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Best Budget Condenser Mic For Vocals – Audio-Technica AT2020 Review

The AT2020 from Audio-Technica is the best budget condenser mic for vocalsAre you looking for the best budget condenser mic for vocals for your home studio? Or do you simply need an inexpensive mic to aid you in all your musical productions? We have you covered as the Audio-Technica AT2020 could be the microphone you’re looking for.

For those who are on a tight budget, the Audio-Technica brand produces microphones for those who require quality products for a fraction of the price. In this article, we will break down all the information you need on this innovative piece of recording equipment.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Condenser Microphone

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is a high-quality large diaphragm condenser studio microphone. Audio-Technica is one of the leading brands in microphone design and technology. The release of the AT2020 condenser microphone in 2008 gave a whole new meaning to studio sound quality and value.

The AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone is designed to record and capture music and sound in the studio, through an audio interface and into your studio computer. You can use the microphone to record all types of vocals as well as any instruments like the piano, guitar, drums and bass.

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone, Ideal for Project/Home Studio...
  • The price/performance standard in side address studio condenser microphone technology
  • Ideal for project/home studio applications; The noise level is 20 dB SPL
  • High SPL handling and wide dynamic range provide unmatched versatility

Who Is This Product For?

Professional Music Producers

The Audio-Technica AT2020 is suitable for recording music in professional studios or home-based studios. The mic gives you the capability of recording and producing a very high-quality standard of audio.

You can use technology like an audio interface to connect the mic to your PC, Mac or laptop with an XLR cable. You can then connect the interface to a USB port on the computer. This gives you a professional-standard music studio for anyone who wants to record their vocals or instruments for their recording and production projects.

Junior and Senior Students

Students who shop on tighter budgets and can’t afford to purchase expensive sound equipment would benefit from the Audio-Technica AT2020 as it’s inexpensive and very user-friendly.

The simplicity of the design is to aid those who are beginners in the world of recording. Those studying audio engineering can record and produce crisp clear sounds for vocals and instruments for any project they’re taking part in.

Podcasters and YouTubers

The AT2020 mic is suitable for video recordings for podcasters and those who need to transmit clear audio for their YouTube videos. You can edit your video-audio quickly and hassle-free, as the condenser mic doesn’t pick up much background noise.

Vocal Coaching

You can easily use the Audio-Technica AT2020 to do vocal coaching as it’s able to help detect all the issues a student needs to work on when learning how to sing. The best way to get people to hear their vocal ability is to play it back to them as sometimes they can’t pick things up when they’re live and in the moment.

Monitor your student’s vocal progress by recording their singing regularly. You’re able to assign the correct vocal exercises to your student based on what you can hear in his or her recordings.

Radio DJs

The Audio-Technica AT2020 can also be used for radio production. The polar pattern allows you to use this microphone for any radio show as it produces a clear, smooth sound when talking into it. The mic can be in radio interviews or weather reports and will transmit the sound perfectly.

Self-produced Vocalists

Getting signed to a record label can be difficult in the modern world as it seems more and more people want to be musicians and producers. Some people prefer to record and publish their own material but in order to do that, they need quality equipment.

If you know the fundamental skills for producing your own music, you can easily set up the AT2020 to record and edit your own vocals.

Who Isn’t It For?

Anyone can use the AT2020 for any audio recording project, but if you’re looking for a standard microphone for karaoke or public speaking or something less technical, it may not be the right mic for you.

It’s also not a handheld microphone as the structure is wide and it won’t be comfortable to hold during live shows. The microphone does come with a microphone mount but it’s not really suitable to use for concerts or gigs.

Although the microphone is best suited for studio recordings, you can also use it for live TV or radio interviews.

The AT2020 is also not suitable for producing video-audio for filmmakers, as the cardioid polar pattern won’t pick up sound very well from the sides and rear of the mic. The polar pattern is designed to capture sound from the front area of the microphone.

For the same reason, you also can’t use it to record group vocals. The polar pattern of the microphone will negatively affect won’t the vocal recording of any singer who isn’t standing directly in front of it.

Best Budget Condenser Mic For Vocals - What’s Included?

Apart from the microphone you also get an additional microphone mount that you can attach to a mic stand. This means you can position your mic wherever you want in your home studio fr optimal recording conditions. It also comes with a stand adaptor which allows you to connect your mic to the mount.

The Audio-Technica AT2020 also comes with a protective padded pouch for easy storage and travel. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an XLR microphone cable but you can purchase this separately. The mic also doesn’t come with a pop filter for recording.

If you want to see exactly what you’re getting you can watch the unboxing video below. 

Overview And Features

Audio-Technica doesn’t fall short when it comes to quality microphones. The AT2020 has a solid exterior made from cast metal which makes it quite heavy and robust. The tough wire mesh protects and screens the capsule and an additional inner mesh aids against popping when recording vocals.

The microphone mount is also made from a durable metal. This makes it perfectly safe to travel with and to mount the mic in all sorts of different studio conditions.


The Audio Technica AT2020 exterior indicates which side is the front of the microphone. This is ideal as you don’t want to end up recording into the wrong side of the microphone. Additional features include:

  • High SPL handling
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Low-mass diaphragm
  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Provides superior transient response
  • Reduces pickup of sounds entering the mic from the sides and rear
  • Improved isolation of the sound source
  • Threaded stand mount for placement


  • Fixed-charge back plate on the internal capacitor
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • Maximum SPL of 144 dB
  • Low-noise
  • Dynamic range of 124 dB
  • Signal to noise ratio of 74db
  • Requires 48V of phantom power
  • Weighs 12.1 oz
  • Uses an XLR microphone cable

Setting The Mic Up And A Tutorial

Installing the Audio-Technica AT2020 is quite easy and hassle-free as you simply have to plug it into an audio interface. However, you will need to provide phantom power as it’s a condenser microphone, but any good audio interface will provide this for you with a much of a button. The phantom power is transmitted through the XLR cable.

You may also need to get an additional pop filter for recording vocals. The pop filter will need to be hooked up to the microphone stand. For a complete overview, as well as sound tests on vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar you can watch this video.

Alternative Product – Rode NT1-A

The AT2020 doesn’t come with any additional accessories such as a mic cable or a pop filter, so you could always try the Rode NT1-A cardioid condenser vocal mic.

Although the Rode NT1-A may be pricier than the AT2020 you’ll get all the added accessories you need for recording so you don’t have to purchase them separately.

The Rode NT1-A comes with the following accessories the Audio-Technica AT2020 doesn’t have:

  • Branded Rode pop filter
  • A protective dust cover
  • Shock mount
  • XLR mic cable

The Rode NT1-A has a large 1” capsule with a gold plated diaphragm. The shock mount is robust as it’s made from metal and the overall exterior of the microphone is very durable. You can record vocals as well as any type of instrument with the Rode NT1-A.

Like the Audio-Technica AT2020, you can use the NT1-A for a variety of different things: podcasts, home studio and professional studio recordings, and video audio for interviews.

Rode NT1-A Specs

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Maximum SPL of 137dB
  • 48V phantom power required
  • 3-Pin XLR output connection

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be a professional to produce high-quality music; you simply need the best recording devices you afford with your budget. You’re only as good as the equipment you use so having an excellent recording microphone is so important. First impressions last when hearing someone’s recorded vocals for the first time.

Luckily you don’t have to pay large amounts of money for studio equipment, especially when you’re first starting out. There are mics such as the AT2020 from Audio-Technica that are inexpensive and at the same time provide you with the quality you need for recording.

Put your recording and production skills to the test and get yourself the best budget condenser mic for vocals – the Audio-Technica AT2020. You’ll love the results when you add this to your studio.