Best Settings for AT2020 USB & XLR Microphones [Pro Guide] (2023)

(Last Updated On: December 11, 2022)

Best Settings for AT2020 USB & XLR Microphones [Pro Guide] (1)

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If you’re looking for an affordable microphone of high quality, you better check out the Audio Technica AT2020. The AT2020 is a quality cardioid condenser microphone that has quickly become thego-tomic worldwide for a home studio. This mic comes either inXLRorUSB connectionmodels; hence, it is pretty easy to set up with your PC.

With the USB connection model, you only need to hook the USB cord to your PC or laptop, then go to thepreferencesmenu and navigate to theSound and Audio Devices. There you will readily detect the new hardware. You only need to set as your default recording device the AT2020, and you’ll be good to go.

On the other hand, if you use the AT2020 XLR model, your connection will require an audio interface to let you connect the microphone to the computer (any operating system like Mac OS, Windows, etc…) or your instrument.

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(Video) AT2020 Microphone | STOP Making These 5 Mistakes!

Recommended Settings for Audio Technica AT2020 USB & XLR for Optimal Recording Quality

If you are a bit worried about setting up your Audio Technica AT2020, just take a deep breath and relax, for it is quite easy to set up. The Audio Technica AT2020 comes with a threaded mic stand mount that you can attach firmly. This mount stand pivots, allowing you to make the precise placement for this microphone. Once you’ve set up this microphone on its stand, you can follow the guide and tips below to improve your recording result with your Audio Technica AT2020 microphone. You can also get a shock mount for this mic. The AT2020 condenser mic requires around 48V phantom power.

Adjust Mic Gain

In most instances, you must adjust the gain on the mic. In this way, you can hit the sweet spot or the ideal balance of your voice’s natural volume and the mic’s sensitivity. Doing this helps you record at the software’s quality level. This range level is somewhere between -18dB and -6dB.

Of course, you will not find gain adjustment on the mic. So, you need to adjust the gain on your DAW. You will find this gain adjustment feature on the software, depending on the DAW you are using. If you can’t find any gain adjustment feature on the software, you can then go to your PC’sControl Paneland selectSound. Afterward, click on therecording tab.

Since the Audio Technica AT2020 makes use of fixed gain before the signal enters the converter, you will not see any max SPL rating on its spec sheet. Its max SPL rating, of course, is 144dB. The Audio Technica AT2020 will clip at around 112 to 115 dB SPL.

If you are using the Audio Technica AT2020 at close range using your singing voice at 90 t0 95 dB SPL, it will have an effective resolution at around 12 to 13 bits. However, at a moderate SPL of around 70 to 76 dB, you will find the digital resolution at about 10 bits.

Set Up USB Connection

Since the Audio Technica AT2020 comes with a USB cable for easy connecting to your PC, you can quickly attach this microphone to your computer using the standard USB cable. Your software will identify with ease this microphone once you have connected it to your computer, and your computer will make this microphone your default sound source for your recording. You can double-check the control settings to ensure that your sound source is the AT2020USB+. AT2020USB+ comes with a built-in headphone jack and a XLR cable that can be used to connect it to an audio interface.

Configure EQ Setting for Editing

When it comes to configuring your EQ setting to ensure that you can do good editing, you can tinker with the compressor settings. You can set the compressor setting EQ to -1dB. It is advisable to remove any sound that goes lower than 100 Hz. Of course, your voice will not get that low, so it will help to remove those sounds lower than 100 Hz because they are mostly low-end background sounds and background noise.

You can also make your voice clearer by tinkering with other EQs. If you normalize it to -1dB, you can make your sound loud enough and increase its volume without necessarily clipping. When it comes to game audio, you can set it at -12 dB or even less to ensure that your microphone will be heard over that of the audio.

Set Up Your Software Levels

If you want optimum performance for your Audio Technica AT2020, you need to make the right adjustment to your microphone level. It should be high as it can be, sans overloading your computer’s input. You should turn the mic volume level down once you hear or listen distortion or if the recording software indicates high peak levels.

(Video) GoXLR & Audio Technica AT2020 Setup | Best Mic Settings

You can turn the mic’s volume level via the control panel settings. You can also tone down the volume via the recording software. Moreover, you can boost the mic’s gain through the control panel or through the recording program. If the acoustic input doesn’t change dramatically, you don’t need any further mic level adjustments.

Besides the abovementioned tips on how to optimize the use of your Audio Technica AT2020 condenser mic, you can also do the following added settings adjustments and recommendations for optimal use of your Audio Technica AT2020:

Set the Mic at the Right Distance

One characteristic of the Audio Technica AT2020 that you must bear in mind is its polar pattern. It is one of the condenser microphones, and works best when it is 6 to 8 inches away from your mouth. The pop filter should be around an inch away from the microphone. When talking at a normal level, the gain should hit around -12 dB if pop filter is at sufficient distance.

When setting the right mic distance, mimic the loudest possible sounds you will make during recording, and make sure that the audio signal doesn’t clip or hit 0 dB. You can adjust the gain a bit if it does clip. You can also ensure that the mic is recorded into a new channel different from that of the game audio.

Microphone Positioning

You should ensure that the microphone is positioned in line or on axis with the one who is speaking or singing. In this way, you will achieve the ideal frequency response for your microphones. Ideally, the microphones should be placed in front of the one who is speaking or singing.

Moreover, when miking an instrument, the mic should be directly in front of the instrument. You should try different placements for your mics to get the sweet spot for optimal performance.

How to Lower Down the Gain on AT2020?

It will be useful to remember that each setup is unique from other setups. It will be helpful to toy with your Audio Technica AT2020 levels to hit the right gain level. You can open on your computer the hardware and tinker with the levels. Moreover, you can turn down your microphone’s sensitivity and get to the right sound pickup level. Besides, your OS will be a factor in setting up the gain.


As one of the best mics among the market’s affordable mics today, you should consider the Audio Technica AT2020 as one of your best options at hand. It is durable, and it produces a clear and clean sound. Moreover, it is perfect for recording and podcasting.

The AT2020 offers awesome flexibility. Besides, with the right adjustments, the Audio Technica AT2020 will provide you with great-sounding recordings. Whether you have an elaborate or simplistic home studio setup, you can always ensure yourself a professional result in your recording using the AT2020.

(Video) NEW | How to setup the AT2020USB-X Microphone

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What are the best settings for Audio Technica AT2020? ›

GoXLR & Audio Technica AT2020 De-Esser Set up

We recommend a de-esser setting between 40% and 60% and find that 50% works best for us.

How do I set up my AT2020 XLR mic? ›

Audio Technica AT2020 Review & Setup
  1. Buy an Audio Interface or Mixer. ...
  2. Plug the interface into your PC via USB. ...
  3. Use an XLR cable from the microphone into the front of the Interface. ...
  4. Fire up Audacity and use the drop-down to find your source. ...
  5. Connect your interface to studio monitors.
Jan 28, 2023

Why is my Audio Technica AT2020 XLR not picking up sound? ›

An AT 2020 microphone may not work for various reasons, including; you are not using phantom power, or you are using the incorrect phantom power. Additionally, the mic may not be connected to your audio interface or system correctly.

Is AT2020 USB as good as XLR? ›

Sound-wise, no, they have the same capsule / diaphragm. I think the USB version is more “safe” since you get full digital signal out of the USB, while the XLR version depends on preamp and interface / soundcard quality too (more cables, more possibility of noise).

What is the best audio quality setting? ›

For music, 64 (AAC)/96 (MP3) kbps is a good general-purpose setting that will sound good most listeners. This is the standard bitrate for podcasts, for example, and it sounds great on most contemporary devices, including smart speakers and mobile devices.

What are ideal mic settings? ›

Audio levels should be kept around -10 to -12dB. Quietest recorded audio to should be kept well above the noise floor, maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio.

Is AT2020 good for vocals? ›

The AT2020 delivers in every aspect that you want a good quality cardiod condenser mic to offer. The vocals are clean, crisp, and very direct. The mic really gives a very airy sound which, added with a preamp or compressor plug-in of choice, is the perfect combination a good vocal is looking for.

Is there software for AT2020? ›

It plugs right into your computer's USB port, and functions seamlessly with your favorite recording software. Equipped with a USB digital output, the AT2020 USB is perfect for home studio recording, field recording, podcasting, and voiceover use.
AT2020 USB.
Output ConnectorUSB-type
8 more rows

Does AT2020 pick up a lot of background noise? ›

While the tone of both mics is similar, the AT2020 picks up far more background noise and it sounds more distant when used at the same position as the Blue Yeti.

Why does my Audio-Technica sound weird? ›

The most common cause of either no, intermittent, or distorted audio on one side of the AT-LP120-USB, AT-LP240-USB or AT-LP1240-USB turntables is improper calibration of the tonearm assembly prior to setting the vertical tracking force for the stylus (needle).

Does XLR to USB affect sound quality? ›

In fact, many USB mics use the exact same components as their XLR counterparts, so the sound quality is comparable.

Is AT2020 XLR better than Blue Yeti? ›

Key takeaway: Both mics offer a great sound quality, although the AT2020 USB has better frequency response and tonal characteristics than the Blue Yeti and has an overall better sound quality.

Is XLR better than USB for singing? ›

Audio Quality

You might have heard the trash talk on XLR vs USB like “XLR is for professionals and USB is for beginners”. There is a truth to this. The audio quality from an XLR Microphone is clear, crisp, and noise free. That is why all professional studios, podcasters, and content creators prefer XLR Mics.

What is the highest quality audio format? ›

Both WAV files and AIFF files represent the highest quality possible in the audio world – they are the files of choice for any mixing or mastering engineer looking to retain the highest quality possible. AIFF files were developed by Apple but also play on the Window's OS.

What is the highest quality audio format sample? ›

Lossy formats.
  • MP3. MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III) is the most popular of the lossy formats. ...
  • AAC. Advanced Audio Coding or AAC files (also known as MPEG-4 AAC), take up very little space and are good for streaming, especially over mobile devices. ...
  • Ogg Vorbis. ...
  • FLAC. ...
  • ALAC. ...
  • WAV. ...
  • AIFF. ...
  • DSD.

How do I know if my audio is high quality? ›

To check the true quality of an audio file is to run a spectrum analysis. A spectrum analysis is nothing new, what it does is measure the power and magnitude of an input signal versus frequency.

How can I improve my microphone settings? ›

Troubleshooting Mic settings to Improve Audio Quality
  1. Check to make sure your computer is using your external mic of choice and not a the default mic.
  2. Check the placement of your microphone. ...
  3. Adjust Microphone volume and quality levels.
  4. Deselect the setting “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device”
Sep 30, 2021

How many Hz should I set my microphone? ›

A microphone with a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz would make a good choice for a vocal mic. However for miking snares and toms, you would look for a range that starts lower, at around 50 Hz, and for a bass drum mic, you will want a low end of 40 Hz or even lower, down to 30 Hz.

What is the best sensitivity for microphone? ›

Most analog electret and MEMS microphones have sensitivity between –46 dBV and –35 dBV (5.0 mV/Pa to 17.8 mV/Pa). This level is a good compromise between the noise floor—which can be as low as 29 dB SPL for the ADMP504 and ADMP521 MEMS microphones—and the maximum acoustic input—which is typically about 120 dB SPL.

What microphone does Billie Eilish use to record? ›

According to ProSoundNetwork, Billie and Finneas used a Neumann TLM 103. This microphone retails at $1,100 and can be bought at Sweetwater. The interface used by the duo to record their Grammy-winning productions was a Universal Audio Apollo 8.

What is the best mic technique for vocals? ›

The most common method of recording a human voice for any purpose is the direct on axis close proximity placement technique. Producers/engineers commonly call this "in your face". It has a number of advantages; intimate sound, good articulation of consonants, up front or leading sound and proximity warmth.

What is the sensitivity of the AT2020 mic? ›

The AT2020 is a condenser microphone, which is highly sensitive and great for recording subtle sounds and details, such as the sound of fingers on guitar strings. As condenser mics go, the AT2020 is on the less sensitive end, with an open circuit sensitivity of 14.1mV/Pa.

Is there a better mic than the AT2020? ›

Despite the fact that the AT2020 has a wider frequency range, the MXL 990 ultimately has the better low end response.

What happens if gain is too high? ›

What Happens If Gain Is Too High? If the gain is too high at the input stage, your audio will reach the point of distortion or clipping. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what you are going for, as you might want to get some distortion with an amplifier, though you might want a clean tone for digital audio.

How do I know if my amp gain is too high? ›

If the gain is set too high, the amplifier will reach full power when the volume control has not reached full; if the volume control is turned up higher, the amplifier is now pushed beyond its limits into clipping.

How do I make my mic pick up more sound? ›

Boost Volume Using The Control Panel
  1. Start by opening your Control Panel.
  2. Select Hardware and Sound.
  3. Click Sound.
  4. Navigate to the Recording tab.
  5. Right-click the mic you use and hit Properties. ...
  6. Navigate to the Levels tab.
  7. Use the slider or type a higher number in the text box to increase the value.

How do I get rid of background noise on my XLR mic? ›

How to get rid of unwanted background noise when recording
  1. Get close to the mic. ...
  2. Find a sturdy mic stand. ...
  3. Use pop filters to block out plosives. ...
  4. Opt for dynamic mics in noisy environments. ...
  5. Use clean electrical sources. ...
  6. Record in the quietest room in your house. ...
  7. Check your plugs. ...
  8. Watch your gain levels.
Jul 29, 2022

How do I get rid of static on my XLR mic? ›

In the vast majority of cases, the gain setting is to blame for static noise. Find the “gain” or “input” knob on your amplifier, interface, or mic. Turn it down 1-2 dB (decibels) and talk into the mic again to see if it helps. Keep adjusting the sound until you find a level where the static noise is completely gone.

What background noise is best to listen to? ›

One recent study found that 38% of people fell asleep faster listening to white noise. Pink noise reduces the difference between the background hum and loud, jarring noises that jolt you out of sleep, like a door slamming, a car horn honking, or someone snoring.

What background noise is best for focus? ›

Over the last 20 years, scientists have uncovered evidence that immersive sounds like white, brown and pink noise may help the brain to focus, sleep or relax — especially for people with A.D.H.D.

What background sound is best for focus? ›

Listening to the sounds of nature can enhance cognitive function and concentration. Soothing sounds such as flowing water, rainfall, and rustling leaves work well, while jarring noises such as birdcalls and animal noises can be distracting.

Why does my vinyl sound so deep? ›

A dirty record is one of the most common culprits for distorted sound. Check the surface of the record in direct light to see if you can spot any debris. Even if you don't visibly spot grime, cleaning your record can produce better sound regardless.

How do you balance a needle on Audio-Technica? ›

Gently hold the headshell to stabilize the tone arm while releasing the tone arm locking clamp. The tone arm may swing freely as it is unbalanced at this point. With the cueing lever in the down position, continue to gently hold the headshell above the rest position.

Is there a way to make my USB mic sound better? ›


It may sound too good to be true, but one of the best ways to fix common audio problems like pops, muffled low end or too much echo is to scoot the microphone backwards or forwards a few inches.

Why is XLR better for audio? ›

Advantages of XLR over RCA

XLR connectors are a professional cable standard, so find more use in professional settings than RCA. They are a higher quality cable and deliver a balanced signal, making them far less susceptible to signal noise, attenuation, and crosstalk.

Which microphone is better dynamic or condenser? ›

Dynamic mics can handle sound pressures better than condenser mics: If a mike preamp can handle all the juice coming out of the mic, a condenser mic can handle high sound pressure just as well as any microphone. Condenser mics feed more easily than dynamic mics: It boils down to selecting the right microphone.

What is the best mic position for AT2020? ›

Set the Mic at the Right Distance

One characteristic of the Audio Technica AT2020 that you must bear in mind is its polar pattern. It is one of the condenser microphones, and works best when it is 6 to 8 inches away from your mouth. The pop filter should be around an inch away from the microphone.

What is the AT2020 best for? ›

The AT2020 is a studio condenser microphone meaning it is predominantly used for studio recording and is a great starter microphone for anyone just setting up. Known for its crisp sound and flat response, the AT2020 is perfect for vocal pickup.

How to use AT2020 XLR? ›

Audio Technica AT2020 Review & Setup
  1. Buy an Audio Interface or Mixer. ...
  2. Plug the interface into your PC via USB. ...
  3. Use an XLR cable from the microphone into the front of the Interface. ...
  4. Fire up Audacity and use the drop-down to find your source. ...
  5. Connect your interface to studio monitors.
Feb 20, 2023

Is XLR good for singing? ›

The Bottom Line. This mic has many features: multiple polar patterns, a switchable high-pass filter, and a switchable preattenuation pad, making it extremely versatile. The Bottom Line. This broadcast microphone is designed to make the voice sound great, whether it's speaking or singing.

Which dynamic microphone is best for singing? ›

The 11 best live vocal mics
  1. Shure SM58 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone. ...
  2. Sennheiser e845 Vocal Microphone. ...
  3. Shure Beta 58A Dynamic Microphone. ...
  4. AKG D5 Dynamic Vocal Microphone. ...
  5. Shure KSM8 Dual Diaphragm Dynamic Microphone. ...
  6. Neumann KMS 105 Handheld Vocal Condenser Microphone. ...
  7. sE Electronics V7 Dynamic Microphone.
Jul 27, 2022

Should I use a USB mic to record vocals? ›

Yes. A USB mic becomes the recording interface to your computer. It replaces any other inbuilt microphone or recording system and gives you a good, clean recorded sound. While many are designed for speech there are plenty, as listed here, that will operate brilliantly over the dynamic range of the singing voice.

What sample rate should I use for AT2020? ›

The output of the microphone is a USB-type connector. The microphone has a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. The microphone includes a 3.1 m (10') USB cable that connects the microphone to any computer with a USB port.

Is Audio Technica AT2020 good for music? ›

A good starter mic, but perhaps not the best. Frankly, the Audio-Technica AT2020 isn't the best microphone on the market, but it is one of the most affordable. At only $99 USD, its sound quality is pretty good, and the mic is built durably for the clumsy and those not yet familiar with the world of recording audio.

Is the Audio Technica AT2020 good for vocals? ›

The AT2020 delivers in every aspect that you want a good quality cardiod condenser mic to offer. The vocals are clean, crisp, and very direct. The mic really gives a very airy sound which, added with a preamp or compressor plug-in of choice, is the perfect combination a good vocal is looking for.

Is the Audio Technica AT2020 good for recording vocals? ›

The AT2020 is a studio condenser microphone meaning it is predominantly used for studio recording and is a great starter microphone for anyone just setting up. Known for its crisp sound and flat response, the AT2020 is perfect for vocal pickup.

What sample rate is best for audio quality? ›

Overall, recording at 44.1kHz is a safe option that will provide you with high-quality recordings, regardless of the type of audio project you're working on. 44.1kHz is the most common sample rate for music CDs. It captures the entire audible frequency spectrum accurately.

Should I record at 44.1 or 48? ›

Here's the bottom line. I recommend that you record with a sample rate of 48kHz. I recommend that you then bounce down to 44.1kHz for the final release. Recording at 48kHz enables you to record everything within the range of human hearing while leaving ample room for the anti-aliasing filter.

What sample rate is best? ›

88.2kHz. This is now the gold standard for hi-res recordings. Using this sample rate produces less distortion (called 'aliasing') when converting from analogue to digital and allows greater freedom when mixing and mastering.

Does Billie Eilish use AT2020? ›

She and her brother, Finneas, initially used an Audio-Technica AT2020, a medium-diaphragm condenser mic that retails for about $100USD. It's a good mic, not a great one, and clear evidence that songwriting, arrangement, performance, and production are far more important than expensive gear.

What microphone is best for recording vocals? ›

Condenser mics are generally preferred over dynamic microphones for vocal recordings because they're more sensitive and they tend to have wider frequency response ranges. Dynamic mics can be used for vocal recordings, but condenser mics will provide better overall quality for your recordings.

What microphone does Billie Eilish use to record music? ›

Oh, and a bed, of course, against one of the walls, on which Eilish sat to record with an Audio Technica AT2020 mic (at least, in the early days). As an amateur mixer myself, it was exciting to know that the duo use the exact same mic I own to record my vocals.

What mic does Ariana Grande use for recording? ›

While Ariana also uses the Atlas MS-12 mic stand, this one has the tip that slims down at the top to fit her Shure microphone mic clip.


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6. AT2020USB+PK Setup and Microphone Use | Streaming/Podcasting Pack
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