With the continued evolution of eSports as well as streaming the audio needs of the average gamer are increasing. Many headsets offer a built in mic which helps, and some are pretty decent, but none can compete with a good quality stand alone model. In their 20 Series Audio-Technica offer a model which is ideal for those looking to step up in quality, and do so with a focus on mobility. Today we review that in our Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Review.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Review – Packaging and Bundle
The AT2020USB+ arrives in a fairly compact box which gives us a nice clear image of the product on the front as well as plenty of feature and specification information around the various sides. Inside the mic is encased in foam to ensure it arrives with us safely and bundled with it are a few useful items. First up is the USB cable which connects the mic to our system, then we have a compact desk stand and mount and finally a travel pouch to carry all of these and our mic from location to location.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Review – The Mic
The AT2020USB+ is shown above and the first point of note is that the main casing, including the grill, is metal. Audio-Technica apply a matt finish to this with a few speckles across the surface and a band runs across the midle with their branding. Dimensions are 162mm long by 52mm wide and weight is 386g. On the front surface we have two dials. One allows us to blend the microphone signal with pre-recorded audio and the other controls the headphone volume…
…speaking of headphones we can see the 3.5mm stereo port on the back of the mic. This provides us with 130mW of output power (at1kHz, 10% T.H.D. 32Ohm load). As far as mic specifications go we have a fixed charge back plate, permanently polarized condenser element with cardioid polar pattern. Frequency response is 20-20,000Hz and we have a 16bit depth with 44.1/48kHz sample rate. Finally, power is provided to the mic via our USB connector on the base and this is a 5V DC port.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Review – Conclusion
Starting with the build quality of the AT2020USB+ we have a product which impresses. Not only is the external construction metal, the main body is a very chunky metal, giving a nice solid casing. The matt finish is applied to a high standard and all of the ports feel robust, so should not fail easily. In terms of design, again, all good. This looks like a high quality, pro/semi-pro type product and the dials/connectors are located sensibly. There is also a cool blue LED which illuminates behind the grill when powered on, adding some extra style.
As far as setup goes, things couldn’t be simpler. We decide on how we want to mount the mic, using the desk stand shown above, or via a standard microphone stand which the ATUSB2020+ also supports. We then connect the USB cable and that’s it. We are good to go! No drivers, no extra software. Just select the mic as the input device in your chosen application and plug in the headphones if you want to use that functionality.
Performance wise, given the price point of around £120/$150, the performance is excellent. Lovely clarity, decent control of background pickup and a strong, accurate tone. Your application will control any effects added, or you could opt for the likes of the AT2035 which uses XLRM connector which can be passed through external processors for altered tone/sound.
Really though the AT2020USB+ does exactly what it sets out to. Offers a well built product with impressive default quality in a form factor/design which allows us to use on the move, or at home with ease. That mixed with the nice bundle of extras means it could have qualified for a number of our awards, so taking into account the price we are going with Value. A great kit to get any gamer or online streamer to the next level in broadcast/chat quality.