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Thread: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

  1. #1
    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Hi all,
    Haven't been on the forum a great deal lately as I have been busy with work, life and playing my mandolin and as those priorities conflict with each other now and again there just has not been a great deal of time left to jump in the cafe and contribute much.

    Things are settling a bit and I am looking to push toward accomplishing some (one) of my new years resolutions by doing some recordings for my family and friends for the holidays this year. I've been working on some pieces and have been pretty satisfied with where they have gotten and now want to consider getting a microphone that can do a good job of recording vocals and my mandolin. So I can capture tracks and then mix them into a final work.

    I've reviewed the forums and based on what i'm seeing is that the 'Bang for the buck' seems to fall to the "Audio-Technica AT2020" as a promising selection that can effectively record voice and acoustic mandolin as well, and do so within a reasonable price point.

    Sooooooo, my question here is since this information came from older threads using the "Audio-Technica AT2020" as a starting point at about $100. Is there something better that has come out since that would perhaps provide better quality or features, or has anyone brought something to market that has similar features with a lower price point, OR... has something come out at a lower price point wtih better features/performance?

    I realize some of this is subjective by nature but as I have limited funds to put into gear I would like to see the most for my investment. Thoughts?

    Regards,
    Kip....
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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    You could look at the SE Electronics X1 in that range. We got one for free recently as part of a special promotion, and I played around with it last week... very impressive. Pretty amazing performance for a low-priced mic.
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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    My favorite mic set up, at least for live. is the MXL 990 &991 package. The 990 is a large diaphragm condenser and the 991 is a small diaphragm condenser that is sold through Guitar Center as a package for $99. The performance is phenomenal for the price. I have been using both mics for live situations for about six years now and have never been let down. I have also used the AT2020 and, while it is great for the money also, I like the MXL 990 better. I have never used any of these for recording, so I can't speak for that, but I imagine the differences would be similar. Here is a link to Musician's Friend where they happen to be on sale for $79 for both mics. Amazing!!!

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...ophone-package
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    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Larry,
    Verify for me please. This is not a USB rig is it? Something I didn't make note of is that I liked the AT2020 because it was USB based and therefore straight into my comptuers. I dont' have a board / amp to plug into so if I were to go this way I'd have to invest in additional gear to get to the finish line. Still I REALLY like the idea of two mic's as I could record voice and the mandolin at the same time.

    Wonder what I would have to dish out in addition to get from there to the computer?

    I did see that they have the 990 in a USB setup but it doesn't include the smaller 991 in USB. Price is right. Almost tempted to consider two of them.



    Thanks
    Kip...
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    The sE X1 sells new for $199 at Sweetwater, compared to the AT 2020 for $65 at B&H Photo and the AT 2020 USB for $109 at Sweetwater.

    I'm not a big fan of the MXLs, though at $80 for the pair at MF these days, it's sort of hard to pass up.

    If you're trying to record voice and mandolin at the same time, you'll get a lot of signal "bleed" between the two signals. So running two mikes may or may not make sense. I don't know enough about USB-based recording to know if you can separate the signals sufficiently. Better solution may be just to have one mike covering both.
    EdSherry

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    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Thanks Ed... That was my first thought was to record the mandolin first. Then capture the vocal. When the concept of having both at the same time came up I thought okay kill two birds... but if your consideration of the bleed from one to the other is a possible issue might be better to get a better mic individually and record them separably.

    I honestly really like the looks of the 990 mentioned earlier. Reading the specs it appears to be possibly a good choice for me. See what else others have to say about options. I'd like to stay at or under 100 dollar bill on this if I could.

    Good input folks this is helpful info.

    Regards,
    Kip....
    If you think you can or think you can't... you're likely right!

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    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Sorry, I didn't realize you were looking for USB mics. Until now, I didn't realize the 990 came in a USB set up. Awesome mic for the money. I used the AT 2020 in a phantom power setup on stage and I really like the 990 better.
    Larry Hunsberger

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Personally, I would steer clear of USB mics. First, most of them (there are a few exceptions) only use 16 bit A/D converters. Second, the converters are all super-low end - they have to be at that price point. Third, there are a range of issues with powering mics via the USB port... line noise, for one. I have not yet heard a USB mic that I would rate for anything other than "rough audio note-taking". You are also buying inflexibility. A separate mic + interface is going to deliver much, much superior performance.
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    Registered User J.Albert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    "I have not yet heard a USB mic that I would rate for anything other than "rough audio note-taking"."

    Doesn't Apogee have a new usb mic out that can "break those barriers"?
    http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/mic.php

    - John

  10. #10
    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Can't use it since it is an Apple only product. Spiffy web site though.
    Kip...
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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    The new Apogee mic is certainly a cut above most such offerings. BLUE MICS also have some decent stuff.

    http://www.bluemic.com/yetipro/#/desc/

    If you have to go USB, the Blue and Apogee are certainly worth experimenting with. I've used an Apogee Ensemble interface for several years (until recently) and they are excellent - but as you say, Mac only. The Blue Mics also have Win drivers.
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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Have you thought about using a handheld recorder like a Zoom?

    Record in stereo, free yourself from the usb cord. Personally I would think a cheap recorder would do what you want as well and be useful in other ways.

    If it were me, I would go that route instead. Likely similar quality, but easier to deal with (record on device, dump data to computer).
    Breedlove OF
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    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    If you have to go USB
    USB eventually... I guess would be the way to describe my core objective. I want to make separate tracks and lay them down on the computer to be used in my mixing software. So either USB mic or may have to consider an interface between.

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus View Post
    Have you thought about using a handheld recorder like a Zoom?
    I hadn't till now... will check it out. That moves towards the interface in between concept. Needless to say, I'm looking for doing vocal and instrumentation tracks with as high of quality as I can get for the lowest number of dollars spent.

    I don't really care if it's direct to the computer or routed though a secondary device. The only reason I was leaning towards USB mics was to eliminate the cost of a interface in between. With the input i'm getting i'm looking at some wired solutions as well and finding that it looks like if I go wired I can get a much better bang for the buck on the mic.

    The quest continues!

    Thanks all!
    Kiip...
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  14. #14
    Master of mediocrity Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    you know, I looked at computer recording. you need a fairly decent computer and some kind of interface. when I added up the cost of the computer upgrade and software, it was cheaper for me to buy a zoom r24. it has built in stereo mics, fx, drum machine, midi triggers etc etc etc, and it's a sweet little mixing board. also being battery powered (does have an ac chord as well) it can record anywhere.... I recorded one song, mandolin, vocals and guitar, for a video while sitting in my car at work down in the train yard.

    there is a 16 track for less. I paid 500 for the 24 track. and it can be synched up to a 16 or 24 track for that many more tracks...

    I forgot to add, it records to an sd card. I have a 16gb card and that will hold 50 hrs of recordings. enough to have everything I have ever written basically

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    garded
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    I know the Zoom isn't the best in the world, but I sure love my H2. And all the recordings I've done of different bands were amazing in what it picked up. It transfers to my pc really easy and is easy to mix the tracks. I believe you can set it so it goes straight to your computer, so it's just being used as a mic. And I know of nothing that cheap that is a plain stereo mic, or dual stereo(when set on omni). It might be more than your budget, but man is it a handy little recorder. Even though I have a full on computer setup with mixers and studio mics, the H2 gets way more use just 'cause it's so easy to set up and use.

  16. #16
    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Tony,
    Since you posted about the Zoom H2 I've been doing some research and I think I'm beginning to be getting a direction here that I will likely move on. As Barry and other have eluded to the Zoom portable recorders/studio boards are nothing short of staggering from a standpoint of quality and versatility from what I'm hearing and reading.

    To be sure the proof will be in the pudding when I actually start some of these. That will be the final test to be sure and unless I see something different I think what I'm going to do is go with an H2 and then later upgrade to the R24. I just sent in my taxes yesterday so I am thinking unless the wife overrides the allocation of mad money that I will pickup an H2 when it comes back.

    I did note something interesting music supply companies like Musicians Friend, Sweetwater, etc sell the same H2 for nearly double that of other shops that sell cameras and 'other' digital recorders. You can get he H2 for $115 all day long from them while those cratering to the musician community seem to want about $200 for exactly the same gear. While they have the right to sell at whatever price point they want, I really do not understand the disparity between the two sources. Just strange.

    Regards, and thanks much everyone for your input!
    Kip...
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    Long , Strange Trip Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Good info on where to get an H2 cheap. I've used several Zoom recorders, A friend has an H2 and we record jams with it. I find the built in mics to be fine for most recording. I have 2 older Zoom 4 tracs that are battery powered and I mic with MXL 990 into an ART pre-amp ( mostly for the Phantom Power) and get great Mono recordings. I also use the 990 into my Fostex 8 trk along with the internal mic on the Fostex or another mic for stereo. In the first few posts the OP mention recording separate tracks and wondered about bleed, the MXLs will bleed like crazy to the point of having little or no separation at all. You will need to close mic with a 57 or something to achieve minimal bleed and just recordin each trac separately will work better unless bleed over is what you're going for.
    Jim Richmond

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    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    What kinda blew me away when I was price shopping was that the R24 is the same price in both locations even though the H2 is doubled in the one instance. Sooooooo, really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    Kip...
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    Registered User still_fiddlin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Quote Originally Posted by Kip Carter View Post
    What kinda blew me away when I was price shopping was that the R24 is the same price in both locations even though the H2 is doubled in the one instance. Sooooooo, really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    Kip...
    Pretty sure you will find the Zoom H2 (which I have, and think is a great piece of equipment, BTW) is discontinued at most of those higher-priced sites. $115 is a great deal, even after adding $15 or so for a decent size SD card. When I looked, I could only find that price at B&H Photo, so it's real, at least (bought 2 or 3 cameras from them). I just wouldn't count on it being there a month from now. Most places are now selling the H2n.

    If you don't already have a digital recorder, you couldn't do better for this price, and I've recorded bands, string quartets, orchestras, and solo instruments with mine. Everybody needs one!

  20. #20
    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    You are spot on ... the H2 is selling for 115 while they are selling the H2n for 199. It looks like the H2 comes with pretty much the accessory kit they are selling to go with the H2n for another 40 dollars. <sigh> Hope the inventory holds out till I can afford to order this because though the H2n is nice an all it doesn't appear to offer anything that I would really see justifying the extra cost. Guess I'll have to wait and see if they have em when the income tax return come in.
    Kip...
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    It was mentioned earlier that you may be able to record using the H2 directly to your computer using it as a mic. I've been submitting videos to "The Academy of Bluegrass" using the onboard camera and mic on my laptop. The mic picks up the fan noise and gives me a flutter so I was thinking of buying an ext usb mic to solve my problem but if I can use an H2 directly to my computer to record my audio and it will be insync with the video that may be the best solution. I don't need great audio/video. I do not want to spend time syncing up anything. Looking for plug and play.

  22. #22
    Master of mediocrity Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    I run my zoom r24 direct in. use the 1/8" mini into the sound card from the headphone or audio out (easier to use the headphone out as main outs use 1/4" mono outs). I did our going to california direct in like that and added a bit of reverb to give it that old sound.

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    Registered User Don Grieser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    mandodan1960, I've used the H2 to record the audio while the laptop webcam is recording video into iMovie. Everything syncs. No problem there.

    Has anyone actually multitracked with the H2? Just wondering how that works for monitoring the already-recorded tracks while adding an additional track. Is there a latency problem? If no one has tried this, maybe I can do a test for Kip before he spends his $ on it.
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    garded
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    Wouldn't the latency just be in the recording program you are using, not in the H2 if you already have the track transferred to your 'puter? Dunno, just speculation, as I've never used my H2 to multitrack.

  25. #25
    Registered User Kip Carter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Audio-Technica AT2020 vs ???

    I was planning on doing multitrack but planned on transferring all tracks to the computer to do the sequencing. While it might be possible to do otherwise I'm not sure why you would want to introduce the additional control element to manage.

    Kip...
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