Well, it’s certainly been some time now since the first USB microphones started appearing in stores. At first it seemed like somewhat of a bad idea, taking a microphone and squeezing an A/D converter and USB port all into one casing for a budget price. Now we’re beginning to bene t from what many manufacturers learnt with earlier models, and we’re seeing some great microphones being offered in a USB model alongside the original. One such company that has gotten this digital conversion of one of their studio tools right is Audio-Technica. Most of you would have used their microphones or headphones at some point and many of you, I’d guess, already own an AT microphone. The AT2020 has, since its release proven to be a great microphone for the money, but now, Audio-Technica have taken it one step further with the AT2020USBi, allowing connection to PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod.
One stop recording shop
What the AT2020USBi offers is a microphone that not only looks very similar to the AT2020, but sounds like it too. The difference is that this one has a built-in preamp and digital converter. So, there is now no need for any other equipment but a computer and the microphone. Your signal goes straight into your recording software and monitoring is then taken from the headphone output of your device, not the microphone in this case as it only has a gain control and no headphone output as with other USB microphones. It really couldn’t get any simpler. Phantom power is even supplied through the USB cable, so no external preamp is required.
That 2020 sound
Now, the AT2020 was and still is a real stand-out microphone in the Audio Technica range in my opinion. No, it is not the best microphone they offer, but it is a good microphone at an amazing price. It is a large diaphragm condenser microphone that would work well in just about any microphone kit in the studio. And for the price, why wouldn’t you have one in your kit? My only gripe about this microphone, and the new USB model that shares its audio characteristics, is that it is a little too clinical in its audio capture. Yes, you get a clear and precise capture of the sound, but it doesn’t really have a voice of its own and just lacks a little life in the tone it imparts. But, for the price, seriously, it is an amazing sounding piece of kit.
Hits and Misses
Works with so many devices
No need for external hardware
Great AT2020 sound
Limited to newer model iPads and iPhones with Lightning connection