As budget microphones go, we’ve seen a lot of the “less is more” design approach. Companies are stripping out features and making design compromises so their mics can still sound good and sell cheap. Audio-Technica, who is no slouch in the microphone department, is bucking the trend by making a quality mic under $100 without completely stripping it of features you might need.
The Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ replaces the now discontinued AT2020USB and retails for under $70, putting it on the higher end of the budget microphone price range. It’s a cardioid microphone ideal for streaming, podcasting, and day-to-day use at work or ata play in Discord.
It can be confusing because AT has a couple of microphones with the AT2020 designation, such as the AT2020 USB X, the $150 premium USB, and the XLR version of the AT2020 for $100.
Compared to the budget USB microphone, its metal body is designed to take a beating. If you travel a lot, you don’t have to worry about the AT2020+. It does come with a handy travel pouch which is a nice touch and gives it a premium feel whenever you pull it out.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ specs
The mic itself is easy to use. It’s plug-and-play; there’s no software to install, so you can get to recording fairly quickly. There’s even a headphone volume and mix control, a feature you won’t find on many sub-$100 offerings. For example, my favorite budget mic, the Razer Seiren Mini, has no extra features. Monitoring and adjusting your mic levels is always really clutch during a live stream without needing to tweak using third-party software. However, I wonder why Audio-Technica went with those controls instead of a mute button or gain controls.
These extra features are great, but the most important question for any microphone you’re potentially buying will always be, “So, how’s it sound?” And the AT2020USB+ might be one of the best-sounding mics under $100 I’ve used in a really long time.
As you can hear from the sample, my voice is sharp and crisp. It also adds a nice warmth to the vocals, and if you make a lot of content featuring your voice, like podcasting or voiceovers. You’re getting a lot for just $70, making it a really good mic if you start with content creation.
I recommend getting a pop filter since my plosives were noticeable in the test recording every time I said something with the letter p in it.
It being a single condenser microphone makes it less versatile than some of the mics, closer to the $100 price point. If your content involves just and nothing overly complicated logistics-wise, this is still an excellent option for beginners.
As much as I like the AT2020, its flimsy tripod leaves much to be desired. It never quite sits on the desk and often feels like it’s going to tip over with the slightest bump desk bump. Bad mounts are common with microphones at this price range, but considering this isn’t Audio-Technica’s first USB microphone, it could be a lot better, given its pedigree.
I also found it strange that it uses USB Type A, which is objectively better and more secure than micro-USB, though I’d rather it USB Type-C since those are a lot more common these days. In a pinch, I bet trying to track down an extra USB Type-A cable will be a lot harder than a USB Type-C any day of the week.
The Audio Technica AT2020USB+ is proof that you can make a quality microphone for less than $100 and find a way to keep it under $100 without stripping features. Despite a really poor tripod stand, this is still one of the best microphones you can buy now.
One of the best budget mics you can buy right now that’s easy to use, provides crisp audio, and is built to last.