Home Microphone Comparisons Audio Technica AT2020 vs. AT2035 vs. AT4040

Audio Technica AT2020 vs. AT2035 vs. AT4040

by Stuart Charles Black
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Cover Image: Audio Technica | Design: HomeStudioBasics

Hi friend and Welcome!

Before we delve into the Audio Technica AT2020 vs. AT2035 vs. AT4040, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

In this comparison/shootout, I will outline and compare all three of these microphones determining which is most worth a purchase.

By the end of this article, you should have a clear idea of which is the best overall value.

So strap in and let’s roll!

Audio Technica AT2020 (XLR version)

Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone (Black)

Stand Mount for 5/8″-27 Threaded Stands

5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 Threaded Adapter

Protective Pouch

Limited 2-Year Manufacturer Warranty


  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid
  • Diaphragm Size: 0.63″ (16mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 144 dB. What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 20dB
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 0.76 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Microphone Pouch
  • Manufacturer Part Number: AT2020


Reading the reviews on amazon truly left me disappointed.

A good majority of the 1-star reviews that the AT2020 received were from people who had no idea what they were getting into prior to purchase.

Guys, this isn’t a USB mic.

It’s an XLR condenser mic that will only run off of 48v phantom power.

Know what you are buying before you buy it! What is XLR?

There are so many good qualities about 2020, that it’s hard to sum it up.

It does really well with husky, deep male voices.

It’s well-built and durable and comes with a nice carrying pouch giving it added portability.

Really it’s built like a tank and can take a lot of abuse.

I owned one for quite a while and can attest to its robust profile.

In fact,

it was one of the most durable pieces of equipment I’ve ever owned and felt pretty similar to a Shure SM57 in heft and weight.

As for its sound, it’s extremely sensitive and boasts a flat, neutral response. It also greatly benefits from some EQ’ing.

Adding a bit of EQ and compression can really make this mic sound amazing.

Know that above all, it is still an entry-level mic but proves to be extremely versatile.

You can record just about anything with it, and do it well! More on that a little later.

Check out my sound test!!

with Pop-Filter:

with Pop-Filter under a blanket:

with Pop-Filter, under a blanket, farther away:


  • Bold and crisp sound. Better with darker sources more so than brighter ones.
  • Extremely Versatile & can handle a wide variety of studio, as well as general applications.
  • Very sensitive and picks up a lot.
  • Very well-built and durable. Will last you a long time. Built like a tank.
  • Great for small home studios and beginning musicians.
  • Gives a nice flat response that can be EQ’d very easily.


  • The storage bag is a bit flimsy and doesn’t have any padding according to some.
  • Doesn’t come with XLR cables or shock mount.

Video Review

Credit to Photo/Video Show!

Who this mic benefits?

I’ve seen this thing used for nearly everything. As an all-around workhorse mic, it does well with:

  • Acoustic instruments
  • Overheads
  • Amps
  • Brass
  • Vocals
  • Electric guitar
  • Drums
  • Banjo
  • Violin
  • Pod-casting
  • Spoken word
  • Singing
  • YouTube
  • Twitch shooter commentary
  • Narration
  • Skype
  • Conference calls

It really is the true definition of a multi-purpose tool!

What you will need?

Before you buy this mic or any mic that is XLR, you will need the following:

  • 48v Phantom power via audio interface, or some sort of mixer.

Here are a few options I recommend:

  1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I have this one and recommend it highly. It’s extremely reliable and will work wonders with the AT2020. You can also upgrade your mic in the future and still use it. A great piece of equipment.
  2. Roland Tri Capture. Saw this mentioned by a very reliable source. It comes bundled with the AT2020 AND an XLR cable on amazon as well, so you can’t go wrong.
  3. Behringer Xeynx 802 Mixer. If you’re just starting out, you may not want to spend an arm and a leg on an interface. The 802 comes in handy because it has two XLR mic inputs, so you can record your vocals. It also gets really nice reviews on Amazon.

Other Essential Items

XLR cables

This was a huge “complaint” from people that didn’t know what they were buying.

In other words, they didn’t know they needed XLR cables until after the fact.

You will need at least 1 XLR cable to plug from your mic into the front, back, or top of your interface or mixer.


Optional but recommended. If the mic accidentally gets hit or something during recording, this will absorb that shock and won’t alter your vocals or record something you didn’t intend.


Should be a standard purchase with most microphones.

This will prevent those plosives from coming through.

Plosives are just the S’s, P’s, and other consonants that sound harsh coming out of your mouth at loud volumes.

The pop filter quiets them down. It also prevents spit and other undesirables from entering the microphone and damaging the diaphragm inside.

Mic Stand.

You can either go with a boom stand, a scissor arm, or a desktop stand.

I’ve owned all 3 and I can tell you without question that the scissor arm is my preferred.

It’s out of the way, really convenient to use, and doesn’t take up much space in my studio as a desktop stand or boom stand would. Here’s the one I use.

Here you can see my AT2020. It’s on the desktop stand which you can see some of in the lower left corner.

It was robust and heavy-duty, but super bulky and got in my way more often than not.


The AT2020 is a good starter investment because it comes from a reputable brand with a long line of great mics.

It’s also a great workhorse mic that excels with many different applications.

It’s well built and durable, and most of the complaints came from people who didn’t know USB from XLR.

One negative I came across is that it may sound a tad bright, but not as much as the NT1A.

Also, make sure you add a bit of EQ and compression before you write it off. The raw vocals may not amaze you.


Audio Technica AT2035

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check eBay!

Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

AT8458 Shockmount for 5/8″-27 Threaded Stands

5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 Threaded Adapter

Protective Pouch

Limited 2-Year Manufacturer Warranty


  • Microphone Type: Condenser
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid. What is a cardioid capsule?
  • Diaphragm Size: 0.96″ (24.3mm)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Max SPL: 148 dB. What is SPL?
  • Output Impedance: 120 Ohms
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 82dB
  • Low Cut Filter: 80hz (-12dB/octave)
  • Self Noise: 12dB
  • Pads: -10dB
  • Color: Black
  • Connector: XLR.
  • Weight: 0.89 lbs.
  • Included Accessories: Stand Mount, Microphone Pouch
  • Manufacturer Part Number: AT2035


This is a great all-around cardioid condenser mic (What is a cardioid capsule?) and proves to be very versatile at an affordable price point.

It’s a workhorse and will be your go-to for many different studio applications.

It comes in at a nice value, boasts really impressive sound, and has a solid and heavy build.

Not many microphones come packaged with more than a case these days, so the fact that this one has an XLR cable, shock mount & pop filter at a great price makes it incredibly valuable to me.

The quality of the shock mount and cable is excellent. However, the pop filter has gotten numerous complaints, so you would be better off purchasing one separately if it does indeed give you problems.

Someone in the comments section of another post asked me to recommend one, So I will: I have used the Samson PS01 in conjunction with my Samson C01 for about 8 years. A great buy! The snake arm is extremely flexible and the filter feels nice and heavy. A real durable piece of equipment!!


This is really where this mic shines.

It is very neutral sounding, and will not color your recording in any way, but remains crystal clear and full-bodied.

It is also very sensitive, which can be a good and bad thing.

It will become a bad thing if you aren’t recording properly in the right environment. Check out my post on Acoustic Sound Treatment for some tips and ideas on how to get the best sound from your mic!

This mic is fairly transparent, with a touch of warmth, and will catch subtle nuances in your voice.

Some are calling it the best Large-diaphragm condenser microphone in its price range, and claim that it can compete with other mics out of its league.

Recording Instruments

This mic also does well in recording guitar, drums, piano, and even saxophone.

The piano in particular is very demanding.

Its frequency range covers the entire audible spectrum, and it has a very wide dynamic range.

The AT2035’s ability to provide a balanced sound across the spectrum with ease makes it invaluable.

Other reviewers have been impressed with its ability to handle/record pretty much anything you throw at it, and also do it well. Just be aware that it may need EQ for bass-heavy instruments because of its warm tone.


  • Extremely versatile workhorse mic.
  • Very neutral and balanced sounding.
  • Comes packaged with the stuff you need.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Crystal clear, and can handle high vocals without peaking or distortion.
  • Comes with a low-cut filter and 10dB pad switches for added flexibility.


  • Switches are a bit hard to turn on and off.
  • The provided pop filter isn’t the greatest. The one bundled is much better. Link at the bottom!
  • Maybe a bit sibilant. What does sibilant mean?

Video Review

Credit to ZY!

Who this mic benefits?

Pretty much everyone. I have come across rave reviews for all of the following:

  • Rappers
  • Singers
  • Pod-casters
  • Live Streaming
  • Instruments

What you will need?

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Chillin’ in studio 🙂 This is the 1st generation model. They have since come out with a 3rd!


This is an XLR mic, so you will need the following:

  • XLR cable (one is provided in the package!)
  • 48v phantom power (check out my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 review!)
  • Fortunately for you, the mic stand, pop filter, XLR cables, and shock-mount are all included!

What is the difference between a USB microphone and an XLR microphone?


This is a very valuable and versatile mic at a great price and includes 3 extra accessories that most other mics do not provide.

I have reviewed a bunch of different microphones in other articles, and none of them provide an XLR cable.

A lot of times that is such an inconvenience to me because then I have to go hunting for one and as you know, there are a million to choose from.

The shock mount that comes with this set has been generally favored.

The Pop filter however has been the weak link here. You will want to invest in a better one.

The biggest selling point is that it can handle a wide variety of different applications, from rap vocals to singing, to podcasting, to live streaming, as well as a ton of different instruments.

And it does all of this near flawlessly, as most reviewers have pointed out.

It is very warm, but neutral, and handles highs without peaking at all.

One reviewer said that he turned his gain down to 50% and could still record very loudly with great results.

Similarities & Differences


  • Look/feel/color/size. They pretty much look like identical microphones at first glance.
  • Both are very versatile.


  • The AT2020 doesn’t come with XLR cables or a shock mount, while the 2035 comes with both plus a pop filter.
  • It seems as though the 2035 has a better carrying case.
  • The AT2020 doesn’t have any onboard switches, filters, or pads. The 2035 has a low-cut filter (to reduce or eliminate low-end rumbling), and a 10dB pad which we discussed earlier.
  • The AT2035 is said to have less noise/hiss. The electronics inside have been upgraded to reduce said noise.
  • The diaphragm size of the 2035 is a bit larger than the 2020. 0.96″ compared to 0.63″.
  • Sound pressure levels are slightly different. AT2035 has an SPL of 148dB compared to the 144dB of the 2020. This basically just means you can sing/scream/talk louder into the 2035 without distortion, as well as record louder instruments coming from a guitar amp.
  • The 2035 is a bit heavier than the 2020.
  • The AT2020 is slightly less sensitive, so you won’t have to worry about room noise as much. However, an investment in either mic does warrant some Acoustic Sound Treatment as we discussed earlier.
  • The AT2035 has a bit of a smoother high-end.

How they compare with the AT4040

Low-Cut Filter

The 4040, like the 2035, has a low-cut filter while the AT2020 doesn’t. The 4040 also has a -10dB pad.

Max SPL:

  • AT2020: 144dB
  • AT2035: 148dB
  • AT4040: 145dB

Signal-to-noise ratio

  • AT2020: 20dB
  • AT2035: 74dB
  • AT4040: 82dB

The higher the number the better. This basically means that the mic signal is stronger and suffers from less interference and noise.


  • AT2020: 12.1 Oz. / 343g
  • AT2035: 14.2 Oz. / 403g
  • AT4040: 12.7 Oz. / 360g

Comparison Video

It’s interesting to note that the 4040 does indeed sound better than an AT2020.

The main difference that I personally heard was that the 4040 sounded less harsh and “tinny.”

His voice sounded more natural on the 4040.

Final Word

By this point, it should be pretty clear that the AT2035 is a nice upgrade from the AT2020.

As for the 4040?

Yeah, it’s probably a bit better than the 2020 and 2035, but is it worth double the price of the 2035? That’s highly debatable.

If you have the wiggle room to spend more for the 2035, I say go for it. 

You get a little more flexibility in the form of some onboard switches, less noise, a heavier/more durable piece, higher SPL, better signal-to-noise ratio, and the added bonus of XLR cables, shock-mount, Mic Stand, and Pop filter (bundled version) for a better value.

Act Now:


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the AT2020 vs. AT2035…

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Do you agree that the AT2035 is a clear upgrade and worth the price? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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Rr. Putri Intan Paramaeswari May 5, 2018 - 8:44 am

Hey, i’ve just found your article and read it. and this article is really helpful. thank you for making this comparasion article. and keep on creating 🙂 thank you

Stuart Charles Black May 7, 2018 - 12:41 pm

No problem so glad to help! Let me know if you ever need a hand with anything.


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