Hi friend and Welcome!!
Before we get into dissecting the AT2020 vs. Blue Snowball, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
of each microphone
- Video Review
- Who this mic benefits?
- What you will need?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
Audio Technica AT2020 USB (Old Model)
- Microphone Type: Condenser. Condenser mic vs. Dynamic mic.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid. What is a Cardioid Capsule?
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-16kHz
- Bit Depth: 16
- Sample Rate: 44,000 kHz. Bit depth vs. Sample rate.
- Color: Black
- Connector: USB
- Weight: 13.2 oz (374g)
- Included Accessories: Pivoting stand mount for 5/8″- 27 threaded stands, 5/8″- 27 to 3/8″- 16 threaded adapter, soft protective pouch; tripod desk stand; 10′ (3.1 m) USB Cable
- Manufacturer Part Number: AT2020
The AT2020 is well suited for a myriad of applications, and does extremely well with voice-over.
Some say it gives off XLR quality even being a USB mic, and goes well with your iPad, adobe audition, garage band, audacity, and even your Playstation 4. What is XLR?
It’s also so easy to use that even your grandma could hook it up. You plug the USB into the port and BOOM! You’re done. Your mac or PC will recognize it immediately, as well as your PS4.
I’ve also read a ton of reviews from people that have had this for upwards of 6 years. It’s a great long term investment, and even has a lifetime warranty. There are reviewers that have had this thing from 2 to 6 years and it still works like a charm.
It delivers XLR quality results (What is XLR?) that you typically would get if you had an audio interface and XLR cables. What does an audio interface do? Many people commented on just how pristine the sound is. It’s also really easy to EQ with, and works well with a variety of different programs such as Audacity, Adobe Audition, and Garage band. I have heard it doesn’t work with Pro tools, so be weary of this.
The remarkable thing about this mic is that it does well with not only voice over applications, but vocals as well as instrument recording. I’ve heard it endorsed for acoustic guitar, violin, vocals, video games (game play audio), you tube, interviews, streaming, webinars, etc. It has a rich full sound, and your vocals will come out crystal clear.
“Do I make myself clear, Mr. Bender? Crystalll.”
What you will frequently encounter is other people, friends, fans, etc. commenting on the amazing sound that comes out of this puppy. Be aware though that it is very sensitive, and could pick up a wee baby crapping his diaper 2 houses down. Lol. If you don’t have a sound proofed room, turn the gain down some. It should really help out. More on sound treatment in a bit.
It’s a durable and heavy piece, and can withstand a ton of abuse. It pretty much functions like your standard issue barbell. Haha just kidding, but seriously.
I’ve read about people dropping this thing, kicking it (not on purpose), and what have you. Still holds up. If you enjoy abusing microphones, this may be the one for you. 🙂
Check out this informative review!!
- Plug and play, doesn’t get any easier.
- Your CPU will recognize it immediately.
- Does well with a variety of programs including audacity, adobe audition, garage band, your PS4, and your iPad.
- Works with Mac and PC.
- Called the best mic for game play audio.
- Good with a variety of studio and in home applications such as guitar, violin, ukulele, video games, voice over, you-tube, interviews, pod-casts, tutorials, Skype, etc.
- USB mic that delivers XLR quality recording.
- Durable and heavy.
- Comes with a nice zipper pouch.
- Lasts a long time. So many reviews were people who have had it anywhere from 2-6 years.
- Easy as pie to EQ with.
- Amazing, crystal clear, rich sound.
- Portable, you can take it anywhere.
- The stand/tripod that comes with the AT2020 is awful. Nearly every review pointed this out. As a separate stand I would recommend the DS7200B.
- There isn’t a headphone jack built into the mic. This means there will be a delay/latency in your voice when recording live. What is latency?
- Low audio complaints for users on Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. The issue may be with a specific port on your PC. Try using different ports first to remedy the problem.
- If you change locations of the mic, i.e. different rooms, or different places in one room, the mic may give you driver installation errors.
- Very sensitive and picks up a lot of noise, keyboard clicks, etc. Can emit some echo. Make sure you treat the room or use some acoustic studio foam around the mic to block out some of that noise. Turning down the gain also helps.
- Has limited settings and features.
Who this mic benefits?
Napoleon Dynamite says that this mic benefits everyone. He’s right here and has something to say: “Yeah, this is pretty much my favorite mic ever” Lol, really though it’s great for everything from voice over, to vocals, to instruments. A jack of all trades.
What you will need?
- A better stand, as alluded to above.
- A pop filter. I do recommend the Samson PS01, as I’ve had it since 2007. The one that is frequently bought with the DS7200B mic stand (above) also works fine.
- Shock-mount is optional but recommended.
- You will need to be in an isolated space away from ambient noise as much as possible. Acoustic Sound Treatment goes a long way!
Amazing sound quality and super easy to set up and use. Does well in a variety of situations, and is built to last, like Duralast. The tripod stand however is terrible, and you will need to invest in a new one should you purchase this mic.
- Amazon: 4.5/5 (Over 2,575 reviews) | Check eBay!
- B&H Photo Video: 4.5/5 (Over 250 Reviews)
- Musicians Friend: 4.5/5 (Over 40 Reviews)
- Microphone Type: Condenser.
- Polar Pattern: Cardioid or Omni-directional.
- Frequency Response: 40Hz – 18kHz
- Color: Silver, White or Black
- Connector: USB.
- Weight: 460 g
- Included Accessories: USB Cable, Stand.
The Blue snowball just may be the most startling example of price vs. value that you will find in this price range. It’s a user friendly mic that delivers simple, efficient, and practical results. It’s phenomenal for all types of voice over work, ranging from pod-casting, webinars, Skype, you-tube, and basically anything that requires you to blab into the mic about things! 😛
It’s a rather large and unique specimen, standing on a tripod and resembling that of grapefruit – in both size and weight. Lol. Many reviewers have commented on not being prepared for such a big and textured ball. They were expecting something smaller, but at the same time were pleasantly surprised by it’s solid build quality.
I’ve read quite a few reviews and many of them have mentioned owning this mic for 2 years, all the way up to 5. It’s longevity and reliability contribute to this, making it a proven solution to your dilemma.. It becomes the #1 safe option in entry level affordability.
It’s got a crisp clean sound, like Rice Krispies in the morning. 🙂 It works well without a pop filter, but you may want to look into accompanying the Snowball with a good one. Reviewers have noted a vast improvement in sound quality in this regard.
You also may want to take note that the output level according to many is a bit low, and you might have to be very close to it when speaking. To some it’s just too quiet, and only picks up sound when you’re right up on it. Ironically, it’s still very sensitive and picks up a lot outside of the immediate vicinity. Make sure you’re in a quiet area away from ambient noise if you can help it.
EQ and Polar Patterns
The good news is that it does very well with EQ. If you happen to want to clean up the sound later on, you can with great results. It doesn’t have a mute button or on/off switch however, but does have a selection of two different polar patterns that may come in handy..
- Cardioid. Meaning it receives sound only from the front
- -10db Cardioid. Same as the cardioid setting, but reduces the volume a bit.
- Omni directional. Picks up sound from all directions. Works very well with interviews, pod-casts, and any situation that has multiple persons speaking.
There is a switch on the back for each of these settings, but it’s labeled 1, 2, and 3. One reviewer found that to be a little irritating because they don’t actually tell you which is which. I will though!
- -10db Cardioid
One thing to know about the Snowball is that it isn’t well suited for actual vocals or singing. In these instances, it is used as a backup for the Blue Yeti, which serves as a nice upgrade. It does very well as a travel mic on the go, but I’ve read a few reviews saying that if you can, just go for the Blue Yeti instead. It’s the gradual next step up from the Snowball.
Perhaps the best thing about this little beast is the fact that it’s pretty indestructible, especially coming in at such a low cost. Reviewers harp on it’s durability, and that it can withstand quite a bit of abuse. As touched on before, it’s a lot heavier and bigger than pictures would indicate, which ends up contributing to it’s solid structure.
Some have complained about the tripod however. Being that the actual microphone is so big, it can become top heavy and prone to falling over. A good remedy for this is the DS7200B.
This provides a better solution as it’s a lot heavier and more solid. The dragon pop filter that it’s frequently paired with on amazon makes for a great one two punch to go a long with your Snowball. Think of Mike Tyson here, crushing his opponents with speed, precision and efficiency. 😀
All of that Tyson silliness aside, you don’t have to go that route. The tripod that comes with it, in most cases will do you just fine. The separate pop filter however is almost mandatory since you have to be very close to the mic to get that lush sound without the plosives.
- Built solid as a rock.
- Heavy USB cable.
- Easy to hook up. Is automatically detected when plugged in.
- Works well even without a pop filter.
- Good stand.
- Great for voice-overs, podcast, Skype, webinars, screen-casts, gaming, quick and easy live recording, sax, etc.
- Nice portability.
- Longevity factor.
- Picks up the bass nicely in your voice.
- Does well with EQ.
- Clean sound, does a great job of eliminating noise when you’re very close to it.
- Great customer support from Blue microphones.
- Output level low, you may have to speak up quite a bit.
- Selector switch labeled 1-3 instead of which polar pattern you’re on.
- Takes up a lot of room on your desk.
- Limited features.
- Proximity issue. You will have to get in real close to get the best sound possible from it.
- No on or off switch.
- No mute button.
- Tends to be top heavy and fall over quite a bit.
- Very sensitive.
Who this mic benefits?
Anything voice over related, as we’ve discussed. I’ve also heard that it does well with some instruments, from saxophone to acoustic guitar. Just don’t buy it primarily for this purpose. It’s really best suited for voice-over applications.
What you will need?
Nothing unless you would like to upgrade by getting the separate stand and pop filter as I’ve pointed out above. My advice would be to try it out as is and see how it functions for you, then add accordingly.
Great sound at an amazing value. Perfect for voice-over, not as good however for vocals. Does well with instruments, but you may not want to purchase it solely to record them.
Similarities & Differences
- Both stands are a bit suspect. You may want to invest in a separate one should you invest in either of these.
- Both mics are limited when it comes to features. Neither has a headphone jack, volume control, or mute button.
- Both are very solid and durable.
- Both excel in voice-over situations.
- Both are USB plug and play.
- The Snowball is really only meant for voice-over applications, while the AT2020 is versatile in a lot of ways. It does well with vocals and instruments as well.
- The Snowball has a couple of polar patterns: Cardioid and Omni-directional, while the 2020 only has Cardioid.
- The look, feel, and color of both mics is vastly different.
- The output level is said to be low with the Snowball. The AT2020 doesn’t seem to have this issue.
- The AT2020 has superior sound quality than the Blue Snowball.
The AT2020 is a fantastic mic without question. Many say that it’s sound quality is superior to the Blue Snowball, as well as the Blue Yeti. The 2020PLUS does include a headphone jack however! Still, I regard it as second best (though it’s very close). What it does do better than the Yeti is provide you with a more versatile piece of equipment. While the Yeti can be used in other instances, it’s more for just your voice. The AT2020 can be used with instruments, vocals, and voice-over to fine effect. Do you need an all around solution?
The Snowball is a good choice no doubt, but a lot of people say that if you can swing it, just go straight for the Blue Yeti, as it’s got all of the features you need and then some. It is the best USB mic on the market in my mind (and many others), and just makes sense if you’re looking for the perfect voice-over solution.
CHECK OUT MY YETI ENDORSEMENTS!
- The best USB microphone for voiceover
- The best USB microphone for podcasting
- The best cheap USB microphone
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the AT2020 vs. Blue Snowball.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles your pickle? What do you think about the Blue Yeti? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,