When it comes to buying a microphone, the most important thing is to make sure that it gets the job done.
While it’s easy to fall for gimmicks, what you’re looking for is a microphone that sounds natural, delivers a clean signal and is easy to use.
According to microphone manufacturer Audio-Technica, their AT2020 and AT2035 models tick all the boxes. We put them through the test head-to-head to find out which one would come out on top.
Great entry level option
The budget-friendly AT2020 comes with a cardioid polar pattern and it’s suitable for a wide variety of applications, from podcasts to music recording.
Professional quality sound
With its rugged construction and flexible 80Hz high-pass filter, the AT2035 makes for effortless recording and editing. It’s ideal for recording vocals and acoustic guitar.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand that was founded in 1962. They’re well-known in the music business as one of the best mic manufacturers and are proof that you don’t have to pay through the nose for a studio-quality mic.
What to Expect
Here’s what you’ll learn in the comparison guide:
- Why the AT2020 and AT2035 are well-matched when it comes to features
- What differentiates the AT2020 from the AT2035
- Why the AT2020 is perfect for beginners
- Does the AT2035 offers more value for money even though it’s pricier?
The AT2020 & AT2035 Specifications
|Type||Condenser mic||Condenser mic|
|Sensitivity||-37dB sensitivity||33dN sensitivity|
|Frequency Response||20 to 20,000 Hz||20 to 20,000 Hz|
|Connector||3-pin male connector||3-pin male connector|
|Rated output impedance||100 Ohms||120 Ohms|
|Polar Pattern||Cardioid polar pattern||Cardioid polar pattern|
|More Specs & Reviews||Read more||Read more|
Most of us shop with our eyes first and we’re quick to judge an item based on how it looks.
Manufacturers like Audio-Technica know this and prioritize design because visual appeal makes the first impression and can entice customers to buy the product.
AT2020 – simple and functional design
The AT2020 is simple but stylish, thanks to a black glossy finish and a solid build. It also comes with a pop filter aimed at eliminating the accumulation of saliva in the mouth when talking into the mic.
This feature also improves the lifespan of the mic while protecting against popping sounds to ensure that your voice sounds better.
AT2035 – rugged and long-lasting
The AT2035 is slimmer and sleeker than the AT2020 but it comes with much of the same features.
This includes a cardioid polar pattern. This enables the mic to perceive sound from different directions.
It’s also helpful at eliminating voice distortion and unwanted background noises so that it’s easier for your audience to hear you.
Sound quality is another important feature that you must consider if you want to get the most out of your mic.
AT2020 – Records a large frequency of sound
The pop filter included in the AT2020 is designed to cover up over emphasized Ps and Ss, which is great for sound isolation. It has a standard frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.
AT2035 – produces a dynamic sound
The AT2035’s switchable 80Hz high-pass filter allows you to cut low-end frequencies. This is useful when recording vocals and similar sounds.
It also allows you to switch between different sounds that need low-end.
The best part is that the AT2035 makes it easier to edit audio in post due a flatter overall sound.
Some companies focus more on visual design than they do functionality and durability. But, a good mic is one that balances all these different aspects.
AT2020 – Rugged
This is a sturdy mic that feels rugged to the touch. You can tell from holding it in your hand that it’s going to last.
That doesn’t mean that you should be careless with it because it can still take a beating if you drop it.
AT2035 – Sturdy and comfortable
This model features an all-metal frame and grille that feels durable. The AT2035 also comes with a sturdy carrying case with built-in padding for comfort and protection.
This is much better than the flimsy one that comes with the Audio-Technica AT2020.
Condenser mics are known for being ultra-sensitive and versatile. This means you can use them for voice-overs, music recording, streaming and more.
AT2020 – Offers focused sensitivity
As a cardioid mic, the AT2020 mainly picks up sound from the front, while blocking out the sides and back.
This means it’ll pick up the essential sounds you want and none of the “white noise” or unwanted sounds in the room, making a great microphone option for streaming.
AT2035 – Delivers a smooth sound output
The AT2035 offers a high-pass filter and -10Db pad. That means you can expect a cleaner signal and a more flamboyant output.
Due to low self-noise, the AT2035 doesn’t generate a lot of noise and it sounds great.
Good design isn’t the end-all-be-all of a microphone. You should also consider its performance and how it handles different applications and settings.
AT2020 – a highly versatile mic
Performance-wise the AT2020 does not disappoint. Its recording quality is remarkable considering how affordable it is.
It’s a bit light on the low end but it makes up for this with an increase in the mid-high frequency.
This allows your vocals to shine and it’s one of the features that make this a great, budget-friendly option.
Thanks to its flat frequency response, you might experience minor cuts between 70 to 80Hz. But, it does offer good noise isolation due to the cardioid polar pattern.
Because it’s a condenser mic, the AT2020 is not recommended for venues that produce a lot of natural sounds. You’d need a dynamic mic for that. But, the AT2020 is versatile, and is useful for:
- Electric guitar
- Violin Etc.
This Might Interest You: Blue Yeti vs AT2020 comparison review
AT2035 – flexible enough for most applications
While the AT2035 is impressive at recording vocals and acoustic guitar, it doesn’t fare well with guitar cabinets. But, you can always fix the muddiness with a high-pass filter in post.
This model comes with the added benefit of a switchable 80Hz high-pass filter. This makes it easier to switch between different sounds and its ideal for anyone that records on a regular basis.
We all want value for money so it’s important to consider price when shopping for a mic.
AT2020 – Budget-friendly, but with a catch
On the face of it, the AT2020 seems like a more cost-effective option than the AT2035. But, it lacks useful features like a shock mount and interface which means you’ll need to buy them separately.
AT2035 – Offers value for money
The AT2035 is pricier than the AT2020, but it comes with an interface, shock mount, and a convenient switch feature. You won’t need to purchase any extras with this one so it offers more bang for your buck.
It’s always a good idea to find a mic that’s easy to power up.
AT2020 – Relies on a limited source of power
The AT2020 is limited to a phantom power voltage range of 48v. It’s not as malleable as other condenser mics which can work with a wide voltage range from 11 to 52v.
AT2035 – easy to power up
The Audio-Technica AT2035 accepts a wide range of phantom power from 11 to 52v which makes it easier to feed power into it.
AT2020 vs AT2035: Pros and Cons
Now that you know what both mics offer in the way of features and specifications, let’s dive into the pros and cons of each option.
Advantages of the AT2020
- The AT2020 is very versatile: This mic is sensitive enough to pick up a wide variety of sounds with absolutely no issues at all.
- Competitively priced: This mic costs significantly less than the AT2035 yet it comes with many of the same features.
- Offers a crisp sound: This mic is really good at reproducing sounds as they are.
- Well-built and long-lasting: This is a durable mic that’s sure to last you for many years to come.
Disadvantages of the AT2020
- Comes with hidden costs: Although it has an overall affordable price tag, the AT2020 is missing a few important features that you may have to pay for separately.
- The carrying bag is flimsy: For such a rugged mic, we expected a sturdier carrying bag. The one it comes with probably won’t last long with regular use.
- It’s missing some important features: The AT2020 doesn’t come with a shock mount or an interface.
Advantages of the AT2035
- Produces a balanced and neutral sound: If you’re looking for a mic that produces a clean yet dynamic sound output, the AT2035 is it. It comes with convenient low cut filters and a 10dB pad that eliminates background noise. It can easily handle high vocals without any peaking or distortion
- Comes with most of the accessories you’ll need to use it: You won’t need to purchase separate accessories to get the most out of this mic.
- Durable: This mic is made from sturdy metal, which can handle day-to-day use without falling apart. This is on top of the rugged carrying case, which is well-cushioned for added protection.
Disadvantages of the AT2035
- Pricey: The AT2035 does not come cheap, but its price tag makes sense when you consider the fact that it comes with all the features and accessories you need to use it straight out of the box.
- The switches require a bit of a learning curve: The switches are difficult to use at first and you may even get confused when trying to use them. But, with practice, you’ll get used to their unusual positioning.
- Comes with a mediocre pop filter: The pop filter on the AT2035 could use some improvement, especially for the price. It’s really not as comprehensive as one would expect from a product of this price range.
The Final Verdict
It’s difficult to say which of these two Audio-Technica mics is better because they’re so similar. Of course, the AT2035 comes with extra features that might be useful. But, it’s hard to overlook the sizeable XLR cable and ease of use offered by the AT2020.
The AT2035’s switch feature will make your life easier if you’re someone who’s constantly recording and it has the best self-noise performance. That means you get the cleanest signal from your preAMP and the least amount of noise from the microphone.
When you listen to the tone of the microphone for spoken word, the AT2020 can definitely do better. The AT2035 sounds the most natural out of the two options.
It might sound a bit muddy on instrumentals but you can easily resolve this by adding a high-pass filter or initialize a high-pass filter on the microphone.
If we were to choose one option from these two it would have to be the AT2035. Looking at its specs you can tell that it has the best sensitivity performance. It’s also sturdier and comes with extras like a switchable high-pass filter, a shock mount, and an interface.