Audio Technica is a Japanese company that has been existing since 1962.
Today, this company is well-known for creating good quality audio products at affordable prices. Their products are perfect for budding and amateur musicians who prefer not to compromise on quality, and at the same time, look for the best deals.
In many ways, Audio Technica brings the best of both worlds for you.
In this article, we will review two quality microphones from this company – AT2020 and AT2035. This entire AT20 series of microphones are popular, and specifically, the above two models that we’ll discuss today are widely used.
So, what makes them so popular? How different are these two models from one another and which is the better one to buy?
We will find answers to all these questions and more.
Table of Contets
- 1 Audio Technica AT2020 vs AT2035: Pros & Cons and Verdict
Audio Technica AT2020 vs AT2035: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this section, we will compare AT2020 and AT2035 across different aspects like design, cost and more. We do this detailed comparison to give you a comprehensive idea of which microphone scores better in which aspect, so you can make your choice accordingly.
The design is a critical aspect and one that is keenly watched by many people. As a user, let’s say you walk into a showroom and see an array of microphones displayed. Let’s also assume that you don’t have much brand preference. In that case, what would you do? Try the one that looks the most attractive to you right?
Well, this is exactly why design is an important feature. It is the first opportunity for a particular model to create an impression and to even entice you to buy it. There are many companies that focus heavily on design than performance, and continue to thrive well. It doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad, but is said just to emphasize the importance of design for a product.
Now moving on to the design of Audio Technica AT2020, it is simple and elegant. The black glossy finish adds a touch of luxury to the entire product. Also, the build looks solid, so you can rest assured that it will last for a long time.
It also comes with a set of useful accessories. The standalone version comes with a pivoting stand mount that is compatible with most microphone stands. So, you can insert this mic into any stand. If you already have one, then that’s going to save you some money!
Another design aspect that we love is that Audio Technica AT2020 comes with a pop filter to conceal your Ps and Ss. If you’re wondering what a pop filter is, it is nothing but a shield that aims to reduce or eliminate popping sounds and can protect against the accumulating saliva in the mouth of the speaker or singer. This means, a pop filter not only makes your voice sound better, but it also improves the lifespan of your mic, as it does not prevent the salts in your saliva from corroding the outer side of the mic. Due to these benefits, a pop filter is recommended for microphones, and most leading manufacturers have it as well. So, it is no surprise that Audio technica has included it in both its microphone models.
When it comes to Audio technica AT2035, there is nothing much different in terms of design. Probably, it looks a little sleeker and thinner because it is a standalone mic.
Both microphones have a cardioid polar pattern. Now what in the world does this mean? Simply put, polar pattern is the sensitivity of a microphone to the direction of sound. In other words, it is the ability of a microphone to hear sound from different directions. Generally speaking, there are a few kinds of polar pattern, and they are, omnidirectional, cardioid and supercardioid.
Cardioid polar pattern is one of the more popular one. Microphones that have this polar pattern have the most sensitivity at the front and the least sensitivity at the back. The obvious advantage of this polar pattern is that the mic isolated unwanted sounds present in the background. In addition, it also gives high levels of resistance to feedback, especially when compared to the omnidirectional polar pattern. Due to these aspects, a cardioid mic is most ideal for loud stages where you want everyone to hear you without your voice getting distorted.
Though some may argue that supercardioid mics are the best when it comes to noise isolation, we don’t think it is true simply because they have a narrower pickup when compared to cardioids. This means, they tend to pick sounds at the rear, so you have to place the monitor speakers in the correct position to get the best output. Practically, this is not easy.
This is why we prefer cardioid polar pattern over other patterns and both these mics have this pattern, which is great.
Also, the length cable is excellent in both these microphones. Audio Technica AT2020 comes with a convenient 20 feet XLR cable.
There is a slight difference in the power requirement of both these mics. Audio technica AT2020 requires 48V DC, 2mA typical while AT2035 requires 11-52V, 3.8 mA typical.
There is a difference in the carrying case as well. Audio technica AT2035 has a better carrying case than that of AT2020, as the latter’s bag feels flimsy and offers no padding whatsoever.
Now it is time to decide which of the two is better in terms of design. Since both the mics are fairly similar in design and accessories, we think both are winners here. One aspect to keep in mind is the shock mount. If that is something that is important for you, go with AT2035.
AudioTechnica AT2020 is this company’s first entry into the world of microphones. As a result, it can be termed as basic when compared to the more advanced models in this series. In fact, the features in subsequent models were included after feedback from this initial product.
That doesn’t mean the performance is bad in any way. AudioTechnica AT2020 gives a big bang for your money and is ideal for anyone who is looking to add a microphone to their home studio without spending hundreds of dollars.
Before we go into the performance of this microphone, it is important to know that you need an audio interface to use this product. If you have a home studio, you’re likely to have this interface. But for some reason, you don’t, you may have to buy one before you start using AudioTechnica AT2020. Alternately, you can use the USB version as well.
Moving on to performance, the frequency response of AudioTechnica AT2020 is flat though there are some slight cuts around the 70 to 80Hz area. However, there is a big boost on the high end areas for better clarity.
It uses a cardioid polar pattern to reduce picking up sounds from the sides and back area. As a result, the noise isolation is good. In fact, it is better than what other similar models provide for a much higher price tag. That said, remember this is a condenser mic, so it is not ideal for a place that creates a lot of natural sound. If your workplace tends to produce a ton of natural sounds, you are better off choosing a dynamic mic instead.
AT2020 is an all-round workhouse mic because it works so well with many different applications in your studio. It works great for,
- Electric guitar
- Recording for YouTube
- Conference calls, especially those important ones at work
From the above list, it is clear that Audio Technica AT2020 is truly a multipurpose tool as its versatility makes it ideal for almost anything and everything you do!
What about AT2035?
Well, Audio Technica AT2035 is a big brother of AT2020. It is not only priced higher but also comes with a few additional features that are sure to come handy for you.
A salient feature of Audio Technica AT2035 is that there is a switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and a 10dB pad. What this essentially does is, it gives you the option to cut down low-end frequencies. This feature is particularly helpful when you’re trying to record vocals or other sounds.
Some users argue that switch is not something that is needed at all because you can do it yourself. They contend that you need a specific feature for it, as it something that most professionals are used to doing by now. While that is true to some extent, it is a useful feature when you want to record a variety of sounds or if you record often. Though you can do without a switch, it is so much more work to record the sounds all by yourself. A little help from the device can greatly ease this workload for you. In this sense, the switch is definitely a handy feature to have, especially if you’re one of those people who tend to record frequently.
Besides the switch, AT2035 is a versatile mic that gives you a ton of flexibility, regardless of what you want to record.
So, it is hard to decide on the winner when it comes to performance because both mics are equally good and versatile. If the switch is important for you, go for AT2035 by all means.
Cost is another major determinant of your buying decision. For most of us, the price is important for two reasons. First, we are always on a budget, especially considering that we are aspiring sound engineers. Secondly, all of us want the best value for your money. After all, it doesn’t come easy.
When it comes to cost, Audio Technica AT2020 costs less than Audio Technica AT2035 which is priced relatively higher.
Now the first question that comes to your mind would most likely be if the price difference is worth. In other words, is Audio Technica AT2035’s features better than that of AT2020 to warrant the extra cost.
Unfortunately, we don’t think so. The premium price is not worth the features offered by Audio Technica AT2035. A quick comparison of the features clearly shows that there isn’t much difference between the mics in terms of both design and features. Of course, we have the switch feature in Audio Technica AT2035, but that is also something that we can do it ourselves. You don’t necessarily have to pay extra for this feature.
One point to consider though is that Audio Technica AT2035 comes with a standard shock mount and this could be worth the extra you pay. It just depends on your personal preferences and more importantly, the way you have set up your system.
One aspect to keep in mind though is that Audio Technica AT2020 requires an interface. If you don’t already have an interface, then you will also have to factor the cost of the interface into your budget. Though there are many cheap ones available, it is sure to set you back by a few tens of dollars if not more. So, when you add the cost of the interface, Audio Technica AT2020 could end up costing more; probably even more than AT2035, depending on what interface you choose.
But for this comparison, we will not take into account the cost of the interface because that is subjective. We will compare only the retail price of both the mics.
Based on these thoughts, Audio Technica AT2020 is a better value for your money as it offers all that Audio Technica AT2035 offers, but at $50 lesser.
So, the winner in this category is Audio Technica AT2020 not because it is cheaper, but because it offers a better value for your money.
4. Audio Technica AT2020 vs AT2035 – Pros and Cons
In this section, we will take a bird’s eye view of the pros and cons of each of these two products to give you an idea of which is better with just a quick glance.
Audio Technica AT2020 Pros
Advantages that come from using Audio Technica AT2020 are:
- Provides a bold and crisp sound.
- Surprisingly, it works better with dark sources than bright sources.
- Extremely versatile.
- Can handle a wide variety of studio applications.
- Super sensitive, as it picks up a lot of sounds.
- The build quality is top-notch and this makes it last for a long time.
- It is most ideal for musicians who are beginning their careers and for those who work out of a small home studio.
- Gives a flat response. The big advantage with a flat response is that they can be mixed with EQ easily.
- Cable is of a nice length.
- Price is competitive.
Audio Technica AT2020 Cons
The shortcomings of AT2020 are:
- The storage bag is flimsy.
- Comes with no extra padding.
- No shock mount for these mics.
Audio Technica AT2035 Pros
The pros of AT2035 are:
- Highly versatile and can be used for many different applications and scenarios.
- Neutral and balanced sound and this makes it particularly useful for recordings.
- Comes with many of the accessories you need for a mic setup.
- Build quality is great and this makes these mics highly durable.
- These mics can handle high vocals without any kind of distortion or peaking at any point.
- Low cut filters and 10dB pad switches give you a good measure of flexibility.
Audio Technica AT2035 Cons
The cons of AT2035 are:
- Switches are a bit hard to turn on and off, and it takes some time for the switches to loosen out a bit.
- The pop filter that comes with it isn’t the greatest. But will work for beginners.
- The sound may sometimes be sibilant or overly harsh, especially words with “sh” sounds.
We hope these pros and cons give you a good idea of what each mic offers, and it is sure to help you make the right decisions if you’re pressed for time.
Audio Technica AT2020 vs AT2035 – Final Verdict
Now we have come to the end of the article where it is time to decide which of these two is better.
It is a hard choice really because both the mics are similar in build, quality, design and the features they have. Though Audio Technica At2035 has a couple more features when compared to AT2020, whether you need these features at all is a question that you alone can answer.
Of course, Audio Technica AT2020 also comes with certain disadvantages. For example, it needs an interface to connect and if you already don’t have an interface, then it could cost you some extra money.
That said, if you’re going to set up your gear for the first time, we would recommend you go with Audio Technica AT2020 because it comes with a pop filter and an XLR cable of good length. You can look for a cheap interface such as Scarlet 2i2 to get started. As you progress and start making some money, you can consider switching to higher-end models of mics.
On the other hand, if you are one of those people who tend to record a lot of sounds, then you are better off buying Audio Technica AT2035 because they have the switch feature. As mentioned before, it is not something that you necessarily need because you can do it yourself by all means. At the same time, it is good to have a feature that can save you some time and effort. So, if you tend to record sounds often, go for Audio Technica AT2035.
Audio Technica AT2020 and AT2035 are two popular, well-built and best-selling microphones. If you’re looking for a quality device, you have to choose between these two.
So, what is the final verdict? Well, it is too close to call because both mics are similar in design and output and both are entry-level mics that are ideal for those who are starting out. The choice depends totally on your preferences. Some features to consider though are shock mount, switch and pad for Audio Technica AT2035 and price, design and interface for Audio Technica AT2020.