AT 2020

anyone tried it?

Anyone tried this 100 dollar mic?


Hi Tom,

I have an AT2020 thanks to the generosity of another N-tracker.

Now, to set a starting point, I’m comparing the AT2020 to SM58’s, an MXL990, some cheap dynamics and some (probably) expensive LDCs I’ve used in other studios.

First up, it looks good and feels rugged. It comes with a stand adaptor (no shockmount), and a padded carry bag. So far the lack of shockmount hasn’t been an issue.

Subjective, of course, but my first impression of the mic is that it sounds slightly “tighter” than my MXL990. Particularly on vocals.

On acoustic guitar the AT is more “flattering” than my 990. I tried recording my cheap Stagg (beach) guitar and it sounded a lot less cheap. My Ovation tends to sound boxey with the 990 unless I’m careful with the mic positioning. The AT seemed to be a little less picky.

Looking at the specs for the two mics, the AT has a slightly smaller diaphram size (16mm compared to 20mm). Perhaps that helps? Also the frequency plot of the MXL has a very pronounced lift at around 10kHz whereas the AT has only a tiny bump in the curve. There’s some differences around 100Hz too - which I guess may also be the reason for the reduced “cheapness factor”.

I’ve been using it this week to record a friend who can sing “properly”. I’m kinda using this as a benchmark for the mic.

All in all, I’m finding it a very usable and versatile mic especially at the price.



Excellent, Mark, thank you for the very useful comparison. I’m going to pick one up this weekend. :)

let us know how you like it, Tom. I’ve not used a 2020, but borrowed a 4050 once and loved it. But i’ve been a fan of AT for some time. The MB4000c is the most versatile low-end SD i’ve tried.


The MB4000c is the most versatile low-end SD i've tried.
Ahh, the 4000c. I have two of them and use them for everything from drum overheads to acoustic guitar. They are wonderful mics.

OK, I went to Guitar center this afternoon, and they did not have the 2020 in stock.

So I got a pair of Rode NT5 mics instead. :)

Serious GAS got me. My wife was there, and she encouraged it, too. :D

Quote (TomS @ April 11 2005,16:04)
So I got a pair of Rode NT5 mics instead. :)

SWEET!! I hear those are the bees knees for acoustic instruments without having to spend your kids (and their kids) inheritance. Let us know how they do eh?


I tried them on overheads this afternoon, now, I don’t have much to compare them with, I’d been using MXL LD mics and APEX pencil mics, and obviously the nt5 mics blow those away. Good, smooth cymbals, really sound nice. Tried one on my rick/vox combination, also very very nice. The mics have very little color to them. Also, I was happy to see that I did not need to pad them - I have an nt3, and it is sooooo hot it needed an in line pad for almost anything.

These are great inexpensive mics. I wish I had other low cost small condensors to compare with - only others I have are older things from the late 70s, early 80s…

Try the NT-5s for vocals too. I think they sound pretty dang good, just make sure you use a pop filter :)

Hey Teryeah, I hope to try them on vox and acoustic and irish harp in the next day or two.

They really do a nice job on OH. Great attack on the cymbals. :)

OK, here’s the dope - the nt5 mics are flat - and not in a bad way. They reproduce what is in front of them quite accurately. Darn good for 200 dollar mics. Everything sounds crisp, clear, and natural. Really quite interesting to compare them with and sm57 on a guitar amp - the 57 sounds so unnatural by comparison.

My conclusion is that these things are a bargain. Thatmatch your experience, teryeah? ???

Yep. There are some Gretsch --> Marshall --> NT-5 on a few Fartones songs.

The other thing that is cool is that the off axis sound is pretty much flat as well. That matters a lot in my basement! And the off axis rejection is quite good, too.

Yep, I like these. :)

edit: say, teryeah, would you have any of those tracks posted anywhere, or otherwise available for listening?

also, is it to be parsed as “far tones” or the other way?
How much those tracks are doctored only phoo knows :)

EDIT: Of those tunes open to the public only Just For You has the Gretsch/Marshall/NT-5 combo upfront. The price you pay for that is unfinished vocals :laugh:

Oh, the Fartones, now I remember!


Yes, that guitar sounds very, very nice. :)

Oh, the Fartones, now I remember!

Thank the recording goddess for that, I was reading it as "The Fart Ones"
Quote (Willy @ April 14 2005,12:27)
I was reading it as "The Fart Ones"

So do I :)

All this talk of mics and and flatulence is giving me GAS.