that comes from these polar patterns is enormous and this makes Blue Yeti ideal for recording anything and everything of your choice. The good news is the recordings are natural and sound as it is, without any distortions whatsoever. Sound clarity is great across all frequencies.
Though this mic captures somewhat less hissing and booming sounds when compared to other mics, it is still a good idea to use pop filters to eliminate the popping sounds.
So, which of these two mics perform better? Definitely Blue Yeti for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the polar patterns and the flexibility they offer makes a substantial difference, especially if you plan to use it to record for a wide range of applications. As discussed above, Yeti offers four polar patterns whereas AT2020 offers only one. This difference is substantial.
When it comes to the overall sound too, we think Yeti is a better choice because its sound output and clarity is better than that of AT2020.
Besides design and performance, the product you buy should also be easy to use and should give you the flexibility you want out of it. This is why we will look at the features of both the products to help you decide the better one.
When you compare the features of both these products, Blue Yeti is sure to blow away AT2020. One of the highlights of Blue Yeti is a dedicated mute button. While doing important recordings, this button can be a savior for you. You can mute off when you’re coughing and want to grab a quick sip of water or when you altogether want to block out some sounds. Again, the flexibility this button offers is truly priceless.
Other than the dedicated button, Yeti also comes with a few other knobs that give you complete control over your recording process. Specifically, it comes with a headphone volume knob, volume gain knob, and a direct headphone monitoring option. In comparison, AT2020 has no such knobs. Remember, Audio Technica was testing the waters with this entry-level product, so it is not fair to expect a lot out of it.
It is worth noting that AT2020 Plus version is the next version of the basic model, and it comes with some advanced features such as direct headphone monitoring. But then, it also costs more, and this makes it not so ideal to pay more money for just one extra feature. Nevertheless, it is good to know that such an option exists especially if that feature is something you want.
So, in terms of features, the winner is quite clear. Blue Yeti scores big time over AT2020 when it comes to the range and versatility it offers to users.
Cost is another important factor, especially if you are just starting off as a podcaster or YouTuber. It makes sense to buy good quality mics that are priced cheaply before moving on to more expensive ones, as your business increases.
The good news is both the mics are great for bargain hunters because they are well-priced and offer good value for your money. AT2020 is priced lower whereas Blue Yeti is a little more expensive. If you shop on online sites like Amazon, you are sure to great deals on these products, as they have many promotions and sales going on all the time.
Even if you end up buying both the products at their retail price, they are still a bargain considering the features they come with and the sound output they give. The recordings on both the mics are excellent, and both are convenient to use as well.
But the larger question is which of the two is better when it comes to cost? Though on the face of it, you may think that you can save money by going for AT2020, in reality, Blue Yeti is the better bargain because the features it offers for this price is simply unbeatable! This doesn’t mean AT2020 is bad, it is just that Blue Yeti is much better and at this price, you get a lot of the features that are available only in high-end professional grade mics.
So from a cost perspective, Blue Yeti is better because it is a much better bargain when compared to AT2020, even if it costs a little more.
5. AT2020 vs Blue Yeti – Pros and Cons
Let’s quickly glance through the pros and cons of each product to help you get a glimpse of what each offers, so you can make the right buying choice.
Let’s see the pros of AT2020.
- Crystal clear sound.
- Ideal for a wide range of recordings, starting from home-studio to podcasts and voice-overs.
- Better frequency and transient response, thanks to its low mass diaphragm.
- Compatible with both Windows and Mac.
- Well engineered to reduce popping sounds.
- Sound great for both vocals and instrumentals.
AT2020 comes with some shortcomings too, and they are:
- You cannot adjust the volume directly from the mic. You will have to do it through computer controls, which can be a little difficult at times.
- The height of the mic stand is not enough.
- There are no headphone jacks.
- Records only in the cardioid mode.
Blue Yeti Pros
Blue Yeti comes with the following advantages:
- A highlight is the top-class sound quality that these mics produce every single time.
- The overall structure is made of metal and this gives it a solid base. It also lasts for a long time.
- The design gives stability to the mic, and the chances for a topple is minimal.
- With four polar patterns, the versatility of this mic is simply unbeatable. You can record anything with these mics.
- You can good controls that help to adjust the mic the way you want, and at the same time, these controls do not overcrowd the design.
- Comes with a solid USB cable that could be handy to connect to USB devices.
- Zero-latency monitoring.
- Setup is a breeze.
- Works well on all Windows platforms.
Blue Yeti Cons
Blue Yeti has the following cons.
- You cannot plug Blue Yeti into a separate USB system as it works well only with computers and laptops. This could limit its usability.
- There is no on/off switch.
- Knobs are a little shaky and feel like they can come off at any time.
- The microphone as a whole is large and is not ideal for small spaces.
- No pop-up filters.
We hope these pros and cons help you get a quick idea of what each of these products offer, so you can make the right choices.
AT2020 vs Blue Yeti – Final Verdict
So far we have looked at how both the products fare in each aspect, and now it is time to decide which of the two is better overall. More importantly, which is a better value for your money.
After multiple rounds of testing, Blue Yeti is hands down the winner for many reasons.
First off, it offers four recording patterns when compared to Audio Technica’s one. Though some critics argue that four recording patterns are unnecessary, as a user, it is good to have that option. You will be able to use that mic for more recording sessions and across different applications when you have that extra flexibility.
In terms of design, though both are the same, Yeti scores when it comes to usability. The height of the mic, as well as the choice to move it away from you when not needed, are simple features, but ones that greatly enhance usability. A highlight of Yeti is a dedicated mute button that can help you avoid a ton of editing and re-recording. Also, the fact that there are quite a few knobs means you have better control over your recording when you use Yeti.
When it comes to performance, again both are good, but the sound quality of Yeti is slightly superior when compared to AT2020.
When you take all these factors into account, we can say that the Blue Yeti is a better product across all parameters when compared to AT2020 and it is a great bargain for what it offers. For these reasons, Yeti is the winner.